Writing Journal 57: Creative Dreams to Creative Business

Writing Journal 57: Creative Dreams to Creative Business

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 8, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I’ve got a couple of meetings this morning, so I need to spend a little less time on fiction and nonfiction, so I can prepare for the meetings, and then be on my way.

Creative Dreams to Creative Business

We’ve had a wonderful response to our new Creative Business program. I’m glad, for two reasons.

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into ProfitsThe first reason: I’ve always been aware that business is a challenge for creatives. My very first couple of blogs, way back in 1999, were about business for creatives. I published the “Creative Small Biz” ezine for several years, and it was hugely popular. I think it was ahead of its time however, because we focused on old-school marketing, and Internet marketing.

Internet marketing was painful in those days, right up to around 2004, when things got better. I have VERY painful memories of installing the first versions of WordPress, well over a decade ago — 2003? Can’t remember. I do remember uploading it to websites and messing around with the config files for several hours get it to work. When one-click installs came along they were a blessing.

Today, you can ignore tech; everything’s point and click. I’m thrilled to be helping creatives to do business, because everything is easy now. You can install an online store to sell your creative products, whatever they may be, with just a couple of clicks. Marketing’s a dream too — there are endless alternatives.

The second reason I’m glad is that truly creative people can lose their dreams when no one buys their books, listens to their music, or buys their art. To a creative person, not creating is like not eating. I used to say that while writing made me miserable (this hasn’t happened in years, I’ve learned a few tricks), I’m bereft and more miserable when I don’t write. The knowledge that I’m helping others to live their dreams is hugely satisfying.

Back to writing…

This morning I do a couple of timer sessions on the mystery novel, and on the two nonfiction books for my coaching client. I’m writing these two books in tandem; the print version will be an expanded version of the ebook, with many diagrams and images. I manage 1,300 words on the novel, and 800 words on the ebook.

I get Honey’s breakfast, and eat my toast while responding to email.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been procrastinating on the new website I’m setting up, so I do a little work on that. I choose a theme, and post the material I’ve written to the home page. I make a list of blog posts to get the site off the ground.

Then it’s time to rehearse my pitch for the pitch meeting. Next, I need to go back through the other client’s files, to see what I wrote for him, so I can create some suggestions for what he can do over the coming holiday sales period.

While I’m out, I’ll have lunch, and then I’ll pop into the library to do a little more research.

Back again…

The meetings ran long, as they always seem too. It’s late afternoon. Time to return phone calls before people leave their offices for the day. Then I write up the notes from the meetings, and add the tasks to my schedule.

I’ll need to do a few hours of work tonight, to catch up. With my daily review done, that’s it for the work day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 51: Scheduling and Planners

Writing Journal 51: Scheduling and Planners

My writing journal for Thursday, October 2, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another meeting this morning, so I need to prepare for that. I’m still working on the mystery novel. I’ve developed the crime, as I mentioned yesterday. I’m still undecided about the sleuth. I’ve created three prospects; none make me want to jump up and down and scream: YES! All rather blah, and uninspired. Not to worry, there’s a few days left in this week.

I managed 2,100 words on the two book I’m writing for a client. I’m pleased with the progress, and so is the client. I need to develop the sales copy for it, so I’ve jotted down a few thoughts, and sent them to the client.

It’s cold this morning. Poor Honey’s feeling her arthritis. We had a couple of warm days earlier this week, but this morning it’s cold again. She gobbles her breakfast anyway. Lots of email to deal with, so I write some messages while having breakfast.

Then it’s time to prepare for the meeting. I created a presentation last night, mainly cobbled together with slides from previous presentations. I need to rehearse that, and then deal with scheduling issues before I leave.

I’m back… I had lunch while out, and ran a few errands.

Now it’s time for the company history I’m ghostwriting. I manage a good 3,000 words on that… whew. That was an excellent push. I didn’t mean to write so much. I just got into the zone. It’s great when that happens, but it’s seriously thrown out my schedule. I’ll need to put in another couple of hours of writing tonight, but that’s OK.

I reschedule everything, and wish I had a better way to do it. Currently, I use a large Oasis pad page per week. I fold the pages up and slip them into a folder. Everything’s written in pencil, except for a flutter of flag-sized stickies. The flags are deadlines, things I need to remember, and so on.

Planning — do I need a Filofax-style planner?

Every year I buy a “calendar” notebook, with a day per page, and then never use it, because I prefer pads and notebooks. I haven’t owned a Filofax-style planner in a couple of decades. However, times change. I’ve been looking at 2015 diaries for the planning benefits. My bullet journal lets me know what I have going on monthly, but not so much weekly. I’d like to be able to see a week’s tasks — in pencil — so I can move things around.

However, I’ve been hesitating. I hate buying things I never use, and if I decide to buy a planner, what size? A pocket size is too small, and besides, I don’t want to carry it around with me.

If you’ve got a scheduling/ planning system that works for you, please share. I’m open to suggestions. I’d like a planner, but have zero idea what I should get.

OK; time for my daily review, and word counts. Tonight I’ll need strong coffee and music while I write, to keep me awake. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 49: Your Book Proposal

Writing Journal 49: Your Book Proposal

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 30, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Busy, busy… Just when you think things are under control, they get busier. :-) I’ve just taken on a new ghostwriting client, who wants a business book. Two books, in fact. A short Kindle version, plus an advanced book on the same topic. The “advanced” book will be published on KDP and on Createspace.

Unfortunately, I can’t discuss the topic, but it’s fascinating. That’s the big benefit of ghostwriting; you cover many different topics, industries and areas.

I started the day writing notes for the mystery novel I’m ghostwriting for a client; I still haven’t settled on a sleuth. Not to worry. I’ve got great faith in the boys in the basement.

Then, preliminary notes on the business books. I need to schedule some research time for that. Julia can work out where and when.

Breakfast, for Honey. And for me, while reading email, and responding to the “two minute” messages. I’ll need to deal with the longer messages tonight.

24 hours: enroll for Team Up

While I think of it, we’ve got 24 hours remaining for Team Up enrollments — this is the final program for the year.

Onward with the book proposal for the client; it’s coming along well. I’ve got to do the competitive analysis, which is always fun. Of course, this is the most important part of the proposal. I’ve done a little research on it, but I need to do more. And I need to speak to a couple of friends to get their take on the environment for this kind of book.

I haven’t been walking every day, which is BAD. I can always tell too, because my RSI starts to get annoying. It’s a warm morning. Apparently the temperature’s headed for 33 today, which is 91 in Fahrenheit. Not hot by Sydney standards, but you can tell that summer’s on its way.

Lunchtime. In front of the computer again, watching YouTube videos. I rarely get time to watch, so it’s a little break in a busy day.

“Will you do my book proposal?” Please do your research first

I get enquiries about writing book proposals every week. I can’t do many of them, because I don’t have the time. I do them for people I know, either because they’re clients, or because they have a presence, somewhere. Perhaps online, or perhaps they’re a celebrity, or a coach, or a speaker.

Every book needs a hook. That’s the first thing a ghostwriter considers, and so should you. Publishers expect a book to have a hook of some kind, and an audience. If you don’t have this, finding someone to publish your book is an uphill slog. I’m not going to take your money if I think that your book will have no chance at all.

Let’s look at some book proposal tips.

You don’t need to write your book first if you’re proposing nonfiction. In fact, you should NOT. Editors like to have input on the direction you’re taking with the book.

With a fiction proposal, write your novel first. Then you create a query letter, which you send to agents – this letter gives a very brief overview of your novel.

When an agent agrees to take a look, you send along your fiction proposal, which is similar to a nonfiction proposal, in that you need to do your research into the competition for your book.

And, as with nonfiction, it REALLY helps if you have some kind of platform: a built-in audience.

