Do you ever feel like a failure as an author? Today, we have a special interview with New York Times bestselling author Jessica Lahey who wrote the book on failure - literally!
She wrote the book: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.
Thankfully, she was willing to take out from her busy schedule touring, speaking, and signing books to share some of the things she has learned along the way, and how you can be a success even through failure! Want more great tips? Follow Jessica on Twitter!
Why did you start writing?
I’ve always written, as far back as I can remember. I always fantasized about being able to “Be a Writer” when I grew up, but I kept writing the entire time. It wasn’t until I got my first (unpublished) book under my belt, and started writing about teaching that I really found my voice. I think the combination of loving writing and loving teaching, and the ability to combine these two loves, resulted in some really fertile ground for me.
You write about failure - what would you consider your biggest failure?
My book, The Gift of Failure, only came to be after a significant re-write. My editor informed me that my first draft was not publishable, that my book needed a lot of work, and maybe I’d need help re-writing. I asked her to give me a few chapters, to let me show her that I could re-write the section myself, and then talk again about getting help. I then asked her to give me all of her feedback—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and believe me, she didn’t hold back. I wrote everything down, pages and pages of edits, and got down to work on those first chapters. It was such hard work, mainly because I had to admit to the flaws in my writing and my organizational shortcomings, but she was right. When I’d finished those chapters, she let me continue on with more, and finally with the entire book, and I have never been more proud. That book is the product of enormous failures on my part, and a whole lot of lessons learned.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
It’s my dream job, really. I love formulating a question, or having an interest in something, then diving into the research that allows me to get at answers. I love the writing, of course, but the research is a big part of what I love about writing. I ask, and I read, and I interview. It’s like going to college to learn about some new field, then moving on to the next one after that.
And being able to work in my slippers. That’s pretty great.
What do you wish someone would have told you before publishing your book?
I have a lot of writer friends who briefed me on the stuff I could not have anticipated on my own. I’ve been talking about this book for four years, and when I go to a speaking event, it’s all new again for the people in the audience. My former New York Times editor, K.J. Dell’Antonia and I have a podcast about writing, #AmWriting with Jess & KJ, and we talk about that a lot. It may be exciting when you first have a great idea or go on to write a book about it, but if you are lucky, you will be living that topic for years. You’d better love the topic, because you will be talking about it for well beyond the book publication date.
What is the number one thing you see authors do wrong when trying to promote themselves and their books?
There are so many things authors can do to promote, and one person can’t do them all. Be strategic and focus on the things that are actually effective. For example, I am very active on Twitter, because educators use Twitter more than any other profession. Facebook, however, is less effective for me as a marketing tool. I look at my traffic and know where my readers are coming from. I don’t waste my time on social media that’s not going to reach the people I need to reach. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and let the promotion take over, but somewhere in there, the reader has to get done!
What is something fun about you that most people don't know?
I’m pretty forthcoming, so between my writing, interviews, and podcasting, most of my weird predilections and embarrassing foibles are out there for public consumption. I have a thing for collecting animals and if I did not have to spend so much time on the road, I’d likely have a full-on hobby farm up here in rural New Hampshire. It’s only due to my husband’s insistence on keeping our menagerie down to manageable numbers that don’t have a yard full of goats, sheep, pigs, alpacas, guinea hens, ducks….well, you get the picture.
Today, I decided to take a little time and answer some questions from an author about how to get started. Quick questions, and quick answers, though some of these we may dive into at a later time in more depth!
Q: My niche is a small niche. Should I be trying to broaden my appeal?
A: It all depends on what you mean by small niche. And also what your long term business plan is. If it is only several hundred readers, but you know every single one of them will love what you write and buy every single book, and you can write a series, then it could still be sustainable. Also, think about revenue beyond just book sales. Are their classes, workshops, events, or other things that you could do to serve that same audience? Generally speaking, as long the niche is big enough, it is a good idea to stick with it. Most authors make the opposite mistake of trying to go too broad and ending up not speaking to anyone. People fall in love when you touch on the deepest parts of their thoughts and feelings, and as an author you simply can't do that effectively for everyone all the time at the same time.
