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Posts Tagged ‘authors’

MonDAY INSPIRATIONS: I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book

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: “Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

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Want more readers/buyers for YOUR book this holiday season?

Event Listing banner

It’s what every author wants, isn’t it? More eyeballs on his/her blog. More likes, shares, and comments on his/her social media pages. More visits to their websites. What if there were an EASY way to do all of the above for a very affordable price point?

Enter the VIRTUAL Holiday Author Event.

This 10-day virtual event, running from December 1st through December 10th, is designed to do just that. Give reader participants an incentive to visit your blog, website, social media profiles and purchase your books. It starts Day 1 with a Welcome Party, where each author is introduced via their headshots and images of their book covers. The authors themselves are welcome to stop by this webinar and say hello in person!

On Day 2, we’ll host a One-Day Blog Hop, where we list each author’s featured blog post for this event, and encourage participants to visit and comment for the chance to be entered to win prizes.

Day 3 we’ll encourage participants to check out our authors’ websites through a Virtual Treasure Hunt. Each author will provide a question about his/her website that the participants must answer in order to be entered in that day’s drawings.

We’ll head into a 3-hour Facebook Party on Day 4, during which time participants can ask our authors questions about their books and writing process. Every comment or share on the event page will get the participant an entry into that day’s drawings.

Day 5 is all about video – the fastest growing segment of the Internet – with Videos R US. We’ll post links to our authors’ videos (whether on YouTube, Vine, another video platform, or their own websites) and encourage our participants to make comments on the videos in order to be entered into that day’s drawings.

On Day 6, we’ll offer the option for our authors and participants to join any of three Author Tweet Chats (9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. PST). This is fun of the fast and feverish variety, as participating authors field questions they can answer in 140 characters.

The Day 7 event will require a little creativity on the part of the authors as we feature Infographic Mania. We’ll encourage our participants to comment on and rePin our authors’ infographics on their various Pinterest pages.

For Day 8, we’ll jump into Periscoping, via the new and SUPER-easy Twitter video app. Each author’s cover will be featured and participants will share the love by sending hearts and/or commenting while the video is streaming live.

On Day 9, we’ll focus on the Instagram Word Jumble, where the participants will put on their puzzle-solving hats to answer a word scramble presented through the titles on the authors’ book covers.

Beyond the daily event fun, we’ll also have a Cover Contest and a First Chapter Contest – which the reading public will judge. For voting in the contests, they’ll be entered to win copies of the winning books and T-shirts featuring the winning books’ covers.

Day 10 will then offer a Wrap-Up Party where we announce the Cover Contest and First Chapter Contest winners, give away great prizes, and conclude our amazing 10-day event.

Sound like fun? Whether you participate in just one event or join us for all 10 days, the Virtual Holiday Author Event promises to give you great exposure for yourself and your book(s), starting at just $35 for the first title. It’s just $10 per each additional title and $10 to enter either contest. There is no place on the web where you can beat this exposure right before the holidays! And if you know other authors who might like to join us, be sure to register as a Holiday Author Event affiliate, so you can make a little extra holiday spending cash for every author you refer who signs up.

Come share in the fun. You’ll be glad you did!

Marcie in winter

 

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Is a vendor booth at an event a good idea? Depends on your goals and the event!

So a couple weeks ago, my husband and I happened to be passing through Coolidge, Arizona, a tiny town about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. By luck or happenstance, the weekend we were there, the town was holding Coolidge Days. After the fact, I looked it up and found this flyer:

Coolidge Days

Since we were there on Sunday, it seems we missed the exciting things … like the pancake breakfast, the horseshoe tournament, and the PARADE! We didn’t see many cars of any sort, let alone of the car show variety, and we were gone well before the volleyball tournament got underway. What we saw was, well, somewhat sad.

We had good frybread – again, more by luck than planning, I think. And there was live music that wasn’t bad – especially if you like (or don’t mind) the “here’s how Jesus saved my life” commentary between each song.

I bought an incense holder, a birdhouse Christmas tree ornament, and a pair of earrings for $5 at one booth, and we were pretty much ready to leave Coolidge Days behind us. Then, a man approached us and asked a simple question: “Are you book readers?”

Um – yes. Yes, we are.

I indicated as much and asked him why. He’s an author, and he had a booth we had completely ignored because it had no signage and nothing to indicate what it was or why we should visit. Now, in this man’s defense, Sunday was a W-I-N-D-Y day. The tarps on every booth were flapping and flailing like crazed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. So Dustin – it turns out the man’s name is Dustin Hall – explained that he was a new author and had his book, Waking the Beast, for sale. His partner also informed us that their booth had been well appointed the prior two days of the festival – the wind on Sunday had just made it impossible to keep the banner secured or anything on the table upright on the day we happened by.

Dustin Hall, author

Dustin’s really well done banner includes his website (I might suggest omitting the www), QR code, where to buy his book, and the forms of payment he accepts. The accompanying poster has his head shot and cover image.

So, we bought the book. It still sits on my side table, right where I left it when I walked in the door that evening. I’m reading another local author’s book right now, but may give Dustin’s a crack when I finish that one. No promises, because it’s really not my genre – but it is my husband’s! Here’s the most amazing part, though. I asked Dustin how he’d done, in terms of sales, and he told me he’d sold about 50 copies over the course of the weekend. I don’t know what his printing cost was, but at $15/book, he still did pretty well, especially since the booth rental was only $75 for the entire weekend.

Waking the Beast

So here’s the takeaway. A 10’x10′ booth at the 2016 Tucson Festival of the Books is $710. Yep, there are 100,000+ in attendance, but you’re one author trying to make even a small splash inside a very big pond. From my perspective, an investment in an event like that has to be more about exposure and networking within the industry than about book sales. Will your budget support such a thing?

On the other hand, you can do what Dustin did and be the only author at a small event. And be willing to get out and talk with people. Not only did he sell 50 books, but he met me and I’m blogging about him and his book. And this blog post is going to get shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Will it generate even one more sale? Possibly. Will it help with his exposure? Of course. And it may help his SEO because it will create a link back to his site.

One last thought: The Power of the Group. With whom can you partner to share an event booth and cut costs while you increase your exposure? Good partners might be other authors, musicians, speakers, coaches, or people with products in which your readers would have an interest. And while you’re partnering there, why not keep looking for other ways to leverage your connection? Events, PR, promo products, videos … the opportunities are only limited by your imagination.

Here’s to finding the great opportunities and capitalizing on them!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: You can make anything by writing…

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: “You can make anything by writing.”

make anything

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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A DRAFT of my first novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, is in print! If you have an interest in reading to review, please email me. I’ll send you a hard copy or PDF.

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Imagination is like a muscle…

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: “Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”

PJ Farmer

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put an event like this together, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

 

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2 Giveaways for World Book Day!

happy_world_book_day+marta+altes

It’s late in the day – and still perhaps I am the first to wish you a happy WORLD BOOK DAY!

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books, and reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization) as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is celebrated in more than 100 countries all over the world.

Today marks the 18th celebration World Book Day.

Although many of the ideas for celebrating World Book Day on the official website are geared toward teachers, school libraries, children’s books, and children’s authors, I liked one so much I’m going to offer it here.

In the comments section below, tell us in just a sentence or two about the book that has made the biggest difference or impact on your life. It could be from childhood or it could be a book you read last week – fiction or nonfiction. Then tell me the person to whom you would like to gift a copy of this book. All who participate will be entered into a drawing. I will choose a random winner, and I will send your book to your gift recipient! I will also do a drawing for my own book, Practical Philanthropy, and send a copy to another randomly selected winner.

To qualify for the drawing:

  • You MUST put your answer in the comments section below.
  • You MUST be willing to email me your friend’s mailing address or your mailing address
  • You MUST do all of this by 11:59 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday, March 7Books 5, 2015.

The two books I would give away if I were entering this drawing are From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives, by Robert Fulghum, and Secrets of Attraction, by Sandra Anne Taylor. I’ve lost count of how many copies of these books I’ve given away. They are each outstanding in their own way, and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a boost.

