Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Ultimate Writer’s Guide to Success (Infographic)

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Writers Resources

Copyright: 2016 by On Blast Blog.

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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

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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

commentNOTE: 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/

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

9 Places to Get Writing Jobs

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Are you looking for article writing websites so you can start earning money online? Some of us write because we love to write and share what we know with the world. How would you like to write and get paid for it? If you’re a freelance writer, the task of finding quality, well-paying gigs can be a daunting one. I ran across the information below from a friend on Facebook and thought you might like to check it out.

9WritingJobs

The Write Life is an inspiring and instructional lifestyle magazine for writers. Due to popular demand we now produce a free web version so that everyone can enjoy it. Follow them on Facebook.

Watch a short video about the magazine:

Read the Web versions of their issues.

BONUS Articles: Make Money Writing Articles
10 Amazing Sites That Will Pay You for Your Writing!

Copyright 2015 by The Write Life Style.com.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

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

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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

commentNOTE: 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/

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Give Yourself Permission to Write Badly, and Just Begin!

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

22 Lessons From Stephen King on How to Be a Great Writer

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Maggie Zhand, Guest Author

Renowned author Stephen King writes stories that captivate millions of people around the world and earn him an estimated $17 million a year.

In his memoir, “On Writing,” King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer. And he doesn’t sugarcoat it. He writes, “I can’t lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.”

A&SStephenKingDon’t want to be one of them? Here are 22 great pieces of advice from King’s book on how to be an amazing writer:

1. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible. ~ If you’re just starting out as a writer, your television should be the first thing to go. It’s “poisonous to creativity,” he says. Writers need to look into themselves and turn toward the life of the imagination.

To do so, they should read as much as they can. King takes a book with him everywhere he goes, and even reads during meals. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” he says. Read widely, and constantly work to refine and redefine your own work as you do so.

2. Prepare for more failure and criticism than you think you can deal with. ~ King compares writing fiction to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub, because in both, “there’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.” Not only will you doubt yourself, but other people will doubt you, too. “If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all,” writes King.

Oftentimes, you have to continue writing even when you don’t feel like it. “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea,” he writes. And when you fail, King suggests that you remain positive. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

3. Don’t waste time trying to please people. ~ According to King, rudeness should be the least of your concerns. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway,” he writes. King used to be ashamed of what he wrote, especially after receiving angry letters accusing him of being bigoted, homophobic, murderous, and even psychopathic.

By the age of 40, he realized that every decent writer has been accused of being a waste of talent. King has definitely come to terms with it. He writes, “If you disapprove, I can only shrug my shoulders. It’s what I have.” You can’t please all of your readers all the time, so King advises that you stop worrying.

4. Write primarily for yourself. ~ You should write because it brings you happiness and fulfillment. As King says, “I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Writer Kurt Vonnegut provides a similar insight: “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about,” he says. “It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

5. Tackle the things that are hardest to write. ~ “The most important things are the hardest things to say,” writes King. “They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings.” Most great pieces of writing are preceded with hours of thought. In King’s mind, “Writing is refined thinking.”

When tackling difficult issues, make sure you dig deeply. King says, “Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground … Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.” Writers should be like archaeologists, excavating for as much of the story as they can find.

6. When writing, disconnect from the rest of the world. ~ Writing should be a fully intimate activity. Put your desk in the corner of the room, and eliminate all possible distractions, from phones to open windows. King advises, “Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open.”

You should maintain total privacy between you and your work. Writing a first draft is “completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut — it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.”

7. Don’t be pretentious. ~ “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones,” says King. He compares this mistake to dressing up a household pet in evening clothes — both the pet and the owner are embarrassed, because it’s completely excessive.

As iconic businessman David Ogilvy writes in a memo to his employees, “Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.” Furthermore, don’t use symbols unless necessary. “Symbolism exists to adorn and enrich, not to create an artificial sense of profundity,” writes King.

8. Avoid adverbs and long paragraphs. ~ As King emphasizes several times in his memoir, “the adverb is not your friend.” In fact, he believes that “the road to hell is paved with adverbs” and compares them to dandelions that ruin your lawn. Adverbs are worst after “he said” and “she said” — those phrases are best left unadorned.

You should also pay attention to your paragraphs, so that they flow with the turns and rhythms of your story. “Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say,” says King.

9. Don’t get overly caught up in grammar. ~ According to King, writing is primarily about seduction, not precision. “Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes,” writes King. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.” You should strive to make the reader forget that he or she is reading a story at all.

10. Master the art of description. ~ “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s,” writes King. The important part isn’t writing enough, but limiting how much you say. Visualize what you want your reader to experience, and then translate what you see in your mind into words on the page. You need to describe things “in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition,” he says.

The key to good description is clarity, both in observation and in writing. Use fresh images and simple vocabulary to avoid exhausting your reader. “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling,” notes King.

11. Don’t give too much background information. ~ “What you need to remember is that there’s a difference between lecturing about what you know and using it to enrich the story,” writes King. “The latter is good. The former is not.” Make sure you only include details that move your story forward and that persuade your reader to continue reading.

If you need to do research, make sure it doesn’t overshadow the story. Research belongs “as far in the background and the back story as you can get it,” says King. You may be entranced by what you’re learning, but your readers are going to care a lot more about your characters and your story.

12. Tell stories about what people actually do. ~ “Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street,” writes King. The people in your stories are what readers care about the most, so make sure you acknowledge all the dimensions your characters may have.

13. Take risks; don’t play it safe. ~
First and foremost, stop using the passive voice. It’s the biggest indicator of fear. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing,” King says. Writers should throw back their shoulders, stick out their chins, and put their writing in charge.

“Try any goddamn thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it,” King says.

14. Realize that you don’t need drugs to be a good writer. ~ “The idea that the creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of our time,” says King. In his eyes, substance-abusing writers are just substance-abusers. “Any claims that the drugs and alcohol are necessary to dull a finer sensibility are just the usual self-serving bullshit.”

15. Don’t try to steal someone else’s voice. ~ As King says, “You can’t aim a book like a cruise missile.” When you try to mimic another writer’s style for any reason other than practice, you’ll produce nothing but “pale imitations.” This is because you can never try to replicate the way someone feels and experiences truth, especially not through a surface-level glance at vocabulary and plot.

16. Understand that writing is a form of telepathy. ~ “All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing is the purest distillation,” says King. An important element of writing is transference. Your job isn’t to write words on the page, but rather to transfer the ideas inside your head into the heads of your readers.

“Words are just the medium through which the transfer happens,” says King. In his advice on writing, Vonnegut also recommends that writers “use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”

17. Take your writing seriously. ~ “You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or despair,” says King. “Come to it any way but lightly.” If you don’t want to take your writing seriously, he suggests that you close the book and do something else.

As writer Susan Sontag says, “The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.”

18. Write every single day. ~ “Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop, and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to,” says King. “If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind … I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.”

If you fail to write consistently, the excitement for your idea may begin to fade. When the work starts to feel like work, King describes the moment as “the smooch of death.” His best advice is to just take it “one word at a time.”

19. Finish your first draft in three months. King likes to write 10 pages a day. Over a three-month span, that amounts to around 180,000 words. “The first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months, the length of a season,” he says. If you spend too long on your piece, King believes the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel.

20. When you’re finished writing, take a long step back. ~ King suggests six weeks of “recuperation time” after you’re done writing, so you can have a clear mind to spot any glaring holes in the plot or character development. He asserts that a writer’s original perception of a character could be just as faulty as the reader’s.

King compares the writing and revision process to nature. “When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees,” he writes. “When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” When you do find your mistakes, he says that “you are forbidden to feel depressed about them or to beat up on yourself. Screw-ups happen to the best of us.”

21. Have the guts to cut. ~ When revising, writers often have a difficult time letting go of words they spent so much time writing. But, as King advises, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Although revision is one of the most difficult parts of writing, you need to leave out the boring parts in order to move the story along. In his advice on writing, Vonnegut suggests, “If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.”

22. Stay married, be healthy, and live a good life. ~ King attributes his success to two things: his physical health and his marriage. “The combination of a healthy body and a stable relationship with a self-reliant woman who takes zero shit from me or anyone else has made the continuity of my working life possible,” he writes.

