A 2-Minute Retreat for Writers

guided meditation for writers with anxiety

But first, the publishing stories worth reading this week:

6 Strategies for Getting Your Book Published (Chad R. Allen): This is a must-read post for nonfiction writers. Because it’s true: there is a very set, step-by-step formula for getting a book deal. That’s not to say the steps are easy, but if you stick with it and follow Chad’s advice, you will see agents and editors come a’knockin’!

20 Signs You’re the Biggest Book Nerd in Your Friend Group (Jen Harper on BarnesandNoble.com): “So you think you may be the biggest book nerd in your squad? We’re here to help you confirm it.” I have to say, none of these applied to me. I also have to say: that’s a complete and utter lie. I am guilty, guilty, guilty.

The Top 4 Secrets to Keep Book Sales High Post-Launch (Chad Cannon): “One of the biggest misbeliefs I see in the publishing world is that you can push a book into the marketplace with an awesome launch plan…and then just call it done. The reality? Marketing is never done.”

100 Must-Read Books About Books (Margaret Aldrich for Book Riot): If you love to read books about books (me, me, me!), you need this list. And if you’re fascinated by design and book covers, take a peek, too. Do you see how the cover and title for The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is so similar to the cover and title of the big bestseller in the category, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? THAT is how you signal to readers that if they liked that book, they’ll like this one, too. And it works. Broken Wheel was just added to my to-read list.

Everyone’s Getting Into Video. Should You? (Jane Friedman on Writer Unboxed): “Unless you’ve been garreted away working on the Great American Novel—and maybe you have!—you’ve probably noticed that video is becoming a big deal…As a writer, should you care? And if you’re interested, what’s next?”

A Two-Minute Retreat for Writers (& A Book Deal Announcement!)

meditation for writers and bloggers with anxiety

A writer’s life is filled with anxieties. Really, the life of anyone who puts their work out into the world is filled with anxieties. Will people like it? Is it any good? Will it succeed? Will it have impact? Should you shred it right now because, oh wow, this is terrible?

I’m a firm believer that 80% of the creative battle is won in the mind. I see it all the time—the most successful authors have fought those show-up-and-just-do-it battles early in their careers, and they’ve made peace with the fact that their work isn’t for everyone.

Even some of my sweetest, softest-hearted authors will laugh about how you can’t please everyone on the Internet. And if you can’t please the Internet masses, you sure as heck can’t please everyone in publishing.

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4 Ways to Work Through a Creative Block

How to get past writer's block

But first, the publishing news worth reading this week:

How to Grow an Amazing Fiction Readership (She’s Novel): “Whether you want to build a full-blown career as a novelist or just bring in a few extra bucks on the side, growing your readership is pivotal to making sales. In fact, selling your stories usually goes a bit like this: Publish a book. Tell your friends and family. Realize you actually have to market this thing. FREAK OUT.”

Calling All Foodie Freelancers: 20 Dining and Food Magazines to Pitch (Kristen Pope on The Write Life): “Don’t limit yourself strictly to ‘food’ magazines and publications. Many other publications, ranging from travel to regional magazines, include a food or dining section, and even more are open to food-related pitches, so keep an open mind when trying to place stories about the culinary world.”

9 Research-Backed Ways to Spark Your Creativity (Michael Hyatt): “Creativity is essential to leadership and business. But we don’t always feel very creative. And I know some people doubt they’re creative at all. The good news is that all of us can easily become more creative.”

5 Tips for Overcoming Marketing Writer’s Block (Chadwick Cannon): “I hear a great many authors tell me that they have these great ideas for how to market their book, but when it comes time to put those big ideas on paper in a streamlined and practical way, their minds freeze up. Or that they have strong thoughts on what their promo copy should say, but then can’t get started when they finally sit down to put it on paper.”

4 Ways to Work Through a Creative Block

We all get stuck sometimes. Last night I was sitting on the balcony with Jarrett and whining about not knowing what to write for a post. We had finally called it quits with work for the day, packed away the laptops, poured the wine, and were watching a thunderstorm roll in. But I was using these precious moments of leisure to complain about the work lying ahead of me the next day.

Isn’t that always how it is? We check one day of work off then immediately start to ruminate on the next day.

I’m convinced that tomorrow’s work is the private terror of the creative mind.

As soon as we hit our goals for the day, we start dreading tomorrow, when we’ll have to sit down and face that blank page again. And what we want, more than anything, is for it to go away. And if it can’t go away, then we sure as heck better be struck by a bolt of inspiration between now and then.

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Why You Need the 80/20 Rule if You Want to Grow Your Platform

the 80 20 rule 

We are creatures of habit, and we can so easily be caught up in our routines and systems. This is especially true for bloggers, who control their own schedules and have to face a whole slew of new challenges as they grow: how to build traffic, how to monetize, how to avoid burnout, how to resist the urge to give up. And as I wrote about a few weeks ago, one of the biggest mistakes bloggers can make is to spend too much time simply churning out content. If you’re just operating in survival mode five days a week, it becomes impossible to tackle the big-picture growth initiatives.

Which is why the most successful bloggers I’ve seen—the ones that built blogs with millions of pages views in just a couple of years—are the ones that understand the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is this: you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time finding ways to share it. Here’s why it works:

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Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Pinterest vs. Instagram: What’s Right for Authors?

Best social media for authors

There is a grand battle royale going down between social media networks, and writers and bloggers are caught in the middle of it. The boundaries are constantly shifting, the pros and cons of each platform are always changing, and no one ever seems to be able to decide where in the heck they should be.

So, which social media networks should you be on? Where can you get the best bang for your social media buck?  I get this question all the time, and like the Twitter-specific question from last week, the answer is complicated. Because really, choosing a network depends on what kind of writer or blogger you are and what areas of your author platform you need to bolster.

The one thing that applies to everyone? You can’t (and shouldn’t) build your numbers on all of them. You will drive yourself straight loony-tunes if you try to keep up with all of them, and your social media campaign will be less effective if it’s not focused. It’s worth it to find your social media soulmate–that one platform that will not only grow your platform but also be actually enjoyable!

Ready to choose? Here are the candidates:

  • Facebook: The big kahuna. I’m still of the belief that every single writer should have a professional Facebook page, and this is for one simple reason: sheer numbers. Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly active users. The other networks lag far behind—Instagram has an estimated 300 million users, Twitter has an estimated 288 million users, and Pinterest has about 70 million users. Facebook is still where everyone and their grandma is, and even though it’s been changing its algorithm to limit the reach of posts (more on the changes to Facebook’s algorithm and what it means for authors here), it’s still the best place to reach the most people. Facebook also allows you to integrate all mediums–text with no character limits, images, videos, GIFS, etc–so it can work for you no matter what your strengths are. I consider a professional Facebook page to be one of the foundational elements of building a platform.

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