Blog

24 08, 2016

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one blog post

By | August 24, 2016|Social Media, Writing|0 Comments

I have a friend who is deeply passionate about a certain subject. My friend’s spent years reading every book and article written on, and watching every documentary made about, the subject. He’s studied and thought about it deeply. He feels that he now has something to contribute to the global conversation. But, my friend doesn’t have any academic credentials in the subject. He’s not a member of any online (or offline) interest groups. And, he hasn’t yet written any books or articles on the subject. His study has been done mostly in isolation. He recently asked me if I thought anyone would read books or articles by him on the subject. I had to answer, “I don’t know.” The question was impossible to answer with a definitive yes or no without some knowledge of his potential readers and without having read his yet unwritten writing. I did have a recommendation, [...]

22 08, 2016

Yes, you can become an author!

By | August 22, 2016|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on Yes, you can become an author!

Writing is simply a number of sentences strung together. Remember the paper chains that you made as a child? One slip of paper rolled and wrapped around another until a chain was formed that stretched from one end of the room to the other. That’s how you write your book. Create small, manageable writing goals. Start by just writing a single paragraph. That’s all. Just one simple paragraph. You can do that, right? If so, your first goal has just been accomplished! As a writer, it’s easy to get swamped by the mountain of things to do before your book gets finished. Add to that the burden authors today must carry of promoting and marketing their books, and it is so easy to get discouraged. There is a solution, however! It’s simply this: Create small goals that can be easily accomplished. A friend once shared with me her story on [...]

3 08, 2016

Convergence

By | August 3, 2016|Publishing|Comments Off on Convergence

For years I’ve given a talk called “Three Ways to Publish,” in which I describe the three main paths to publication: selling your book to a rights-buying “traditional” publisher, hiring a publishing services firm like Wheatmark to publish your book, or starting a publishing company of your own (self-publishing). Over the past few years the lines between these paths have become increasingly blurred: The largest retailer of books in the world, Amazon, carries nearly every traditionally and self-published book equally Authors with successful self-published books are often picked up by traditional publishing houses Successful authors often dump their traditional publishing houses in favor of going “indie” Publicists, editors, agents, and book marketing professionals who used to work exclusively for traditional publishers now routinely offer their services to publishing services firms and indie authors Another way the lines are blurring is that savvy indie authors and publishing services firms are adopting [...]

10 05, 2016

The Perfect Is the Enemy of the First Draft

By | May 10, 2016|Writing|Comments Off on The Perfect Is the Enemy of the First Draft

Many writing coaches recommend writing the first draft of a blog post, chapter, or scene as quickly as possible without stopping to rewrite or edit. The idea is once you’ve got that first draft down, however imperfect, you’ll have broken through your writer’s block and procrastination, and accelerated the entire writing process. That’s not how I do it. I rewrite each sentence several times before moving on to the next. I pause to fact check, to look in the thesaurus for the exact right word, to get more coffee, to watch of few minutes of “Better Call Saul”... Though I knew it would be difficult for me, I decided to try the technique to create the first draft of this article. I started my timer and set about getting four hundred words down in the shortest time possible, without rewriting or editing. My subject: The First Draft. It took me [...]

5 04, 2016

Price your book to make a profit

By | April 5, 2016|Publishing|Comments Off on Price your book to make a profit

There’s plenty of discussion about the retail pricing of independently published books, most of it centered on self-publishing book companies setting list prices too high. I get frustrated when industry experts write that these higher prices are a problem, without offering any evidence that this is the case. In the absence of price sensitivity studies, or of testing book sales at different price points, the “experts” are simply offering a guess based on their experience. I suspect that their experience comes from pricing books for the brick-and-mortar bookstore market. What a company like Barnes & Noble suggests for list prices for their stores isn’t necessarily right for a self-published books that will primarily be sold through online bookstores. The online book sales market is, in fact, such a new market that it is unclear what pricing strategies are most advantageous to book sales. In the absence of hard data, how [...]

8 03, 2016

In praise of editing

By | March 8, 2016|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on In praise of editing

Years ago I was reading the bestselling A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (on which the 2015 motion picture of the same name, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, is based) and found a typo on one of the first pages. The word the was spelled “th”. How could this be? The book was published by Random House, one of the Big Five! How had all of their copyeditors and proofreaders, not to mention spell checkers, missed it? How had the hundreds of advance copy readers failed to report it? I told one of the editors here at Wheatmark about my discovery. This editor happened to be a voracious reader. She started circling all the misspellings, typos, or instances of bad grammar that she found in any major publisher’s book she read, and flagging the offending pages with Post-It notes. Invariably she’d have twenty or more notes stuck [...]

1 03, 2016

The one-step method to make your website work

By | March 1, 2016|Marketing|Comments Off on The one-step method to make your website work

What’s the most efficient, as well as most effective, way to get from your couch to the fridge? Is it a shortcut such as taking a giant leap? Or is it taking a number of comfortable steps? Walking, which is one step—and always and only one step—at a time, has been the winning transportation tactic employed by people since the dawn of time. Gliding and flying aren’t possible in a living room setting while jumping and leaping are just too energy consuming to make it worthwhile. If you kept exerting the amount of energy needed for jumping, you’d end up having to make more frequent trips to the fridge than otherwise needed. So “one step at a time” is the best way to get from your couch to the fridge. What does this have to do with book marketing? We take the one-step method granted when it comes to biped [...]

8 02, 2016

Ten Steps to a Finished Book

By | February 8, 2016|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on Ten Steps to a Finished Book

At Wheatmark we’ve worked with thousands of authors, and based on this experience I am proposing this ten-step process for writing your next nonfiction book. This process incorporates blogging in advance of your book’s release, so that you get a head start on building an audience for your book. 1. Make a chapter outline of your book. All you need is enough detail to describe what you are promising to give the reader in each chapter. 2. Get input on your outline from a trusted reader or editor. This should be someone who is a reader of the type of nonfiction book you are writing. Revise the chapter outline based on their input. Repeat as needed. 3. Now that you have a finalized chapter outline, write each chapter as a blog post, immediately posting each chapter on your blog as you finish it. Point all of your followers on social [...]

11 01, 2016

The Egg That Hatched The Martian

By | January 11, 2016|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on The Egg That Hatched The Martian

By now many of you have seen the popular science fiction movie released in October, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. I’m sure that many of you have also read the bestselling book of the same name by Andy Weir on which the movie is based. But, I suspect, that many of you don’t know the story of Weir’s journey from aspiring author to publishing phenom. Weir’s lifelong ambition was to become a published working science fiction author. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he wrote a couple of sci-fi novels and submitted them to multiple agents and publishers. He even took a couple of years off from working as a computer programmer to focus exclusively on his writing career. Unfortunately, he received rejection after rejection from both agents and publishing houses. Weir went back to work as a programmer, but, undeterred, continued writing, posting his writing on his own [...]

26 10, 2015

Procrastination

By | October 26, 2015|News, Writing|Comments Off on Procrastination

“Procrastination.” In many circles, it’s a dirty word. “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today,” it’s said. All of us are guilty of it, though… at least a little bit, from time to time. For many of us, one of the activities we’re most likely to procrastinate over is also one of the most important: writing. You see, all of us can benefit from writing regularly, whether it’s for our business goals, to tell a story that needs to be told, or simply to pass on family history to the next generation. But regardless of subject, it can be hard to get motivated and start, continue, or finish a project—particularly a lengthy one, like a full-length book. There’s something about staring at that empty page… Here’s a quick tip for you if you’re stuck on a book project right now and can’t seem to make any progress. [...]