Come play with us and win a book!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We’re two months into 2015! If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the year, time’s getting away from you! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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I would be selling more books, but…

I attended a personal development seminar this past weekend. One of the goals for many affiliated with the seminar organization is to eliminate three words from their vocabulary: can’t, try, and but. Those participating in one particular program are even fined every time they’re caught using these words during group coaching calls. I am not participating in this program; I learned about it from the gal who sponsored me to attend the weekend workshop.

The thinking makes sense. The reasons for eliminating can’t are pretty obvious. If you’re familiar with Yoda, you know why try is equally limiting. And the thought around eliminating but is that it is more often than not the prelude to an excuse. cant but try

What I found very interesting is that, to a person, everyone participating in this change-your-vocabulary/change-your-thinking program is wildly aware of their use of the word but. The thing is, they’ve all replaced it with the word however. They’d be speaking in a normal tone and would come to the place in a sentence where they typically would have used the word but. Instead, they’d catch themselves, and replace the but with a loud and extremely pronounced – exaggerated even – HOWEVER.

I went to the store – HOWEVER, I left my wallet at home, so I couldn’t pay for my groceries.

Every. Single. Time.

In my opinion, this language shift misses the mark. I tried to explore this with a staff member from the seminar company, with little to no success. Replacing one word with another word doesn’t do anything to shift the behavior behind using the word if the excuse still follows the replacement word. Instead of using however, they could use the word purple – or a nonsense word like sprugmulch – and the result would be exactly the same. Unless and until they actually work to rephrase their language and the thoughts behind it, all they are doing is calling attention to the replacement word preceding the excuse. And then they’re STILL making the excuse!

If, instead, they made an effort to actually shift the meaning of the sentence not just replace the but – I could see the purpose of the exercise. It’s quite doable.

I went to the store – and then I realized I’d left my wallet at home, so I had to run home again before I could pay for my groceries.

I went to the store. Once I noticed I’d left my wallet at home, I decided to buy only the groceries I could get for the cash in  my pocket.

What’s the point? Our language does matter. Eliminating excuse-making words is a very good idea. And it will only work if you follow through all the way.

Then yesterday, I heard an ad on the radio for an anti-litter campaign titled Don’t Trash Arizona. Having been trained for years (including during the seminar this past weekend) in the idea that our goal should be to focus on what we want – as opposed to what we don’t want – I was immediately taken aback by the name of this campaign.

The Law of Attraction teaches that what we focus on expands. Want more money? Focus with Focus_Mindgratitude on the five dollar bill in your wallet. Don’t look at it and think to yourself, “I’m so broke. I’ve only got five bucks.”

Why isn’t the campaign called Keep Arizona Clean? I checked, and that domain name is available – so that wasn’t the reason. It was likely just an oversight. And yet I could only think how much more effective a name it would have been. Not to mention that donttrasharizona.com has two adjacent T’s – which is another problem, potentially affecting the site’s SEO.

Have you thought much about your language as it relates to your excuses and your goals? Are you focusing on what you want (finishing your book, finding the perfect cover designer, selling 4,000 copies) or on what you don’t want (I can’t get this last chapter written, My cover is terrible, or No one’s reading my book)? Are you using supportive language or limiting language? Are you even conscious of it?

Here’s to deliberation in our language!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We’re seven weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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Which song best introduces or accompanies your book?

I am blessed to be married to a guitar player, and a pretty talented one, at that. If you’ve never had live music to accompany the workday in your home office, you don’t know what you’re missing. Recently, Mickey was hired to write a jingle for a sales coach and trainer friend of mine. Just 18 words and a pretty simple sound, it was a lot more work than one might expect.

w capFor Christmas 2013, I wrote a post about the idea of creating a jingle to market your book. Now that I’ve seen the jingle-creation process up close and personal, I might revisit that post to tweak things just a bit.

Nevertheless, Mickey’s jingle gave me an idea for an icebreaker for a networking event I hosted for members of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup. While our Meetups typically have prepared programs with handouts, the networking-only events are just that – the chance to ask questions, share ideas, and get to know each other socially. Since there are always at least a couple new people and the networking group is generally much smaller, I search for engaging ways to have the authors introduce themselves.

