Tuesday, December 27, 2016

15 Slump Busters


What to Do When the Assignments Stop Coming

Cal Orey, Guest Author

Imagine: The phone doesn't ring, you find yourself amid a pile of rejection letters, and money's tight. It's been more weeks than you care to count since you've gotten an assignment or book contract, you've got serious reservations about your writer's status, and last but not least, the fear of never getting a new gig haunts you like a spooky Stephen King sci-fi tale.
If you're like me and most writers, at some time you'll probably hit a plateau - the point when it seems you just can't pull out of a big, unfortunate S-L-U-M-P. What gives?
Blame it on your fave book publisher downsizing, your pet editor(s) going AWOL, or karma. But the good news is, you can reprise your role as a prolific writer. So if you're down, on the verge of suffering through a sales lull or trying to find a way out, get prepared to write yourself out of a slump. It can be done. I'm living proof.
Whether you need a jump-start or want to make a comeback, the following slump-busters suggest some strategies for boosting your number of assignments, revamping your rebound strategies and coping while trying to end a bad streak.
1. Market, Market, Market - Yeah, it's frustrating to send stuff into what seems like a black hole. But note: The key is to market more, not less. Just ask Patricia Fry of Ojai, Calif., a seasoned journalist and author of 15 books. "When I feel like I'll never get another assignment, I contact all of the editors and publishers I've worked with before and offer my assistance," she says. "I let them know that I'm available and I suggest a couple of new article ideas." Play the number game: The more queries you send out, the better your odds of success.
2. Recycle Reprints - While marketing can give you hope of ending a slump, actually selling your published work is, of course, the faster moneymaker. During one holiday season, I had a pile of relationship quizzes published in Complete Woman magazine. I faxed a bunch of them as potential reprints to a large magazine publisher, Australian Consolidated Press (www.ACP.com.au), and prayed for a Christmas miracle. Two weeks later, both Australian Women's Weekly and Cleo purchased reprint rights to several of my articles, with a payment of nearly $1,000.
3. Spread Your Wings - Now is the time to break out of your comfort zone and go to Plan B. "As I watched several of the mags I was writing for go under, I noticed that the tech mags were growing and even multiplying," Fry says. "I studied technology magazines, came up with some ideas, began sending out query letters and landed quite a few assignments I was comfortable writing about." Translation: Teens, couples and women in tech businesses kept this writer working. P.S. I confess. I also migrated toward this money trail.
4. Get Local Business - In Lake Tahoe, where I live, real estate is hot stuff. I boldly called the owner of a luxury real estate firm and offered my copywriting services. And I was home free. First, I rewrote nine newspaper ads (less than 200 words each for a total of $1,800). And that's not all. I revamped the company Web site's agent bios ($35 to $65 each) and developed articles on 15 Tahoe-area communities ($1,200). Then, I created fun articles on Tahoe's favorite beaches and golf courses ($400 each) and restaurants ($800).
5. Go Global - My writer pal, Larry Tritten of San Francisco, has taken a different path, too. "If the road you're on is muddy, take a detour," says Tritten, a veteran writer who has experienced the ups and downs of the market. His gift for sensory detail has been his ticket to faraway lands like Rio de Janeiro, Malta and the Caribbean. Tritten gives kudos to the Travelwriter Marketletter (at www.TravelWriterML.com) for giving him a ticket to see the world. "For seven days, I recently had designer rooms in two resorts, slept with sliding doors wide open to warm nights, the sight of coconut palms and sound of surf from sea only 50 yards away. Very strange to live like a millionaire for a week, then back to a more conventional lifestyle. I'm living in high style and getting paid to write about it," he says.
6. Promote Yourself - While Tritten is globetrotting, I continue booking out-of-town book signings for my latest book, 202 Pets' Peeves: Cats and Dogs Speak Out on Pesky Human Behavior. These fatten my ego - and pocketbook. Not only do big bookstores make me feel wanted, all of the publicity helps boost my confidence and book sales, pays off my book advance, and can lead to a lot more. . .
7. Consult on a Book Proposal - For example, in Reno, Nev., a woman came up to my book signing table and asked me how she could get her personal health story published. One week later I presented to her a book outline and details of a number of options appropriate to her situation, including having her book ghostwritten or done as an "as told to," as well as the benefits of self-publishing. I charged a flat rate of $400 for three hours.
