Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When Speaking ~ Be Brief

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, Guest Author

Centuries ago great speakers often spoke two hours and more. But today when sound bytes on television news are the norm and serious problems are solved in an hour on a television drama, audiences are most interested in speakers that get their points across in a short period of time. In a speech delivered to a Women in Communication audience, Patricia Ward Brash said, “Television has helped create an impatient society, where audiences expect us to make our point simply and quickly.”

Today great speakers are noted for their brevity. Billy Graham, in a recent city-wide campaign in Cincinnati, spoke about 20 minutes each night. Theodore Sorensen in his book, “Kennedy,” gave guidelines by which President Kennedy prepared speeches. No speech was more than 20-30 minutes. He wasted no words and his delivery wasted no time. He rarely used words he considered hackneyed or word fillers.

A&SbeBriefAs Purdue communications professor and researcher Josh Boyd wrote, “In physics, power is defined as work divided by time. In other words, more work done in less time produces more power. In the same way, a speaker’s message is most powerful when he [or she] can deliver a lot of good material in a short amount of time.”

Here are guidelines to make brevity a key foundation in your next speech. First, keep your stories under two minutes in length. In preparing a story, continue to ask the question, “How can I say this in less time and in fewer words?” Script out your story and then seek to condense it. There is an adage in using humor: “The longer the story the funnier it had better be.” Connecting this principle to stories in general, we might say, “The longer the story, the more impact it had better have.”

To make sure your stories stay under two minutes, include only information that answers the questions, “Who?” “What?” “When?” “Where?” and “Why?” If it doesn’t answer one of these questions, leave it out. Make sure also that you have a sense of direction in the story. Each part of the story should move toward the conclusion in the mind of the listener. The listener should always feel you are going somewhere in developing your story.

Second, when possible, follow the proverb, “Less is better than more.” Never use three words when you can say it in two. Leave out clichés, filler words, and hackneyed words, such as “You know,” “OK,” and “All right.” Leave out phrases such as “Let me be honest,” or blunt, or frank. Avoid “In other words.” or “To say it another way.” Speak in short sentences, short phrases, and short words. Word choice should be instantly clear to an audience. Make it a goal to make every word have impact in your speech.

SBoyd

For more info, click the book cover!

Third, know the length of your speech by practicing it. Never be surprised by the length of your speech. Never say to an audience, “I’m running out of time, so I must hurry along.” You should know because of your preparation and practice of the speech. To go one step further, if you know the time limit on your speech is 20 minutes, stop a minute short; don’t go overtime. Audiences will appreciate your respect of their time and will think more highly of you as a speaker because of that. You should never be surprised by how long it takes you to deliver a speech

AnecdoteFourth, learn to divide parts of your speech into time segments. Let’s use a 20-minute speech as an example. The introduction should be no longer than 2 minutes. You can get the attention and preview your message easily in that length of time. Avoid opening with generalizations about the weather or the audience. Let the audience know up front that every word you speak counts.

Spend the bulk of your time in the body of the speech. This is where you make your points and give support or evidence for each point. The final two minutes should be your summary and move to action statement. Some speakers have a hard time concluding. When you say you are going to conclude, do so. As one wise person stated, “Don’t dawdle at the finish line of the speech.”

One way to keep your speech brief is to have few points in the body of your speech-no more than three. With a maximum of three points, you will have the self-discipline to condense rather than amplify. In organizing your material, accept the fact you will always have more material than you can cover and that you will only include material that relates to one of the two or three points you plan to make. Trying to cover four to six points will almost invariably make you go overtime in your speech.

A key to success in speaking is not just having something worthwhile to say, but also saying it briefly. We need to follow the speaking axiom, “Have a powerful, captivating opening and a strong, memorable close, and put the two of them as close together as possible.”

BONUS Articles: Ten Lessons on Presentation & Performance You Can Learn by Watching Taylor Swift
Speaking Secrets of Joel Osteen
Speakers: Stay on Time!

Copyright © 2015 – Stephen D. Boyd. – Reprinted with permission. Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He is also a trainer in communication who presents more than 60 seminars and workshops a year to corporations and associations. See additional articles, resources and contact info at www.SBoyd.com.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Wanna Sell Your Book? Get a Book Distributor!

To quote my friend, Dan Poynter: “Bookstores no longer order directly from publishers. They prefer fewer vendors and quicker service. The best way to reach the book trade (independent bookstores, chain bookstores, wholesalers and libraries) is with a distributor.”

A&SDistributorDistributors ONLY distribute books to book stores! Distributors DO NOT “sell” books. It is up to authors to generate interest in the book to alert potential buyers that the book exists and is in the stores. Whether you sell out to a large (NY) publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion.