It’s important to have a strong balance in your life, so writing doesn’t consume all of it. In writer and painter Henry Miller’s 11 commandments of writing, he advises, “Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-king-on-how-to-write-2014-7#ixzz3PalmrmNL

BONUS Articles: Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers
How Stephen King Teaches Writing

maggie-zhangCopyright © 2014 – Maggie Zhang. Maggie Zhang is an Editorial Intern at Business Insider. She is an English Major from Princeton University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter. Reach her at mzhang@businessinsider.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
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Visit Larry’s PinBoard for Authors & Speakers: https://www.Pinterest.com/larryjames2012/authors-speakers-blog/

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Writing the Wrong Book

Donna Kozik, Guest Author

What Do I Mean by “Writing the Wrong Book?”

There’s nothing worse than spending tons of time, energy and money on writing your book, only to find that it’s useless as a “big business card.” How could this happen?

wrongbookUnfortunately, it can be really easy. Here are some of the situations and how to solve them.

1. Writing about a subject your market has no interest in. This is probably the biggest mistake business book authors make.

They fall in love with their subject and think the world will, too. The thing is, it’s hard to use your book as a lead generator if no one is interested in what you have to say.

The solution: think like the people you want to attract. What kind of questions are they asking you? What do they want to know about? You can start there and then expand “an inch wide and a mile deep” to show off your expertise.

2. Putting the wrong title on your cover. And I don’t mean a typo (although I’ve seen it happen!). Generic titles, just like generic marketing messages, don’t pique interest. Instead, get as specific as you can in what your book is about (easier if you follow step one) in your title.

Another effective option is to use a catchy 2, 3 or 4 word title and then use your subhead to call out to your target audience. Examples of this include Timothy Ferriss and his book: “The 4 Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich.”

My favorite is friend Michael Katz: “It Sure Beats Working: 29 Quirky Stories and Practical Business Lessons for the First Time, Mid-Life Solo Professional.” He actually names his “target reader” in his title. That Michael is so clever!

3. Blame the book for lack of promotion efforts. Sometimes it’s not the book’s fault, but the author’s for lack of follow through in promotion. Remember, writing the book is one thing, but then promoting it is a whole new area needing time, energy and attention.

Think about how you’re going to market yourself and your book as much as, if not more, than what your book will contain.

Ready to throw up your hands in despair and forget the whole thing? DON’T!

I’ve heard it time and time again from the experts, and it’s something I know for myself: there is no better vehicle than a book for establishing expertise and generating leads.

Write your book but put some thought and effort on the front end to make sure you write the right book.

DonnaKozikCopyright © 2014 – Donna Kozik. – Reprinted with permission. Donna Kozik, founder of MyBigBusinessCard.com, is a book writing & publishing consultant who shows business owners how to write their book quickly and easily to create a no-fail marketing tool. Visit Donna’s Facebook Page. Download Your Free Book Planner to “Get Started Writing Your Own Book FAST.”

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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
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn

Friday, October 10, 2014

What it Takes for a Book to Become a Bestseller

Jerry D. Simmons, Guest Author

The term “bestseller” is synonymous with a book being selected for a position on a list, in a recognized print medium, anywhere in the country. The designation of a book being a “national bestseller” is synonymous with a book being selected for a position on a list of the best selling books in a particular print medium that has national distribution. The selection of a book for a best-selling list does not mean that title has sold a certain number of copies; it only means that the book was selected for a position on that print medium’s list of the best selling books in that market.

When you see the word “bestseller” printed somewhere on the cover, or more commonly the words “national bestseller,” it gives the prospective reader the feeling that the book has sold a lot of copies. Which means it must have been read by a lot of people. The flap or jacket copy makes the story sound interesting and the publisher is comparing this book to (any mega-best-selling title). All misleading and part of the company’s marketing effort used as a way of selling you that book.

BestsellerIf that were your book and you had written a novel, for example, that was being compared to the latest #1 national bestseller, you would be ecstatic! Place the shoe on the other foot, you are now the consumer, you buy a hardcover for a bit less than $30, you get home and soon discover it reads nothing like the particular book it was compared to. You are probably upset, especially if the book was not a good read and certainly not worth the price you paid.

Since publishers are keenly aware that they are not considered a brand in the minds of the consumer, that their author is the brand, they assume that readers will not retaliate against them, if at all, but against the author of the over priced, non-comparable book that was purchased for slightly less than $30. So whom can you trust? All publishers are guilty of the same over-aggressive marketing, aimed at readers who buy books. The truth is, few if any of the books labeled as “bestsellers” are truly best selling books.

