2015 Writing Goals: Where Do You Stand?

If you are like many writer’s, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Each week in January I offered tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year. (Be sure to check out the previous weeks’ posts if you missed them.) Now that the end of January is here, I think it’s a good time to look back at the goals you set and evaluate where are you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you accomplished the goals you set for January?
  • Has your vision for your writing project changed?
  • Do the goals you set still seem realistic?
  • Are you still motivated to accomplish your goal?
  • What obstacles have you faced so far?
  • What excuses have kept you from writing?

Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Consider what you need to change in order to be successful throughout the year. It’s okay to change your goals to make them more achievable.

I encourage you to do this check at the end of every month throughout the year. Hold yourself accountable, and re-evaluate your goals. Make changes that will help you be successful. Remember, writing is a marathon, not a sprint.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

The One Sentence that Will Help You Become A Professional Author

If you are like many writer’s, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Well, I’m here to help. Each week in January I will offer you tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year, and I encourage you to continue reading my posts every week throughout the year for inspiration, advice, and news that will help you become a successful author. (Be sure to check out the previous week’s post about setting writing goals and writing tips.)

This week, I’d like to share one simple sentence that can help your dreams of publishing come true: I am a writer.

Unfortunately, many people don’t consider themselves “writers.” The reasons are countless:

  • They’re embarrassed.
  • They’ve never published any of their work.
  • They haven’t wrote anything recently.
  • They don’t write materials that most people ever read.
  • They’re afraid of how people will react.
  • And other silly and unjustified reasons.

Chances are, if you are here reading this blog post, you are a writer! It’s time you squashed your fears and excuses and start telling yourself and the world “I am a writer.” Hold yourself accountable for your dreams. Act like the writer you want to be, and you will become that person.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

How to Be a Better Writer in 2015

If you are like many writer’s, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Well, I’m here to help. Each week in January I will offer you tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year, and I encourage you to continue reading my posts every week throughout the year for inspiration, advice, and news that will help you become a successful author. (Be sure to check out last week’s post about setting writing goals.)

This week, I’d like to share some tips that will not only help you achieve your goal of publishing but will also improve your craft. Here are six tips that will make you a better writer this year.

1. Follow your heart.

Don’t worry about what is popular right now or stress over what readers will think of your work. The best writing comes from the heart, and you will be more fulfilled if you write what you are passionate about.

2. Step outside your box.

To learn and grow, you must try new things. Experiment with a new genre. Develop a character that is vastly different from your normal characters. Visit a new place. Try a new food. Listen to a different band. Be willing to take risks in both your life and your writing.

3. Treat it like a job.

Stop waiting for inspiration and start writing every day without excuses. You may not love what you write everyday, but at least you will get words down on paper. You can always rewrite later, and most people find the words start flowing once they just sit down and start writing. You’ll never be a published writer if you never actually write.

4. Read. Read. Read.

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, for adults or children, the best thing you can do for your career is read! Read everything. Books, magazines, newspapers. Read various genres. Read top sellers as well as indie authors. Read about the subject you write about. Read about things you’ve never heard of. Read books for children. Read the classics. Read as much as you can.

5. Rewrite as many times as you need.

Most first drafts need a rewrite. Many second and even third drafts could use a rewrite. Don’t feel so pressured to complete your manuscript that you settle for less than your best, but be careful not to get so caught up in perfection that you never finish.

6. Unplug.

When you are writing, editing, researching, or brainstorming, unplug. Log out of your social media sites. Turn off the TV and cell phone. You’ll be surprised how much more productive you’ll be by following this simple tip.

I’d love to know, what is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Here’s to 2015, The Year You Publish a Book

If you are like many writer’s, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Well, I’m here to help. Each week in January I will offer you tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year, and I encourage you to continue reading my posts every week throughout the year for inspiration, advice, and news that will help you become a successful author.

So let’s get started.

The first thing you must do if you want to accomplish your goal is break it down into smaller, more manageable and measurable tasks. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed, getting side tracked, and losing inspiration.

I find it helpful to have a calendar in front of me when I complete this task to help with setting deadlines and factoring in events that may impact my writing goals.

Now ask yourself these questions:

1) How much time do I need to dedicate to writing each day, week, or month?

2) When do I want to complete my first draft?

3) How much time do I need to edit my first draft?

4) What tasks besides writing (i.e., researching, marketing, etc.) will I need to complete?

5) When do I want to start the publishing process?

6) How will I fund my project?

7) What will help me be successful?

Using your answers to these questions, write down small, measurable goals for your project and put them some place you will see them often. Be sure to periodically check your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

I’d love to know, what are your 2015 writing goals?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

What is Sales Annotation ?

Many writers tell me they don’t know what an annotation is. What they don’t realize is they are already very familiar with annotations, they just never knew what they were called. To help clarify this sometimes confusing topic, here is what you need to know about sales annotations.

What is an annotation?

An annotation is also known as a wholesaler’s summary. It is the sales copy that will be used for online descriptions on retail sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so it is an important component to selling your book.

How do you write a good annotation?

It’s best to make this description as persuasive and comprehensive as possible. Take advantage of the maximum length allowed by the website, which is usually around 4000 characters, including spaces. It’s a lot, but these 4000 characters are what will convince many online shoppers to either buy your book, or someone else’s. Also, SPELL CHECK YOUR WORK before submitting it.

What is the difference between Back Cover Copy and Annotation?

In many cases, annotation copy can be exactly the same as your back cover synopsis, but in some cases, you may have reason for it to be different.  Keep in mind that people who shop for books online will see this information about your book long before they see your back cover text. In fact, in many online cases, this will be the ONLY information available about your book as they decide whether to buy it.

To help you decide, here is a description of both.

BACK COVER COPY

  • Restricted by the size of the book’s back cover
  • Three main components: 1) the headline, 2) the synopsis or marketing copy, and 3) the author biography
  • Can also include quotes, cover blurbs, or other testimonials about either the book or the author
  • The back copy should be composed with the goal of getting a browser to become a buyer.

ANNOTATION

  • Used by Ingram during the distribution process
  • When the book is listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website, it’s the annotation that fills the PRODUCT DESCRIPTION/OVERVIEW section.
  •  Restricted in length, although very often can be substantially longer than the Back Cover Copy
  •  Should be as long and as detailed as possible, perhaps requiring multiple headings to separate elements of the annotation.
  • Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the capability of understanding basic HTML formatting tags, so judicious use of several tags can help an annotation really stand out.  Two specific tags that should be used are the BOLD tags and the italics tags, both of which can help draw a reader’s attention to specific words and phrases within the annotation.
  • Bullet point and numbered lists are good here, too.
ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

How to Get Your Self-Published Book into Big Retailers

When most people dream of becoming an author, they image their book displayed on the shelves of their favorite bookstores and picture readers picking it up, looking at the cover, flipping through the pages. They imagine the smell and feel of their book in print. Despite the popularity of ebooks, there is just something magical about a paper book.

Many people think self-publishing only means creating ebooks and selling books online, but choosing self-publishing doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of seeing your book in print in big retail stores.

So how do you get your self-published book one of those highly coveted spots on the large retailer shelves? The short answer: one step at a time. These step-by-step strategies can get you closer to your bookstore goals:

  • Start with online and in-person sales. Sell at book fairs, on your social media sites, at local events and any place you can set up a table and take payment.
  • Market your book. Set up a clear plan for marketing and publicizing your book so you can gather interest and increase sales.
  • Establish that your book is desirable. Track every sale and look for patterns of growth. This information is appealing to book retailers.
  • Use those sales figures. Once you’ve established that you have, or are heading toward, positive sales trends, start talking to local bookstores, seeking a commitment to carry your book.
  • Tailor your product. Armed with your bookstore commitments, work with your self- publishing company to change your trade discount and retail price and add retail returns, so bookstores can carry your book.
  • Expand to larger markets. Put together a proposal to submit to bookstore contacts and approach larger markets about getting your self-published book on their shelves.

Getting into big retail stores can be a difficult process, but if you keep your eye on the big picture and work consistently toward your goal, it’s doable.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

How to Find Time to Self-Publish During the Holidays

The holidays can be a hectic time of year, and you might be considering putting your self-publishing project on hold until after the craziness of the season calms down. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the holidays more if you cut back on the chaos and make time for what you love. Here is how I recommend finding time to work on your self-publishing project during the holiday season.

1. Shop online.

Save time and money by shopping online. Instead of waiting in long lines, you can spend your extra time working on your project.

2. Create your wish list wisely.

When people ask what you want for the holidays, think about what will help you accomplish your self-publishing goals. Could you use a childfree day to finally finish editing your manuscript or a gift certificate towards your publishing package?

3. Don’t overbook.

The holiday season should be a time of joy and creating memories with family and friends, but most people end up stressed out because they overload their to-do list and calendar. To save your sanity and find time to write, don’t feel obligated to say yes to every social event and take a long look at your to-do list. Cross off what isn’t necessary or important to you.

I’d love to know, what are your tricks for finding time to work on your self-publishing projects during the holiday season?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.