8. Cook up an Idea - While that first consultation did not lead to a book, it did prepare me for my next book signing - and hitting a jackpot in Las Vegas. A cooking expert, Roe Valenti, approached my table at a bookstore there and told me she had written a cookbook, sort of. I offered to take a look and we connected: I was hired for $4,500 to rewrite and coauthor an innovative, self-published cookbook I titled Just Cook It! How to Get Culinary Fit 1-2-3 (iUniverse).
9. Sell Your Books on the Side - I realized that peddling comp copies of 202 Pets' Peeves to Canada geese on the beach during off-season at the lake wasn't going to pay my bills. I took advantage of the fact that a book contract with a traditional publisher or self-publisher will often allow a writer to buy books in bulk at a discount rate, though they cannot be sold in bulk. In my case, I discovered that it doesn't hurt to sell signed books one-on-one to acquaintances who will spread the word about an animal-lovers' book. That way, you can make extra money selling your stuff and pay off your book advance, too. It's a win-win situation.
10. Hang in There and Live Life - No matter how bleak things look, don't fall victim to the "out-of-work" blues. Keep a move on and embrace what moves you. Before John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, he observed firsthand the real life of migrant workers. Jack London's two classics, The Call of the Wild and White Fang, were drawn from the author's northland adventures. Both authors learned how to adapt and survive in the best and the worst of times. Famous writers like these experienced life and wrote about their experiences. Go ahead - open up your heart, and take a risk, too. (Refer to Slump Buster #5.)
11. Be a Pro - The fact remains, a writer's slump can hit anyone, anytime. But hey, if you practice being a professional during the up times, it might help you sail through the down times. "Meet your deadlines, follow guidelines, be reliable and easy to work with," Fry suggests. And it's these tips and tricks that have paid off for her. She had written for one magazine for years on a regular basis. "One day the editor asked me if I'd like to bid on a major job for their international organization," she says. "I'm happy to say that my good track record paid off and I landed this lucrative job."
12. Network with a Capital N - Ever think you're too busy for the writing world? Think again. Fry is also the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network), which offers links to research sources, publishers, printers and the media. Get up-to-date market information at www.spawn.org. Organizations like this can help you get and stay connected. Another good online networking source is www.MediaBistro.com, where I've landed some nice assignments.
13. Hug Your Agent (or get one!) - Literary agents can help you as well, even on gloomy days. Ah, trust me, it's bliss to have your agent send you an e-mail saying, "Hang in there." And think how good it must feel to know you've got someone in your corner marketing your words of wisdom. To find a perfect fit, check out www.Writers.net.
14. Pamper Yourself - As you go through a dry spell, chill out. It helps me to look at inspirational articles and books I have written or that are due to be published. As a health and fitness writer, I also know too well that pigging out on a carton of ice cream and playing couch potato doesn't make for a comeback. Instead, try nourishing your spirit by walking or reading. Healthy activities like these help me fire up the creative juices, and they can get you through a rough patch.
15. Keep a Can-Do Attitude - You'll recover faster. That means, return messages ASAP when that Type-A editor calls with an assignment due yesterday. Yesterday, I accepted a magazine assignment via e-mail, interviewed two Realtors® for agent bios, quickly dished out a new pet-related idea on command to a book editor, slated another book signingwhen the PR person called me, and did edits for Just Cook It! Whoo! Jump on opportunity when it strikes.
And stay geared up for action. Take care of your computer, supplies and contacts during signs of a rebound. Among the welcome signals that you're back in business, I can attest, are an editor's e-mail requesting fresh ideas, call-waiting beeps, or a satisfied client wanting you to expand a project. (Read: more money.)
As you pick yourself up, and you will, think of Paul Newman in The Color of Money. Just repeat his character Fast Eddie's confident words, "Hey, I'm back!" And take a bow. You survived a writer's slump. Congrats!
        