Q: What are your thoughts on Kindle Select?
A: It can be a good tool, as long as you use it strategically. Some questions to ask yourself are 1) What are my long term goals? 2) What are my plans for promotion? 3) How will I track results? I have had authors who loved Kindle Select, and some who hated it. Make sure you read all the fine print and fully understand what you are getting into, then if it is a good fit - go for it!
Q: Should I be sending people to my website or Amazon?
A: Generally speaking, as long as you have an effective high converting website, then by all means send them there. If your website is not good at capturing leads and turning visitors into repeat visitors and buyers, then fix that first and send people to Amazon in the meantime.
Q: Should I independently publish, or work on getting an agent to traditionally publish?
A: This always comes down to the questions what are your goals and what is your purpose in publishing? Some people prefer to have more control over their work. Some feel they need some guidance. Neither is wrong. Know that either way you will be responsible for a lot of the work of promoting your work!! There is no magic button out of marketing your book if you are an author - even when you have a traditional contract.
What questions do you have? Ask them in the comments below and we can answer them in a future post!
Before Writing Your Book
Most people wait until their book is done to even think about social media. This is a huge mistake and means you will miss some of the best opportunities to promote your book. Here are some things that you should do as soon as you start writing a book:
While Writing Your Book
While writing your book is a great time to make connections with influencers who can help promote the book once it launches, as well building buzz and anticipation for the release. It is also the only opportunity you will have to involve your readers in the creation process and help them feel a sense of ownership of the book. Here are some of the things that you can do:
After Publishing Your Book
Now the real work of promotion begins. If you have laid a good foundation during and before writing your book, it will make this step easier. You still have to schedule time, be committed and consistent, and most of all fearless. It can be a scary thing to put this creation of yours out into the world. This is the true test. Give it all you've got so it has a fair shot!
This is of course only the tip of the iceberg. There are about as many ways to promote a book as their are to write one. The most important thing is that you understand that book promotion is an integral part of the creation process, and something you should do from day zero!
What about you? How have you used social media to connect with your audience? To help promote your book?
Want to be a writer?
Forget spelling, and learn selling.
About a thousand years ago, around the time I failed all my English Language exams at school, I gave up my dreams of being a writer.
I was sixteen years old, a little bit teary eyed, walking home from school (this was in the days when kids could walk) and I thought to myself “oh well, I guess that’s that, I’m too thick.”
I didn’t tell my mum and dad when I got home, partly because they didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, but mostly because they had never realized how dumb their youngest child actually was.
The rest of my exam results were rubbish as well if I’m honest, and things weren’t looking good for me in the long term.
“You could go back to school and take them again?” my mum tried her best, and if I’m honest I did go back to school to try again.
I lasted three days, then I quit, and got a job working fixing roofs on houses.
It was cold, oh god was it cold, I lasted the winter but I can still feel that cold.
I became a salesman in a jewelry store because it was warm.
I sold jewelry to old ladies who probably weren’t going to get much wear out of what they were buying, but I was good at it. So good that little old ladies, who would normally have ran away from the me (I was a Punk Rocker) would get the train thirty miles because their friends had recommended me.
I loved those old ladies, and they loved me, we flirted, flounced and giggled for twelve months and I’d probably still be there if the boss had given me the raise I thought I was due.
I went and sold a million things, the years passed by and cars, watches, sand, bricks, timber, trucks, clothes, truck parts, car parts, roof tiles, floor tiles, even underwear and perfume, I sold the lot.
The punk rocker from Liverpool travelled the world selling his wares and himself. And then one day I thought I’d had enough, and I sat down and sold myself in an interview and became a cop.
I don’t know how it happened either, but there you go, I was a cop.
Weirdly, I found being a cop was pretty much the same as being a salesman, you just talked to people all day and got them to trust you.
If you were honest and believed in what you were saying people came along for the ride (although in fairness I never had to roll around on the floor with anyone who wanted to buy a Cartier watch) if people bought you, they believed you, they’d do what you asked them.