The books will sit on the shelf in book stores for one four-month season. If the author has not driven buyers to the stores, the books will come back as returns. DO NOT depend on anyone else to promote your book. That is only and always your responsibility. If you do not know how… hire someone who does, otherwise you may end up with a 1,000 books in your garage. 😦

Before you begin to write your book, study to become aware of all the details of writing a book, to having it in book stores. Hire a book coach or a public relations firm to help you.

Your distributor is your partner. Work with your distributor, support the efforts of your distributor and honor your distributor.

Visit the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Distributor & Wholesaler Directory.

BONUS Article: Distributor vs. Wholesaler Defined
How to Distribute Your Self-Published Book Offline
Piecing Together the Distribution Puzzle
Why Self-Promotion is Critical to Your Success
Building Book Buzz!

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Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Pinterest page for authors and speakers at: https://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

6 Reasons You Should Self-Publish

Tiana Warner, Guest Author

I was talking with a writer friend recently, and we got into a discussion on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. She’s been querying agents like crazy. I’ve been doing self-publishing prep like crazy. She was surprised to find out I didn’t even bother trying to get an agent or traditional publishing contract.

Why would I do such a thing? Why would I not even try to get a publisher?

A&Sself-publishingI’ve done a lot of research on the matter, and while both approaches have advantages, I decided self-publishing was a better option for me. Let’s talk about why.

Follow your own timeline

The traditional publishing timeline takes a zen-like level of patience. Realistically, you’re looking at a few months of querying agents, revising your query letter, and querying some more. Once you’ve acquired an agent, she then has to find you a publisher, which takes even more time and patience. Upon acceptance, the timeline for a publishing house is often one, two, or even three years. After all this, you’re not even guaranteed to have a book deal.

Even Queen Rowling got rejected about a dozen times before finally getting published. Life’s too short for that, and what’s “hot” in the book market evolves too quickly. Self-publishing gets your book out there as soon as you want. While I wouldn’t recommend publishing your book the day after you’re done your second draft, it’s motivating to know you can see it in print a few months after completion.

Control your story and platform

When you get picked up by a publishing house, you’re signing over the rights to your book. It’s quite possible that their editor will make you change stuff you don’t want to change—including the title. When you hire your own editor, you have the freedom to decide where to draw the line. It is still your book.

Personally, I like being able to choose the cover of my book, and the price, and where it’s distributed. What if the publishing house gives me a horrendous cover or a $34.00 hardcover copy? What if they want to price my eBook at $15.00? Unfortunately this happens all the time.

Higher royalties

CreateSpace takes about 40% when you sell a paperback. Publishing houses usually take at least 85%, and your agent gets a chunk of what’s left (usually about 15%). There are other means of payment, like advances and flat rates, but in summary, you’re left with about enough to pay rent on the cardboard box you’ll have to live in.

Sure, if you sell a million copies that makes $40,000, but I’d rather sell a million copies at 60% royalty, thankyouverymuch.

The time is right

We’re in an age where self-published books have a better chance than ever of making it big. Print-On-Demand services and free eBook distribution are abound. One in three ebooks sold on Amazon are self-published. You don’t even need to be in a bookstore to be successful.

People don’t care how a book is published, as long as the book is good. If it’s going to explode, it’ll explode, whether or not it’s traditionally published.

Either way, marketing is up to you

Publishing house or not, you’re still responsible for marketing your own work. Yes, sometimes a publishing house helps out with PR and reviews, but it really varies. These days, you’ll likely need to create a marketing plan anyway if you want to impress a publisher enough for them to pick you up.

For me, the chance that a publishing house might help me promote myself is not enough to make me want to forgo the above advantages.

You believe in yourself

Ok, let me get all self-helpy for a minute. Write this on an index card: “I am a bestselling author.” Put it on your fridge. Look at it every day. If you believe wholeheartedly you can achieve something, then it absolutely will happen. I promise.

You’re an organized, driven person who has just written an entire book. You can absolutely put in the work and follow the steps required to publish it. You know there are infinite resources on self-publishing and marketing waiting for you on the web. You have every reason to be confident that you can self-publish your book, without giving up control, royalties, time, and that scene you love so much.

50 Shades was self-published. If 50 Shades can do it, then for the love of all that is holy, you can do it.

Bottom line?

Here’s the thing. No matter what the medium, you need to do research to figure out how to market your book as best as possible. The more you get exposure and reviews, the more you do giveaways and networking and interviews, the better your chances of selling a lot of copies.