Why is almost every new book published labeled a bestseller? It goes back to the fact that the industry today is focused on selling as many copies as possible to as many unsuspecting readers as they can. They stretch the truth as far as reasonably possible without violating standards. If a book is selected as one of the best selling titles by the local newspaper in Anywhere, USA and is placed on a printed list that appears in the paper, then it can be called a “bestseller.”

The “national bestseller” is a bit more of a stretch, but, for example, if a newspaper selects a title anywhere on a list of best selling books and is placed on a printed list that appears in that paper, and the newspaper just happens to have distribution or even less, subscribers in far reaches of the country, then the title can be called a “national bestseller.” There was a time many years ago when the term was used only with books on the New York Times or USA Today list, but that line was erased long ago and that’s why today there are so many books that are bestsellers.

The obvious conclusion here is that almost any book can be called a bestseller. If the author’s local hometown newspaper hears from the only bookstore in town that the new book is selling “pretty good,” and the paper puts that in print, even though it is not positioned on what could be described as a bestseller list, then the publisher can call the book a “bestseller.” If challenged, all the publisher has to do is produce a copy of the newspaper where the title is listed. Of course who’s going to make such a challenge? Certainly not another publisher since they are all guilty of the same tactics.

In this example, the local bookstore may have only received four or five copies and could have sold as few as two or three, or none for that matter. The fact is that the book was listed or described in a recognized print medium as selling “pretty good.” Translation: the book is a bestseller. Of course you can’t just start your own newsletter and suddenly call your book a bestseller. It has to be an objective source, but the size of the source is not in question. The hometown newspaper may only have a distribution of a few hundred, as long as it is recognizable and objective.

As for the major national bestseller lists, that is a completely different story, to an extent. The major chain bookstores and discount retailers all have exact numbers of copies of books sold and paid for through their cash registers. They can provide any publisher with information on how many copies that publisher’s titles sold the previous week by title, format, price, in what region of the country, and in which individual store location. However, these numbers are not always shared with the most recognizable national bestseller lists.

The USA Today has become a leading national newspaper and they describe their bestseller list as a compilation of sales from a variety of sources. They are secretive about their sources, but you can imagine it’s practically the same as their competitor, which happens to reside in the heart of the publishing world. This newspaper will seldom follow any other national lists in position or duration of titles on their list.

The one list that everyone in the industry follows closely is, of course, The New York Times. Here is where the publishers have learned how to influence as many of the best-selling decisions as possible. The Times also uses a variety of sources to make decisions on what books should be listed on their weekly bestseller list. These sources are chosen from independent booksellers, chain bookstores in selected cities, and as they call them, “other credible booksellers,” to make selections.

Having been directly involved with some of the largest retailers in the country for over twenty years, I can tell you that the Times, as late as the Fall of 2002, rarely used the single largest retailer in this country as a source for their weekly bestseller lists. Every publisher in New York City knows which sources or bookstores the Times uses and which carry the biggest weight in helping the Times make bestseller decisions.

Armed with this information, which is rotated periodically, every marketing department makes absolutely certain that every source is amply supplied with the latest and best of everything about the titles for which they strongly lobby. If you are one of the sources, you would assume the publisher is sending the same material to every single bookseller, but of course they would be wrong. Publishers pay particularly close attention to the source the Times uses for their bestseller list.

So every week the reporters for the book review call the sources and ask for a list of titles that have been selling the most copies. Would it surprise you to know that some of these sources do not use computers? Well, don’t be shocked, but there are book retailers around the country who still count inventory by hand and thus they do not have actual unit sales to share. Let me be clear, as late as the Fall of 2002 this was the case. Things may have changed, but it’s doubtful.

The reporters then combine the lists, sit down around a big table in their conference room and make decisions based on the all the information from their sources. Whether they actually try to make tabulations based on actual unit sales is still unclear, but their lists are definitely distinctive and are often questioned for their validity compared to the lists of actual unit sales the publishers accumulate on a weekly basis.

There is no threshold of a certain number of copies a book must sell to be a bestseller, there never has been and I doubt there ever will be. Until all booksellers are able to supply similar information on actual unit sales, there is no reason for the Times to change the way they make selections. Besides, there are publishers who will always be opposed to an actual unit sales mechanism for selecting bestsellers. Such a selection process would take away their ability to use any and all influence to impact the selections of the Times.

Hopefully this description of how bestsellers are determined has not disappointed you. This is the business, and when your book is published, you now have the ammunition to make certain it too becomes a bestseller.

JerrySimmonsCopyright © 2014 – Jerry D. Simmons. Jerry D. Simmons spent more than twenty years as an executive with The Time Warner Book Group in New York. He is the author of “INSIDE The Business of Publishing: What Writers Need to Know” and the creator of www.WritersReaders.com, where information essential to writers and their careers is available, FREE.

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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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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why Care About the Business of Publishing?

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

Jerry D. Simmons, Guest Author

Part 1 of 2

Writing is difficult. After spending enormous amounts of time perfecting your craft, do you really want to know that there is another important part to becoming a published author? The answer is an unequivocal, YES! If your goal is to become a published author then here are some serious questions that you need to consider.

WHYpublishingWhy should you care about the business of publishing? The simple answer is that you want a career as a writer. Your dream is to become the next Nora Roberts, or JK Rowling. Of course, at this point you’re not sure why knowing the business is relevant to your new superstar status, but after you’ve read both parts of this article you should begin to understand why you need to care about and understand the basics of the business of publishing and how it relates to your career as a writer.

There was a son of a famous politician that was published too much fanfare. He knew little about the business and even less about what goes on behind the scenes. After all, he had a famous last name. His career as an author went south fast. Why? He didn’t understand the business and his name and writing could only carry him so far. If he’d taken the time to learn the basics of the business, his name and writing could have carried him much farther and he might even have made a career out of writing.

What are your goals as a writer? This is not a philosophical question, but one that deserves an answer. As with most writers, your goal should be to get your work published, whether it’s with a major trade publisher, small publisher or you decide to self publish. You want your book to have a chance of getting placement in all the major bookstores and a shot at making some bestseller lists around the country, not to mention being an Oprah pick of the month or having your face on the cover of PEOPLE magazine.

There is a wonderful lady who lives in Iowa that has been a published author for over thirty years. During each publication of her books, she took the time to communicate to her sales representatives, thanking them for their work and how much she appreciated their support. Her sales were only so-so, but the company had faith she would eventually find her readership. Instead of giving up on her, the sales group rallied and did everything they could to help her sales. Eventually, after more than twenty-five years, she became successful and the financial reward she had always hoped for came to be. She reached her goal.

Are you doing everything you can to improve your chances of being a published author? If you’re a member of a writer’s critique group or writer’s group, that’s an excellent start. If you’ve attended or plan to attend in the near future a writing class or writing seminar at a local community college or university, that would be highly recommended. If you don’t read books by authors in the genre you’re writing or plan to write in, you should start. If you don’t regularly visit a local bookstore and pay attention to the market and what is happening, you should begin as soon as possible.

You need the support of other writers. Authors that I have toured with appreciate the feedback they receive from other writers. This is, of course, a very select fraternity of established and recognizable authors that critique and support each other. The same is true for you as a writer with the goal of getting your manuscript published. Seek the support and critique of your colleagues.

What do you need to know to be successful as a published author? Not only do you need to know how to write, but you must also understand what is happening in the publishing industry, especially behind the scenes of the major trade publishers. Until now, that information wasn’t readily or easily available. However, with the launch of my Website, www.WritersReaders.com, not only can the information be accessed easily, it’s FREE. For a broader coverage of the business of publishing, let me suggest that you read my book. However, the basic information is FREE.

How should you allocate your time to become a successfully published author? Obviously you need to write, and write, and write some more. The best way to improve your writing is to write, so you must spend a large chunk of your available time writing. If you attend critique or group meetings where you can have a support system that would be time well spent. Classes, workshops and seminars on writing are also a good investment in time. A portion of your time should be spent visiting bookstores, reading books written by your competition, and most importantly, visiting my web site to get the inside information on the business of publishing.

Are you doing everything you need to do to put yourself in a position to make writing your career? If you’re doing everything that I’ve written about up to this point, then you’re doing as much as can be expected. If you avoid visiting bookstores, reading books written by your competition, or don’t take the time to read articles about the business, then you’re not doing everything you need to do. A basic understanding of the business of publishing is essential to your career as a writer and successful author.

Writers and authors need to become some of the most marketing savvy people in the business. They should read anything and everything in their own category including what’s on the current bestseller lists. They need to be voracious readers and keen observes of the marketplace and their category.

If someone told you that you are doing all the right things to eventually get a book published but your career may only be good for one book, would you still be interested in a career as a writer? No one wants to be a one-book author. Why would you spend the time and energy, not to mention money, to have only one book published? Spending all your time perfecting your writing skills and not spending a portion of that time learning the basics of the business of publishing is tantamount to being a one-book author.

So what’s the fun of learning the basics of the business of publishing? The fun of writing and challenge of becoming a published author could end abruptly if you make a bad decision or relinquish your decision making to the publisher. That is why in order for all your hard work to pay off handsomely, you need to learn what’s happening to your book from the day you sign the contract to the day it goes on sales.

If your goal were to someday get your book published, why would you even consider signing a contract with a publisher without understanding what they do, why they do it, and how they do it? The only conceivable answer is that you, as a writer, consider the publishers to be the experts. Of course that is correct, they do have the expertise, but they don’t have the time or resources to devote to your individual book. That’s why the more you understand about the business the better chance you have of making writing a career, avoiding the one-book syndrome, and eventually making your publisher your partner in the publication process of your book.

Read “Part Two” of this article ~ click here!

JerrySimmonsCopyright © 2014 – Jerry D. Simmons. Jerry D. Simmons spent more than twenty years as an executive with The Time Warner Book Group in New York. He is the author of “INSIDE The Business of Publishing: What Writers Need to Know” and the creator of www.WritersReaders.com, where information essential to writers and their careers is available, FREE.

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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
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

8 Things I’ve Learned from Writing My First Book

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

Patti Johnson, Guest Author

Chances are, you have a story to tell. Or maybe there’s a message you’re dying to share with the world. Research says that 81% of us want to write a book someday; I am one of them. I’m getting closer to crossing this goal off of my bucket list in May 2014.

I pictured myself sitting in a cozy coffee shop finding the perfect words to tell my story. I’ve had those magical days, along with many very late nights, rewriting a chapter to meet a looming deadline.

FirstBookAn author friend compared writing a book to giving birth – one of the best things you’ll ever do, but painful just before you finish. She said it often takes at least one year afterward before you’d consider bringing another book into the world. I’m still a little over four months away from my first book birth and I get it.

I am writing a ‘business casual’ book called Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life. In it, I share how changes in organizations and communities can start because of the decisions and actions of just one person.

Here are the highlights and “must-knows” of what I’ve learned so far in writing a book, in case you are in that 81 percent too.

1. Know the why. You’ll need it. ~ Know the real reason why you want to write. Is it to share a family story, demonstrate your expertise, grow your business or transition to a career as an author? These answers will influence your timing, if you self-publish or go to a more traditional publisher, the time required, and the financial commitments. Also, knowing your ‘why’ will help you stay with it when it gets hard – and it will.

2. Decide the time and financial investment that you are willing to make. ~ At first, when I was told how much time it would take, I naively thought, ‘I’m always busy. I know how to juggle.’ This is different. Before my major manuscript deadline, it felt like a recurring repeat of finals week. Remember the movie Groundhog Day? Also, understand the extra costs that an author may cover, such as a website, additional marketing support, and assistance in your ‘day job’ to pull it off regardless of how you publish.

3. Dabble and experiment to find your voice. ~ No matter how or what you write, give yourself time and avenues to experiment and find your footing. Start a blog. Write a chapter or two and invite others to give you frank feedback. Allow time for your ideas to percolate and assimilate. My agent helped me shape up my final proposal.

4. Understand the new rules. ~ Book writing and publishing work by different rules. So, if you have no experience, talk to those who do – a lot of them. It’s not just about writing, but building a community around you who’ll be interested in buying your book. Talk to those who have gone before you and use the many online resources.

MakeWaves

Click cover for info!

5. Publishing is a business. What’s your ROI? ~ Think of agents and publishers as investors and you as an entrepreneur. Do you have compelling content and a platform to share it so that they want to invest their time and resources in you? If you go the self-publishing route, then you are making that investment in yourself. The return on investment matters regardless of how you publish.