Last night, I asked each author to choose a song they feel represents their book. This is kind of an interesting idea, if you think about it. Why not have that song playing at the start – or during – your book signing events? Of course, you’d need licensing permission if you were going to record the event for any sort of distribution. Just reading or signing, though? Music that relates specifically to you book might add something very special.

I broke the group into partners and gave them 10 minutes to come up with the song they’d each use to introduce their books. Here are their choices:

  • Cristina Whitehawk chose the Beatles’ perfectly titled “Ticket to Ride” to introduce her book in progress, A Ticket to Ride, about overcoming cancer by embracing it, rather than fighting it.
  • Tim Kelly selected Three Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” to tell us about his book in progress, Brothers in Blood, which features characters with superhuman powers.
  • Tim Benson chose “It’s Easy,” by JJ Cale and Eric Clapton, to introduce his forthcoming political novel, King of the Trailer Park.
  • Lesley Sudders, who writes under the pen name L.S. Brierfield, gave us Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me” as an intro to her fantasy novel with the working title of Posie, because many of the characters are not who they seem to be.
  • Eduardo Cerviño, whose pseudonym is E.C. Brierfield, chose “In Cuba,” by renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, to introduce his forthcoming book, Alligator Island, based on the last years he lived in Cuba during the Castro revolution.3d cover
  • David Waid chose “Adagio for Strings” to tell us about Conjurers, his forthcoming historical fantasy novel, because he believes it captures the mood and feel of the novel.
  • And I gave the group John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” What better song to introduce the story of a man who leaves life as he knows it to travel the world for two years? Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World is a little bit love story, a little bit travelogue, a little bit social consciousness, and a lot about a guy who’s just trying to figure out what he wants out of life.

So if you had to choose a song to introduce, explain, or accompany your book, what would it be? Tell us in the comments. And feel free to give us a link to the song and/or your blog or website.

Here’s to letting the music flow!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

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Change your thoughts to change your outcomes

If you live in Phoenix, you’ve likely noticed a giant increase in panhandlers at intersections in every part of the Valley. As I understand it, we have looser restrictions on “begging” than many other major municipalities. That – perhaps coupled with our temperate homelessweather – means that we’re seeing a lot more presumably needy people asking for handouts.

Whatever your feelings about these folks, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t envy them. I don’t care whether they’re homeless. I don’t care whether it’s a “scam.” Seriously – who would choose that as their life’s work, unless it was some sort of temporary sociological experiment?

One guy, in particular, got me to thinking the other day. I work from home, so I don’t typically drive the same path on a daily basis. Last week, though, I did have occasion to drive the exact same route at roughly the same time, two days in a row. As I arrived at a busy intersection, I noticed a man sitting on a battered cooler in front of a convenience store. He was bearded, wearing a blue ball cap, and, as you might expect, fairly scruffy looking. The next day, there he was again. Same man, same battered cooler, same blue ball cap, in exactly the same place.

That got me to wondering about him. Where did he sleep at night? When was the last time he’d had a shower? A hot meal? There was a report on the radio at that moment about MLB pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. When was the last time this guy had sat on a couch and watched a baseball game? Where was he from? Where was his family? What had he last done for work? What kind of education did he have? All this went through my head in the minute or so I sat at the stoplight noticing him.

As I continued driving, I pondered further, wondering what might have happened in his life to lead him to that place. Had he lost a job? Had he broken up with a girlfriend and wound up homeless? The interesting thing to me was that he had managed to make something normal of his circumstances. That cooler might have been his only possession, but it was his, and as such, it gave him a place to sit while begging from his corner at the same time, two days in a row. I’ve no idea if he’s out there again today. And if he’s not, I’ve no idea where he’s gone. But for the times I saw him, he’d adopted that corner as part of his routine.

So that led me to thinking about how any of us adopt routines – both healthy and unhealthy. One might take the stand that adopting the routine of panhandling on a street corner is unhealthy. On the other hand, the routine of staying alive by any means necessary is probably a pretty good idea. There are always two ways to look at a situation, aren’t there?

A big part of what leads to a routine is our mindset – deciding to do something on a regular basis. But it’s often developed rather unconsciously, isn’t it? We stumble into something, do it once, and then one day we look up to notice that we’ve created a routine for ourselves, whether or not we intended to. Sometimes, like I imagine it might have been for my panhandling friend, it may amount to settling for things. Maybe he did lose his job – and unable to find more work right away, accepted unemployment as his new normal. Maybe then his girlfriend threw him out, and without any real friends in the Valley, he wound up sleeping in his car. So that became another new normal. But he still had to eat – so he decided to make a sign and pitch his cooler in front of a Circle K on a busy corner near a freeway entrance. My point is that he probably didn’t plan to become a panhandler. I’ll bet if you went and asked him, he’d tell you the other, bigger dreams he had. This just happened. In no small part, because he agreed to each step of his new routine, accepting them as the way things are.

While the panhandler is an extreme example, this is the way most of our lives unfold. Things happen, and we accept them. Unless and until we decide to take action and move in a different direction, they will keep happening along whatever trajectory we’re currently following. Are there places in your life where you’ve just accepted that “that’s the way it is”? Inability to find time to write as often as you’d like? Not enough money to market your book properly? You don’t have to be living in your car or begging on a street corner to have found yourself settling.

Here’s the thing: you can change your outcomes. You simply have to decide to make a shift. The what iffirst step is knowing what you want. The second step is believing something else is possible. Even if it seems absolutely impossible at this moment, allow yourself to think – and more importantly, feel – “But what if it were possible? What if I could find more time to write? What if there were a way to market my book on my tiny budget?” What if…? can be a powerful trigger, if you let it.

We all get stuck sometimes, yours truly included. We stagnate, find ourselves settling for less than what we want, deserve, and are capable of achieving. The great news is that we have the ability to choose to become unstuck. Whether that means reading this blog, finding one supportive person to help you, or rearranging your schedule so that you live on your own terms, the answers and support and solutions are out there. You just need to ask, and they will appear.

Here’s to changing your thoughts AND your outcomes!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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Inspirational Quotes for Writers from Presidents of the U.S.A.*

US-Presidents

We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience. — George Washington

A pen is certainly an excellent instrument to fix a man’s attention and to inflame his ambition. — John Adams

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. — Thomas Jefferson

Philosophy is common sense with big words. — James Madison

A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue. — James Monroe

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. — John Quincy Adams

It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word. — Andrew Jackson

Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs, but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe. — Martin Van Buren

To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity. — William Henry Harrison

I can never consent to being dictated to. — John Tyler

I cannot, whilst President of the United States, descend to enter into a newspaper controversy. — James K. Polk

I shall pursue a straightforward course, deviating neither to the right or left, so that come what may, I hope my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty, and fair dealings are concerned. — Zachary Taylor

It is not strange … to mistake change for progress. — Millard Fillmore

Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion. — Franklin Pierce

The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. — James Buchanan

Whatever you are, be a good one. — Abraham Lincoln

I have reached the summit of my ambition. — Andrew Johnson

Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished. — Ulysses S. Grant

Since I came here, I have learned that Chester A. Arthur is one man and the President of the United States is another. — Chester A. Arthur

A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out. — Grover Cleveland

Great lives never go out; they go on. — Benjamin Harrison

In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest. — William McKinley

The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing. — Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood. — William Howard Taft

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. — Woodrow Wilson

Ambition is a commendable attribute without which no man succeeds. Only inconsiderate ambition imperils. — Warren G. Harding

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. — Calvin Coolidge

Words without actions are the assassins of idealism. — Herbert Hoover

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need not fear the expression of ideas — we do need to fear their suppression. — Harry Truman

I never saw a pessimistic general win a battle. — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. — John F. Kennedy

The noblest search is the search for excellence. — Lyndon Johnson

A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself. — Richard Nixon

Things are more like today than they have ever been before. — Gerald Ford

If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement. — Jimmy Carter

Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer. — Ronald Reagan

Don’t try to fine-tune somebody else’s view. — George H.W. Bush

If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit. — Bill Clinton

We are not limited by what we have done, or what we have left undone. We are limited only by what we are willing to do. — George W. Bush

We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent. — Barack Obama

*These quotes are attributed to the people listed. However, the Internet is not infallible, as you well know. So if you know/think/suspect that a quote listed here was originally spoken by another, you can either make a polite comment below or just know we made our best effort and keep reading. 🙂

Happy Presidents Day  now go write something!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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You seriously have NO excuse for not finishing your book (and neither do I)

This post may be construed as controversial. It may be construed as political. It may unnerve you, piss you off, or motivate you. Any of those responses is fine with me. The thing is, nothing gets done unless we decide to do it. Our books don’t get written, published, marketed, or distributed unless we decide to write them, publish them (or find publishers for them), market them, and distribute them (or find distributors for them). If you haven’t finished your book yet, I’m here to make a recommendation that I, myself, need to follow: GET OVER YOURSELF AND GET IT DONE!

Mohammedou_Ould_Salahi

Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba since August 4, 2002. By all accounts, he is innocent of any crimes yet he continues to wait with 121 other detainees for trials … release … death. But that’s not the remarkable part. Slahi, who now speaks four languages (Arabic, German, French, and English), learned enough English during his detainment to write a book in English about his torture experience at Gitmo. He finished the book in 2005, but because of the many murky channels of government bureaucracy that had to be negotiated, it was not published until January 20th of this year.

Publication of Guantanamo Diary was due in no small part to the tireless research and persistence of Larry Siems, a writer and human rights advocate who for many years directed the Freedom to Write Program at PEN American Center. In an NPR report from the UK’s The Guardian, Siems detailed the trail and many-layered steps that went into the publishing process of this amazing and all-too-necessary book. Here is a link to an abbreviated piece Siems published January 16 on TheGuardian.com. Siems is credited as the editor and author of the book’s introduction.

The story is harrowing, to say the least. Yet Slahi proves to be the biggest humanitarian of all, in that he says he would one day like to sit and have tea with his captors. Who among us could ever be so gracious? Read an excerpt from the book here.

Now, back to you and me. I’m guessing no one reading this right now is in government lockup. I know I’m not. I’ve got a busy life – especially right now due to a family health crisis. But who among us doesn’t have a busy life? Is that really what we’re telling ourselves and accepting as our excuse for not finishing our books? For not learning the next skill we need to market our books? For not “finding” the money to hire an expert to help us – or do it for us?

Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Larry Siems have proven, undeniably, that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I’m not here to shame you. I’m in the same boat, remember? I just want to encourage you to set aside your excuses and get your book written, published, and into your readers’ hands. Don’t they deserve to have your knowledge or story to teach them, entertain them, or inspire them?

If you still need a little push, I highly recommend you buy, borrow, or check out from the library Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. As I’ve mentioned before on this very blog, strap on your seatbelt, though, because this book is going to grab you by the throat and hold on until you’ve screamed “Uncle!”

Let’s make a pact, why don’t we? You take the next step in your publishing process TODAY and come back here and tell us about it in the COMMENTS section of this post. And I’ll do the same. Let’s compare notes and see where we end up. At least one step close to our goals, I’m guessing…

Here’s to banishing the excuses once and for all!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re one month into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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Exercises in Observation

My family used to tease me that nothing ever escaped me. If someone got new tires, I noticed. Rearranged a small piece of furniture, I saw it. I spotted every new ‘do or piece of clothing. When I was in college, I worked at the local newspaper. One of my friends was an assistant sports editor who routinely shaved his beard the first day of baseball season, when pitchers and catchers Open  your eyesreported for Spring Training, and then stopped shaving the day after the World Series. Before I became familiar with his schedule, I remember seeing him about 4 in the afternoon the day after he’d shaved and noticing his beard was gone. He told me I was the only one who’d noticed. “Several people asked me if I’ve lost weight, though,” he quipped cheerily. “And someone else told me they liked this shirt I’ve worn about a thousand times.” How could you not notice a full beard missing from the face of a man you saw nearly every day?

Observation is an essential skill for a writer. It’s also a really useful one for a book marketer. How can observation enhance your writing? Well, what are you paying attention to? Ideas, details, suggestions, comments that could become lines of dialogue, problems people are trying to solve – all of them surround us daily. If we pay attention, we can incorporate them into our work – both fiction and nonfiction.

