It’s the Quiet Before the Book Release

The book release for my next book is in the making. and boy am I tired. I think I have a right to be tired. It’s a time of reflection, correction and checking things off the proverbial list.

There are only a few more days remaining before the BIG DAY (08/08). It’s been a whirlwind of activity getting things set up for this book release. Only a few loose ends remain.

We’re not just about sales – we’re also about building the reading and writing community.

This isn’t a complaint, mind you, it’s a statement of fact. Even with a team, there’s lots to do. Some of the activities include:

  • Setting up live events (release party, workshops, speaking)
  • Creating social media graphics (quotes and infographics)
  • Polishing up my press kit (revamping my outdated press kit)
  • Setting up remote sales sites
  • Connecting with bloggers
  • Designing online and offline contests (and checking the rules)
  • Soliciting prizes and awards
  • Recording podcasts
  • Meet the Author events (libraries, bookstores)
  • Uploading the book (print-only for the first month)
  • Developing the grand prize package
  • And more (this is just a snippet)

Whew! I’m tired just thinking of it. But I’m looking forward to adding my new “baby” to my other books.

What am I learning through this book release activity? Much of what I’ve said (uh, preached) all along. You SHOULD NOT wait until your book is published to begin your promotions. You should build in several forms of book promotions THROUGHOUT the writing process. This takes the guessing (and disappointment) out of book sales. (This topic will be covered more thoroughly in an upcoming e-course).

But we’re not just about sales – we’re also about building the reading and writing community. This will materialize during our extended release event (08/08 – 08/31) through the following:

  • Offering productivity software demonstrations at our live events (including the release party)
  • Hosting an author social
  • Donating a portion of sales to a nationwide children’s literacy program
  • Offering a call-in Help Desk (manned by me and some team members)

Did you notice I haven’t mentioned the title of the book? That would be a spoiler. If you haven’t seen any posts yet, that’s okay. There will be plenty coming out through the next three weeks and beyond. There will also be posts of the results of activities and more insight into various promotions.

If you’re planning to release your book in the next 90 days, add something to the comments about how you plan to promote it to the world. When we share ideas it makes each of us stronger.

Use this link if you’d like to see a layout of the activity. Feel free to join us at any of our events. Some of the activities are limited to Facebook so be sure to check there at the Write Brain page.

How to NOT BE An Invisible Author

You’re an author and you love to write. It’s why you’re working feverishly on completing your book. You’re dedicated and you’re committed to the finished work. You’re on your way to a great launch, mega sales and more fame than you ever thought imaginable.

Oh, if it were only this simple. The truth is, you’re not just an author. By today’s publishing standards, every author is also a book marketer. This means you must also invest time (and yes, money) to learn how to promote your books (or be prepared to pay someone to do it for you).

There were approximately 3.4 million books printed last year. This is a major publishing pool to compete with. More than seventy percent of these books are by first-time authors. Most of these authors (90%) never sell more than 100 books. I’m guessing you don’t want to be in the 100-book sales crowd.

Some authors are of the mistaken notion that if they publish with a traditional publisher (as opposed to self-publishing), they’ll be on easy street. They think their agent (the person who handles the business between the author and publisher) will get them a best-seller deal with lots of fringe benefits.

If your agent is skillful, you might receive a giant advance and be given a publicist to handle your book marketing. In only a few months, you’re headed for several best-seller lists. If this is how you think, your information about the book industry is grossly outdated.

Want to continue this story? It’s an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, Your Book Won’t Sell Itself, available here FREE.

Outline or Not Outline … Join the Debate

To Outline Or Not Outline?

Among authors, there is a heated debate regarding whether to outline or not outline your book. There have been countless debates about using outlines. It’s a very personal matter among writers. The determining factor is the method that increases your productivity the most.

The outcome of the debate is unsettled. Traditionally, non-fiction writers use an outline to draft their books. They view outlines as blueprints to move them step-by- step to the finished product. Having an outline makes it easy to define the problem and envision the solutions you’ll want to present in a non-fiction book.

On the other hand, fiction books are very imaginative. They might include unlimited plots, twists and storylines. They develop their own characters and scenarios.

A large number of fiction writers believe an outline is a mental straight jacket. They believe it restricts the flow of creativity and blocks new ideas. For these writers, an outline leads to a rigid expression of their content rather than an organic flow (which is sometimes interpreted as artistic). They prefer to let narrative forces guide them rather than be led by an outline.

outlines

The no-outline diehards believe that writing should be the art of creating. They believe you get to what needs to happen as you write. This far exceeds the task of completing a pre-set outline for the day. No outline means fresh, organic prose.

Many of them have no habits or rituals that prompt a writing session. Some have no scheduled times to write or any favorite writing places. Some even reject the tools designed to make the writing task easier. They live in their own writing world and make up any rules they need as they write.

The truth is, there are no cookie cutter writers. Therefore, there are no right or wrong decisions about using or not using an outline. There is only selection. Match a method (outline or no outline) with your writing skills and your personality to determine a preference. This offers the best expression of the real you through your writing.

What’s your opinion? I’d love to know what you think of this issue. If I get enough responses, I’ll post an updated post in the near future.

Do you need more information? You’ll find it in the Chapter 3, “Plan or Plunge: The Outline Dilemma,” available in our forthcoming book, “Night Writer: Optimize Your Time, Upgrade Your Skills, and Write Around Your Day Job.” You’ll find it on Amazon as of June 28.

 

Question: How Do I Write At Night When I’m Already Tired?

Last weekend I had the privilege of conducting a workshop at a local community college’s annual writers’ conference. There I met 25 or so eager writers who attended my session, “Night Shift Authors: How to Write Around Your Day Job.” It was an exhilarating hour of information about finding time to write.

Well, as I explained in the workshop, the issue isn’t always about your time; quite often it’s about your skill. More about this point in a future post.

The workshop covered working/writing myths and how to debunk them, how to set writing goals based on book genres, and how to create a writing schedule. I shared several writers’ apps, tools and tips to help keep their writing flexible. We didn’t have time to dive into the attendee’s questions so I’m posting them here with the answers I possibly would have given. Maybe there are other night writers among us with similar concerns.

“It’s not necessarily your time; it could be your skill.”

This first question is one most night writers can identify with. One attendee asked, “How do I write at night when I’m already tired? My eyes are blurred and after a short time I don’t even understand what I’ve written.”

It’s possible to take a week to answer this question. However, I’ll limit it to this one post. My response might cover a few more common issues of night writers. Instead of diving into an answer, I’d begin by asking a few questions to get a clearer picture of the dilemma.

First, I would have asked about the setting. Is it a room filled with people engaged in activity when you’re trying to write? Next, I would ask if you’d eaten before beginning the writing task. Last, I would ask if there was using music in the background.

“Music can create an inspirational writing atmosphere.”

Based on the answers to these questions, my suggestions might be as follows:

  1. Keep some water or juice nearby to help stay refreshed.
  2. Consider adding music to your writing ritual. It might be what’s needed to create a more lively atmosphere. When you take a break on your day job, try searching for something soothing. The right music can make all the difference for any writing session.
  3. A catnap could be the very thing to awaken you prior to writing. If you put off writing for 30-45 minutes to get some rest, it should be enough to move forward.
  4. This next suggestion should go over well. How about moving your writing away from home? Could you stop at a library or an eatery one or two evenings a week and do your writing there rather than doing it at home? Lots of eateries and coffee shops are open until 10 pm.
  5. If you can’t make use of the away-from-home scenario, consider creating a writing corner. This would be a place other than your normal writing space. This could create a fresh attitude toward the evenings’ work.

Have you faced this same issue? How did you resolve it? Feel free to comment on this post and share your own experiences. If you’re not having this issue, share one you are having and I’ll tackle it in a future post.

Night Writer Productivity Tools: Are You Using These?

Are you a Night Writer who is having trouble getting your book written because you work a full-time job? As I often tell authors, it’s not your time but your skill. Here are five tools you can use to increase your productivity and leave you with more time to work, enjoy your family and sleep.

There are hundreds of productivity tools available, both free and fee, that are waiting to be discovered and used. And many of them are the key to staying on deadline with your writing projects. The learning curve is usually quite small and most are mobile, available for most mobile devices. Search to find the specific application for your device. Some are proprietary to either Apple or Android products, and some work across all platforms.

1) Hemingway App – Here’s a screen shot from www.hemingwayapp.com (available for both Apple and Android devices)

2) After the Deadline. How about a site to help you with your most common writing errors? You’ll find it at After the Deadline (http://www.afterthedeadline.com).

3) Storylist – Get the mobile functionality you need with this app. Go to http://storyist.com.

4) The Brainstormer – Need a fresh plotline twist? This app stimulates an endless array of plotlines by spinning three separate wheels that provide you with the conflict, the setting and the subject of the story. You’ll find it at http://www.tapnik.com/brainstormer.

5) Mindmapping Apps and Programs

Here is a list of three mind mapping tools to assist writers of all genres. Try out several to find the one that works for you.

Need more? Get a list of up to 60 productivity tools from my latest book, Night Writer: Optimize Your Time, Upgrade Your Skills and Work Around Your Day Job, available on Amazon in e-book and print.