Ah, we’re still not at Valentine’s Day yet, but creeping ever closer. I wonder if today anyone writes love letters to their beloved on Valentine’s Day. I wonder if the art of writing love letters, love notes, or even love poems has morphed into love emails and even love texts! We’ve come a long way baby—at least technology wise.
But I’m old fashioned—and fairly old at that—and I still like the longer ways of writing. I still have friends I write LETTERS to, yes, that’s right—LETTERS! And I still write in my journal from time to time. I even send thank you cards, birthday cards, and greeting cards by snail mail!!
What I think is even cooler, is my good friend Lynette Smith of www.GoodWaysToWrite.com who embraced the whole idea of writing treasured letters to loved one. How cool is that? It all started when her son got married and wrote her and her husband a letter of thanks for raising him to be the man he is today. Lynette got to thinking about the Lost Art of writing letters and set about to change that.
So she created booklets that would teach people how to write treasured letters to loved ones. Her first 4 booklets are wedding themed: writing to your husband, wife, parents, and children when they marry.
I was her first customer as my brother was just getting married to his second wife. I’m not sure if they even read the booklets, but I think they’re brilliant. First of all, when you write a love letter, your note will stand out from the barrage of emails, texts, or whatever way you usually communicate and your receiver usually gets communications. Second, you can take your time when you write a love letter, rather than rushing through a quick email or even quicker text.
So take a look at www.GoodWaysToWrite.com and think about who in your life would be thrilled to know how much you care for them. What a great Valentine’s Day gift—an old fashioned love letter.
Andrea Susan Glass
I love the idea of theme of the month, because when you write as much as I do, the theme gives me a place to start and helps reduce writers’ block! And I also like talking about writing with a purpose, because it helps me focus on what to write about.
So back to the theme of the month: Writing from the heart. I feel that when you write from your heart, you’re writing with a purpose; but is it your purpose or your readers’ purpose? And are they two different things? I think they are.
As I’m sure you’re aware, everything you write has a purpose. If you write an email to your mailing list, your purpose is to stay in touch with your audience, letting them know what you’re up to, and providing valuable ideas. So YOUR purpose is to stay in touch, and the purpose for your READERS is to keep them informed.
Now, if you write an article to submit to article directories, your purpose is to spread your expertise over the web so people will contact you to find out more about your services and/or products. Therefore, YOUR purpose is exposure and to attract business, and your READERS’ purpose is to gain valuable information.
And when you write an ebook, your purpose is most often to educate readers in your area of expertise, as well as to make a profit. So YOUR purpose is to make a profit, and the purpose for your READERS is to gain information for education or to solve a problem.
The clearer you are about the purpose of your writing, the more effective you’ll be at reaching that purpose—both for yourself and your readers! When you connect with your purpose, you’ll connect with your readers. They’ll get what you’re communicating and respond accordingly.
My purpose in writing blogs is to share my knowledge in the area of writing books and ebooks so my readers will accomplish their purpose of writing their book or ebook. Please send me comments to let me know if these blogs are helpful.
It’s my purpose to help you achieve your purpose. Connect with your purpose and you connect with your readers
Andrea Susan Glass
As I continue with my Valentine’s theme, I wonder if you’re practicing writing from your heart after reading my previous posts. And, whether you are or you’re not, I wonder if you think about who you’re writing to and for when you write your business communications.
It’s true, maybe some of your business writing would not be appropriate for writing from the heart. That’s why it’s so important to be clear about who you’re writing for when you write emails, ezines, articles, blog posts, tweets, and any other business communications. Even with books and ebooks, you must know your target audience, your ideal reader.
See, not everyone will respond the same way to the same message. What that means for you is that you’ll have to tweak your writing to different target markets. Say you’re writing a memo in a formal business environment; writing from the heart may not be all that well received. Of course, you’ll want to write honestly, but you may want to tone down the personal connecting that you would do when writing to a friend.
Suppose you’re writing an email to your mailing list. You need to be clear about who they are, what they want, and what you want to accomplish. For example, most of the people in my database are aspiring or existing writers/authors. They want as much information as possible about writing books and ebooks, and I want to establish a connection so I’m trusted and respected as an expert and authority.
Therefore, writing from the heart connects me on a personal level with my audience, and writing valuable content connects me on a professional level where what I say will be taken to heart! Yes, taken to heart because I come across as sincere in my desire to educate. So I sort of combine head and heart in this situation.
Communication is a two-way street, and you’re not communicating effectively if what you write is not being heard. So the more you know about your target market, the better you’ll be able to write to them so your message will be received—and you’ll be taken to heart!
Happy heart writing!
Andrea Susan Glass
This month my theme is to put heart in your writing. Writing from the heart may sound a bit woo woo for business writing. After all is there a place for this in emails, ezines, articles, blog posts, tweets, etc? I used to think a resounding “NO!” There’s no place for heart in business writing.
Then I started to get emails—way too many for my taste—from supposedly successful online entrepreneurs that always started with some personal story: my kids were at a soccer game; I just took a vacation to Costa Rica; my in-laws just came for a visit; and on and on. Personally, I’m a “just the facts please” kind of a person, so these emails bore me to tears.
But, wait, these people are truly successful—so they say—at what they do. These are some of the top Internet marketing experts. These are the people I SHOULD be following. Yet, I couldn’t see that MY list would be interested in what I ate for breakfast or where I took my last vacation (that would interest me since I can’t remember my last vacation!)
Yet, as I said in my last blog post, putting heart in my writing has always been a challenge for me, I guess because I’ve never resonated with it in other people’s writing. But I’m not really writing for me, am I? I’m writing for you, I’m writing for my target market, I’m writing for people who DO resonate with heart-centered writing.
So, buck up and just do it, I told myself. With my amazing business coach, Kelli Claypool, who is the warmest, most heartfelt, yet highly effective and professional coach, I’m learning to open my heart and pour it onto the page. You might want to do this as well and see what happens!
Happy heart writing,
Andrea Susan Glass
Since I write so many blog posts, it helps me to have a “theme of the month” so I don’t run out of ideas. Not that I usually do, as a full time professional writer! But, it can happen, even to the best of us. So creating an annual calendar of monthly themes for your emails, ezines, articles, blog posts, etc. can save a lot of time and conquer potential writer’s block!
Not to be too cliché, but I chose “Put Heart in Your Writing” as my February theme to coordinate with Valentine’s Day. And truthfully, I had no idea what I had in mind—I didn’t really—when I decided on that theme. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that putting heart in your writing is a great lesson for anyone who wants to get more results with their writing.
What I mean is that most of what we write—at least for business—has an aim in mind. To get results means you want the reader to learn a lesson, take some action, feel a feeling—whatever your aim is. With all the information we all receive on a daily basis, how do we even decide what to read? It depends on what our aim is for reading—information, entertainment, business, career, friendship…
So when writing has heart in it, the reader connects with the writer and is more apt to read the message, get the message, and get the intended result. Sharing from the heart connects, rambling from the brain disconnects. Putting heart in my writing has always been a challenge for me, but I aim to teach what I need to learn. I get to practice with my blog posts and you can follow this tip as well: just say what’s on your mind and in your heart with no walls between writer and reader.
That’s how you can put heart in your writing.
Happy Heart Writing!
Andrea Susan Glass
In the last 2 blog posts I talked about the not having enough to write about syndrome and having too much to write about syndrome. Now, when you’ve gotten past either of those, how do you know when the book is done? Good question. Not an easy answer.
This is a common problem for many writers because they may either be lacking confidence to know if the book is good enough or long enough or ??? enough. Or they may feel they still have so much more to say. Or they’re not totally sure if they’ve reached the goal for the book yet.
One answer to this conundrum is to send the manuscript to several people to read—either other writers, colleagues, friends, or people in your target audience. See if they get your message. See if they feel the book is “done”. Be open to the feedback. Actually, some of my clients are in writers’ groups where they get ongoing feedback as they’re writing their book, which helps them better realize when they’ve reached the conclusion.
Another answer is to trust your gut. As an accomplished writer of more than 20 years, I just KNOW when a book is done. I set author’s and reader’s goals up front and I can tell if I’ve achieved them. I also do several edits, some close up and some at a distance, and I can tell if there are any holes, anything left undone.
Also, if you write an ebook first, you’ll get feedback from buyers, hopefully, and then you can make adjustments to the “recipe”—add a bit more here, take out something from there. It’s easy to make changes to the ebook, so do that before you create a print book.
If anyone has any suggestions about how to know when a book is done, feel free to comment.
Andrea Susan Glass
Okay, some of you do have this problem—TMI—too much information. And it’s no surprise as we’re living in the Information Age. It comes at us 24/7 from all directions—and it’s awfully difficult to shut it down. At least we have to become discerning, as we just can’t take it all in.
So, sometimes one or more of my book clients will tell me the problem in getting their book written is too much content. Maybe they’ve been amassing ideas for years, waiting for that day when they’d find the time to write that elusive book. Or maybe they’re a research nut, like me, and they have all their stock in Google, because where would we be without it?
I do my best to help aspiring authors to overcome the “too much to write about” syndrome in several ways. I start with my 20 questions that helps to clarify what the book is about, the goals for the author and reader, and other specific details. Then we formulate the table of contents. They we decide about how long we want the book or ebook to be.
Then we look at where all the content is coming from. If it looks like there’s just too much information, I suggest that we may have more than one book here. Hey, a series is not a bad idea: just look at Chicken Soup and For Dummies. At this point we may plan out a series of books.
Additionally, this extra information can be used in articles, blog posts, workbooks, and other information products that can accompany the book or ebook.
But, if you’re still stuck with the TMI or “too much to write about” syndrome, I’ve been known to schedule a conference with the client and make the decisions for them. Well, someone has to move the project along, and that might be me.
Call me, if you do get stuck in this situation. I’m here to help.
Andrea Susan Glass
When you’re just starting to think about writing a book, you may be one of those who fall into the category o thinking you don’t have enough to write about. After all a book should be at least 150 to 200 pages or more and you can’t think of that much to say.
First of all, there are all sizes of books from 25 page picture and quote books to 1,000 page tomes. Nowadays, almost anything goes! And with ebooks, the whole world of writing has taken a 180 degree turn. I’ve paid upwards of $50 for a 35-page ebook, thinking I was getting the brilliant answers to life’s tough questions. So no matter the size of the book, it’s the sizzle that sells.
Second, if you have an interest, a passion, or an expertise in the subject you want to write about, I’ll bet you have more than enough to write about. You can go really niche and write about a very specific topic like teaching your parakeet to recite the alphabet or you can go broad on a topic like teaching any bird to talk. It all depends on what the market is asking for and how much information is available on the subject.
What you don’t know, you can either research or take in a partner or two; that is, get a collaborator or conduct a few interviews to get more content for your book. And we all know the success story of the Chicken Soup model of having other people write your book for you!
So, please don’t use the “I don’t have enough to write about” excuse any longer. Remember, it’s sizzle over size, every time.
Andrea Susan Glass
When I start working with a client who wants to write a book, we generally start off with the idea of writing a book rather than an ebook. For years, that’s been the norm; you want to write a book, you write a paperback or hard cover book.
Well, it’s not the norm any more. Since sales of ebooks have overtaken hard copy books at Amazon, I have suggested we rethink our strategy. And here’s the reason: it costs nothing to produce an ebook in terms of production and distribution costs. The only costs you may have, which you’d also have for a hard copy book, would be for the services of someone like me if you used a ghostwriter or copyeditor, someone to design the interior and cover for your book, and someone to upload it to your website and set up your shopping cart. And you may be able to do all that on your own and basically have zero costs to produce an ebook.
With a hard copy book you need to have it professionally formatted and a cover designed, then get it printed, and then have it distributed. The costs on these services varies but it will always cost you more to produce a hard copy book than an ebook.
So what I’ve been doing with most of my clients is producing the ebook first, because it’s a no-brainer. Write and design it in Word, save it as a PDF, upload it to your website—and you’re in business. Then you can send it to Amazon to get into the Kindle program.
I suggest that my clients get some feedback from buyers of their ebook, so if they want to make any additions or corrections, they can do that before they print the book. They can also experiment with some marketing strategies, so when they do print their book and they want to recoup the printing costs, they’ll have some marketing success under their belt.
Make sense? Feel free to share your comments, questions, and experience on this topic.
Andrea Susan Glass
My answer is always: it depends. On what? On what you plan to do with your ebook!
If you’re writing an ebook to give away–as an enticement to have someone join your mailing list, as a bonus when you sell another product or as a bonus to offer someone in a joint venture, or as a sample of your writing or your ideas–then 30 pages is enough. After all, it’s free, and you may want the buyers to buy a product or service from you, so you don’t want to give away the store.
Now, if you plan to sell your ebook for $17, $27, or even $47, then you need to give it some meat, and make it worth while. After all, you want to give the appropriate value for the cost and you want buyers to buy from you again, so you don’t want to cheat them.
I’ve seen really short ebooks selling for more than $50, and I’ve seen terribly written and poorly spelled ebooks that the author expects will lead to the next level sale, but this is cheating your audience. First impressions are lasting impressions, so I believe in giving value–all the time, even with your freebies.
It’s a jungle out there, and if you want to build your business and make a name for yourself online, make your ebook long enough to say what you need to say, and give the value to make customers clamor for more.
Let me know if this all makes sense to you!
Happy ebook writing!
Andrea Susan Glass
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