Life was good.
Then it wasn’t.
I was living in a car with a dog and a broken life.
The only good thing was that I had the chance to start again.
So I did, and this time I didn’t quit.
This time I followed my dream and I fought for it.
I became a writer.
I thought my last big sale would be me and my book to Harper Collins, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m working harder at sales now than I ever did when I flogged pants (and trust me, selling expensive pants is tougher than you’d think, there are only so many times you can use the word “gusset” in a five minute conversation before it starts getting weird.)
People don’t believe me when I say writing the book was the easy bit but it is true. When you’re writing a book all you have to do is sit and please yourself, midnight hours and a lonely life with nothing but characters and coffee to keep you company?
That is a doddle.
The hard part is when you are pleasing the public.
I’m learning as I go along, but all those years of pants and truck parts, all those years of Cartier and cars, all of it has given me a better chance than where to use a past participle (I put that in there like I even know what a past participle actually is.)
Writing is about selling.
We might not like to admit it when it’s dark outside and you’re on your tenth cup of coffee as you wrestle with a verb.
But it is.
When people ask me for advice on how to become a writer I tell them pure and simple.
Learn to sell underpants, it’ll stand you in better stead than whether or not the comma in this sentence should have been a semicolon.
You spend months, perhaps years writing your novel, perfecting the plot, and revealing your characters. You know that you have the perfect novel, but how do you convince the reading world that this is true? How do you get your prized novel before thousands of readers, whom you are certain will rush to buy thousands of copies?
When I thought my first novel was ready to publish, I had no idea what to do next. One of my patients mentioned that she had an agent and was preparing to publish an historical fiction novel. She gave me some hints about how to get started and I took the bait. Today the methods are slightly different, but the principles remain.
No matter what method is used for publishing, the critical ingredient is to make your book the best you can, before you send excerpts or manuscripts out. Assuming you have done this what is next?
As a novice author, there is an uphill battle to find a publisher. We all have “comfort zones,” and publishers are no different. Authors who are proven best sellers are more attractive to them. Nevertheless, they also look for new blood. A well written, unique idea may spark the interest of a publisher. My recommendation is to begin with “Writer’s Market” or similar publication. Now, both a book, and a subscription service, this resource lists most of the publishers in North America. There are variations of the basic resource that focus upon specific genres as well. Publishers are listed alphabetically with a great deal of detail. This contains information necessary for submissions by authors. In particular one can find out whether a publisher accepts manuscripts from new authors. Specific genres are indicated, and the publisher’s website is available for even more detailed information.
Step 1: Make a List
Make a list of publishers who accept new authors, publish your genre, and meet any other criteria you may have. I like to rank them. You may have your own idea of criteria. I chose small to medium sized companies which focused upon fiction and literature. I ranked geographically nearby companies higher (though this didn’t pan out). Often the royalty rate is listed and is typically about 8%. Time to printing may be included (it may take up to 2 years for your book to go to print).
Step 2: Do Your Homework
From the publishers’ websites glean what is required for submission. Often there is a web form to fill out with specific requirements. Expect the following as a minimum:
Query Letter (a letter with a short description of the book, a brief bio, the title and genre of the book, why your book should be considered)
Synopsis – a longer description of the book, like what might be included on a back cover
Author Bio – promote yourself
Book Excerpt - from a few chapters to the entire manuscript (usually via email, but some still require printed manuscripts)
Social Media Platform – today the greater your presence the better
The publisher will want to know, to whom your book should be directed? Who is your audience?
Some publishers expect you to do marketing of your book. They may ask for your marketing plan.
I used Writer’s Market, online searches, and The Christian Writer’s Market to search out different publishers. I found many who were not even accepting new authors and the bigger ones only work with agents. Each submission takes a lot of time, but I eventually sent out about 30 submissions.
Step 3: Consider Hiring an Agent
Consider obtaining a literary agent. There are many reasons to consider this option:
They are paid a portion of the royalties as their compensation. Beware agents who require a large upfront fee. I tried to find an agent, but after about twenty enquiries I gave up. I received no responses.
