Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections, Not Resolutions

While many people are stressing over whether to recycle the New Year’s resolutions they made last year and haven’t yet completed, I suggest you take these last few days of 2011 to reflect on what you did accomplish. You’ve completed 362 days of 2011. Now is the time for reflection.
The end of the year is a perfect time to remember the good that happened, the joys you exeprienced, the goals you achieved, the progress you made, the lessons you learned, the people you impacted (and those who impacted you), and the difference you made in your corner of the world. 
As you know, I’m a huge proponent of journaling. In fact, my Write Your Life journal was developed to help you experience the joys of journaling and to guide you through the process of turning your journal entries into content for your book. Within the pages of Write Your Life are several Reflections. These thought-provoking sections are called Reflections because they are designed to cause you to think deeply and carefully about something and then to record your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
One of my favorite Reflections in the Write Your Life journal is titled, “I Am Here, Now.” It is a simple reflection that asks readers to examine their life as it is today, independent of what happened yesterday and what they hope to achieve tomorrow. I invite you to try this one:
You’ve seen maps that have a mark indicating “You are here.” That mark identifies your current location. Where you are today is the result of what you did, thought, said, and believed in your past, in combination with a set of circumstances and people that are designed especially for you. Accepting your current circumstanes is critical to living a more enjoyable life. Consider your life as it is today. Without judging your circumstances or yourself, or even projecting what you want in the future, describe the people and activities that make up your life. 
The questions that follow this description are designed to prompt thoughtful introspection. If you’re interested in receiving the questions, email me at This process of reflecting and examining is perfect for this time of year. I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on your 2011, to accept yourself and your circumstances for what they are, and to thoughtfully anticipate 2012.
If you haven’t already purchased Write Your Life for yourself or as a gift, get your copy today. And remember, when you purchase by December 31, 2011, $5 of the purchase of each book will be donated to Grand Wish Foundation, an amazing organization that grants wishes to deserving senior citizens. What a great way to give back to our greatest generation!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top 11 Take Aways from Write Your Life in 2011

Thank you for following my blog this year. I’ve shared some rich information about writing, publishing, marketing, selling, and leveraging your book. My goal has been to provide useful information to help no matter what level you’re at in your book project. 
Quick note: If you’ve diligently followed the Write Your Life blog and made an effort to put into practice some of the information and tips I’ve shared, you should have seen some progress with your book this year. Now it’s time to pick up the pace and see even more results. You are among the first to find out about a brand new telecourse I’ll be teaching to kick off 2012! Click here for information and to register for “Book Your Success: Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less!” It’s a 4 part telecourse that will walk you through the key steps to getting your book done, marketing it, and seeing the results you want.

Just in case you missed some of the phenomenal tips I’ve shared in 2011, here are what I consider the top 11 tips for the year that can help you see success with your book. If you didn’t apply any of these this year, then strap on your seatbelt and get ready to make it happen in 2012!
  1. Build your writing power: As they say, “Practice makes perfect.” To that, I’ll add that consistency makes you a much more powerful and confident writer. Practicing writing will expand your vocabulary, generate new ideas, give new perspectives, and sharpen your grammar and sentence structure skills.
  2. Overcome writer’s block: All writers experience writer's block, even the greats. But you don't have to remain stuck there. Try these tips: be true to you, reach out to experts, find your voice, be in your comfort zone, use writing prompts.
  3. Hook your readers: It takes skill to start off a book in a way that will keep readers interested. Hook your readers with the very first sentence, draw them in with the first paragraph, and cause them to turn each page hungry for more of your story.
  4. Use storytelling: Stories are the elements of a book that connect us to the content.There are several ways to flex your storytelling muscles when writing in the non-fiction genre. This post shares a few.
  5. Keep the momentum going for your book project: Among many other ways to keep your mo-jo going while writing your book, try these: have a plan, create a timeline, get some inspiration, refresh your surroundings, and read.
  6. Get S.M.A.R.T.: Setting goals gives you something to aim for, a measurable task and a timeline in which to accomplish it. 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.
  7. Build your reputation as an author: As an author, you have an immediate calling card. Much more powerful than a simple business card, your book is an open door to conversation about who you are, what you know, and how that affects who you’re talking to.
  8. Be smart when selling to book stores: 1) know your target market; 2) time your book release; 3) use promotional hooks; 4) design an attractive cover; 5) know your book’s selling point; 6) get it to the buyer.
  9. Buyers buy, sellers don’t sell: If you really want people to buy your book, stop selling it. You are not selling your BOOK you are selling yourSELF.
  10. Increase your book sales: You didn’t write your book for the one-off sale; you wrote it to get it to the masses. You have to be creative in your approach to book sales, such as: connect with a nonprofit or membership organization, tie your book to a holiday or observance, repurpose your book’s content, or teach a class.
  11. Know the publishing process: If you’ve never experienced the self-publishing process, it’s not as mysterious or difficult as you might think. This post shares some important steps to successful and profitable self-publishing.
BONUS: Have a platform: Your platform is your business or your cause, this is what your book is designed to support. Writing your book should be about more than just the book. Your book should be designed to leverage your platform. 

