Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Waiting (Part 2 of 4)

This post is written by Steve Laube and is reprinted with his permission.
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Waiting for a Publisher

After working hard to get your proposal just right, we send it out to a select list of publishers. Then we all sit back and wait. It can take 3-6 months to hear an answer from a publisher. The longest our agency waited was 22 months before we received a contract offer. No kidding. Just shy of two years. [Both my client and I had already moved on, thinking the project was dead.] But that is truly the exception. I believe that if we don’t receive some sort of answer within four months it is probably not going to connect.

That record was recently surpassed by a client who was contacted by a magazine asking to publish a poem she submitted twenty-six years ago… in 1990. You read that right. Evidently this magazine keeps great files and a new editor must have been going through the archives!

Waiting for Your Contract

Once terms are agreed upon, it can take quite a while to get the actual contract issued by some publishers. Many can take as long as two months to generate the paperwork. We once had to change the date of the contract because it had taken so long to create the paperwork that the due date for the manuscript was earlier than the actual date on the contract! This delay can be excruciating. Ask your agent what is typical for the specific publisher you are working with. That way your expectations will be set.


—Steve Laube is a literary agent and owner of Christian Writers Institute. http://www.stevelaube.com/

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Do you have questions about ghostwriting or collaborating? Cec's legacy book, Ghostwriting: The Murphey Method, is now available for pre-order.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Waiting (Part 1 of 4)

This post is by Steve Laube and is reprinted with his permission.

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Good publishing takes time. Time to write well. Time to edit well. Time to find the right agent. Time to find the right publisher. Time to edit again and re-write. Time to design well. Time to market well.

While there can be a lot of activity, it still feels like “time” is another word for “wait.” No one likes to wait for anything. Our instant society (everything from Twitter to a drive-thru burger) is training us to want things to happen faster. Business experts claim faster is better (see Charles Duhigg’s book on productivity Smarter, Faster, Better). Many years ago I wrote about how long it takes to get published, which gave an honest appraisal of the time involved in traditional publishing. Reviewing that post from half a decade ago reveals that nothing has changed!

A successful author learns how to wait well.

Waiting for the Agent

Why can’t agents respond faster? Don’t we just sit around all day and read? We try our best to reply to submissions within eight weeks and are relatively good about that. But if your project passes the first review stage and we are now reviewing your entire manuscript, remember that reading a full manuscript is much more demanding than reading a few pages in a proposal.

If you are already represented, all I can say is that agents do their best to be responsive to your questions and phone calls. Crisis Management is part of our job description. Remember that one of the first things a First Responder must do is triage. Some issues are more critical than others, which can create consternation if yours is next in line instead of first.

But if your agent is unresponsive that is a conversation for another blog post.


—Steve Laube is a literary agent and owner of Christian Writers Institute. http://www.stevelaube.com/

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Are you interested in ghostwriting or collaborative writing? Cec's newest book for writers--Ghostwriting: The Murphey Method--is now available for preorder.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

10 Marketing Do's and Don'ts for the Year (Part 3 of 3)

--By Rob Eagar (used with his permission)

8. Don’t Burn Yourself Out
The typical author, business owner, and non-profit director works a tireless schedule. Downtime can get pushed to the backburner, which leads to exhaustion, stress, and lowered creativity. Plan vacations now and make them sacrosanct. You’ll face this year feeling more relaxed knowing a vacation is on the books.

9. Do Pursue Bulk Sales
Bulk sales provide more revenue with less effort. For example, if you speak at conferences, encourage the director to buy your book for every attendee. Provide volume discounts as the quantity goes up, or create a special version of your product unique to the customer, such as custom covers, exclusive content, bonuses, etc.

10. Don’t Skip Your Professional Growth
Don’t view professional development or hiring outside expertise as an expense. View it as investing money today to make more money tomorrow. But, only take advice from someone who has succeeded at achieving your intended goal. If you want to increase your business acumen, you must increase your skills.

As you read these 10 Marketing Do’s and Don’ts, pick two or three issues and work on them this week.


Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing and a broad-based marketing consultant who helps authors, publishers, and organizations spread their message like wildfire. http://www.startawildfire.com/

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

10 Marketing Do's and Don'ts for the Year (Part 2 of 3)

--By Rob Eagar (used with his permission)

4. Do Launch New Products
For every good book, product, or service, there are usually three or more spin-off opportunities. For instance, turn a printed book into an e-book, live event, or video curriculum. Take your top-selling products and offer them into larger or smaller sizes. Doing so helps you attract a wider audience and expand sales more efficiently.

5. Don’t Let Your Website Get Stale
Are you guilty of going through last year without updating your website? If so, you’re implying that your business is stagnant. This year, add new content on a monthly basis, such as new articles, stories, samples, testimonials, products, case studies, etc.

6. Do Raise Your Fees
When was the last time you raised the prices on your products or services? Inflation is always going up, and if your fees don’t rise with it, you’ll fall behind. You should be smarter than a year ago, so you should be worth more. Raise your fees.

7. Do Attend Major Conferences in Your Field
Where do influential leaders gather? At major conferences and events. If you want to meet them, you’ve got be in the same room rubbing shoulders together. Pick at least one new conference to attend and put it in your budget.

As you read these 10 Marketing Do’s and Don’ts, pick two or three issues and work on them this week.

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing and a broad-based marketing consultant who helps authors, publishers, and organizations spread their message like wildfire. http://www.startawildfire.com/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 Marketing Do's and Don'ts for the Year (Part 1 of 3)

--By Rob Eagar (used with his permission)


1. Do Grow Your Email Newsletter List
My most successful clients all have large e-newsletter lists with at least 50,000 subscribers. If you don’t have a newsletter, start one today. If you do, maintain consistency and focus on growing your database. Encourage signups by offering an exclusive resource to attract new subscribers. Set a goal to add at least 100 new subscribers per month.

2. Don’t Stop Asking For Referrals
Last year, over 50 percent of my revenue came via referrals. Obtaining referrals is the most efficient and cost-effective way to increase your business. Generating referrals is simply asking current customers, “Who else do you know who needs my value?” or “Could you introduce me to _____?”

3. Do Enhance Your Brand
There are so many voices competing for America’s attention that it’s imperative to be seen as an object of interest. If you have no brand, or your brand is bland, make this your year to resolve the problem. For expert advice on this topic, see Chapter 3 in my book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire.

As you read these 10 Marketing Do’s and Don’ts, pick two or three issues and work on them this week.

--Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing and a broad-based marketing consultant who helps authors, publishers, and organizations spread their message like wildfire. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Write Tight (Part 7 of 7)

Rid your writing of clichés. Although I've mentioned it previously in my blogs, writers don't seem to grasp the banality of hackneyed phrases. I can easily provide a list of 50 tired, overworked statements, but the better way is to point to the principle.

Think of it this way: If the phrase or term we use is something we've heard or read before, revise it. Careful, creative writers find new expressions for old ideas.

In most pieces of advice by writers on clichés, they usually write, "Avoid clichés like the plague." Someone said it, others found it humorous, and copied it. By the time writers have encountered the phrase 900 times, the humor has been sucked out of it.

Here's an exercise I devised for myself early in my writing career. I looked for clichés in my writing and in what I read. I copied them and tried to devise a better, sharper way of making the same point.

Don't we want readers to think of us as clever? Original? If our writing is like everyone else's, why do we write?

I am a growing writer;
I learn new ways to say old things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Write Tight (Part 6 of 7)

We are authorities. When our articles or books appear in print, we are the know-it-person on that topic. Once we recognize that we are authorities, we tend to write tight. That's why we're published.

Therefore, we can write, knowing our words carry weight. Too often I see limp phrases such as I thinkI feelperhapsprobablymaybein my opinion, or even IMHO. If we're unsure about what we want to say, avoid such statements. We don't want to end up as looking ignorant or foolish.

At times, we need to express an opinion, but we do that to state a conclusion based on our expertise that we can't prove.

When my words appear in print, 
readers consider me an authority.