Step 4: Create a Timeline
Choose a reasonable timeline. If you don’t hear back from any agents or publishers within 6 months consider Plan B (though 6 months is not unusual).
In the meantime, keep writing. Perhaps start on the next book. Blog, build up your social media presence, drum up support from family and acquaintances.
Plan B may be to consider self-publishing. My timeline looked like this:
Total - 3 ½ years from putting “pen to paper” to a printed paperback
I was more patient than I can believe. My first reply was a poorly copied form letter thanking me for my submission, but “no thanks.” I heard back from less than 50% of the publishers to whom I sent submissions. I was about to give up and explore self-publishing when, after 1 full year, I received a letter from Comfort Publishing, a small company in North Carolina, indicating that they were interested. The sent me a contract, I signed the contract and I worked with them to get my book published.
Step 5: Sign the Contract
What happens when you get the call? Once a publisher has decided they like your book they will offer you a contract. Some things to expect:
My experience with the publisher is the subject of a longer discussion. My publisher did a great job of helping me get the book into top-notch shape. However, once it was published it was very difficult to get information. It took 1 year from the signing of the contract until my book was in print. They had a marketing person, but I received little information about what was done or expected for marketing. It was a thrill to have a publisher. I had my books on the shelves of several bookstores and in the libraries throughout my state. I received an 8% royalty, but the payments were sporadic and I was given no details or statistics about sales. Publishers can make your life easier, but they are in this to make themselves look good. They did not pick up my next novel, so my last two novels have been self-published.
Rivka's Note: This is a guest post from the talented author Nicholas Rossis. You can learn more about him and his books at the end of this post.
“Should I Publish Traditionally or Go Indie?” This is a question I head surprisingly often, especially from new authors. I always tell people that both are valid ways, and advise them to pursue a traditional publishing contract first, if that's what they want. However, they should not stop at that. Instead, they should keep their options open, should they fail to get a contract.
Personally, I’m a hybrid author. A short story and a book of mine have been traditionally published, but I have also self-published six books, four of which have become Amazon best-sellers. So, I’m quite familiar with both means of publication, and have had plenty of positive experiences with them. Which is probably why it distresses me when traditionally published authors or publishers attack Indies and vice versa.
Opponents of self-publishing usually levy two charges against it: that there is no quality control, and that Indies will swamp the market.
The first one is called the tsunami of crap argument, referring to the bad-quality books that Indie authors have, supposedly, unleashed upon unsuspecting readers. However, I have yet to come across a truly dreadful Indie book. So far, my experience has followed a traditional Bell curve – i.e. some books have not been to my liking, some I have loved, and many were in between.
As this has been my experience with traditionally published books as well, I have so far failed to find a connection between the publishing model and my enjoyment of a book. What publishing companies usually do well is proofread their publications. However, they tend to streamline authors into a homogenous set of “rules.” For example, editors often come up with rules for each genre that are stifling and lead to boring, repetitive books. The same applies to writing.
Indie authors, on the other hand, can be as creative as they like. This has been a hit and miss affair. When it works, however, it allows for works that bristle with creativity.
The second charge against self-publishing is that, with everyone becoming a writer, we will run out of readers. This reminds me of a common fear a few years back, when I kept reading articles on how the Internet was bursting at the seams and we would soon run out of bandwidth, domain names, servers... You name it.
What these articles failed to take into account is that, any system growing rapidly, will also have more resources at its disposal. The millions of people joining the Internet fed its expansion. As a result, we now have ever increasing capacity and millions of unused names.
The same applies to books. For example, ever since I published my first book, I have been reading at an exponential rate. I can only hope that everyone becomes a writer, as this creates a whole new generation of readers!
As for the quality charge, why don’t you read my children’s book, Runaway Smile, online for free and make up your own mind?
That was it. Not what they wish would have been different. Not even what they hated so much. Just that I sucked.
This was the feedback I got after a recent webinar I did. Of course, I did get several more e-mails stating that they loved it, the material was life-changing, it made them think, they got lots of great actionable information, best webinar ever, etc.
But that one negative two-word comment stuck in my throat like a pebble in one's shoe.
If you are creating anything at all and it is being consumed by someone other than your mother and your best friend, chances are good that you have gotten a negative review or two. Whenever the subject of getting book reviews comes up, people always bring up negative reviews and ask what to do about them. Having been on both sides of negative and positive reviews (the reviewer and the scrutinized), here are the five things I would recommend.
1) Be Objective
This is probably the hardest thing of all, but essential if you want to improve. If the comment is simply hateful without anything helpful, it might really be them, not you.
But if you are getting all negative feedback all the time, or multiple people are making the same types of comments, or you are getting nothing positive at all, then take some time to figure out what is going wrong.
Usually one of two things are happening.
A) You are attracting the wrong people.
If you write romance novels and keep asking people who love sci-fi what they think you are going to get a disproportionate number of negative reviews that have little to do with your actual work. Make sure the people you are asking are "your" people.
B) There are legitimate issues.
Does every single review (even the ones that are positive overall) mention typos? Then go back through and see what needs to be fixed. Are people having trouble reading it because the font is too small? Easy to fix. This may be an opportunity to find the things that you can fix and make better.
2) Get Perspective
Sometimes it can be hard to figure out whether A or B is happening. This is where perspective is so important.
For me, I went to a Facebook group that I am a part of with other online marketers and asked about normal levels of negative feedback. The suggestions, ideas, comments, and encouragement were phenomenal. It helped me get back on my feet, brush myself off, and feel confident about continuing to move forward.
The important piece here is to get perspective from the right people. Ideally people who have already been successful doing what you are trying to do. You don't want people who will just be blindly positive or negative, but are able to give balanced and somewhat objective feedback.
If you are not a part of a writer's group, mastermind, or other supportive community, I highly suggest you find one (here is one option if you are looking). This can be the difference between success and failure in more ways than one.
3) Don't Feed the Fire
Emotions (good and bad) are a bit like fire. Feed them and they will grow. Ignore them and they die out.
I once received a book for my children's book review blog that I felt had some significant problems with the story. When I wrote the review I tried to point out every possible good thing that I could, while still being honest about my concerns. The author flipped out. She told all her friends and family about the review and they came and posted nasty messages to me on my blog. She posted about it on social media which brought even more people to see what all the fuss was about.
In the end, my review of her book started coming up number one as a search result for her book - definitely not the kind of publicity that she wanted. Ironically, because she spent so much time and energy on the negative review it became the most prominent thing about her book with the most interaction.
The lesson? If you get a negative review, reply once if you feel you need to correct a concern, but try to give it as little attention as possible while being polite and helpful to actual customers.
4) Shake It Off
As the Taylor Swift song says, sometimes you just have to shake it off. If dancing like a crazy person with your kids to pop music (ahem) doesn't help, find something that does. Whether it is a calm bubble bath, calling that person who always has nice things to say about you, or doing some yoga, find a way to recenter and release the negativity. And then move on.
5) Bury It With Good
The absolute best way to deal with a negative review? Get so many awesome ones that the bad one doesn't matter.
That is what we are going to be talking about in this week's free webinar: Getting Book Reviews That Matter. And if that title sounds familiar, it is because it is! I am doing an update to the video I did on this topic a couple years ago with all the latest and greatest.
When you attend the webinar you are also going to get a template e-mail for requesting book reviews, a spreadsheet to fill out with possible reviewers, and a daily checklist of activities to do each day to get more book reviews that will take you 15 minutes or less every day!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Thursday, January 15, 2015 @ 1pm EST
(Can't make it? Register anyway to get the recording!)
This is a guest post written by indie author Scott Barlett. Thanks Scott for sharing so many great tips about maximizing your results!
What if there was a social network whose users were all book readers? What if there was a cost-effective way to bring your book to the attention of hundreds, if not thousands of those readers?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Goodreads giveaways.
I tend to think of Goodreads as Facebook for readers. If you haven’t set up an author page on Goodreads yet, I recommend you do that, lickety-split.