Copyright © 2016 - Cal Orey. - Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of The Writer .








http://www.calorey.com/




Get a grip on social media





Get a grip on social media

Get Ready to Win the Game of Social Media Today teaches a fun and effective way of marketing your business, book, coaching practice or product. If it ain't no fun, it won't get done! If you've ever wanted or needed to build a social media presence but felt overwhelmed and unsure where to begin, this book covers the following topics:
  • Using social media if You're Not a Geek
  • Why You Need a Social Network
  • How To Build Your Brand Identity with Your Blog
  • How to Make A Ritual of Connecting with Your Social Network
  • What Happens If You Do Nothing in the Social Media?
  • Speak English Please, I'm Not a Computer

Want to Learn More About How to Win the Game of Social Media? Read What is Social Media Today: Get Ready to Win the Game of Social Media and find out how to become a social media genius!

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Do You Have This Gift?





  You know when most people have a talent they never think about how and why they have this gift. On the other hand, I am very different. At thirty-five, I suffered a brain aneurysm, putting me in a wheelchair, not a very nice experience. At this time in my life I could sing like a bird, but no more after this happened. The aneurysms paralyzed one of my vocal cords and I lost my ability to sing. But I soon discovered I had a hidden talent I had no idea I had. This hidden talent was the ability to write, something I had never ever suspected.

    When I lost my voice, I felt so lost. I remarried soon after the aneurysm, and one day my husband dared me to write a poem. This is when it came to my attention that I could write, not just poetry but stories as well. I wasn't just a writer but I was a story teller. I had always hears if you were good in one art, you would be in another and I was.

    I really hold on to my gift because I can do something, that many can't do. If pride is a sin then I am a sinner, because I take pride in my gift, it's something special I can do and I have never took any kind of classes for writing, so this gift is all me. I don't like to blow my horn, but I know I can write. I'm sure Aretha Franklin knows she can sing, so what is wrong with knowing I can write?
    I feel like to be bonified in your gift, it will constantly on your mind. I eat and sleep writing and my ideas for writing. I can get inspiration from a stop sign. When I go to bed at night, I usually lie beside my husband for a couple of hours thinking about writing and ideas to write about.
    I use to write about serial killers, ghosts, things of the paranormal, but now I would say my genre is historical thrillers. Like my last novel and the sequence I am working on now is about the Knight's Temper and their  treasure. Not really of the paranormal. But kind of a book on Christianity. I feel this is my destiny. These novels were inspired by Dan Brown's DaVinci Code, but totally different. My book is called Seekers of the Suppressed and Forbidden. The title makes a lot of sense, just stop and think religion has been done this way.
     If you feel you can write, pursue it, PLEASE! Don't sell yourself short! It just might be your calling and your destiny. Most any one that knows me has no idea in reality, I am shy wanting to stay behind the scenes. Well, with writing I can do so and I really like that. If you are shy it is perfect. I think my best pay is to see a person's face, especially after they read some of my work. I'm not in this for monetary gain, I love to entertain people with my gift.
     I just hope if you have this gift, use it to entertain people, especially in these times that are a total uproar,everyone needs a temparary escape. If only with a book, a cheap way to escape, and in these times that's even better. If you feel you can give of yourself by writing, do so because it is only fear stopping you and you can overcome that.


BIO:

Mary Kellis


Lanaia Lee Lanaia Lee was born in 1957 to a Navy father and a schoolteacher mother who home-schooled her.
In second grade, she was reading on a 4th grade level, so they moved her to a private school to enhance her education.  
When she was nine years old, her mother died from a massive stroke. Because her father was rarely home, her grandmother,
a professed black witch, gained custody.  
My website www.lanaiaslair.com





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Last of the Blueberries (poem) by Patricia Crandall

Patricia Crandall received second place honor for her poem “Last of the Blueberries” on Writers Carnival.