Self-publishing does cost more money up front. You’ll need to pay for your own editor, for cover design, and other miscellaneous fees. But if writing truly is your passion then this shouldn’t matter. Hobbies cost money. Startup businesses cost money. Writing is a hobby and a business. Personally, I don’t mind spending money on something I love this much. It’s like an investment in myself, and in the plan that soon I’ll make it back.

To be clear, I’m not against traditional publishing. Books are sexy and I think both approaches win. In fact, maybe a “hybrid” approach is best.

What do you think? What’s your take on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? Tell us in the comments.

Copyright © 2014 – Tiana Warner. Tiana Warner is a YA fantasy author from British Columbia, Canada. Check out her upcoming novel, Ice Massacre. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups. She would love to connect with you on Twitter—find her @tianawarner.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry on Pintrest at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Give Yourself Permission to Write Badly, and Just Begin!

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

A&SWritePoorlyWhen I wrote my first article, I immediately became bogged down with making sure everything was perfect. That didn’t work very well for me. My first writing coach, Peggy Moss Fielding (1927-2014, Tulsa, OK) once told me that if I wanted to be a writer I needed to write at least one hour everyday. I almost stopped before I began. My first thought was, “I really don’t have time!”

I was wrong. You “always” have time to do the things you really want to do.

Often you will sit in front of a blank page. To get over the biggest writer’s hurdle – the blank page – just start writing. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper. Writing for most isn’t easy. It takes mental energy – and often emotional energy, too.

After much trial and error, I found that I needed to set aside a time when I was most creative. For me, that’s late in the evening. I’m definitely not a morning person, so that did not work for me.

This requires concentration and privacy. Don’t let anything else distract you. Find a quiet place. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the Internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and begin to write something every single day. Be disciplined.

For me, I usually am listening to some quiet jazz as I write. Jazz inspires me. My hero, Miles Davis once said, “”When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note that makes it good or bad.” When a jazz musician plays jazz, although he may not consciously know what the next note will be, he trusts his intuition enough to fearlessly play it. It’s the same with writing. Often the next word will inspire me to go back and rewrite the entire sentence to make it better. Some soft classical music in the background may inspire you.

first-drafts-poster-2“In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated – quietly strengthening his willpower.” Haruki Murakami

When I say, start by getting something – anything – down on paper, if you are unsure of what you will be writing about, write down the first thing that comes to mind. Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. At least, now you have started.

Belle Beth Cooper suggests that you use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. I agree. I begin with an idea and write as much as I can in the most simple language I can – not being concerned about making corrections as I write. Just write. After I have several pages, I will go back over them and see if any other thoughts about the subject surface.

Often I will Google my topic to see what others may have said. Careful here! Never copy word-for-word what other writers may have written. A few sentences used as a quote with a proper acknowledgement and a link to their article is okay. If your mind like an idea, express it in your own words.

“Allow yourself to write poorly, to write a weak, uninteresting story or a boring, grammatically incorrect poem. You’ll never succeed if you don’t allow yourself a few failures along the way. Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement?” ~ Melissa Donovan

One of the benefits of writing is that you have a chance to edit your work before the reader gets to read it. Let go of your inner editor. Editing is best saved as one of the last things you do. Sometimes, if I’m not sure the article is complete, I may lay it aside and let it rest for a day or two. Once I pick it up I can begin reading with a fresh mind and nearly all the mistakes will catch my eye. It’s wise to proofread everything you write at least three times before posting your work on your blog or for publication.

If you are writing a book, it’s important to hire an editor. They are well worth the money and will make sure that everything is 100% accurate.

Be sure you have a dictionary and a thesaurus available whenever you are writing. In my final edit, I will look for different words that I can use to make it more interesting. Using the same old words can be boring to the reader.

I dare you to write something everyday – without fail. – Larry James

You may want to join a writers’ group so you can gain support and encouragement from other writers. It’s comforting to know that you may not be the only one who is experiencing difficulties.

I carry a notebook wherever I go. I often will get ideas from magazines I read. I’ll make a few notes even if it doesn’t seem relevant at the time. Maybe later it will be. I’ve been known to write down one brief idea and sit there and nearly complete an article. When I get back to my office, I enter everything I wrote into my computer.

Hilary Mantel once said, “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem.”

Wanna be a professional writer? Just write!

Today I often spend more than one hour writing each day. Peggy Moss Fielding totally inspired me to begin writing my first book. (Thanks, Peggy! You created a writing monster!) Since then I have written 5 books, more than 2,700 articles, have four blogs (something new goes up every 4th day on each of them) and I have 4 Websites.

BONUS Articles: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!
6 of the Best Pieces of Advice from Successful Writers
The Importance of Editing Your Book BEFORE Publication
So… What About “Word Choice?”

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Pinterest page for authors and speakers at: https://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

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