What are some of your top takeaways from 2011 to help move your book project, your business, or your life forward in 2012?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

5 Ways to Control Distractions

Picture this: You've carved out a few hours to work on your book. For weeks, you’ve been thinking about what you want to write about, how to continue the story, what tips to share, a few resources to include, and what you want readers to get from your book. So you’re ready to tackle the next step in creating your book.

You’re in your writing “cave;” that room of your home that you’ve designated as the place where your creative juices are most likely to bubble up and overflow like a volcano. You’ve got the laptop ready, the resource books at hand, the key websites pulled up, your favorite beverage within arm’s reach, a bag of your favorite snacks, and you’re ready to go. Type, type, type, think, think, type. Okay, you’re on a roll, when suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s your (fill in the blank: spouse, child, roommate) wanting to ask a simple question; it’ll be really quick s/he promises. So you allow the interruption, take care of it, and get back to work.

Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you get on a roll again, your cell phone rings. Caller ID indicates that it’s your (fill in the blank: business partner, mother, doctor’s office). Should you answer it or let it go to voicemail? Now your stomach is growling, you’ve got to go to the bathroom, and you can’t think of that word; you know, that one word that always seems to elude you.

You get the picture. These are the distractions that every author experiences. But what do you do about it? Here are a few ways to control the inevitable distractions that threaten to destroy your timeline to get your book done:

Advise your family of your writing time. This is not the point at which you ask their permission to leave you alone for a few hours. This is the turning point when you tell them that you have a deadline that you WILL meet and that they MUST respect your writing time, which is on whatever day between whatever hours you say. Not only do they have to respect this, but so do you!

Turn off your phone. Unless you’re expecting an emergency call during your scheduled writing time, there is no reason to have your phone on ring or vibrate. Set it to silent for a few hours, and get busy writing!

Avoid email, text messages, and instant messages. Turn off the alerts for these inevitable, non-emergency distractions. They can all wait until your writing session is complete. After all, no one ever texts that they’re having a heart attack, or emails that they’ve fallen and they can’t get up!

Take care of your bio needs. We all get hungry and thirsty, feel the need to nap, and have to go to the bathroom from time to time. Do all of this stuff before you start writing. Grab a snack and a drink (preferably non-alcoholic, unless that helps your writing somehow), take a 20-minute power nap, and a potty break before writing, then get ‘er done!

Gimme a break! Okay, give yourself a break. Take a 5-minute break every so often during your writing sessions. Stand up, stretch, take some deep breaths. You know the routine. If possible, remain in your well-lighted, well-ventilated writing cave during your break. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to wash the dishes or clean something instead of writing!

There are lots of other distraction busters that you could incorporate to help you stay on task with your book. What are some of yours?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's Your Platform?

What do you stand for, believe in, work hard to achieve, inspire others to do, base your existence on, or love to do? This could be your platform. In a nutshell, your platform is your business or your cause, this is what your book is designed to support. If there is one thing I try to hammer home to my clients it is this – writing your book should be about more than just the book. Your book should be designed to leverage your platform.

Think of your book as a tool to bring greater reach, visibility, understanding, and acceptance of your platform. Perhaps you are a makeup artist and your platform is making every woman look glamorous all the time. Your book should support that platform. In it, you will explain what glamour is, why you believe it’s important, how women can glam up for any occasion, where to find glam products, photos or examples of glamorous “everyday women,” what men can do to encourage the glam in their women, and the benefits of adding glam to one’s image. 

Maybe your platform is attached to a cause rather than your business. A friend of mine is passionate about ensuring that senior citizens live comfortable, enjoyable lives and are able to have positive experiences. She founded an organization called GrandWish Foundation fueled by her loving relationship with her grandmother. What an amazing platform on which to build a book to encourage the care, support, attention, and advocacy of senior citizens.   

Basically, your platform is your passion, your driving force, your expertise or experience. Use it as inspiration for the content of your book and to determine a plan and an outline for your book. Knowing what you want your book to accomplish for your platform is an essential step towards achieving success. If you don’t know what you wish to accomplish with your book, none of your results will satisfy you. You’ll be constantly trying to measure insignificant milestones or goals that others measure, but aren’t really important to you. 

So, whether your book is complete or you have yet to start it, upon what platform will you build your best-selling book?