Big tip: be smart. The first thing I do when someone hires me to write a book, or a proposal, is create some sales copy for the book. I’ve talked about this before, many times. Your sales copy acts as a mini-outline for the book, whether it’s fiction, or nonfiction.

(This is where having a writing coach comes in useful– you learn effective shortcuts which not only save you time, but also ensure that you’ll actually complete the book.)

Vital: research the competition for your book BEFORE you start writing

Fiction or nonfiction, your book will be one among millions. Therefore, do a little research. If you’re writing nonfiction, check out your topic. Amazon makes it easy to see how many copies (roughly) books are selling.

You don’t need to be put off by lots of competition; it’s a good thing, because you know that books in that area are selling.

Competitive research is important with fiction, too. You need to know where Amazon will “shelve” your novel. Check out how your genre’s selling. Fiction authors usually just want to write what they want to write, however, if you want to sell, pay attention, especially if you want to be traditionally published, and see your book in bookstores.

A busy afternoon. Firstly I work on the new fiction writing program we’re developing. It’s a workshop; which should be online soon. I’d hoped to have it online by the end of September, but obviously that hasn’t happened.

Next, more work on the company history. A chat with the client, and then onward with the writing.

Mid-afternoon, there’s a mini-crisis with a client who needs PR material in a hurry, so I work on some product descriptions, and create some content for his email newsletter.

That throws out the schedule, so I need to redo the schedule for the rest of the week.

Finally, it’s time for the daily review. With my word counts totaled, that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The end is in sight for the novella. I wrote 1,200 words, setting up the major scene which I mentioned yesterday.

So, I’m ready to write the scene. However, since I’m way ahead of the schedule on this book I decided to spend some extra time on the nonfiction book proposal which I’m creating for a client’s memoir. I made good headway on the overview, so Julia’s sending that off to the client for her input.

It must be spring, because Honey’s outside. She didn’t want to come in this morning; she’s enjoying the warmer weather. I’ve got to call her in and make her breakfast.

I read email while I’m eating my toast. We’re almost all caught up with email, because I did a heavy push on it last night. Several students sent me their stories; I’ve got just two left on which I need to provide feedback.

Next, work with my new coaching client.

Showing your expertise in an ebook

I’m working with a new coaching and ghostwriting client who’s starting her own business. She’s got wonderful expertise in her profession, so I suggested that she capitalize on that.

Firstly, we’re setting up a website for her, essentially so that she can collect email addresses of prospects. At the same time, we’re developing a couple of ebooks. One she’ll use as an inducement to sign up for her mailing list. The other, we’ll publish on Kindle Direct Publishing; this will help her to show her expertise. If it happens to make a little money, that will be fine too. :-)

A year ago, I would have suggested that she build out her website into an authority site to get traffic. However, the online world has changed. Yes, you still need all the SEO you can manage. But it’s hard to get search engine traffic for a brand new website, no matter how large and authoritative it might be, so we’re going to skip that for at least a year.

My client needs the ebooks, and social media, AND partnerships to get traction.

I love working with people who are good at what they do; helping them to provide value for others. Our first step will be to work out exactly what she’s offering, and how she’ll brand her new business.

It’s time for my walk. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow, because I have a couple of meetings, so I need to go today.

I’m back from my walk, and spend some time updating my schedule for this week and next. Then I have lunch while browsing social media.

After lunch, I get on with the company history book, using the cluster diagrams I created yesterday. I manage to do 2,000 words on this. Excellent.

The new blog launch

In our meeting yesterday, we discussed the company’s branding, and their new blog. I’ve got to do a proposal and scope. This means a lot of research.

Research tip: only do as much as you need to do.  Start by deciding exactly what you need to know, and create some research questions to answer.

After spending a couple of hours on it, I need a short break. I decide walk to the park with Honey so that I can get some fresh air, and think.

It’s late afternoon; time to I catch up on email and phone calls. I’ll try to work on a couple of short stories tonight; I need to keep up with them so I can get them published in October.

I complete my daily review, count my words, and I’m done for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.