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
When it comes to writing a book or ebook, I know a lot of people tell me they have trouble getting started. That and finding the time are the two biggest obstacles I hear about. I know for me, the reason I often have trouble getting started on a new project or even “dedicating” the time, is that I don’t have enough information.
Writing a book or ebook is a monumental task to most people, so they never get started. However, my job as a ghostwriter, copyeditor, coach, and educator is to continually share information about how to write books and ebooks so you can jump these hurdles. If you’ve followed my blog posts or subscribed to my email list, you’ve been constantly educated!
Now, education isn’t the answer for everyone. If I teach you how to write a book or ebook, you’re now in the DIY category, which means you have to Do It Yourself. And for some of you, that’s perfect. You like to take on new challenges, you’re a decent writer, and you can carve out the time. Also, it may be a more economical path for you.
However, if you’re the DIFY type, that means you prefer to have others Do It For You! This category is for those who just can’t make the time, don’t like to write, and enjoy having someone help them with the process.
At WritersWay, I cater to both types. For the DIY, I have my special report, my emails, my blogs, my teleclasses, and my ebook to educate you. Most of these are no- or low-cost.
For the DIFY, I have my ghostwriting and copyediting services, as well as new coaching services I just launched. From a 90-minute jump start to weekly check-ins, everything you need to get your book done is available. Check out my new services at www.WritersWay.com/services to see if there’s one that’s right for you.
No more excuses in 2011! This is the year you WILL get your book or ebook written. Let me know how I can help.
Andrea Susan Glass
I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned over the years that New Years’ resolutions rarely work. Someone once suggested I use the word “commitment” to replace “resolution”. For what we commit to we most often achieve.
Don’t you find that when you commit to meeting a client or friend at a certain time, you show up? Whether in person or on the phone. I know I keep my commitments to others as it builds responsibility, integrity, and loyalty. Now, ask me if I keep my commitments to myself, and I’ll tell you I don’t keep them as much as I do to others.
Are you the same? Why is that? Are we any less important than the other people in our lives? Of course not! But we often put others’ needs ahead of our own. So if committing to certain actions to achieve specific goals doesn’t always work for you, then what will?
I know Wayne Dyer suggests using the word “intention” rather than goal or commitment. I heard a minister one time suggest the word “promise” as the best way to get something done.
What will work for you? Think about this. Is it just the word or is it what the word means to you? For each of us, it will be a different word, that has a different meaning—one that will move us to take action, sometimes the actions we’d prefer not to take—that will finally allow us to achieve our goals and dreams.
Say your goal is to write an ebook this year, especially since you wanted to write one last year but didn’t! What will motivate you to take the actions necessary to get it completed this year? I know for me, when I’m bullheaded about getting something done—whether it’s to find the right color towels for the bathroom in my new home or the best graphic designer for the cover of my ebook—I persist until I get that sense of accomplishment.
Where are you bullheaded in your life? Take that experience, those feelings, those thoughts, those actions, and apply them to the goals you want to achieve this year. Decide if commitment, intention, or promise is the buzzword for you, and adopt it this year. Make this the year you achieve all you desire. I know I will!
Happy New Year!
Andrea Susan Glass
Are you excited that a New Year is here? I am! Time to wipe the slate clean of the past year’s challenges, celebrate the successes, and set new goals for the year ahead. But, if you’re like most people, by the end of January, a lot of those goals have fallen by the wayside, lost in the “busyness” of life and the “business” of living!
So what can you do to have better success with achieving those goals? And since my business is writing, I’d especially like to see you succeed with your writing goals.
Did you say you wanted to write a book (or ebook) last year? Or start a blog or ezine? How many years have you been saying that? If you’re like me, I’m sure you have a few goals that seem to carry over from year to year.
I’d love to support you in achieving your writing goals. All it takes is to get crystal clear on what they are and then plan the strategy to achieve them. I use an Excel spreadsheet or a Word table to plot out my goals.
- Write the goal
- Enter the expected date of completion
- Outline specific action steps
- Estimate costs
- Identify team members I’ll need for support
Here’s an example:
Goal: Write workbook
Date: March 31, 2011
Action steps: Set up time to write and put it in calendar; outline workbook content and format; gather content from other sources; write; send it to editor; format; get cover design; produce.
Costs: Editing: $350; Cover design: $150
Team members: Editor, graphic designer
With these tips, I’m confident you’ll achieve your writing goals this year. And if you need support or encouragement, I’m easy to reach through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org and through the contact page on my website at http://www.WritersWay.com/contact.
Happy New Year! Happy Writing!
Andrea Susan Glass
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