My Lesson Can Be Your Lesson & What's Next

Just about 3 years ago now, I started this blog and my path to helping other authors-to-be on their publishing journeys. Along the way, I have met so many awesome people and it's been fun to be able to see several of you grow in your writing, mission and in your ability to reach your audience. And I thank all of you for the opportunity to share my insights (and ramblings) with you here over the past few years.

All that being said, I've been feeling for a while that something was missing, that something wasn't quite right with where my business was (or wasn't) going. Couldn't quite put my finger on until recently when I took a big step and hired a business coach. As a quick aside, if you're stuck either with your writing or the business of writing, I highly recommend hiring a coach, whether it's me or someone else. Having that outside view, the view you'll likely never see because you're too close to the situation, is worth paying for even if you have to stretch out of your comfort zone just a little. That's the first lesson I hope you can learn from my experience.

The next lesson involves what I learned from the coach. One of the most important things was I realized I didn't have a solid grasp of who my audience really is. I needed to be much more specific regarding what kind of writer I can help the most and best work with. Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, my net was actually too broad. Many authors and business people fall into this and it causes a lot of floundering and un-focused effort.

What came out of that conversation for me was both a new plan for my business and a new website. While I'll still be talking about some of the how-to of publishing, I can now summarize what I do like this:

I help authors and entrepreneurs and other thought leaders create content with confidence. Whether you need to write a blog post, a book, or something in between, I can help you do it better, faster and with less stress.

Notice how it is more focused than "publishing answers"? While publishing how-to will absolutely still be a part of the mix, what I really want to dive into right now is the "stuff" that goes into a book, blog etc-to help people make it the best it can be. The ability to write strong, compelling content gets more important pretty much daily, and I'm really excited to be joining in that conversation.

If that sounds like something you want and need, I invite you to follow me over to my new space at CherylPickett.com You can also go to my new Facebook fanpage. If you're not sure, come by and take a look around and see if it strikes a chord. If it does, I look forward to being able to serve you. If it doesn't, no worries whatsoever. I wish you all the best in your publishing journey and am blessed to have crossed your path. Onward!!

Good Writing & God Bless,



Where Will Your Writing Come From This Year?

It's a new year and hopefully, for all or most of you, that means new writing projects. Maybe there will be lots of short things like articles, or maybe it's time to write that first or next book. Whatever it is, my question for you to kick things off is where will your writing come from?

When asked, many writers say their writing comes from their heart or their soul but it can be defined a bit further. What is driving those words to the outside from within? Do they come from the pure joy of writing about a subject or because you can't not write? Does your creativity well up to the point where it simply cannot be contained? Does it come from a place of prior suffering and survival? Do they come from a fire that's deep inside that burns indignant over injustice, the state of the world's oceans or someone else's pain? Likely, the answer changes from time to time and from season to season in your life. There's really no wrong answer, it's just useful to know what it is.

So, where will your writing come from in 2011?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Holiday Hopes & Wishes

As children, how many times did you utter the phrase "I hope I get..." at Christmas? I'm sure we all have, and maybe we done so even more recently and the hope was for bigger things than a toy or special gift. Here's my 2011 holiday version, what's yours?

Whether you've been reading my blog for a day or the nearly 3 years it's been up (can't believe it's been that long!) I sincerely hope you've learned things along the way that have made a difference in your publishing journey.

There are new things on the horizon for me in 2011 so I also hope you'll stay tuned. And if during those "so what are you up to" conversations during the holidays, you happen to speak to someone who's struggling with the book process, I humbly hope you'll send them my way.

Lastly, and certainly most importantly, I hope & pray that you all get these gifts during this holiday season and beyond- the peace, love, joy and contentment that came in a manger long ago. It's not going to be wrapped and under the tree, but it is free and bountiful. Blessings to you & your families now and in the New Year.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


How to Publish a Book: Changing Again

How to publish a book may finally be changing for the better. If you've been following my blog, or any publishing info at all for the last year or two, you know the publishing world is changing in twists and turns that most would not have thought of even 10 years ago probably. Some of it has helped but there's lots more to do in many people's opinion including mine. True, all of the upheavel remains exciting and somewhat daunting for authors and publishers alike, the thing is thing aren't going to settle down nicely any time soon.

One new project that will undoubtedly cause both encouragement and consternation is coming from Seth Godin, who is known for thinking ahead as well as doing something to fix the stuff that's broken. He has written several books and some have been published traditionally. Now he's going to try something else, a more direct to market approach. If it works, and I know it will to at least an extent, it will allow authors to get messages out in a more timely fashion and eliminate some of the nonsense that the traditional firms still hold to like returns and the ridiculously long time to actually produce a book.

If write non-fiction especially, I advise you to follow along. You can read the intro details to The Domino Project here and then follow along by subscribing or liking the page on FB.

As an author, why should you pay attention? Because the days of handing over a book to a publisher and then sitting down to write the next one while "they" do the rest are over. OVER. You are now a big part of "they" and you need to do your absolute best to play your part on the team.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


You've Got One, Is It the Best it Can Be?

As an author in 2010 (almost 2011) you have a website. One of the components on that website is an "About" page which is your Bio. If you have a book out already, you also have some sort of short bio on the back cover or somewhere inside. On Facebook and Twitter or Linked in? Bios again, though shorter.

You've got one, so is it the best it can be? Meaning, does it hold the readers interest, does it make them chuckle, or go "ah-ha, that explains a lot" ? Or is it the old cookie cutter experience, expertise & awards-you know the kind. If so, unfortunately, your BIO = BORING.

If that's you, don't worry, many, if not most of us have written one like that. Often it's because that's the example we had. Those kinds of Bios do get the information across basically, but they can certainly be better. Luckily, it's not to hard to learn how to fix them.

Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing marketing expert Nancy Juetten's newest guide Bye Bye Boring Bio. Not only does she go through the various kinds of Bios (in case you forgot one), she gives lots of before & after examples and other tips to get you on the right track. It's easy to follow and as a writer, you should be able to harness your creativity and kick things up a notch without much difficulty by following this information. If you're still stuck though after reading it, she also offers a Bio makeover writing service as well.

I've read some advice over the past few years about how to make a bio better than average, but in this book I found there's still plenty I can do so I've added upgrading to my plans for 2011.

If this sounds like something you can use (and you most likely can), I'd highly recommend putting Bye Bye Boring Bio on your Christmas list or maybe giving yourself an early treat.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Why Would They?

The question above can be finished in a myriad of ways. First, you need to know "they" are your readers/potential readers. Now let's consider what "they" might do:

1. Why would they buy your book?

2. Why would they recommend your book?

3. Why would they consider giving your book to someone else as a gift?

Notice the perspective with these questions- it's not why should they...? As authors with a message or point to make, sometimes we (and I include myself) totally see things as why people should buy etc. They should buy because it's a great book, or they should recommend it because "everybody" needs to read my advice. We've all been there in one form or another.

Don't get me wrong, you need to have confidence in your message and the drive to promote it. The issue is the "should" answers are often our reasons, and "they" may or may not think or feel the same way. So the key is to answer the questions above and then tell people how easy it is for them to buy, recommend and give, rather than trying to convince them that they should do so. Better still sometimes, write with the answers to those questions in mind to begin with.

Got the idea? How about sharing your answers or attempt at answers to today's questions. It doesn't have to be perfect, instead let's focus on learning and helping each other get from should to would.

Lastly, I wish you all a safe & most blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


One At a Time

How many issues are you trying to overcome or work around in your business at the moment? How many things are you putting off? How many "fires" need to be put out before you can get moving in the right direction?

For many if not most of us, the answer is 'to many'. Some days it just seems like there's so much in the way of the good stuff doesn't it?

A post that I think addresses this situation nicely was shared by marketing expert Cathy Stucker. The gist is when you hit this situation handle it bit by bit. Choose one to do at a time, maybe one a week. That's it-just one. The point being that bite size pieces can whittle down the overwhelm into something more manageable. Keep going bit by bit and before you know it, things are completely different.

So what's it going to be for you? Write one paragraph and get unstuck. Tidy up your workspace so there's actually space to work in. Send in that query that you've been afraid to send.

If you'd like to share what your first or next task is going to be feel free. Either way, take a bite.