Successful novelists wear multiple hats

By Denise Turney

For many novelists the days of only writing great stories is over. Not only do novelists work hard to get their manuscripts in front of literary agents and publishing house editors, they also have to market their novels to readers. It makes the process of creating spellbinding books harder and harder.

Challenges today’s fiction writers face

Let novelists work full-time from home and they might also write non-fiction content for business clients. Types of content they might develop include press releases, blog posts, product descriptions, white papers, case studies, radio and television ads and magazine articles. During slow book sale months, it’s not surprising to see novelists spend more time creating non-fiction content than they do working on a new novel chapter.

As Suzannah Freeman shares at Writer Unboxed, novelists also juggle families. Suzannah says, “But, just because I’m ‘staying-at-home’ doesn’t mean I don’t work. In addition to all my normal mommy duties, I run a blog and regularly write for other blogs, write short fiction (some published) and novels (not published yet), and dabble in freelancing.” Pat Rice shares at Novelists Inc., “Stop the Promo, I want to get off!”

Another novelist says, “And in this whirlwind of busy-ness, while I am damn thankful to have two fine, well-respected editors requesting me to write these two Amish series…I really wonder sometimes if I’ll just STOP one day.”

To keep pushing forward, creating page turners, and generate enough money to pay the bills, novelists can work part-time jobs. They could also work marketing jobs, something that gives them sharper skills to advance their writing careers. Selling ads on their websites or blogs and interviewing book industry specialists for a fee are other ways novelists can start generating enough money to keep the hawk away from the door without totally abandoning their artistic passions.

So they don’t get off track and stop writing novels altogether, novelists should develop a schedule and stick to it. For example, they could write on a new novel chapter early in the mornings, before they start tackling other work, or they could knock out novel writing at night. One day a weekend, novelists can write for three or more hours on a new book. If they stick to their schedule, they should be able to write a new novel once a year.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Sources:

http://writerunboxed.com/2012/01/08/8-busy-moms-who-published-novels/

http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php/archives/2-busy-2-write

Funding the Early Stages of a Writing Career

By Denise Turney
Your dreams of striking it big as a writer might take a few months, or years, to manifest. Before your dreams manifest, sitting in front of a computer screen, creating cliff hanging scenes, may not generate enough income for you to pay all your expenses. To keep moving forward, you’re going to have to find a way to fund your writing career.

Ways to Generate Income as a Fiction Writer

Some obvious ways you can fund the early stages of your writing career include getting a full-time or part-time job or starting an online business and selling digital products or services. If you want to have enough time to continue developing interesting novel plots, unforgettable characters and engaging dialogue, consider getting a part-time job. You could also start freelance writing for business clients, people who are looking for professional writers to help them market and sell their products and services.

Other steps you could take to fund the early stages of your writing career are:

  • Blogging (setting up your own blog using platforms like WordPress, Bravehost, etc. and adding affiliate ads to your blog so you can start earning money)
  • Teaching writing courses (you could teach a writing course at a local community college or you could start your own online writing course, asking attendees to pay a fee to attend webinars, etc. you lead)
  • Advertising business products (if you start your own radio show, you could reach out to businesses and establish marketing arrangements with them where they pay you a certain amount of money a month to advertise their products or services on your radio show)
  • Writing non-fiction articles and feature interviews for magazines, newspapers and journals (resources like Writer’s Digest, The Writer’s Market, Literary Market Place, Media Bistro, Journalism Jobs, etc. post writing job openings)
  • Edit other novelists’ manuscripts (I know of a few people who have earned money doing  this; it’s another way to stay close to writing while you earn an income)

Each of these steps does more than help you start generating additional income. The steps also allow you to continue to use and sharpen your writing skills. For example, if you worked as a copywriter, you could earn $50 an hour, developing banner ads, print ads, brochures and blog posts for clients. As you complete your writing assignments, you could also learn new ways to work with editors and strengthen your time management skills so you always meet deadlines. You could also discover new ways to market your novels, something that will definitely benefit you as you continue to move your writing career forward.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

 

Busting Through Writer’s Block One Word at a Time

By Denise Turney
There may be no greater barrier to your creative flow as a writer than lack of confidence or self-criticism. You’ll end up spending an hour writing (or trying to write) a single paragraph. It’s frustrating sitting in front of a computer, staring at a mostly blank screen, while, at the same time, you’re brimming with enough determination to write a full length novel in less than a week.

So, how do you bust through writer’s block? How do you put a stop to hours of typing, deleting, typing, deleting? For starters, you stop self-editing during the creative process.

There will be time for that later.

For now, to push past writer’s block, focus on writing, getting your ideas to paper (or a computer screen). That’s right. Start writing or typing whatever surfaces in  your mind. Not only could you leap over writer’s block, you could also unearth a great novel.

If you’re still struggling with writer’s block after taking the above steps, here are a few other steps you could take to get rid of writer’s block.

  • Re-write a passage from one of your favorite magazines
  • Write down the words to a popular song
  • Review the last book you read, writing down benefits readers could gain from reading the book
  • Describe each season in two sentences or less
  • Join a writer’s discussion group, completing group writing exercises
  • Refer to a “story ideas” book, completing writing prompts listed in the book

There is no better way to get past writer’s block than writing without critiquing your work. Remember, you can edit your work later. For now, just get your ideas on paper.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

 

Measuring Book Marketing ROI

By Denise Turney

Staff at book marketing companies aren’t shy about telling self-published authors that they have the skills and experience to help increase, perhaps significantly, a book’s sales. In fact, if you’re a self-published author who has been publishing your own books for five years or more, you’ve probably crossed paths with book marketing staff members who tried to sell you on the idea that, by working with them, you could sell enough books to afford to write full-time.

Measuring Book Marketing Companies Work

If you believe the hype, you could end up plunking down several hundred or several thousand dollars for press releases, newsletters, brochures, websites and social media book marketing campaigns that don’t yield results. This is just one of the reasons why it’s good to do your homework (before you contract with book marketing companies) as a self-published author, to get references and check page rankings for websites and press releases book marketing companies have worked on.

To avoid throwing money away on book marketing campaigns, you can also start measuring book marketing return on investment (ROI). In fact, it’s a good practice to measure ROI on all marketing steps you take. Some tools you can use to measure book marketing ROI include:

  • Customer Surveys (be willing to accept feedback you receive from customers)
  • Statistics (i.e. website stats, email marketing stats)
  • Google Analytics (track where visitors coming into your website from, how long they are staying at your website, your website pages visitors click over to most, etc.)
  • Number of interviews you land following the publication of press releases, etc.
  • Google Feed Burner (use to monitor the impact of your blog and website feeds)

Tools to Measure Book Marketing Efforts With

Perhaps most importantly, you can measure changes in your book sales. For example, you could check your BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com book sales rankings. If you have an account with Ingram Books (a major book distributor), you could also check your monthly sales processed through Ingram.

In addition, if staff at book marketing companies run social media marketing campaigns for you, consider checking the increases in followers and social media comments and questions you receive. Dragon Search offers a free tool to measure the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns. The tool measures factors like the cost per employee, social media marketing training employees have received and the amount of time employees spend on social media marketing.

Not only could measuring book marketing ROI save you money, it could also help you to spot opportunities for improvement and growth. It could alert you to areas of your book marketing campaigns that you should tweak, stop or focus on more. Measuring book marketing ROI could also keep you from deceiving yourself into believing that, just because you are working hard, you’re yielding good results.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Sources:

http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/marketing-sales/2012/07/09/7-tools-for-measuring-your-marketing-roi/ (Fox Business: 7 Tools for Measuring Your Marketing ROI)

http://www.smbceo.com/2010/12/16/social-media-marketing-roi/ (SMBCEO: 7 Tools for Measuring Social Media Marketing ROI)

The Magic You’ve Been Waiting for Has Always Been Yours

By Denise Turney

Book writers aren’t the only people who eagerly wait for the muse to arrive before they sit down and start creating. Musicians, songwriters, painters and . . . dare I say it . . . entrepreneurs also wait for the muse to strike before they make a decision or take action.

Waiting for the muse to strike, for magic to happen, might increase the likelihood that you’ll be successful at something. When the muse hits, your confidence might soar, causing you to feel as if you can’t fail.

However, waiting for magic to happen, could also put you behind the eight ball. In fact, it could paralyze you, leave you stuck between the best choice and the worst choice.

The good news is that the magic you might have been waiting for has always been yours. The muse you’ve been waiting to strike has always come from within you.

The challenge, at times, is figuring out how to tap into this muse. Some ways you can access the magic that’s inside of you are:

  • Trust the source of all life
  • Meditate (quiet your ego, so you can finally start hearing from your core, your authentic self)
  • Enjoy being outdoors for at least one uninterrupted hour a day (i.e. a walk, swimming, bike riding)
  • Soak in a bubble bath
  • Sit in a comfortable sauna
  • Brainstorm (sit down and start writing about things you want to appear in your life now, paying attention to what surfaces)
  • Engage in a relaxing conversation with family or friends (relaxation does wonders)
  • Keep a dream journal (dreams reveal a lot about what’s going on in our subconscious minds)
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Pay bills before you sit down to create, so your mind will be clear (the less you have on your mind, the better)

Get ready to do some exploring! Test various choices and actions, seeing how your subconscious responds to the stimuli. Be open to change. Be willing to continue trying new things until your core starts breaking through all the junk the ego has been shouting for days, perhaps years. The better you get at breaking through, the more magical your life may feel, not to mention the improvements you’ll see in your creative work.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Exposing the truth about writer rejection

By Denise Turney
Enter the world of a writer. Fuzzy, cloudy thoughts about an impending success that’s most certain to come, millions of book readers finally seeing what great talent the writer has always possessed. A willingness to forego parties, movie nights and long weekend getaways just to have time to finish another novel chapter – it’s a writer’s inner world, a choice a writer makes over and over.

Some writers pour hundreds, even thousands, of dollars into book marketing, steadfastly hoping to get their book in front of larger numbers of people. Add to that the fact that, for a writer, work never ends, ideas, plots, characters and twists surfacing in his or her bright, creative mind at all hours of the day or night.

Is it any wonder that a writer takes it personally, as if an editor or publisher just punched her in the stomach, each time she receives a rejection letter? As if that wasn’t enough, far too many rejection letters that writers receive are ‘canned’.

If a writer looks deeply enough, he could walk away with this glimmer of hope. He could recognize that, perhaps, an incredibly busy editor or publisher didn’t even take the time to read his manuscript. In that case, it’s so what about the rejection letter. Or the writer could come to the conclusion that the rejection letter does no more than group them with the other 99% of writers who submitted a manuscript to the same editor or publisher.

Get enough rejection letters and it’s not surprising for a writer to start doubting that she chose the right profession, perhaps even forcing the writer to conclude that, for her, novel writing will never be more than a hobby, despite fantasies and daydreams that declare just the opposite. After all, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 26% of novelists and non-fiction writers only write on a part-time basis.

Of note, 68% of writers are also self-employed. Additionally, the lion’s share of the writers reported on by the Statistics Bureau are non-fiction writers. Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, corporations, marketing agencies and public relations firms are types of organizations many of these writers create content for.

Although non-fiction writers don’t generally have to read through a rejection letter the way a novelist does, non-fiction writers (especially those who are self-employed) do deal with job proposal rejection. It’s these points that make it absolutely necessary for a writer to have a tough interior if he plans to stick around long, possibly writing his way into the top 10% of writers, creative artists who earned, on average, more than $109,000 annually as of 2010.

Of course, the highest paid novelists, people like J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, James Patterson, Stephanie Meyer, Danielle Steel and Ken Follett, pull in tens of millions of dollars a year. And, perhaps, it’s these novelists’ tremendous success that lends an air of hope, a belief in their own potential (yet unrealized) success that keeps many lesser known writers churning out one novel after another, laughing at the words printed a on crisp rejection letter.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

All writers should be wealthy

What a notion!  All writers are wealthy, absolutely loving life!

Talk about a wonderful world!  No writer gets her work rejected. Not only that, each writer receives no less than a five-figure payout for every single novel he writes. Oh, if it were only like that.