6. Not everyone will be interested in your baby. ~ You spend months writing this wonderful book, yet some won’t be interested and when you publish some won’t like it. You are putting yourself out there and that’s why it’s amazing! Learn, listen and adapt, but then let it go and hope that your writing will influence the right person or people rather than everyone.

7. Authors are in sales. ~ You are ultimately responsible for selling the book. Yes, you may have wonderful partnerships and support, but it is ultimately up to you. You’ll have to ask for help and support often. If you don’t like this idea, consider this right up front.

8. You don’t have to publish to write. ~ Books are the historical gold standard on sharing your thoughts. But today there are so many other possibilities. Start your own blog or ask to contribute to others’ blogs. Many authors started writing their book through a series of blog posts that became essential content. You’ll soon learn if you have the passion for writing a book.

If you know your “why” and have the commitment to do it, then get started. Find your first step, even if it’s setting up your first blog. You can do that today.

p_johnsonCopyright © 2014 – Patti Johnson. Patti Johnson is a career and workplace expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and human resources consulting firm she founded in 2004. Previously, Johnson was a Senior Executive at Accenture. Johnson has been recently featured as an expert in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC, Money Magazine and Working Mother. Patti is also an instructor for SMU Executive Education and a keynote speaker on “Leading Change.” Johnson’s first book, Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life will hit shelves in May of 2014. Visit Patti’s Website at www.People-Results.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

commentNOTE: 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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Friday, January 3, 2014

3 Things That Make the Biggest Difference in Moving Your Writing Forward

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Dawn Goldberg, Guest Author

As writers, we all want to continuously be moving along in our goals. Think of it as a river. A river constantly flows. There may be places where it looks very calm and barely moving, but if you look close enough, you’ll see a current.

At times, your project feels like it’s a rushing river; other times, it’s trickling along like a small stream.

3ThingsWe have to manage our energy, time, and resources in both places – and everything in between – along the project spectrum. It’s easy to get caught up in your own writing and let it pull you along. The problem with that, though, is that when the torrent is done, you may feel as if you’ve been deserted. And that can lead to self-doubt. “What’s wrong with me? Yesterday, I cranked out 5000 words! Why can’t I write anything today?” And that leads further to “Oh, maybe this is an awful idea, and I should stop.” Or “No one is going to read this. Who the heck do I think I am?”

If we find ourselves in the slow and steady part of the meandering writing river, we may question if we’re ever going to get there. It seems as if everyone else you know is passing you by, full steam ahead.

Here’s the thing… life, business, writing, you name it… is a cycle. We have our high energy states, and that’s followed by a low energy state. We have our low energy states, and that’s followed by a high energy state. What can confuse it even further is when our creative energy doesn’t match our physical energy. Then we’re even more frustrated because we have all these ideas without the physical ability to put them into play. Or, worse in my opinion, plenty of energy and not one creative idea in sight.

What’s the key to managing your writing project, without getting caught up in the negative mind chatter, and keep it sailing along? Three things… Kindness, small steps, and celebrations.

First, recognize that there are cycles. BE in those cycles. Feel the gift that they bring. If you’re moaning that you have all these ideas, but you’re exhausted from a 10-day business trip and can’t possibly write a word, understand that you need rest and rejuvenation. The physical energy will come later. Capture the ideas so that you don’t lose them, and know you’ll come back to them when your physical energy is more in alignment with your creative energy.

Part of that recognition means being kind and understanding – to yourself. Most of us fall down in that area. We have such high expectations of ourselves, and we think we should be writing books, running businesses, raising kids, cooking healthy, gorgeous meals, training for a marathon, going to spinning class, volunteering in the PTA… Um, no.

Imagine that you’re talking to a friend who’s being awfully hard on herself. What would you say to her? Now turn that kindness and compassion inward.

Next, nobody ever writes “Write my book” on their to-do list on Monday and then crosses it off on Friday. It just doesn’t happen. Break down your writing project into as many small steps as you can think of. Your steps should be as concrete as find two competing books, research statistics on fuel usage in New York City from 1950 – 1990, brainstorm chapter titles, write the introduction. Put each step on an index card. Then put the cards in order. Take the top three, and that becomes your current to-do list for this project.

Finally, and this is the important part that almost everyone misses… When you complete one of those action steps, celebrate it. Give yourself a pat on the back. Call your staunchest supporter and crow!!! Cross it off the list with glee. Put a gold star on that index card. Truly let it sink in that you’re making strides in this project.

Following these three steps will keep you moving, and eventually, you’ll get to your destination.

Dawn_pic_chin_diagonalCopyright © 2014 – Dawn Goldberg. – Reprinted with permission. Dawn Goldberg brings life to words and writing – and helps others through their writing and publishing journey. Sign up for “Fuel For Your Writing Journey” at www.WriteWellU.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

commentNOTE: 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
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Authors: Maintain a “Thought Starter” File

Today I’m going point you in the direction of an article by Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanting Marketing. Henneke lives in the UK. She shows you when originality is good and when it’s bad, and she also gives you a strategy for exactly how to do it right. Enjoy.

First read: The Sin of Originality (and the Truth about Building a Popular Blog). Note: This article opens in a new browser window so can easily come back here to read the rest of this article.

ThoughtStarter1I use a similar technique. Henneke calls it a “Swipe File,” I call it a “Thought Starter” file. It’s a great place to gather your thoughts. That is where I store my good and not-so-good ideas. It’s one of the ways to overcome what some people call writers block. I rarely have this dis-ease. It’s fun to polish a not-so-good idea into something refreshing and new.

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere! They are everywhere. To find them, you must be receptive to recognize them when they show up. When they do… immediately write the compelling ideas down or they will most likely disappear.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” ~ Neil Gaiman

When an idea comes and you automatically discard it as not good enough or think that no one would be interested in it, that is a mistake. A good writer can make it interesting. I write down some of the most silly things thinking that perhaps later – in a different frame of mind – I might be able to reshape the idea to fit what I am writing about currently. Sometimes that idea reveals itself in a totally different way and from it springs a totally different idea. Therefore a long-dormant idea inspires a totally new one.

“People struggling with writer’s block aren’t at a loss for ideas. Many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough) or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas.” ~ Melissa Donovan

In my “Thought Starter” file, I write (in my own words) my impression of what Henneke says she puts in her “Swipe File.” That way I can never be accused of plagiarism. On occasion you may see similarities, but never a direct quote unless I credit the author. I may not use these ideas until – at some point in the future – the thought reoccurs, however the ideas are always there until I need them.

ThoughtStarter2I write something every day. I have 5 Websites and 4 blogs. Something new goes up on each of my blogs every 4th day, so I must write something everyday. Sometimes I may sit and wonder what to write about. That’s when I look over the ideas that I started in my “thought starter” file but never finished. That file kick-starts my thinking and creativity. I often cannot wait for inspiration. I have to get inspired.

I especially like what Henneke says: “No treasure of blogging jewels lies waiting to be heisted. You need to know where to look.” And you have to stop reading purely for pleasure. I agree. Instead you need to begin to “study” content. Studying refreshing content is one of the keys! So is originality! Authors need to learn to use their creative imagination more often. That’s where new, fresh and exciting ideas come from. Sometime deadlines are quite enough inspiration. 😉 Other times the proverbial “aha moment” just happens. That’s when something clicks and I must quickly return to my keyboard.

“For me, a combination of two words on a billboard, or even two colors together, or a photo, or a comment overheard in the grocery checkout aisle – all fodder for blogging. Seriously, I’ve gotten more ideas from tacky casino ads as I drive across the bridge from PA to NJ… the blog never has anything to do with the billboard itself, just a couple of the words on it. It’s odd how the strangest combination of things can turn into a new blog post. But I have to write it down quickly, ideas are ‘easy come, easy go!'” ~ Nancy

Inspiration often comes from people watching. Leo Babauta once said, “People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.”

“Prodigious writers aren’t simply lucky writers. They’re active writers. They search, they think long and hard, and they write their way through dead-ends in order to arrive at promising starts.” ~ Aaron Gilbreath

Some writers write their ideas for their thought starter. I have a file in my computer labeled, “Thought Starters” and refer to it often sometimes to write a new thought and other times to retrieve an old one. I got the idea for this article after I read Henneke’s article (Hmmm, studying content again). Hope this was helpful.

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble, Write, Write

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2013 – 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

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