Congratulations to my friend Patricia for writing a visual poem of picking the end of the season blueberries. I really enjoyed it.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thoughts on Books signings: Yes? No? Hmmm? by Feather Foster



There is considerable discussion out there about whether in-store book signings are of any value to the author - or to the book store itself for that matter.

As far as the retailer is concerned (particularly with e-books and online availability and everybody and his brother writing stuff, good or bad), as long as purchasing sufficient quantities is not a bookkeeping nightmare, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  Other than the expense of purchasing your books with guaranteed returnability (a biggie!) and perhaps providing a quickly whipped up blurb on their website, and maybe a little on-table poster, there is virtually no expense to them. Some places will offer you a cup of coffee.  No big deal.

As far as the author is concerned, this can be a little hairy.  If you are a mega celebrity like Stephen King or Madonna, there is no problem. Your publisher takes cares of all expenses and the books stores stand in line clamoring to play host, ditto the customers. If you are like the other 99.99% of the author-world however, there are definitely some out-of-pocket expenses.

Forget about your time, as in time is money. Unless you still havent quit your day job, your time should be considered an investment.  If you need to provide your own books for sale, this is usually not a huge issue, since you probably have sufficient quantity in the closet.  Your car, on the other hand, can be very cranky.  It is one thing to travel ten or fifteen minutes down the road.  It is something else to drive fifty miles ONE WAY.  There's gas, wear and tear, insurance, and maybe tolls involved. There is also no guarantee that anyone will buy a book. 

Most authors do not mind too much if they dont MAKE money. They do mind, however, if they LOSE money. 

Probably the key to the value of book signings is the authors expectations.  One must be realistic. Where is the venue located?  Little-Town is not New York.  How many people are interested in your subject? (Be honest)  How many books do you think you can reasonably sell? (Be honest) How much money can you expect to make per book?  Your books cost you money to purchase.  The store wants to make a little something. The reader wants a good value.  And again, There is also no guarantee that anyone will buy a book. 

But what will happen if you do nothing?  Nothing.  If you do nothing, nothing will happen for sure.

The bottom line truly depends on the author. How engaging are you?  Announce yourself as the author of the day.  If you stand, make eye contact and engage the customer, you may not always make a sale, but you stand a better chance.  If you plunk down at the signing table and wait for people to come to you, you will have a long wait. 

Major advice:  You need to develop a sense of your target customer.  Male or female?  Old or young?  If you write children's books, go for the grandparents.  Kids dont buy books. Grandma does, and she is more likely to buy one than tired, harried, worried and financially stretched parents.  If you write serious or academic material, you need to be in a bookstore near a college or university. 

Hand out your cards or bookmarks or flyers or whatever else you want to give away. You dont need to bake cookies. You dont need free pens.  A backdrop poster is fine if you are going to a book fair, or a venue with other authors.  Otherwise a small dish of wrapped hard candies works just as well with no effort. And they dont get stale.  Encourage your prospect (if you get one) to email you with their comments.  Have a guest book, and let them sign it if they want to be on your mailing list. If they dont, let it go.  And do not be surprised or disappointed if somebody's gives you a bogus email address. That comes with the territory.

Like Polonius said, know thyself.  Shy does not work.  Bored does not work.  The store provides a venue, a chair and perhaps a public address announcement. That's all folks.  They cannot provide customers, and they cannot make the customers interested in your book. 

It is up to you.  If you haven't done a book signing, you absolutely need to do one if you can.  See if and how you can make it pay off.

Or not.




Feather Schwartz Foster
MARY LINCOLNS FLANNEL PAJAMAS and Other Stories from the First Ladies Closet
THE FIRST LADIES
LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities



Sunday, December 11, 2016

How to Deal With Difficult People






An excellent teacher and gifted communicator, Elliston presents the concept that difficult people don't know they are difficult. Not only was this an eye opener for me, but a heart and mind opener as well. I found the self-guided exercises, examples, and recommendations for my difficult-people-interactions to be powerful and effective - so much so that I'm buying copies for every office in our organization. 
~Kim Brown, Counselor, Faster EFT Practioner
The funny thing is that Sarah Elliston never realized she was "a difficult person," --someone who harangued people until she got her way, threw snip fits and temper tantrums, talked over her bosses and pointed out what she thought were their misconceptions. In her family, where she felt bullied, the only way she knew how to get someone's attention and approval was to voice her opinion--and loudly! Without standing her ground, how could she do what she thought was best for herself and everyone else around her. She wasn't intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!   
 
