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Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion’

Late, early, or right on time?

Pointing-at-Watch

Pretty much everyone can agree that being on time is a good habit to develop and nurture. One trait you never want to be known for is running chronically late. You know the type – maybe you are the type! Traffic. Kids. Dogs. The phone. There’s always an excuse – some of them sincere, or actually true. But when you’re labeled an HTP (habitually tardy person), it can reflect badly on you, both in your personal and professional lives.

But what about the person who is chronically early? Have you ever heard those people who spout the refrain, “If you’re on time, you’re late”? No, you’re not. If you’re on time, you’re on time. You have a good sense of time. You know it takes less than an hour to get across town, and you budget accordingly. You know you’re low on gas, so you leave a few minutes early and stop at the gas station on your way. You’ve checked your wallet and know you need to hit an ATM before going to your networking luncheon. And still, you get there on time. Not 30 minutes early. Not 15 minutes late. On time.

There was a funny scene in last Sunday’s episode of The Good Wife. Alicia is preparing for her mother-in-law’s wedding party, which is to take place in her apartment. The doorbell rings, and Alicia says to her daughter, “It’s 10 of. They’re not supposed to be here for 10 more minutes.” Trust me, I know the difference 10 minutes can make, but when you’re having people over, you can always expect them to start showing up at least 10 minutes before the event’s posted start time. Sometimes they show up as much as a half-hour early.

I’ve experienced the frustration of arriving at a venue 45 minutes early to set up for my small event, glad I’m not rushed and comfortable that I will have plenty of time to prepare in a relaxed manner – only to find someone already there, waiting. And the nature of that early person seems never to be to wait quietly … or to offer to help. The nature of that early person is to want to engage you in conversation, completely oblivious to the fact that you arrived early because you have things to do.

My point is that arriving extra early is just as rude as arriving late – sometimes more so. When people post an event start time, they choose that time for a reason. They have errands to do and accommodations to make and they are relying on the time prior to the posted start time to get those things done.

I’m no perfectionist when it comes to running on time. Occasionally I’m five minutes late; once in a while, I’m five minutes early. But more often than not, I’m right on time. As a frequent host of author events, I recommend getting there early if you are a vendor or volunteer who can help set up. You can’t skate in 5 minutes before the doors are supposed to open and expect to create an attractive, inviting, professional display. But if you’re an event patron – or a regular meeting attendee – on time is a good goal.

Some organizations build networking time into their meetings. For example, the posted start time for a luncheon is 11:30 a.m., but people are not asked to be seated so the formal program can begin until 11:45. Other groups prefer that you do your networking in the 10 or 15 minutes before the posted start time. Do your research ahead of time and learn the particulars for the group you’ll be visiting so you know what to expect when you get there.

Heading to a new venue you’ve never been to before? Allow yourself some extra time to find the place without rushing. And in the event that you still find yourself with 20 or 30 extra minutes? Carry a book with you. Listen to an audiobook in your car. Go for a walk (as long as it’s not summertime in Phoenix). Meditate. Write out your goal list. Study the goal list you keep in your car for just such occasions. Use the restroom so you won’t have to interrupt the meeting later to get up. Consider those 20 or 30 minutes a gift.

And if you still have time to spare, check out this great Buzzfeed post, with 22 things people who are chronically early will totally understand.

Then give the host and/or event planner the gift of arriving on time.

Here’s to conquering Chronic Early Arrival Syndrome!

Laura

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Author Blog Challenge 2015 – Starting Sept. 13 – Register Now!

In May 2013, I took over a small Phoenix-area Meetup group, called EPublishing and Online Book Promotion, from a prior organizer who had held about six meetings at a local coffee shop. Taking over as a Meetup organizer is much different than actually hosting Meetups, so the poor group languished, untouched and unmet, for about seven months. When I was finally ready to start holding meetings, I changed the name to Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion and I added some pizzazz to our Meetup page.

500

When I got around to holding meetings in January 2014, attendance was paltry at first – with just four people (including me!) at the meeting. That was then. Over the last two years, we’ve held nearly 60 Meetups, meeting twice a month for seminars on specific topics related to publishing and/or book promotion. We also hold a networking-only meeting once every other month, where members just come and share ideas and ask and answer questions about their writing and publishing experiences. And as a result, our membership has grown and grown – and we’re about to hit 500 members!

To celebrate our success, we’ve got a couple of events coming up. One is a party on Sept. 19 at the Phoenix City Grille. If you’re in the Phoenix area and want to join us, just make sure to RSVP.

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The other big thing we’re doing is sponsoring another Author Blog Challenge. Since we’re celebrating 500 Meetup members, we’ll use a factor of 500, meaning this challenge will run for 5 weeks (35 days). If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, this is the perfect time to launch one. If you’ve got a blog that’s been left unattended for some time, this is a great opportunity to give it a word transfusion. If you’d just like to meet other great authors from around the globe – yes, we welcome authors of any genre and skill level, published or just thinking about it, ebook or printed book, well known and with less exposure, from any location – this is the best chance to make such acquaintances.

nanowrimo for blogging

We started the Author Blog Challenge back in 2012. That first Challenge drew 90+ authors from 14 countries. I’d love to supersede both those numbers this time! So if you’re an author or aspiring author who fancies him/herself a blogger, get yourself registered today! The Challenge will get underway on Sunday, September 13th. If you know other authors who would find our challenge interesting/useful, please share the info and invite them to sign up, too.

The goal is to post on your blog for 35 days in a row. I’m not going to kid you – participation in this Challenge will require some dedication on your part. Those who manage to post all 35 days will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore of their choice. However, even if you miss the 35-day mark, you will still benefit via: great exposure for your blog (and book), getting in some additional writing practice, and meeting other awesome fellow writers. All told, it’s a win-win-win.

Everyone who registers will receive a complimentary copy of my special report, “138 Tips to Help You Blog Like a Pro.”

You can write on the subjects of your choice, or follow our DAILY PROMPTS – all of which will be topics related to writing, publishing, and/or book marketing.

Just to give our participants even more incentive to write, we’ll be offering a Giveaway of the Day. We’re accepting donations from participants (there’s a space on the registration form to describe your donation). It could be an ebook, short story, poem, special report, piece of art – anything you can give away digitally. Each day’s participants will be entered into a drawing to win that day’s prize.

One writer I know asked if posting every day wouldn’t aggravate her subscribers. I thought that was an interesting question. While I can’t say for sure, I doubt it. For one thing, it’s temporary. Secondly, TELL your subscribers you’re participating in the Author Blog Challenge so they understand why you’re suddenly posting a lot more often than usual. Third, your subscribers subscribe because they like what you write! Every time I’ve participated in a blog challenge, I’ve added double-digits, in terms of subscribers.

Here’s the thing: participating in the Author Blog Challenge will benefit you. Really. It will:

  1. Improve your traffic
  2. Increase your subscribers
  3. Make you a part of a supportive community
  4. Give you the opportunity to make great new friends and connections

I hope you’ll join us!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

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Learning to self-publish is like learning the bagpipes

Bagpipes – love ‘em or hate ‘em. There seldom seems to be a middle ground when it comes to the famed instrument which, contrary to popular belief, did not originate in Scotland. The oldest-known reference to the bagpipes was found carved on a stone slab in Asia Minor back in 1000 B.C. I happen to fall into the camp who loves them, but I’ve never thought of trying to learn to play the things.

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Playing a bagpipe is a complex task with a lot happening at once and a lot to do at the same time. Once you inflate the bag and the four reeds start sounding, you’re committed. You can’t just stop to think about this or that when things get hectic. Get behind the curve and you’re in deep trouble … the wedding guests may run screaming from the church, your dog might bite you, or the neighbors might start shooting.
— Oliver Seeler, hotpipes.com

Most of the people who attend the Meetup group I run – Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion – are at some stage in the process of producing a book. Whether they’re writing the first chapter or have been published for years, the reason most come is that they know they have much to learn about marketing their books. While we seldom focus on writing, we do cover many aspects of self-publishing, from designing a cover to finding the right printer to formatting for ebooks. Many of the group members are quite knowledgeable and willing to share best practices and/or pitfalls to avoid.

Occasionally, we have a visitor who is brand new to the self-publishing process. They come to our group in the hopes of learning what they need to know before they get started. This, in my opinion, is a wise move. However, there’s a lot to learn – and no one can learn it all in one sitting. It’s often a game of trial-and-error. “How long does it take to publish a book?” is a question many ask. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, because it all depends…

  • How close are you to completing your manuscript?
  • Who will edit it and how long will that take?
  • Who will design the cover and how long will that take?
  • Who will do the interior layout for your book and how long will that take?
  • Do you already have your ISBN and bar code? Do you know where to get them?
  • Do you have a publishing company name and a corresponding publisher’s mark?
  • If you plan to print physical copies, who will print them and how long will it take to get a proof copy?
  • What is your budget for accomplishing all of these tasks?

Like the quote at the start of this post notes, learning to self-publish a book is a lot like learning to play the bagpipes. It is a complex task with a lot happening at once and a lot to do at the same time.

Though no one is likely to shoot you if you blow a sour note while self-publishing your book, identifying all of the steps and then accomplishing them in just the right order will have a lot to do with the ultimate success of your book.

sharpen the axe

If you’re just starting out, find a Meetup, hire a book coach, or talk with an author who’s done it right a couple of times. Then, hold onto your hat. The real fun starts when you get serious about marketing your book!

RESOURCES:
http://entertainmentguide.local.com/interesting-scottish-bagpipes-1749.html
http://americanscottishfoundation.com/magazine/?p=446
http://www.hotpipes.com/practice.html

Laura

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