EXAMPLES

1. The front page of the January 16, 2015 Arizona Republic had an article titled “8 amazing things from the records at Yuma prison.” The story contains interesting details about prison life in the Old West. “In the days before statehood, Yuma Territorial Prison was the official slammer, and guards there kept copious records. So we read them – tattoos, missing teeth and all.” I thought immediately of an author I know who writes Arizona-based Westerns. Maybe these details aren’t for her – but they would likely be important to some author of Westerns looking to authenticate the setting of a novel in the works.

2. A few days ago, I heard a story on NPR about Walter Brinker, a Vietnam vet who now offers free roadside assistance to stranded motorists up and down the North Carolina highway system. The report explained how, with more than 2,000 free roadside assists behind him, Walter has amassed decades of experience in quick solutions to help people get back on the road without having to call AAA. He’s even put his knowledge into a book of his own, Roadside Survival: Low-tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns. That story just conjured images for me that could make for a transformative scene in a contemporary work of fiction. It might also find its way into the next version of my own nonfiction book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You.

3. The main character of my novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, is on a journey of self-discovery via world travel. It was an audacious undertaking to write a book about many places I’ve never been – thank god for the Internet generally, travel blogs and YouTube specifically. One of the 28 countries Stan visits is the Philippines, where he is struck by the abject poverty in which many Filipinos live. In writing this section of the book, I recalled a Facebook post I’d seen about an amazing project called A Liter of Light. You’d better bet the details of this amazing project to bring light into millions of homes without the use of electricity made it into my novel. This also may be another useful example for Practical Philanthropy.

liter of light

4. Several years ago my sister, my husband, a friend, and I embarked on a screenplay that has been put to the side for now. One of our characters, however, was modeled after a man I met at a gas station. With his carrot-orange hair, a full beard, and missing quite a few teeth, he approached me to ask if I would like an unopened bag of red licorice. “Can’t eat ‘em,” he said, motioning to the absent pearly whites. A woman had offered the candy to him, and he was now offering it to me. In the process of our conversation, I learned that he’d lost his wife about a year earlier, subsequently fell down on his luck, and was now homeless – temporarily, he assured me.

All of these observations were incorporated into my writing projects. But the need for observation is not limited to the writing aspect of the publishing process. The same is true of book marketing opportunities. If you remain vigilant, they show up everywhere.

MORE EXAMPLES

5. The Summer Author Event (Aug. 2014) and Holiday Author Event (Dec. 2014) came out of my noticing some grumbling in the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup about the lack of opportunities for authors to connect with readers. Evidently, Elaine Mays had the same awareness before she began the League of Local Authors, a group that is constantly on the lookout for book signing opportunities. Currently, members participate in several Phoenix-area farmers’ markets a few times a month, and the appearances will certainly expand soon.

6. Robert Scanlan, author of Tigers Under My Bed: Life Lessons Tamed During Three Organ Transplants, put his book in front of several renowned transplant surgeons shortly after its release in May 2014. Now, it is being considered as an ancillary textbook in both the USC and UCLA medical schools.

7. Diana DeLugan wrote a book of ghost tales from the American Southwest. In her efforts to do some research for a second book, The Otero Arizona Land Grant Documentary, she went down to Tubac, Arizona. There, she connected with the proprietor of a hotel and parlayed that connection into a book signing event over Halloween weekend. Great timing for a book of ghost stories, isn’t it?

Good books are the easiest ones to market. Details make for good books. And observation – of people, situations, voids that need filling – is one of the most significant keys to successful marketing.

Open your eyes. Listen up. Get nosy about people. If you’re not great at meeting Mr nosypeople, practice! Try Toastmasters, where you’ll hear (and occasionally have to give) speeches on myriad topics. Read everything. If you typically read only computer magazines, expand your horizons and pick up a copy of Atlantic Monthly. If your politics fall firmly on one side of the aisle, occasionally do some opposition research: read op-eds from writers with opposing views; listen to talk radio shows of people whose opinions you “hate.”

Then, have a way to capture the details as they come in. Use the digital recorder on your smartphone. Carry a notebook with you. Text yourself. Once you begin to discover the wide, wide world around you, you’ll wonder how the small things ever escaped your notice before.

Here’s to seeing with new eyes, hearing with new ears, and writing with new zest!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re one month into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

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