Until a kind, but firm, boss woke her up! With great compassion, and strength, her boss pointed out that her actions had consequences. That in being "difficult," she was not only disrupting the office camaraderie and production, but impeding her own professional advancement.   
 
That's the beginning of Sarah's transformation-- when she started on the journey to leave behind the difficult person, and become the woman who teaches others how to deal with difficult people. Sarah "Sam" Elliston is now bringing forth her vital manual on how to awaken the challenging personality, and change both the relationship and the environment with her new book Dealing with Difficult People; Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person
 
Today, Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way--and through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work -- Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.   


PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

I Passed This Way by Patricia Crandall (book of poetry)

This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for that person you don't know who to buy for. Or, that person that loves reading about the four seasons. 

Five Star Review:
What is it about poetry that sparks an interest in me? When I received I Passed This Way by Patricia Crandall, I was anxious for her imagery about the four seasons. Her perception of what she saw emanated in the words of her poetry. You can see as you take a walk with her through the snow of winter, fallen leaves in the fall, heat of the summer breeze and the buds of the new growth of spring. Her words flows effortlessly bringing the scene right to your doorstep as you relive it with her. It’s like taking your first step in the snow or smelling the changes in the different seasons. Your senses are heightened with each poem. I recommend this book of poetry and hope you receive the same sensations that I did. It would make a great gift for that person in your life that enjoys the breathless wonder of nature.
Great Christmas gift.  




Sick of dealing with difficult people? Here's some advice...

..


An excellent teacher and gifted communicator, Elliston presents the concept that difficult people don't know they are difficult. Not only was this an eye opener for me, but a heart and mind opener as well. I found the self-guided exercises, examples, and recommendations for my difficult-people-interactions to be powerful and effective - so much so that I'm buying copies for every office in our organization. 
~Kim Brown, Counselor, Faster EFT Practioner
The funny thing is that Sarah Elliston never realized she was "a difficult person," --someone who harangued people until she got her way, threw snip fits and temper tantrums, talked over her bosses and pointed out what she thought were their misconceptions. In her family, where she felt bullied, the only way she knew how to get someone's attention and approval was to voice her opinion--and loudly! Without standing her ground, how could she do what she thought was best for herself and everyone else around her. She wasn't intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!   
 
Until a kind, but firm, boss woke her up! With great compassion, and strength, her boss pointed out that her actions had consequences. That in being "difficult," she was not only disrupting the office camaraderie and production, but impeding her own professional advancement.   
 
That's the beginning of Sarah's transformation-- when she started on the journey to leave behind the difficult person, and become the woman who teaches others how to deal with difficult people. Sarah "Sam" Elliston is now bringing forth her vital manual on how to awaken the challenging personality, and change both the relationship and the environment with her new book Dealing with Difficult People; Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person
 
Today, Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way--and through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work -- Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.   


PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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The Soulmate Checklist - looking for your soulmate?





The Soulmate Checklist - looking for your soulmate?

RANI ST. PUCCHI delves into the meaning of Soul Mate relationships as she guides you on a quest for love that lasts a lifetime.
  • Are images of the ideal relationship just fantasy, or do they have basis in truth?
  • Does everyone have a perfect Soul Mate who is waiting to be found by him or her, or is a "perfect" relationship something that one must develop with oneself first?
  • Getting beyond the "in love" phase--will the relationship last?
Questions like these and many others are addressed here as Rani provides insights into the nature of personal relationships and Soul Mate love.
​​​​​​​
The SoulMate Checklist will help you avoid misconceptions about love, find the blueprint for coming to terms with your past, experience unconditional love, and find out what a Soul Mate is--and isn't.
PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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