Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

05/05/2014

Borrowing Credibility = Intelligent, Instant Marketing for Newbie Writers


“Damn, guys, I met Stephen King at a conference last week and you would be surprised what he told me about the tricks he used to get published for the first time!”

This statement will perk up your listeners’ ears and they will hang on and pay more attention to every word you say after that opening statement — simply because you are paraphrasing a credible source and not just spouting your own words (even though your own words may be just as knowledgeable and accurate on the subject matter).

And, you don’t have to meet credible, renowned personalities in-person — you can read their advice and teachings in articles and quote them as well.

Borrowing credibility lends instant marketing value to your content. A simple but powerful concept that is often overlooked or not appreciated and therefore not strategically applied.

More insight provided by Al Bargen from Wordpreneur dot com:

 

The Single Fastest Way to Build Credibility as a Virtually Unknown Writer

Okay, so you feel that practically nobody knows who you are. How do you expect people to read your book or blog post and believe what you’re saying? That’s a question we get a lot at my site, and people want to know how to become a credible source of information when they haven’t yet built a name for themselves.

The problem isn’t that these people (you?) are not credible sources of information. They’re usually just as credible as the first guy at the head of the popularity contest. But therein lies the problem. Credibility isn’t so much about being able to know what you’re talking about. It has much more to do with being the more popular source of information out there.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing as most people who become well-known as great sources of information are also people who know their stuff really well. It only becomes a problem for you, even though you know your material like the back of your hand, if you’re not exactly well-known on the Net yet.

The good thing is there is one tried-and-true method of building your credibility in a flash. Just borrow credibility from people you know other people trust. Those are the experts in their field who have credentials to follow their names. Sure, there are people with PhDs and there are people with multimillion dollar businesses behind them. They’re great sources of information. But we’re also talking about academics, bloggers and book authors who spend a long time deeply immersed in their fields.

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source article: http://wordpreneur.com/16197/the-single-fastest-way-to-build-credibility-as-a-virtually-unknown-writer/

01/14/2013

Writing, Like Art, Is Very Subjective


Writing, like art, is subjective

Writing, like art, is subjective

Well of course it is — since writing is art — in this writers opinion.

I’m writing on this subject tonight because of a comment a friend and colleague wrote in response to a post (excerpt provided below) I posted on my Writers Welcome Blog yesterday:

“I guess I’m the eternal idealist because I feel the content (quality of, likability, timeliness, entertainment value, etc.) should drive the cost of books, in whatever format, and not just the manufacturing and distribution costs (or lack of) — which so many are using to justify why e-books should be cheaper than their  printed counterparts.” — John Austin

He responded and said something to the effect that I was referring to content being driven by subjective values like “likeability” “entertainment value” and he didn’t see how that was remotely possible because different people like and/or are entertained by different things.

I thought that the following very entertaining piece by Keli Goff in HuffPost would be of interest to him and many others as it delves more deeply into this subjective (?) subject:

Does Lena Dunham Prove Writers Are as Toxic as Investment Bankers?

Despite the romanticized images portrayed in film, television, and of course books, being a writer actually means spending most of your time doing one of six things: writing, thinking about what you want to write, thinking about what you actually have to write to make money, chasing payment for what you have written, agonizing over the fact that another writer is possibly being paid more than you are for his writing and, obsessing over whether that writer is more, or less, talented and deserving of said payment than you are.

This means that thanks to her multi-million dollar book advance, not to mention her hit television show Girls, (which just began its second season), Lena Dunham has driven plenty of writers to a level of resentment bordering on mania that makes Salieri, the mediocre composer driven to an insane asylum by the not-at-all mediocre talents of Mozart in the film Amadeus, look sane by comparison.

Even though writers and artists are generally thought of as the emotional and temperamental opposites of those who inhibit hyper competitive fields like professional sports, law or investment banking (which is so competitive studies have deemed it physically unhealthy), the truth is plenty of artists are even more competitive. After all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a tennis player ranked number 10 in the world complain in interviews about how incredibly overrated that Roger Federer is. Of all of the lawyers I’ve met, I can’t think of one who’s talked my ear off about how insane it is that another attorney with celebrity clients is pulling in a ridiculously unfair hourly rate. Yet these kinds of conversations consume writers. I’ve had them with writer friends. They’ve had them with other friends. We’ve all had them with our agents, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, or parents. And many have had even more of those conversations in the last year, and a lot of that has to do with the success of Lena Dunham.

A google search of “I hate Lena Dunham” now produces more than a million results, (summarized here) which is quite a lot for someone who entered the public consciousness less than a year ago. The question is why? I asked a mental health expert. Dr. Jeff Gardere, said in his experience professional jealousy among writers, and other people in the arts and entertainment can be more common than in other professions, because the same traits, and ego, that attract people to fields in which their work will be the center of attention are the same traits that drive someone to intense competitiveness that can manifest as professional jealousy. (Ouch. But, hey, this writer did ask.)

Now before the eye rolling and angry comments from my writer colleagues begin, I want to be clear: not every person who is a critic of Lena Dunham is jealous. But the level of vitriol she has inspired in some corners signals that there is more to the story than some simply not agreeing her talents are up there with Tolstoy — and Dunham is not the only writer to inspire such reaction.

When literary wunderkind Jonah Lehrer’s career imploded the undertone of glee with which some in the media seemed to be celebrating was palpable. For some it wasn’t just celebrating, but a sense of relief, like a baseball player learning that his teammate who was breaking records, while he was stuck hitting singles, had actually been using steroids. (At the height of the Lehrer scandal writer Jonathan Shainin tweeted: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice knows that he’s actually in the schadenfreude business.”)

Danielle Belton, a former print journalist who launched a successful career as a blogger before transitioning to television as head writer for the BET talk show Don’t Sleep, with T.J. Holmes said of professional jealousy among writers, “A lot of this stems from what measures a ‘good’ writer is really rather abstract… Writing isn’t like sports. It’s very subjective, like art.” Belton went on to note that because the definition of what constitutes great writing (and other art) is essentially indefinable, writers will always resent certain writers who receive more critical acclaim or financial success because no matter what others may say, that writer might consider his or her peer less talented than he is. To her point, even his competitors who loathe him (I’m looking at you Isiah Thomas) can’t say Michael Jordan had no talent. His professional record beating them speaks for itself. But there is some writer out there who is convinced Ernest Hemingway was a hack and Mark Twain was an amateur.

As a black woman who has written about diversity in the media and entertainment, I am certainly sensitive to legitimate criticism of Dunham’s work, particularly the lack of cast diversity in the first season of Girls. (Something Dunham herself appears to have discovered a newfound sensitivity about as well since she is attempting to remedy that this season.) But the most vocal criticism of Dunham has boiled down to this: Dunham is from a privileged background (she is) and the cast is comprised of other people from privileged backgrounds (they are.)

The thinking goes: privilege is the only reason she got a show in the first place. Oh and by the way her book advance is too big.

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04/10/2011

There’s No Such Thing as Easy in the Writing Biz!


Joanna Penn is one of my favorite mentors and I have learned a great deal of insight from her. Two days ago she had a guest post on her Creative Penn site by Grant McDuling titled “Write For A Living In Seven Easy Steps”

While reading this post, two things struck me right off…First, I thought, NOTHING is easy in the writing business world; unless it happens by accident, it seems!

And second, after Mr. McDuling lists his seven easy writing steps (which I respectfully disagree with as being easy and are much too broad and generic), he goes on to say (and rightfully so) that “Launching out on your own in business – any business – takes courage and a great deal of faith in your own abilitiesJohn’s Note: and here comes the kicker: But it also takes a whole lot more; money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness. But there’s another absolutely important ingredient that no university, school or college teaches, and that’s ATTITUDE. You have to think of yourself as a businessperson and not a writer. You are a businessperson whose business happens to be making a profit – through selling words.”

All true enough. But even MORE true is Mr. McDuling’s statement about it taking a lot more than intimated in the seven easy steps…and included in this “more” is money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness…The money part is especially true. 

I loved the post, though, because it got my juices going!

Write For A Living In 7 Easy Steps (from the Creative Penn):

This is a guest post from ghostwriter Grant McDuling. You can also listen to an audio interview with Grant on making 6 figures as a writer here.

As a full time writer, I get asked so many times by all sorts of people what it takes to give up the day job to become a full time writer. This was a question I too had pondered long and hard years ago.

You see, I had been dabbling in writing since a school boy back in the 1960s and always felt this inner urge or compulsion to write. But as time went on and I grew up, realizing this goal became harder and harder because I found myself going down a path I didn’t want but had to pursue because commitments came along that had to be tended to. Commitments like paying the rent, buying food, paying off a car, to mention but a few.

The road to becoming a full time writer seemed to be an impossible one to follow — until I couldn’t resist the urge any longer and decided to do something positive about it.

My experience in the business world convinced me that, if I was to be serious about it, I would have to treat writing just like any other business. I was going to have to set about developing a plan of action.

This I did, but mostly by relying on non-business-like behavior; a healthy dose of enthusiasm mixed with gut feel and a liberal sprinkling of trial and error got me to the point where I at least had a system to work with. And it was a system based on business lines.

This gave me the courage to take the proverbial plunge, and I have never looked back.

So what was my system?

In simple terms, it consisted of 7 basic steps:

(1) Take control of your own future. Here I am referring to assuming responsibility for your own future. And become accountable. Have a plan to get rid of debt. You can read more about this in my Kindle book Write for a Living in 7 Easy Steps

(2) Getting into the writing profession needs the right ATTITUDE. It’s about seeing yourself as a professional writer.

(3) Become a PRACTICING writer. Just like lawyers or doctors are in private practice, so too must you be. Understand and make use of the principle of leverage to achieve more with less. Syndication is a good example here.

(4) Concentrate on sales and marketing. Understand that, as a practicing writer, you should be spending around 50% of your time on sales and marketing.

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03/31/2011

Build Your Platform or Write Your Book? Which is the Chicken and Which is the Egg?


Should I spend time building my online presence or writing my book??

Recently I joined Ditchwalk (Storytelling in the Digital Age), an intelligent, well thought-out and written site…And tonight, it’s content hit me like a ton of sheep shit! It nailed me for the procrastinator-in-denial that I’ve become.

 Mark Barrett is the author of Ditchwalk and, while exploring the question of how much time and energy should be spent on building an author’s online presence as opposed to actual writing and writing production, he philosophizes on using platform building (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc) as an excuse to procrastinate on actual writing.

He exposed me in my own mind instantly!

I agree with Mark that you do, in fact, need something of an online presence…but, how much and at what time (before or after you write your book).

Mark has an incisive viewpoint on this writers conundrum and I am happy to direct my visitors to his wisdom:

Platform Evolution

Here’s a graph from my Twitter Quitter post:

A basic premise of independent authorship is that authors should establish their own platform in order to reach out to readers and potential customers. I believe in that premise. What constitutes a platform, however, remains undefined.

Implicit in the idea of an author’s platform is the creation of an online presence. Because the internet has become commonplace it’s easy to forget that an independent platform for individual artists would be impossible without it. (Prior to the internet an artist’s platform was limited by geography. Bands were limited not by their music but by their touring range.) While the advantages and opportunities provided by the internet are astounding relative to the pre-internet age, the internet is still a communications medium devised by human beings, with inherent strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding how the internet works in a business context is an ongoing process. Two days ago the New York Times put up a paywall, attempting for the second time to derive revenue from its own online platform. (The first attempt failed.) That one of the most prominent newspapers in the world is still struggling to monetize content despite almost unparalleled visibility and economic muscle is a reminder to everyone that the platform question has not been answered.

Depending on your perspective, the tendency of the human mind to cherry pick information can be seen as either a bug or a feature. In the context of online platforms, it’s easy to see successes like iTunes as indicative of potential and promise when it’s actually the result of a unique set of circumstances. Finding gold in a stream may spark a gold rush, but only a few people will stake claims that literally pan out. The internet is no different. As I noted in a post about the future of publishing:

In return for making distribution almost effortless and almost free, the internet promises nothing. No revenue. No readers. Nothing.

Possibilities are not promises. Possibilities are chances, which is why I always say that writing for profit is gambling — and gambling against terrible odds. Determining what your online platform should be, and how much time you should devote to that platform, is an important part of nudging the odds in your favor.  

Lowering the Bar
Platform-services consultants, like marketing consultants, will always tell you that you can never do enough. Because the time you can devote to your platform is limited, but the time you should devote is infinite, these people will offer to bridge that gap on your behalf, for a fee. Because the internet is driven by technology, and because anything less than a cutting-edge platform means you’re falling short, platform consultants will also offer to sell you myriad apps and solutions, all of which they will teach you about, maintain and upgrade for a fee. (The New York Times was convinced by these same people to spend $40 million dollars on a paywall that can be easily circumvented.)

Approaching your platform as a vehicle of infinite possibility constrained only by your own feeble lack of determination is a recipe for failure. You do not have an infinite amount of time and resources to devote to your platform. Even if you did, there’s no guarantee that such a commitment would equal success. From part IV of my marketing and sales series:

In the real world, if you really did grab a pick and shovel and head out into your backyard to strike it rich, your friends and family would rightly think you a loon, no matter how deeply felt your convictions were. Why? Because it’s common knowledge that gold isn’t plentiful everywhere. Rather, it’s concentrated in veins of rock or in waterways that hold gold from eroded veins of rock.

If you try to dig in the wrong place it doesn’t matter how much time or money you spend, or how cutting-edge your tools are. You’re not going to get any gold even if you have infinite resources. Because the internet obviates geographical limits it seem to negate all limits, but as the NYT’s second attempt at a paywall makes clear that’s not the case. The internet is not an infinite vein of gold waiting to be exploited if only you’re smart enough to pick the right mix of apps, site functionality and marketing techniques.

(This false premise echoes the happiness industry’s determination to blame everyone for their own failings. If you’re not a happy person it’s your own fault: stop whining and try harder. If your platform isn’t racking up clicks and sales it’s your own fault: stop whining and try harder.)

Read and learn more

03/23/2011

Tablet Computer World to Explode to 200 Million/Yr Sales by 2014!


More Tablet Computers Coming!

Good news for writers and publishers…but a vastly more crowded dance floor for the Apple iPad.

Why is this good news for writers and publishers?

Simply because of the HUGE rebirth in the popularity of reading that the tablets (as well as the singular e-readers such as Kindle) have generated.

AND, the resulting demand for constant new content.

PLUS, the ease and speed of access to books and all other written media COUPLED with the ever-increasing streamlining of the actual publishing process.  

I have some numbers tonight that will rock your socks! A study conducted by PRTM (PRTM = Pittiglio, Rabin, Todd & McGrath, by the way) claims that there are 104 tablets currently for sale or in development. With 17 million tablets sold in 2010, PRTM forecasted 200 million tablets to be sold annually for 2014!

How bout them figures? 

Stefanie Botelho writes these details in FOLIO magazine: 

Tablet Market Expands With New Competitors

Samsung and RIM will release tablets within the next four months.

RIM and Samsung have announced release dates for their versions of the tablet computer, with the RIM Blackberry Playbook on sale on April 19th and the new Wi-Fi version of the Samsung Galaxy tablet line launching June 8th.

Both companies are looking to grab a hold of a piece of the iPad-dominated tablet market. Apple’s second version of the iPad was unveiled in San Francisco on March 2nd, and shipped March 11th. Reportedly, Apple sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010.

The RIM PlayBook will feature a 7 inch screen, Flash compatible video and front and rear cameras. The 16GB version will be available for $499, a 32GB for $599 and a 64GB with a price tag of $699.

The PlayBook will have Wi-Fi capabilities, but they cannot utilize 3G without being connected through a Blackberry phone.

Read and learn more

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02/06/2011

Publishing, Writing and the Super Bowl


Well, the super bowl is under way! I have been watching much of the pre-game festivities and would like to take advantage of a small teaching moment.

All interested in publishing and writing should look at this huge media event as a learning lab…and it’s FREE! Pay close attention to the writing and production of the great commercials that surface with the super bowl presentation.

The great writing, camera work and special effects on the E-Trade Baby ad and the Michael Douglas narrative on the history of the two “blue collar” teams and their relationship and values to our own country’s growth, through good and bad times, were edgy, sharp and great examples of good writing and production values. 

Whoa!!! Green Bay just scored another touchdown!!! So far the odd makers are on course.

Anyway, good people, keep your eyes peeled on the rest of the advertisement writing and any production dialogue at halftime…You just might learn something new.

Now BACK TO THE GAME!…After all, it is the main event…

01/21/2011

Discovering the ‘REALLY One Best Idea’


A little levity today…BUT, levity laced with a learned-lesson.

Thinking of the REALLY-Best-Idea

Brevity is beautiful. Cutting to the point fast and accurately is genuinely genius.  Knowing the point to cut to, or be brief and accurate about, is another matter!

Having a “really one best idea” is essential. Distilling all the peripheral, barking thoughts into one concrete, clearly expressible idea is a valuable talent that Greg BrownFOLIO magazine, has some thoughts about:

10 Reasons Why You Should Never Write a ‘10 Reasons’ Article 
I am declaring the end of list articles. So read my list article about it.

Would you start a speech to a business audience with the dictionary definition of some word, as in “Webster’s defines ‘procrastination’ as…” etc?

You wouldn’t dream of it. The cliché to end all clichés, right?

Well, bad news. The “list” article is dead, too. I am declaring it dead with my very own list which, if we’re at all lucky, will be the very last one to appear on the Internet. Ever.

Here goes:

No. 10: It was a dumb idea when magazines did it to death 10 years ago. Now look where they are.

No. 9: You don’t really have 10 good ideas. You have maybe two, three at a stretch. Why push it?

No. 2 through No. 8: See reason No. 9.

(Drumroll, please…) And here’s No. 1: Way, way too many marketing people are dumping these list articles into social media.

See, I had one good idea: People should stop writing list articles. Their currency is shot, their meaning has vanished. Cliché.

Read and learn more

11/14/2010

The Myth of the Lonely Writer – More on NaNoWriMo

Filed under: John R. Austin,NaNoWriMo,writing,writing marathon — gator1965 @ 7:26 pm

On 8 Nov 2010, I posted an out-of-the-norm view RE NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writers Month) on my Writers Thought for the Day Blog.

Tonight I’m posting more prestigious poop on the NaNoWriMo on this blog.

This editorial from The New York Times Opinion Pages:

Word After Word After Word

November is National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps you know that already. Perhaps you’re trying to reach word 23,338 by night’s end. If you don’t know NaNoWriMo, think of it as a literary marathon with nearly 200,000 mostly amateur writers. The goal? To write a 50,000-word “novel” in 30 days.

“Novel,” in NaNoWriMo-speak, means “laughably awful yet lengthy prose.” What began in 1999 with 21 friends has grown into a nonprofit called the Office of Letters and Light, whose purpose is to get people to throw their literary inhibitions aside, work within a communal deadline, and have fun.

This enormous coterie of writers had produced nearly a billion words as of a couple of days ago. (In 2009, the total was nearly 2.5 billion.) At the end of the month, writers upload their work for a word count. Last year, slightly more than 19 percent of NaNoWriMo writers won, which proves just how hard it is to keep up a pace of 1,667words a day, even if they’re laughably awful.

Read and enjoy more

11/12/2010

Just Opened this WordPress Blog!

Filed under: writing — gator1965 @ 8:42 am
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to all!

Until I get the time to complete construction of this wonderful blog platform please visit my other writers blogs:

Writers Welcome Blog http://alturl.com/4z88  (available on Kindle @ http://alturl.com/xymdy and Writers Thought for Today http://alturl.com/tnap (also on Kindle @ http://alturl.com/t3pkp)

Thanks and good writing

07/14/2010

New Law to Protect US Writers and Publishers from Libel in Foreign Courts

Filed under: freedom of expression,freedom of speech,the Speech Act,writing — gator1965 @ 7:52 pm


Have you ever wondered how our American right to freedom of speech and expression is protected overseas?

It wasn’t…But, it is now, or at least it is just a few clicks away!

This interesting report is from the guardian.co.uk by Paul Harris in Los Angeles:

American legislators have moved closer to shielding US authors, journalists and publishers from libel tourism in foreign courts.

A bill already known as the Speech Act – or the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act, to give it its full name – has been passed by the Senate judiciary committee. It is intended to hamper efforts to sue Americans for libel in overseas jurisdictions where rules governing freedom of speech are less strong.

Many places, including Britain, currently have stricter libel laws than the US, leading to libel tourism, where plaintiffs search for a jurisdiction most likely to be sympathetic to their case. Some human rights campaigners and legal scholars saying the practice is used by the rich and powerful to stifle dissent and criticism. The growth of publishing on the internet has sparked fears that libel tourism will grow rapidly in coming years.

The American bill – if passed by the full Senate – will make it difficult to impose any judgments made in foreign courts on US nationals if those decisions are seen as hurting their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. It would allow defendants to obtain a US court’s judgment that the decision was not enforceable under American law, and would protect the assets of American citizens falling victim to libel tourism and not allow them to be used to pay damages.

The bill is based on a state law in New York that was passed after the American author Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote a book on the financing of terrorism and was sued for libel in London by a Saudi billionaire. In a blogpost, Ehrenfeld has said the bill is vital for opposing libel tourism. “[It] will help deter libel tourism and secure Americans’ right to speak, write and publish freely to preserve the safety and integrity of our democracy,” she said.

The bill got cross-party support and was sponsored by Republican and Democrat senators. “We take seriously the challenge of getting this right – to be respectful of foreign nations, many of whom are allies. But at the same time we could have a major detriment to the right to publish and speak freely in America if we don’t confront this problem,” said Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator.

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