Have fun dreaming (or cashing those big checks, in case your a wealthy writer who has it like that!!) And if you’re just at the dreaming stage, here’s to hoping you soon make the leap to writing awesome, page-turning novels you genuinely love writing, novels that help you rake in the dough!

“Hang on, Snoopy!  Hang on!” Remember that song line?

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Valuable resources for women who love to read

By Denise Turney (author of Love Pour Over Me)
The Internet is packed with benefits, one rewarding novel connect after another. Websites, social media posts, e-blasts and digital newsletters have put a wealth of literary information at book lovers’ fingertips. At first glance, it’s like being planted in an oasis of book clubs, author interviews, book trailers, marketing slogans, author You-Tube video messages and free to low-cost print and e-books.

Perhaps at no other time in history has it been so easy to get in touch with your favorite authors. Gone are the days when you had to stand in line at a bookstore for one or two hours just to meet a writer whose books you’d read and absolutely enjoyed for several years. Now all it takes is the click of a button.

If you grew up in the 1970s or earlier, this might seem like a bit of culture shock. For younger readers, it’s the “norm”. No one’s as far away as they once appeared to be.

But, how do you know which websites, book trailers, author videos, interviews, etc. to check out? After all, you can’t see them all, just as you probably can’t read every book, even every book you’d love and appreciate. There is simply too much to choose from. You might as well settle in to the fact that you’re going to miss an incredibly large amount of good stuff, including books that could deeply inspire, motivate, educate and definitely entertain you.

We really are living in a time of great information wealth, great books being a tremendous part of this enriching data.

By sifting through all the data that’s out here, the time it takes you to discover life changing books can shorten significantly. In effort to help you sift through the massive amounts of literary data there is on and offline, I put together lists of resources that can benefit you as a book lover.

Book Clubs (some are great places to meet with other book lovers in person, make friends with people who share your passion and more)

Large Book Websites

Guides for Starting Book Clubs, Etc.

Book Festivals/Conferences Writers Attend (places where you could meet your favorite authors)

Enjoy visiting these and other book related websites, joining and participating in quality book clubs and finding and reading great books. After all, many great books are hidden, not featured in newspapers, magazines or even on websites. Finding these enriching, emotionally moving reads is like finding a rare jewel, a jewel you can treasure for years, perhaps the rest of your life.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! 

How to know if a book’s written for money or quality entertainment

By Denise Turney

Globally, more than two million books were published in 2005 alone. That’s a single year. Of that number, 328,259 of those books where published in the United States. It’s nothing new that writing and publishing books is one way you could become a multi-millionaire. What has changed over the years, especially with the Internet’s rising popularity, is the number of people who are penning novels.

Book Publishing’s Attraction

The sheer number of authors alone has taken a bit of luster off what it means to be an author. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear a friend, colleague or relative proudly exclaim, “I can write a better book than . . .” (Fill in the blank with a New York Times bestseller author’s name.

But, can anyone, regardless of their writing experience or storytelling skills, sit down and write a bestseller at the drop of a hat? Or better yet, should anyone write a novel just so they can become rich?

The quality of novels hitting the market may reveal that writing books for money is becoming increasingly attractive. For example, years ago it was hard, very hard, to buy a novel that had numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes in it. It was also very hard to come across a novel that switched point of view so many times that readers got confused about who was saying or experiencing what.

Read enough of these books and you could start to think that authors don’t respect readers. You could also start to think that authors are arrogant, of the belief that stories they create are so automatically awesome that only a dumb person wouldn’t see the greatness in the writing.

Signs a Book Was Written Mainly for Money
Besides being filled with grammatical and spelling errors, books that are written mainly for money may also be developed using a formula or pattern, are built upon cliff hanging scenes that the greatest sci-fi fan would have a very hard time believing, rely on shock to hold reader interest, have so many rancid sex scenes a gigolo would blush (which swings back to the shock factor), shy away from facts (some writers really do hate to conduct research) and more.

Yet, authors who aim for riches rather than to develop quality entertainment, stories that stir the human spirit and provoke deep thought, haven’t created this issue in a vacuum. They haven’t turned down the respect authors once enjoyed all by themselves. The push from book publishers, literary agents and editors to sell-sell-sell is no less responsible.

To reduce the risk of taking on an author who has the talent but not the marketing mindset or skill to sell thousands of books a month, publishers are starting to watch the self-publisher ranks. Once a self-published author sells 10,000 or more copies of a single title, it’s not uncommon for publishers to contact that author, asking them if he wants to work out a deal.

This is a near complete about face over how publishers acquired manuscripts decades ago, back when modern novels became classics. Back then, publishers, editors and agents hunted for talent, scouring through stacks of manuscripts in the hopes of finding a rare gem, a quality novel that introduced readers to complex characters, people whose experiences mimicked their own without, at first glance, appearing to.

Waiting for Great Quality Art
It remains to be seen what impact sales over quality will have on the book industry. Perhaps the impact will mirror the impact that less conscious songs have had on the music industry. After all, one thing is certain. Readers, like music lovers, aren’t dumb. They know quality entertainment when they read it.

While listening to an interview given by the music mogul, Clive Davis, I was inspired to hear Clive share that he was waiting for a conscious singer/songwriter, someone like Bob Dylan (and dare I say, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Diane Warren, Carole King and Nina Simone) to appear on the music scene. He’s not alone.

One great artist, an artist whose primary goal is to create quality entertainment, can set an industry on its end. In this regard, creating novels that aim to provide quality entertainment may help generate more profits for the book industry long term than books that are written solely for money.

Yes. There are risks. Books you pour months, perhaps years, of work into — writing and editing and writing and editing — may not gain many a large number of sells, costing you money. Yet, the risks may be worth it, especially if you genuinely love to write, respect reader intelligence and appreciate how great books you’ve read changed your life in remarkable, yet, generally unnoticeable, ways.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Penn Relays Sports Brillance

penn relays track and field
It’s hard to live in the Philadelphia area and not hear about the historic Penn Relays, an event that generally takes place mid-spring. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Mary Slaney, Carmelita Jeter, Michael Johnson and Vicki Huber are just a few of the track and field standouts who have competed at the world famous event.

Watching Bolt, Blake and the other Jamaican relay team members sprint ahead of all other relay runners is memorable. Their performance brings to mind Carl Lewis and the United States’ teams 4 x 200 run at the 1992 Penn Relays. Clearly, the sports tradition that originally kicked off in April 1895, doesn’t stop at spotlighting collegiate track and field stars. In fact, top high school and professional track runners regularly attend the Penn Relays over three to five days. Watching them in the stands, on a single day, can be more than 30,000 fans, adults and children filling the stands at the University of Pennsylvania stadium.

penn relays women run

This year’s schedule starts with Tuesday and Wednesday qualifying races. Thursday’s races being with women’s hurdles championships, followed by women’s high school hurdles. There are also Special Olympics and Master’s  track competitions. Field events include the shot put, pole vault, long jump, high jump, hammer throw and discus throw.

Although you can catch the Penn Relays on NBC and Universal Sports, there’s nothing like  attending the Relays in person.  Attend in person and you could see some of the world’s top track stars up close. If you’re passionate about running yourself, you could also note some warm-up, relay hand-off, block start and finish techniques used by the fastest runners in the world.

If you do attend the historic races, make sure you bring a digital camera as there will likely be dozens of experiences you’ll want to capture and remember. Who knows, you might even get the chance to chat with a competitor after the event has ended.

penn relays race

Another tip you’ll want to remember is to arrive at the Penn Relays early. If you’ve never been to the Penn Relays before, head for Franklin Field at 235 South 33rd Street. Traffic in and out of Philadelphia can get thick. The good thing is that there won’t be a Philadelphia 76ers or Eagles game to add even more congestion to area roadways. Check weather reports before you leave, making bringing an umbrella or raincoat just in case the weather changes.

Above all, have loads of fun. You might even leave the Penn Relays determined to begin a personal fitness regimen. If you’re a mature adult, you might even consider entering the Master’s competitions at future Franklin Field track and field competitions. Track and field . . . it has always been Raymond Clarke’s favorite sport. Learn about his sports exploits in Love Pour Over Me, a story that unveils the inner workings of a fictional world class track star, simply unforgettable.

To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today.