Holding a giveaway on Goodreads will cost you:
That’s it! And a significant portion of the people who enter your giveaway will end up adding your book to their ‘to-read’ shelf.
As a result of the four giveaways I’ve held to date, a total of 1,843 Goodreads users have added my books. That makes the cockles of my heart toasty-warm.
Another reason I run these giveaways is because generating interest in your books on Goodreads makes them more attractive to advertisers such as BookBub.
Why is that important? Well, without getting too sidetracked, another tool I use to promote my books is the Kindle Countdown Deal. When I have one of these, I seek to use advertisers like BookBub, Ereader News Today, and Pixel of Ink to spread the word.
The three I’ve mentioned are among the biggest, and they turn down most book deals submitted to them. If your book gets traction on Goodreads as well as Amazon, they are that much more likely to accept it for a promo spot.
How to Maximize Your Giveaway
How to get the most out of a giveaway on Goodreads? I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, and by now I’ve tested a few different approaches. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1) Only offer 1 copy
Thinking it would generate a lot more interest, for my first giveaway I offered 15 copies of my medieval comedy novel Royal Flush. 1,984 people entered that giveaway, which was certainly a success.
But shipping all those books, not to mention giving away the copies themselves, proved quite an expense. So in my next giveaway for the same novel, I offered only 3 copies. This time, 1,033 people entered.
I offered 20% as many copies, and received 52% as many entries. Not quite as much interest, but much more cost-effective.
And in my next giveaway, for my contemporary novel Taking Stock, I only offered 1 copy. That netted 1,010 entries.
Lesson learned: holding several giveaways with 1 copy at a time is much more powerful than having one big one with multiple copies.
2) Have an attractive cover
If you’re poised to have your first Goodreads giveaway, this point is probably well past its expiry date. But it’s relevant nevertheless. Having an intriguing cover that immediately communicates your book’s genre is important for a giveaway’s success, and of course for a book’s success overall.
3) Open your giveaway to every country
Since you’re only giving 1 copy, in my opinion this is well worth it. Making your giveaway available to everyone, worldwide, will amplify your exposure significantly. Sure, postage could get a bit expensive if you’re shipping to somewhere on the opposite side of the globe, but even if it ends up being $20 or more, I consider it money well spent.
How many other ways are there to become known to hundreds of people for such a small amount?
4) Choose unpopular start and end days
Goodreads giveaways are divided into four lists: Ending Soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors, and Recently Listed. The higher your giveaway appears on these lists, the more exposure it will get. The lists are in constant flux, as old giveaways end and new giveaways begin.
Appearing on the Popular Authors list depends on having lots of reviews, so if you don’t already have a strong Goodreads presence you’ll need to focus on the other lists until you do.
The Most Requested list is pretty straightforward: you rank highly on it when your giveaway is among those with the most entrants.
You’ll have the most control over your ability to appear on the Recently Listed and Ending Soon lists. To accomplish this, you should choose start and end dates that few other giveaways are likely to share.
If you choose Christmas Day, for example, your giveaway will be drowned in a sea of other
authors/publishers offering their books. But if you choose January 17th, well, nothing much tends to happen on January 17th. If only 15 giveaways begin that day, and yours is one of them, for 24 hours your giveaway will appear in the top 15 of Recently Listed.
5) Pay close attention to your giveaway’s description
This is arguably as important as your book cover when it comes to attracting entries.
How to structure your description is a matter of debate. Some hold that it’s best to begin with quotes from reviews/readers. Others say you should start right in with a synopsis.
Either way, make sure this is attention-grabbing copy. If your book description on Amazon and elsewhere doesn’t already shimmer and glow with all the polishing you’ve done, you should probably spend some more time polishing before using it on Goodreads.
Pay even closer attention to the first line of your description
The very first line of your giveaway description should be something about how the winner will receive a signed copy: “SIGNED COPY” or “AUTOGRAPHED COPY,” maybe with some asterisks thrown in on both sides for good measure:
If, however, there are other things that make your giveaway special, you should mention them in this first line as well.
For example, of all the giveaways that began on the same day as my most recent one, the only one that was more popular than mine had the following first line:
**Signed 1st Edition Hardcover – 9 Giveaways Remaining**
I don’t know what the “9 Giveaways Remaining” bit is about, but otherwise it’s pretty clear what
makes this prize unique. “Signed 1st Edition Hardcover” sounds way cooler than just “Signed.”
If there’s something similarly special about the copy you’re offering, say so!
6) Promptly mail the winner’s book
We are authors who want to maintain a good relationship with both our readers and Goodreads. We are professional. Of course we’ll have the book in the mail shortly after a giveaway’s end date!
7) Include a handwritten note
Handwritten notes are extra meaningful, nowadays. Slip one just inside the cover of your book, thanking the winner for his or her interest, and offering congratulations on winning.
Also: humbly request that he or she honestly review your book on Goodreads upon finishing it.
I recommend viewing the advice I’ve offered here as a starting point. You are a different author, who writes books that are different from mine, and you will be listing your giveaway at a different time. What worked for the giveaways I’ve discussed here may not work for yours.
Relying solely on received wisdom is unwise. For instance, during the research I did to prepare for my giveaways, I read that it’s best to start your giveaway description with quotes. Yet the giveaway in which I implemented that advice (my latest one) received the fewest entries.
Here’s another example: my research indicated that it’s often better to keep a giveaway’s duration brief, in order to appear on the Recently Listed and Ending Soon lists in quick succession. And yet, the briefer I’ve made my giveaways, the fewer entries I’ve received.
For my next giveaway, I will likely be reverting to my original giveaway’s length: one month.
It will take a few giveaways to determine what works best for you and your books.
Last night I went to a meeting, got pizza for the kids so the babysitter didn't have to cook, came home, made a couple phone calls, put the kids to bed. It was only Tuesday, but felt like a loooonnng week already. Staying up until midnight every night to update the website for the Authors Dojo launch and still getting up at the same time each morning while going non stop in between was taking its toll.
I decided to just rest my eyes for a minute or two. The phone rang. I slept through it. My 11:50pm alarm went off to get me up. I slept through that too (and all the snoozes). Finally at 4:30am I kind of woke up in a very groggy state, and went right back to sleep.
The result is that all the work that should have happened in my "after the kids are asleep" work time didn't. And your NaNoWriMo tips for the day didn't go out. And the page didn't get updated.
But I am guessing that maybe you might be dealing with this too, so let's not ignore it, let's talk about it! Are you at the word count you should be by now? Do you have other goals that have been missed and you are not sure how to get back on the boat? Having fallen down many, many times in my journey of life, here are my top three tips for getting back up again.
1) Face it. I could just ignore the fact that I didn't send an e-mail yesterday and continue with business as usual. Probably no one would notice. But I find dealing with slip ups head on is best for everyone, including me.
2) Get started again as soon as possible. So what if you only have 100 words written. Or 1,000. You can make it up 99% of the time. And at least that often it is not a life or death situation. My kids were fed, the world kept spinning, my house didn't fall down. Did I possibly miss some opportunity to connect with you, yes, but life is amazing in that opportunities to succeed just keep popping up for our whole lives. The longer you wait and the more energy you spend stressing about the past (which you can't change) the longer it will take to get back on your feet. So go get writing!
3) Make a plan to fix systems that are broken. Are you telling yourself you will write 2,000 words every day, but expecting that time to magically appear in your daily schedule? Not. Going. To. Happen. If I am going to cut my sleep to 5 hours at night, I must take a nap sometime in the day to make up for it. Yes, as a single mom with a business I like to think of myself as super woman, but the reality is that I work better with sleep.
Now, go get writing! And don't forget, Tweet me your word count to @AuthorSensei and I will give you a retweet. And definitely don't forget that a lifetime membership to the Authors Dojo goes up to $80 at midnight tonight (I am not going to sleep again!). Get in there while you can! :-)
As always, we love to be a part of the excitement. This year we are starting it off with a fun online Kickoff event before the official writing starts. When you sign up, you will also get: