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Archives for October 2011

Author, No One Has Your Back

In his post, The Illusion of Patronage, Seth Godin points out that we can no longer depend just on our writing for success. We must engage with our fans, our reading public, through speaking and business ventures.

This is one of those good news, bad news things.

For energetic writers entering the publishing world, eager to rub shoulders with their fans at Tweetups, be interviewed on Internet radio, post loads of videos on YouTube and promote their latest book on a t-shirt, this is good news.

For old-school writers still banging out their manuscripts on a Remington Rand, refusing to blog, tweet, link or friend, and who think Kindle is what fuels the fireplace, this is bad news.

Long ago Mr. Rogers told us about the part we play in our success in his song “You’ve Got to Do It”

Actually, someone does have your back.

It’s you, building, serving, nurturing and maintaining your own tribe.

Connect with Your Fans If You Want to Sell Books

The following article appeared in Dan Janal’s Irreverent Marketing Memo on 10-17-11

Four young authors are selling lots of books and are inspiring a lot of people at the 21st Century Book Marketing Conference, [including Dan Janal!]

They are selling lots of books and their stories are all different.
Rick German, a coach and author of “Monetize Your Passion” says he networked like mad with other authors in his niche. “No matter what n iche you are in, you can meet the right people.” He did favors for them for two years, always asking, “How can I support you?” When his book came out, he called in the favors and people were happy to help. Now he spends every morning jogging on the beach, taking a dip and meditating – then coaches people on how to live his lifestyle. Sweet.

Kailin Gow has built an empire in the tween market and then the teen market as her readers grew up. She maintains strong ties to her readers by answering their emails (up to 2 hours a day) and responding via Facebook. She has a Facebook page for each book series. “They protect me from people who attack” she said. As to the time commitment she added, “I don’t sleep much.” Her books include the Desire Series, PULSE, Wicked Woods and Frost. A major worldwide game developer is creating games based on each series, she said.

Kevin Hansen collected people&rsq uo;s “regrets” on his website, then self-published a book “Secret Regrets: What If You Had a Second Chance.”  Get this: he contacted the Dr. Phil show and pitched his book – and they said yes, let’s do an entire show around this. That NEVER happens. But it did.

Hannah Dennison has written four books in the Vicky Hill Mysteries series by getting up at 5 a.m. every day and writing for two hours before going to her job.

These young authors serve as an inspiration to all!


Dan Janal helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to www.prleadsplus.com or call me at 952-380-1554.

Looking for a Damn Great Book Topic to Write About?

There is much advice about selecting topics for your book. Some advise consulting which keywords are being searched or the best sellers on Amazon as a gauge for what people are buying. Almost all advice says write about what you know or want to know about.

Some of the most exciting books on the market are the ones that pop into the writers’ heads while they are doing something else.

Take Jason Bailin, master of culinary arts, of Chicago, IL, for example. While he and friends were drinking wa-a-ay too much in a bar, his friends Leslie and Dave recalled the amazing recipe he had given them so Leslie could whip up something special for Dave’s birthday. They told him “You should write a f%@king cookbook!”

Jason’s slurred response “”I will tell you what I do think though… I think that you two bit@hes oughta get in the kitchen, and pay me back for giving you that damn recipe.” The next morning when the idea still seemed fun and plausible, Jason began planning.

A year later the result was “Get in the Kitchen Bit@hes! This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Cookbook.”

It was not a straight road to publication. None of the literary agents he approached thought it had a chance for success. What they didn’t understand, apparently, is that readers are hungry not just for delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, but for making cooking fun.

It is this strong belief in a book idea that lead many successful authors to ignore the forecasts of traditional publishers and forge ahead to self-publish their own work.

There are a number of factors that make Jason’s book a success:

1. He saw a need in the marketplace to make cooking more fun and filled it.
2. He was already a great cook and culinary creative.
3. He was willing to be edgy, knowing that he would embarrass, upset and alienate some, but delight and entertain others.
4. Kept the tone going through out his book from the title to the name of the recipes, such as South of My Border Pasta
Bend Me Over Beef, Artichoke The Chicken and Thai Me Down! Chicken
5. He actually reads and responds to the comments left by readers on Amazon, even taking some of their advice for improving the book.

I’m not advising you to work yourself into a drunken stupor to see what creative ideas emerge. I’m definitely not advising that you try to be edgy if it’s not the real you. You can only pull off a book with sexual references, for example, if it fits your personality, funny meter and world view.

What I am saying is don’t discount that idea that seems to come from left field. It may fill a hunger the reading public
didn’t know it had and best of all, is an idea that was looking for you.

Watch the video trailer for Jason’s book above, then tell me your take on choosing book topics?

An Author is an Amateur Writer Who Didn’t Quit

Richard Bach encouraged us to never stop trying. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

That’s great advice from a wonderful author. The only catch is that many amateur writers don’t aspire to become professionals, at least not at first. They often just want to tell their story, right a wrong, share a solution to a problem, or offer motivation to people struggling with problems they once had.

Does this sound like you?

Almost everyday I meet amateur writers who have been churning out amazing work, but have never published it.

Like the

  • poet who has readings with friends and family but hasn’t collected his work in a book or ebook where we can all enjoy it
  • the gourmet cook who has created amazing recipes scribbled on sheets of paper stuffed in a recipe box
  • the home gardener who has figured out a foolproof way to nourish perennials that anyone can follow
  • the social worker who has kept a journal for years chronicling her successful techniques in working with many struggling families

You see, a  published author does not have to write massive tomes, winding novels or an aloe vera cure for skin cancer.A published author is an amateur writer who takes an entertaining idea, a solution to a problem, a stirring memoir or a collection of inspirational poetry and gets it into print or digital form where we can all enjoy and benefit. With so many improvements in the publishing industry this has gotten easier than ever.

To see your book published, however, is not in the hands of the publishing industry alone. You must do something unpublished writers never do.

You must finish.

Not when you feel like it, but consistently, feverishly, obsessively, until you end up with a first draft.

The first draft is called a rough draft, but it is more than that. It is the magical first step to becoming an author. Every author, whether famous or not, has to meet this challenge using whatever energy, time or resources are available to him or her.

The first draft is not perfect. It may be choppy, tentative and in need of many revisions. It’s not ready to go to print yet, but it has to come first.

When do you write?

Whenever you can.

Will you sit idly sometimes wondering if you’ll ever think of another word to write? Absolutely!

But you keep writing, and you don’t wait for ideal conditions.

–You don’t wait until you can get away to a Walden Pond where you can write in a pristine setting free of  interruptions.

–You don’t wait until the kids are grown or until you can afford the latest computer or pen.

–You make time in your day or night to sit down and begin to organize your scraps of paper, journal entries or random ideas into an order that can be understood by another person.

As a matter of fact, if you are going through struggles in your life right now, write about them. You may not end up publishing all of this, but what better time to hone your writing skills than now while you are in the heat of your challenges. Besides, it is therapeutic to talk about what’s happening in your life, even if it’s just in your journal for now.

Here’s a message I got from an aspiring author
Hi Dr. Brown,

I am a procrastinator. I have not gone to the website that you suggested to take the training to learn how to write my book. I need motivation. I have a burning desire to write but my current life situation does not lend itself to privacy to write. I currently live with my mother who has a pacemaker and is 80 years old. I have to spend time with her and my mind is not clear to write. I have writers block. I am also working a part time job in [deleted her location] and having problems getting accustomed to the culture since I left the South due to the racism but now that I have returned it is very prominent and I am not accustomed to the type of culture that I am forced into in the work environment. I can’t stand living in the past where people are prohibited to learn and advance. This is what I am experiencing.

My response to her

You express some of the same pain and challenges that other writers undergo. Add to that your return to the South and living with your mother and it definitely makes for a writing challenge.

On the other hand, some writers find that when they make time to journal about their struggles they feel better and after many, many entries often have the makings of a great book.

Do you write down your feelings and experiences? Get your feelings and thoughts on paper/computer and watch what a relief it’ll be. Instead of being blocked, when you write about what you’re going through, you’re likely to have a gush of writing.


There are many ways to go from first draft to published book. The one essential element is YOU, the writer willing to finish a first draft. Another vital element is OTHER AUTHORS with whom you can connect, collaborate, and  get encouragement. A third vital element is A PUBLISHING COACH, like me, willing to be your partner in choosing the best publishing path while avoiding the potholes to get you to your goals. If you would like to have a conversation about your writing project, I’m ready to explore ideas with you. Drop me an email at flora@florabrown.com Contact me at learn more.