Yesterday's link & Happy New Year

Well, I wasn't planning to post today but strange happenings in blog land. I could see the link to my example as I composed yesterday and edited today, but it took me a few tries to get it to show up once I hit post. Didn't realize it wasn't there yesterday. Finally got it to work, hopefully it will stick.

Thank you for your patience through the tech stuff that happens now and then. Among my plans to continue to offer the best stuff I can in 09, is my intent to switch blog platforms in the future. Some people love Blogger and it does have many good features, but I think one can outgrow it, especially if you're using it for business. We'll see how things go.

To wrap things up and look forward to 2009, if you're reading this on the 31st, have a safe and fun-filled evening. If the New Year has arrived, may it be blessed and prosperous. I look forward to continue our journey together!

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


What Does a 6 Figure Advance Book Look Like?

Some authors believe that their book will be worth tens of thousands of dollars to any publisher they pitch. Others are more realistic about things and hope or dream to hit big dollars, but know the reality of it happening is slim.

With shrinking sales, budgets and staffs, much is changing in the publishing world every day. Predictions are that big advances will become more and more scarce unless and until publishing more profitable again. However, it still can happen occasionally. If your name is one of celebrity your chances increase greatly.

But beyond that, what does a 6 figure advance worthy book look like? Here's a hint-words surrounding a recent one are "media firestorm" "controversial" and "universally negative reaction".

If you want to go the traditional publishing route, know that on some level your book needs to grab this kind of attention too. It could be positive or negative as the example below, but it needs to do it.

So...what words surround your book ? And if they don't grab people by the collar, what can you do to change that? Here's the link http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/2008/10/27/why-we-paid-this-first-time-author-a-six-figure-advance-for-free-range-kids/

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

P.S. Watch for the launch of my new book coming very soon!


Are You Prepared? Follow Up

A few days ago, I asked if you were prepared for the inevitable "so what's new with you" question that comes up regularly during holiday events. To be prepared, you need to have an "elevator speech", a short few sentences that states your answer succinctly, while hopefully grabbing the other person's attention.

I came across this helpful link today on Twitter thanks to Terry Whalin. In under 3 minutes, master speaker/trainer Bob Bly gives an easy to follow formula for crafting your quick pitch.

After you've put your together, feel free to post it here if you'd like to try it out/get some feedback.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

P.S. Last time the video didn't feed well to those of you who subscribe. If it happens this time as well, please click through to the post.


Publishing Possibilities for Fiction Books

If you write fiction, do you have options when it comes to publishing? The answer depends on who you ask.

Some authors and others will absolutely stand on their head to make the point that fiction writers are wasting their time if they independently self-publish. They cite the difficulty of sales once published, and the idea that traditional publishers will think less of you, not give you "real" publishing credit if you go it on your own first.

My answer: The world of publishing is changing rapidly, summarily rejecting any option based on what things were like even five years ago makes little sense today.

Earlier this year, I made note of a large traditional publisher that clearly states they'll take a look at a book that has already gained some traction. Recently, an article appeared in Publishers Weekly that highlights several novel and children's authors who were contracted by a traditional house after they independently published. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6622217.html

Will things work out like this for author? No, there's no such thing as one size fits all in publishing. Could it happen to you and your book? Maybe. But I can guarantee it won't happen if you never try.


Christmas Wish List

Shopping lists, guest lists and, of course, the ever-growing to-do lists are likely on your mind this time of year as they are for me. So much to do, so little time once again.

However, there's another list-the Christmas wish list, and that's the one I'd like to share with you as we finish out 08 together.

I Wish You:

The simple joys of sparkling lights
The laughter of friends & family
Smiles on the faces of those you love
Less stress
Meals that turn out as planned, or the ability to not care if they don't
Time to reflect on your gift of writing
Time to reflect on what you've accomplished in 08
Time to set goals for 2009 and the support you need to accomplish them
Precious moments with loved ones
Safe travels away and back again
Peace in your home
Peace in your family

Peace in your heart and the knowledge that you are a gift in this world and that you are the best thing you can give to others.

Please know how much I truly appreciate you. I am planning on a fantastic 2009 and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.

May the true spirit and blessings of Christmas fill your holiday season and may the New Year be your best ever.

Good Writing & God Bless,


Are You Prepared?

As you go to holiday gatherings whether it be for work or with family or friends, are you prepared for the inevitable question "So what's new with you?"

And by prepared, I mean ready to answer with a couple of short sentences as to what's up with your writing project.

Are you further along than you thought or further behind?
Is it almost ready to meet the world?
Is it available for sale?

If you do this correctly, you are not being boastful but rather sharing an important part of your life. Besides, even if you believe your friends/family/co-workers won't be interested in/want to buy what you write, you don't know who they know.

Their mom-in-law may love discovering new mystery writers, or their best friend may have just opened a business and is looking for the kind of advice you offer. In addition, you could make connections to help you along in your endeavors as well.

So, what's new with you?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


The Translation Tango

Have you ever wondered what conversations are like between an agent and an acquisitions editor? Most people know that the agent is a mediator, the filter between author and editor/publishing house, but one thing you might not have considered is that a good agent must be a good translator.

For example, the author calls and screams at the agent, " I've been waiting four months, I want an answer now!" How does that get relayed to the apparently slow-working editor? Not in it's original form I can assure you if either the agent or author really wants a shot at the book being accepted.

Here is an excellent post about how those conversations really go, along with a few other insights into the translation tango that goes on behind the scenes of publishing every day. It's fairly long, but worth the read especially if you are new to the publishing world.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


On Rejection

There's a quote in this video that says if you haven't failed you haven't lived. For those who want to have their work published, I'd change that quote just a little:
If you haven't been rejected, you haven't submitted.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Join Me for My First Teleseminar!

I am very excited to be able to offer this event! Please join me and finish out the year with some great information you can use to get ready for 2009 and beyond. Hear from someone who's been there, without the overblown hype you may have seen out there around Amazon campaigns.

I'll be interviewing Sally Shields, Author of The Daughter in Law Rules about how she became an Amazon.com Bestseller and how you can use some of her strategies in your own marketing plan.

We're also planning time for Q&A so have your questions ready!

WHEN: Tuesday December 16th at 9:00 PM EST- About 60 Minutes


REGISTER HERE:http://www.thedilrules.com/teleseminar/

What will you get from this one hour teleclass?

Sally will discuss:
What is involved in an Amazon.com bestseller campaign
The benefits of an online campaign
How to make “J.V. friends" on the Internet to help you sell books fast
and more!

Hope to see you on the call!

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


Many Tastes, Many Flavors

For many families including mine, the Christmas season is full of food, food and more food. For us, a long standing tradition involves cookies.

As long as I can remember, my Mom has made dozens upon dozens of cookies at Christmas. At times we've had as many as 22 different kinds involving a myriad of flavors, shapes and sizes.

The list got to such a crazy number because, over the years, everyone found a favorite that Mom just had to make for that once a year special treat. A few new ones are swapped with old ones now and then, but many have remained a constant request for at least a decade or more.

Similar to preparing holiday taste temptations, as you work on a book project, you need to consider the taste of your audience. What "flavors" do they want? What are they absolutely salivating for?

For example, do they prefer shorter or longer books? Do they want some sort of downloadable version and for what device? What specific kind of romance or mystery are they devouring right now? Has the preference changed over time and how? Does your writing need to change too?

Answer these kinds of questions accurately, and you're audience will be much more likely to gobble up your next offering just like a beloved holiday treat.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


How Not to Handle a Give Away

If you are planning to give away something in order to build your audience and readership, do not follow Kraft Foods' business model.

The company has put out a family food magazine for several years in hard copy that's pretty decent. Recently, they either launched an electronic version or were trying to get more readers. They put an ad with a code in the print edition stating that if you signed up for the e-version you could get a coupon. Sounded good.

My Mom gets the print copy, so she decided to sign up and, of course, wanted the coupon as it was worth more than a few cents. She couldn't figure out how to get to it so she asked me to try. I did some clicking around, tried to do access it using her code but since she'd already started an account, couldn't get all the way through.

After clicking around a bit I got to their blog, where there were at least two dozen posts from frustrated people also trying to figure out what to do. There was also a place to enter if you didn't have the original code, so I did that to see if I would be sent or could find the coupon. Nope.

Then I thought maybe the coupon would be sent by email later with my first e-newsletter. Nope.
Still wanting to get to the bottom of things, I decided to contact customer service through the link at the bottom of the newsletter. A few days later, I did actually get a response.

This is where it got absolutely amazing. The reply contained at least another 5 or 6 steps including downloading a coupon clipping/printing program to my computer.

Excuse me? All I wanted was what was promised to me for signing up. A simple coupon. I get all kinds of newsletters with link to all kinds of stuff every week. If I want something, a couple of clicks and I'm there and I'm happy. I've never seen something so convoluted. So after getting that explanation, not only did I not jump through all those hoops, I unsubscribed from the newsletter all together.

Bottom line, if you want customers, keep your promises and make it easy to do business with you. It really isn't rocket science.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


No Immunity

A lot of authors think if they can just get a contract from one of the "big guys" the checks will start rolling in, they can sit in their robes and write, their worries will be over. Unfortunately, in these tough times, even the biggest, seemingly most stable publishers are being shaken to the point that even they must streamline to survive. Less staff, less books.

Does this mean you can't make it in? No. What it does mean for most of us though is having a plan, B, C and maybe D or E.


Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


Can You Get Your Book into Bookstores?

I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of authors hope for, write for, wish for the day they will see their book on bookstore shelves. For some it is the be-all-end-all, for others, it is just one part of a multiple armed marketing strategy.

Some of them, along with many non-writing friends and family figure that all books get to the shelves just because they exist. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case, especially just for newcomers.

One reason it is becoming more and more difficult to see your pages bound nicely waiting for a customer to pluck it from its resting place is pure numbers. Bookstores can only hold so many books. Part of the shelf space is already dedicated to the classics, good sellers, and, of course, those with big buzz from the get go. What's left goes to everyone else basically, and with at least 150 to 300,000 new books being published each year (yes, each year), you can see why not everyone gets a chance.

So how do you make the cut? Even more importantly, how do you stay there if you get there in the first place? Part of the decision falls to bookstore managers and buyers. If they're interested and they can sell a book, it might stay for a while.

To get one viewpoint about how the process can go and how hard decisions can be check out Alison Morris' blog entry "Build a Bookstore: http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/660000266/post/1600024160.html?nid=3340http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/660000266/post/1600024160.html?nid=3340

Chime in if you'd like. See if it's any easier for you to choose.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett