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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: The briefer the brief is…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration:

It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.

And that’s why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)

Dr Seuss on keeping it brief

 

Laura

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Will your Believin’ pay off for you?

What author doesn’t – at some level – dream of fame? I think most of us harbor a secret desire, if not to be a household name, to at least sell enough books to demand some serious shelf space at the bookstores still left in the world. To be booked for signings where people wait on line for tickets. To be given the chance to tell our stories and share our messages with as many readers as possible. The reality is that there aren’t many famous authors, compared to the total number of people who actually publish books. And I’ll bet if you were to ask most of them, they worked hard and toiled into many a night to earn their fame.

Arnel today

Such was the actual case with Arnel Pineda. He worked hard and toiled for years. But he had a magical experience – a fairytale, not-in-most-people’s-lifetimes kind of occurrence – when he was lifted from obscurity and near poverty to become the lead singer of one of the most famous rock bands in the world. His journey is chronicled in the documentary film, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (available on Netflix). I had the joy and the privilege to see him perform live at a sold-out show at Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix last weekend.

When Pineda lost his mom as a boy, he and his siblings were forced out onto the streets of Manila to join hordes of other homeless children. He was fortunate he had a skill, and often was seen singing on street corners, literally for his supper. By age 12, he made his way into a band, and began performing and improving his vocal skills. Fast-forward MANY years, after decades of travel and performing throughout Asia, to 2007, where he and his band, The Zoo, were performing in clubs several nights a week at clubs in Manila and Olongapo, Philippines.

Fortunately for Pineda, he had a raving fan in Noel Gomez, who would go to the shows and record Pineda and his band performing. Next, Gomez would head to an Internet café where he would sit for hours, uploading the videos he’d shot to YouTube, all told about 60 of them. “It was slow – sometimes four, six, maybe even eight hours to upload one video,” Gomez says during an interview for the documentary. The thing is, he believed in Pineda for a reason: the guy is really that good.

“He kept believing in me, like a fairytale dream,” Pineda says in an interview for the movie, “that one day I would be famous.” He admits he shrugged it off as a silly pipe dream.

Then, one day, the email arrived that would change Pineda’s life forever. Neal Schon, guitarist and founding member of the band Journey, had come across Gomez’s videos of Pineda’s performances. At a crisis moment after having lost their second lead singer to illness*, the band was scheduled to release a new album and had no one singing lead. After days and weeks of watching demos and reviewing YouTube videos of Journey tribute bands and singers of every stripe, Schon was about ready to give up and cancel the album because the singer they needed just wasn’t showing up. Before shutting down his computer, Schon clicked one last link, and Noel Gomez’s fairytale beliefs paid off. “Oh my God,” Schon said, “this is the guy!”

Schon emailed Gomez for Pineda’s contact info. When he called, Pineda thought it was a joke and all but hung up on him. Schon confirmed with an email to Gomez – and it took some prodding, but Pineda became convinced that Journey was knocking on his door and inviting him to an audition. He got the gig. Pineda debuted as the lead singer of Journey on February 21, 2008, at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival in Viña del Mar, Chile, and has been touring with them ever since.

Arnel & the band

Of this famous image of him with the band, Pineda says during an interview for the documentary, “It looks like someone just Photoshopped me into the picture. I’m very short and so Asian, and now I’m the lead singer of Journey.”

Pineda’s role in the band was not well accepted by all Journey fans – in fact, he received some pretty hateful anti-fan mail, at least in the beginning. But he was so philosophical, even about the racist comments. “Steve Perry was the voice of Journey. I was a huge fan, too. Without him, I could not be here. I know why they worry I could not do this music justice.”

Pineda more than does the music justice.

After Perry sang two Journey songs in a surprise 2014 appearance with a band called The Eels, Pineda was quoted as saying, “[Perry] should come back. His voice is still there. He can take over, too. It’s his righteous place, anyway.” The Filipino singer received a lot of pushback for the comments, with people doubting his desire to continue with the band. According to UltimateClassicRock.com, Pineda later tweeted: “Let me be clear. I took Journey’s leap of faith coz they generously gave it to me. Yet, I’ll never be addicted to fame.”

Arnel then

That was so incredibly apparent in his Phoenix performance. It would be understandable if the rocket ship that catapulted Pineda from obscurity to worldwide fame had gone to his head even a little bit. But it hasn’t. Except for the new tatted up look and shorter hair, the nearly 49-year-old singer still has his feet figuratively planted on the ground. He demonstrated this by laying down on the floor of the stage to reach across the barricade and slap the hands of about a dozen fans in the front row. What lead singer does that?

Pineda has embraced his role as the new frontman for this legendary band, dedicating everything he’s got to the job. The band’s grueling tour schedule, often three shows in four days, as was the case when they visited Phoenix, doesn’t allow much downtime or time for Pineda to rest his enormous voice. Couple that with the thought of how big the burden really is to carry a band like Journey from the brink of collapse back to one sell-out stadium tour after another. It’s not just the band that’s counting on him. Look down the line to the people employed to create and sell Journey merchandise, all the people employed by the band’s road crews, stadium employees from ticketsellers to security. Wow!

Before and during his stint with The Zoo, Pineda wrote some of his own songs, but it’s always been his renditions of other bands’ well-known classics – from Journey to the Police to Heart to Guns ‘N Roses – that have gotten people’s attention. This year, after signing a record deal with Imagen Records, he is finally poised to release his first solo album.

What’s the point of the whole story for you, an author or would-be author who may be reading this post? Am I suggesting that you might one day find your own rocket ship to fame? Eh, that’s pretty unlikely – but hey, I’m pretty sure Arnel Pineda never quite expected it would one day happen to him, so who knows?

There are takeaways, however.

(1) Show up. And do a great job when you show up.

(2) Trust your friends who believe in you. If you have a Noel Gomez in your life, thank them, as soon as you finish reading this!

(3) Believe in yourself, too. Noel Gomez couldn’t have willed this to happen for his friend if Pineda hadn’t had some measure of belief in himself.

(4) Never forget where you came from. The biggest concerts of his life happen when Pineda returns to his hometown of Manila. There, he’s not just a rock star, he’s the local boy made good.

Never stop believin’!

Laura

* Journey’s original frontman, Steve Perry, was forced to leave the band after experiencing a debilitating hip injury. He was replaced in 1998 by Steve Augeri, who was eventually dropped in 2006 because of a vocal chord injury that left him unable to perform.

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SOURCES:

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/arnel-pineda-steve-perry-journey

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/steve-perry-returns-to-stage-performs-journey-songs

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/journey-singer-arnel-pineda-signs-solo-deal-with-imagen-records

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Turning the world upside down…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.”

nietzsche quote

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

 

Children and dogs and ducks, oh my!

“Honey, do you want to go to the farmers’ market with me?”

“Not really… I’ve got some errands to do, OK?”

“Sure. I’ll go on my own. See you in a couple hours.”

Such was the exchange with my husband Saturday morning as I grabbed my canvas shopping bags and left without him. I had no idea what a gift he was giving me…

Fast forward to me arriving at Roadrunner Park, site of said farmers’ market. It was a whirlwind of moon-and-stars-watermelonactivity, and shop I did – for vegetables, organic fettuccine, a Mothers’ Day gift for my mother-in-law, some tiny apricots for my husband’s grandmother, and a small “Moon and Stars” watermelon plant. Of course, I couldn’t walk past The Tamale Store booth without grabbing a couple fresh tamales for brunch.

Making my way to a picnic bench just a few yards away from the hubbub of the market, I noticed how delightful the cool breeze felt. Carefully setting down my wares and fragile watermelon plant, I looked around the park in front of me. I’d been to this park at least a dozen times, but this was the first time I ever noticed the pond. As I peeled the paper wrappers and hojas* from my tamales, I studied the scene in front of me.

 

Roadrunner Park

A tiny boy, not more than 3, made repeated attempts to hurl a full-size basketball into a regulation-height hoop. The closest he came was brushing the bottom of the net. At the other end of the court, a handful of older boys looked to be playing an actual game, joined by a slightly older girl with a bouncing ponytail. Two women walked past me walking three greyhounds between them. Off to my right and out of my line of sight, I could hear other canines engaged in an enthusiastic exchange.

There were dads aplenty: ubiquitous ones with tots perched on their shoulders; bored dads; relaxed dads; two dads herding four children and pushing two carriages laden with jackets, hats, toys, and shopping bags.

Ladies wandered by with floppy hats and baggy shirts to protect them from the sun. One little boy played alone, strumming his fingers along the pool fence, kicking a rock, and then swinging his arm around a tall light fixture. Only child? Loner? Autistic? I could only wonder. Just beyond him, the playground buzzed with activity. Delightful peals of children’s laughter wafted over from the little ones excitedly sliding and swinging and climbing.

The sight of two ducks splashing around in the toddler pool was icing on the cake as I made my way to my car.

ducks in the toddler pool

A gift my husband had given me. The chance to sit, alone for a few minutes, and just watch life unfold – phone forgotten, obligations on hold, no rush to be anywhere other than in the moment. How often do we get so busy with our to-do lists, our writing schedules, our networking, our book marketing plans, our JOBs, the needs of our kids and our spouses and our pets, that we forget to take time to simply be?

Just like children need recess (don’t get me started on the ridiculous trend in schools across the nation of cutting recess to “increase classroom time”), we grownups also need rest, relaxation, time out. We need time to rejuvenate. Time to allow creative thoughts to percolate to the top. Time to breathe.

If you haven’t been to a park in a while, maybe it’s time. Go. Sit. Watch. Listen. Enjoy. If you must, take your sketchpad or your notebook – but try leaving your phone in the car. See what fun things come of it.

Laura

*Inedible outer corn husk wrapping of a tamale.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

On baby blankets and book marketing plans

When you publish your book, you welcome it like the treasure it is. You cradle the new baby, maybe send out announcements about its arrival. You may plan a party to officially launch your marketing campaign.

But what comes next? Do you know? Do you have a plan?

Starting a marketing campaign without a plan is like trying to monogram a baby blanket before you know the child’s baby blanketname. It doesn’t make sense because it defies logical order.

Never fear if you don’t yet have a plan – many new authors find themselves in this position. But, if you intend to sell books to anyone besides your mom and your best friend, you’re going to need to make a plan – PRONTO!

The challenge is that there’s no one-size-fits-all book marketing plan – and anyone who tells you there is, is more than likely trying to con you … into buying their program, hiring them to help you out, listing with their service, etc. The reason is that pretty much every book is different – so in order to sell yours, you need to know who your readers are and how to get in touch with them.

BUT … there’s one other thing you need to know: YOUR END GOAL. What do you want to achieve with your book? The answer to this question will determine where you start and how you pursue those readers, now that you know who they are. You really can’t develop a book marketing plan until you know why you’re marketing your book.

QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ANSWER

  • What’s your genre – beyond just fiction/nonfiction?
  • Who is your primary audience? Be as specific as you can.
  • What do you want your book to do for your readers? Entertain them, inform them, challenge them?
  • What do you want your readers to do after they’ve finished reading your book? The answer to this could run the gamut…
    • Write you a review on Goodreads.
    • Visit your website to sign up for your coaching program.
    • Buy your next book.
    • Book you to speak at their company’s annual meeting.
    • Recommend your book to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Call you to schedule a personal consultation.
    • Choose your book for their book club and invite you to attend via Skype.
  • Where/how will you connect with your audience?

book marketing plan

Once you know what you want your book to do for you – as much as you know what you want it to do for your readers – you can begin crafting your marketing plan. But not a second before that. Why? Well, if your ultimate goal is to create a membership site that brings your readers together in a supportive community, it probably isn’t in your best interest to spend a whole lot of time, energy, and money booking in-person signings. But wait – couldn’t live events help me meet that goal? Sure – but on a much smaller scale than focusing on an effective website that converts visitors into subscribers.

What do you want your book to do for your readers – and what action do you want your readers to take once they are finished reading it?

The answers to these questions will lead you to the natural next step in building your book marketing plan.

Here’s to the research that will lead you to the perfect plan!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Who is more to be pitied?

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen, or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”

Vonnegut

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

 

Planning a short-term launch or a long-term book marketing campaign?

There’s definitely something to be said for celebrating the publication of your book – especially your FIRST book – with a big gala launch party to-do celebration. If … you have the time, budget, energy, skills, and/or team to put it together. And celebrate you should! A book is still a big deal. You took the time to write it, design it, create an attractive cover. You paid to have it edited, typeset, proofread, and perhaps printed. You want to share your success with your friends, family, clients, neighbors – pretty much everyone you know.

To do a launch up right takes an investment of time and, depending on your goals, probably some money. The amount can be large or small, depending on whether you charter a yacht, as one of my prospective clients was thinking about doing, or hold it at a local coffeehouse where the shop owner agrees to give everyone who buys a book a free cuppa joe, as another pair of clients did.

evergreen sapling and tree

The thing about putting an enormous amount of effort into planning a launch is that it’s usually short-term thinking. For a book with an evergreen subject matter or theme, a single launch event should be the first item on the list of a long-term marketing campaign. To be clear, your brand new book about the latest wedding fashion trends is not timeless – so this idea may not apply. A job search book you wrote 10 years ago needs updating to include LinkedIn and online apps to become relevant – and it likely will need updating again in the next couple years, so it’s not evergreen, either. A YA coming-of-age novel? More timeless, unless it’s weighted down by too many references to modern details like Snapchat and Dylan O’Brien.

The point is, if your book will remain relevant past its first six months in print (or you can routinely update it to keep it relevant), you want to plan a long-term marketing campaign that includes building a decent social media following; securing reviews; participating in local, regional, and national book events; blogging; writing news releases; and keeping in regular touch with your most loyal readers.

Remember, dear author, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing a book. It’s up to you to know who your reader is, where he/she spends time on and offline, and how you can begin to interact with him/her. Word of mouth is important, so who are the most influential of your ideal readers? Focus on them, engage them, and tempt them to get the buzz rolling. This is a delicate balance that first recognizes the social aspect of engagement; secondly acknowledges that this person is likely busy; and thirdly offers something of value (e.g., copies of your book, access to your mailing list, the possibility of partnership) in exchange for their assistance, as opposed to coming at them with your hand out.

Other ideas include creating an inner circle for superfans and building a membership site that offers more tools, grander insights, or deeper access to you and your creative well.

The most important aspect of a long-term campaign is the plan.

  • What are the tasks?
  • Who will perform them?
  • When will they perform them?
  • Who will manage quality control to be sure all the tasks are completed on time?
  • What is your plan for amending the plan when it’s not working for any reason?
  • Who will hold you accountable if you fall into analysis paralysis or procrastination?

GS - pencil ruler book

Clever launches occasionally catapult authors to bigger successes. More often, they’re just short-lived photo ops. Long-term plans with consistent application is where the true success thrives. Hold the launch. Celebrate your book’s first bloom. Then, nurture it and cultivate it so it can keep on growing and thriving.

Here’s to planning for the short AND long term!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

__________________

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