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Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Why I Tweet (Almost) Every Hour and You Should Too

I’ve been on twitter since July 2008. People who follow me are often surprised that I’ve tweeted over 26,000 times. It’s because I post something almost every hour throughout the normal business hours—even on the weekends. Why do I tweet so much? Because people want to follow others who have great content—and post frequently. It is growing my followers at the rate of about 100 new people a day.
I hope you are following me on twitter. If you are, you know that I don't write about my daily activities such as going out to eat or talking with authors on the phone (which is boring and no one cares to read about on twitter). The first step in knowing what to tweet about is to focus on your audience and your message. For me, I tweet about publishing and writing. When you focus your tweets, the audience will know what to expect when they read your information.
The second step is to focus on giving your followers great content and insights. Throughout my day, I read various blogs and articles about publishing and writing (my focus). If I see an interesting or valuable article, then I will quickly add it to my forthcoming posts on twitter. Also I mix my own blog posts and free teleseminars and other content that I've generated into my regular posts. The process takes only a few seconds. Here are the details:
1. I cut and paste the headline or something short about the content into Hootsuite. I use this free tool, Hootsuite all the time to schedule and post my tweets to twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  If you aren't using it, I suggest you sign up, then open it into a window in your browser so you can quickly use it throughout the day. I schedule my tweets for almost every hour during the regular business hours. If your tweets are too frequent it can be annoying to people but if you are sending good content, then that is OK. Some people tweet a few times a day yet because of the content, I tweet more frequently.

2. I will make sure the author of the content is highlighted. If the author is on twitter, then I use their twitter name which begins with @NAME. Why? Because these posts will show up in that person's twitter feed and be called to the author's attention. I've had well-known people respond to my tweets because of using this method in my tweets.

3. I use bitly to shorten the link in my tweet. If you aren't using this free tool, I recommend you sign in and begin using it. All of the links you shorten are organized and kept in one place (provided you are signed in). 

4. To get more attention and readers, tweets with a photo are more visible. If I'm getting content from someone else and their article or post has a photo, then I right click on that photo and save it on my desktop. Hootsuite has a feature which allows you to add a photo to your tweet. Be aware the photo addition will take some of your 140 characters and you might have to eliminate some words for it to work properly. If the content you are tweeting does not have a photo, then how can you add one? If it is a quotation from someone, I will go to Google and search for an image, then save it on my desktop for quick use and adding it. Or you can use your phone to take a photo Finally some times I use Snagit to create a photo from something that is on my screen. Make sure your photo isn't too large (440 x 220 is the maximum) or it will not fully show in your tweet.
At first reading, these steps may seem daunting and like they consume a lot of time. They do not.  In fact, the more you use these steps, the quicker you will be able to do it. It will allow you to use the material coming across your screen and fill out your tweet schedule.  I'm often several days ahead of the current day. If I'm going to be traveling or away from my computer, I have an entire week or several days full of tweets. Even when not at my computer, I'm able to consistently provide valuable content and insights to my followers (and on several social media platforms). It looks like I'm constantly doing it—but I'm not because of using this system.
Everyone has limited time and resources but I've been using this simple method to constantly reach and grow my twitter audience. I encourage you to do the same and begin to reach the millions of people using twitter every day.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015


Paper Towns and Book Marketing


This weekend the movie Paper Towns released. If you don’t read young adult novels, then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. The well-done film is based on the third novel, Paper Towns by bestselling author John Green. His bestselling book, Fault in Our Stars, also had a movie attached to it. For the launch of Paper Towns, check out his unusual marketing ideas, for example this video of the Get Found, Get Lost Tour (over 110,000 views on You Tube as of this writing).
For the opening of the Paper Towns movie, John Green greets the audience in the first few minutes and thanks everyone for coming to the movie.  In all of the movies, I’ve seen, I’ve never seen the author of the book do such an opening. Why?
John Green is known as a fun author who creates entertaining videos and has a huge following. By the author speaking at the beginning of the film everyone was reminded the movie was based on his book
  1. Books have more depth and information than any movie because of the limitations and differences between the two art forms. I’ve not read the book but Ashley Ross pointed out some of the distinctions in this article.
  2. The reminder will drive book sales and get more people to buy or read the book
It was a smart marketing move from John Green to thank the audience in the opening minutes of the film. It showed his support of the film (some authors dislike how their movies are portrayed and would never do such an opening) and drives more readers to his books.
As I mentioned in this 2005 article, it is rare for a book to become a movie. Yet every writer can learn the example of John Green. First, while Green is a bestselling author, he is active in the marketing of his books and products (like movies) associated with his books. You may be reluctant to jump into the marketing area but learn from watching people like John Green.
Second, look for something different or unusual to do for the marketing of your book. How can you stand out from other authors (in a good way) and be remembered? It may not be a movie but you can create a blog campaign or a real book tour or any number of other ways with your book—but it is up to you as the author to put the thought and energy into that campaign. You need to created it, then carry it out.  

If you don’t market and get people talking about you book, no one else will do it. As authors each of us wants someone else to do it. I continually hear complaints from every author. It does not matter who published their book (major publisher, minor publisher or self-published). The truth is the marketing and promotion of your book is your responsibility as an author. Your complaining will not help. Instead you need to follow the Nike slogan and just do it.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015


Why Authors Must Report Their Activities


Recently one of my Morgan James authors contacted me and asked, “Is my book really inside any Barnes and Noble bookstores. It was a good question and I turned to a colleague to find the answer.

I learned this particular book had been available to the brick and mortar bookstores for about six months (often the decision point marker for the retailer to return the book). Yes this book had been placed inside brick and mortar bookstores around the country (a big deal for any author) yet it was starting to be returned.

Surprise Information to Authors

When I speak with authors, they are often surprised to learn every book inside a brick and mortar bookstore is there on consignment. If the book does not sell, the retailer has the right to return the book to the publisher for a full refund. It’s a practice that began during the Great Depression and continues today. Returns cost publishers thousands of dollars each year. 

Hardcover books have a high rate of return (90% some years). It’s why when you go into your local Barnes & Noble there are hardcover books in the entry way which say “Last chance.” It is the last chance for these books to be purchased before they are returned and destroyed.

Everyone loses when a book is returned—the reader who misses the opportunity to purchase the book, the publisher who risked, printed and distributed the book, the author doesn’t make a sale (royalties) and the retailer invests energy to send it back. It’s a terrible business practice which isn’t going to change in the brick and mortar bookstores.

Broad distribution to brick and mortar bookstores is a key benefit of a traditional publisher. These books are not “available” for order but physically sit inside the retailer store so anyone can immediately purchase it.

What Authors Can Do

Every bookstore in the country buys books based on their perception of what the author is doing to promote their book. Are you promoting your book—and not just doing it but doing it in an effective way that gets people talking about your book and buying it? What works for one book is different for what works with another book. It will take experimentation and tracking on your part to see what will work for your book. There is no one path to success for a book. Every author has to take their own responsibility, and then be actively working at telling people about their book and encouraging them to get it at their local retailer.

For example, look at the website for my Billy Graham biography and notice the different buttons for purchase. One of them is for the local independent bookstore. Are you giving people different options to purchase your book? I recommend it.

At Morgan James, we are on the phone with our sales team every week—giving them specific details about what our authors are doing to promote their books. These sales people pass the information on to the bookstores and that is what keeps your book in the stores and not getting returned. If we don’t hear from our authors, we assume they are doing nothing—because most authors are doing nothing to promote their book.

The author who asked me if her books were in the bookstores was actively promoting her book—but she was not telling Morgan James. The communication was not happening between author and publisher.

Are you reporting your marketing activities to your publisher on a regular basis? It might be the difference between sales and returns. Ask your publisher what they need from you then deliver it on a regular basis.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015


You Must Enter To Win


I'm a big fan of Goodreads. According to their website, there are 40 million active members on this site. If you don't know much about Goodreads, I encourage you to take this teleseminar and learn about it. As an author, you need to be there. Also you need to be reviewing books as a reader of books on Goodreads

During the last few months, I've initiated two other Goodreads Giveaways.  Today my new Goodreads giveaways were approved. They will run for about two and a half weeks or through the end of July. I hope you will enter and tell your friends to enter. Goodreads are a great way to spread the news about your books.

This time I did three books--two that are new and one that has been around several years.

First here's the giveaway for Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. This book has currently 39 reviews on Amazon and I've received terrific positive feedback from readers about this book. The Goodreads giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway


Billy Graham by W. Terry Whalin

Billy Graham

by W. Terry Whalin


Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


The second giveaway is for Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. Like my previous book, this book has received positive feedback from readers. 


Goodreads Book Giveaway


Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams by W. Terry Whalin

Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams

by W. Terry Whalin


Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The majority of giveaways on Goodreads are new books but they do not have to be. The third book for a giveaway is Book Proposals That Sell, which has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews and some people consider a classic in the publishing community. I've had authors write and say they used this book to get a $25,000 advance. 


Goodreads Book Giveaway


Book Proposals That Sell by W. Terry Whalin

Book Proposals That Sell

by W. Terry Whalin


Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

I hope you will spread the news about the limited time of this giveaway. Like any contest, you must enter to have a chance to win. Goodreads picks the winners and sends me a list of the winners, then I mail them the books and certify to Goodreads that I've sent the books. If you don't send the books or Goodreads receives complaints, then you can be ban from future Goodreads Giveaways

If you are a published author (traditional or self-published), I hope you will look into using Goodreads Giveaways for your books.


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Sunday, July 05, 2015


My Once-A-Year Indulgence

Do you have something that you do once a year as a special experience?  I never used to have such an indulgence but it started a few years ago and carries on this year.

For me, it is reading a new book from Daniel Silva. The bestselling thriller writer produces one book a year which releases about this time each year. The former journalist at CNN has written 18 novels. I discovered his books several years ago and slowly read all of them through my public library.


From learning about his books, I became a follower of Daniel Silva’s work. I joined his newsletter list and began to notice his writing and hear his media interviews. While I was living in Arizona, I had the opportunity to meet Silva at the Poisoned Pen which is a well-known independent bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was not far from where I was living at the time.  In addition to hearing Silva speak about his work at the bookstore, I purchased a copy of his latest novel at that time, The Rembrandt Affair and he autographed it to me. I was converting from a follower into a fan.

Each year when his new novel releases, Silva travels on a national book tour.  The cities and the bookstores for this tour are not random. Each one records the book sales to the New York Times. Following each book tour, I have watched these new novels climb to the top of the bestseller lists.

I moved away from Arizona but Silva has offered his fans the ability to purchase an autographed copy of his novel during the release week at the same retail price. This service was arranged through Barnes & Noble.com.  For the last couple of years, I’ve ordered this autographed book several months in advance then watched for the release date and the shipping of my book. Yes I’m definitely a devoted fan.  Recently, Silva has expanded from Barnes & Noble and has a list of of places to get signed copies on his website through various independent bookstores.

The autographed book is not personalized to me but the autographed page is the first page of the book. I suspect Silva signs a certain number of these pages in advance from his publisher and in the production process the autographed page is bound into the book. Stickers on the hardcover jacket are added that the book is a “signed first edition.”


The English Spy released last Monday, June 29th and as usual, Silva began his national book tour on the Today Show.  His wife, Jamie Gangel, was a long-time Today Show correspondent (left last year) yet someone else on the show interviews him. This year it was Willie Geist.  My book shipped this past week and arrived on Thursday. I began reading it right away.  Most of the time I do this pleasure reading in the evening but Friday was a “holiday” so I took several hours and read during the day.  I finished my reading late last night.  As I mentioned in this article, I quickly wrote my review for Amazon and Goodreads.

To read a Daniel Silva book is a pure delight for me. His characters are engaging and his storytelling makes for a page-turning experience.  Yes it is a weighty novel, but the hours pass quickly as I’m glued to the pages. Almost as soon as I’ve finished the novel, I’m eager for the publisher to release his next one. The experience is my once-a-year indulgence.

Notice my gradual transformation from follower to fan. It did not happen overnight.  What are you doing with your own writing to convert people from followers to fans? Do you have an electronic newsletter and a regular way to communicate with your audience? Are you engaging with them on a regular basis to encourage them to move from followers to fans?

It is rare to become a bestselling novelist like Daniel Silva. Yet every writer can learn from his example and make daily strides with our writing to build a following and turn them into fans.  If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to get my free ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author.

Do you have a once-a-year indulgence like my reading of Daniel Silva’s novel? I look forward to hearing about it.




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Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Support Other Writers With Reviews

Writers are readers. What are you reading? Are you consistently reading books. And what do you do when you complete a book? 

Recently I finished reading Frances Caballo's excellent book Avoid the Social Media Time Suck. As I read the book, I marked several sections that stood out to me. As I finished the last page, I went to my computer and wrote a few words about the book and I posted it on Amazon and Goodreads. Here's what I wrote:


Every Writer or Would-Be Writer Needs this Book

Social media can be a huge time suck and consume your day so you never manage to accomplish what you wanted to do. Most writers want to write and despise talking about their books or their writing on social media. To be honest, get over it.

With thousands of new books entering the market every day (yes, thousands), every writer needs to learn to use social media to their advantage—i.e. do it effectively and not consume hours of time. In this short book, social media expert (a term I don’t use lightly) Frances Caballo gives writers an effective, practical strategy to build their presence online yet still have time to write.



Like it or not, literary agents, editors and publishers are looking at your social media presence then making decisions about whether you can reach your target market or not. Often they have high numbers and criteria for the books that they publish. You can easily drown jumping into the social media sites on your own. This book includes detailed tools (many of them free) to help you succeed and yet not consume your day.

 As Caballo writes at the end of the second chapter, “Social media needn’t force you to spend hours at your computer every day, sucking the hours out of your day when you have other pressing needs, responsibilities, and desires. By spending fifteen minutes every morning curating and scheduling and allocating fifteen minutes every evening for socializing online, you too will benefit from the power of social media in today’s world and find readers who will be happy to find you and read your books.” (Page 26)


I highly recommend this book to read, study and apply to your daily life.

----
It did not take a great deal of time and thought to write these few words of honest review. After posting the review on Amazon and Goodreads, I took additional action. I used my various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) to tell others about my review. It is one of the ways that I support the authors and the books that I read. 

These simple actions are something every reader can do to help others and spread the message about their books. With the huge volume of books published every day (according to Penny Sanseveri, over 4,500 new books are published every day), with a small action of writing a few sentences of honest review, each of us can highlight good books. 

Notice an honest review is not copying or using the words from the back cover of the book. Recently a "reviewer" contacted Morgan James Publishing and requested review copies of books. They were sent and I asked him in return to send us his "published" (loose term) reviews. When we read these "reviews" they were exact words from the back cover of the book. Yes, there was some minor value to get these words out but they were not reviews. This "reviewer" is not going to be sent additional review copies (free books from the publisher to media and book reviewers).

Over the years, I've written more than 500 customer reviews on Amazon. It is a practice I continue today. As you help others, you are building goodwill in the community. When you publish a new book, you will find that these people will support you with reviews. 

If you want to know more about this process of writing and how to get book reviews. I recommend this free teleseminar with Dana Lynn Smith: http://YourBookReviewed.com.

Are you writing reviews when you finish a book? Are you telling others about the reviews? It is key to take consistent action. 

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Listen to This Podcast to Grow Your Writing Life


John Vonhof interviewed me for his podcast Writers On Fire. We were scheduled to go about 45 minutes but actually went almost an hour and a half. John edited the podcast down to a rich 63 minutes. You can listen to it on his site (click the link). On the site you can listen to it there or download it to your computer. 

While I haven't been blogging much lately because of my travel and other responsibilities, it is not far from my radar and intentions. I hope you will use the search tool in the far right column of this blog to look for topics and posts when you have writing questions. There are over 1200 entries in the Writing Life—loads of content.

Thank you in advance for listening to this podcast and I hope it helps you grow your own writing life.
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