Are your goals SMART, DUMB, or MIA?

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smart, dumb, or mia goalsAre your goals SMART?

The business industry has been teaching the concept of SMART goals most of my business life. Way back when I worked at Ernst & Young, we were teaching the concept of creating SMART goals in our professional development programs. The SMART goal as I learned it is:

  • Specific (defined and clear; simple)
  • Measurable (can measure your results; you know when you get there)
  • Achievable (a stretch but still attainable)
  • Relevant (results-focused and reasonable)
  • Timely (time bound; set a deadline for completion)

DUMB your goals down

The Millionaire Messenger author Brendon Burchard flipped that upside down. Instead of having SMART goals, he suggested that your goals be DUMB. Typically, we assign a negative connotation to the word DUMB. But in this case, it is actually quite positive. As I recall his message, DUMB stands for:

  • Dream driven (man on the moon goals that excite you)
  • Uplifting (positive and compelling; win versus lose; gain versus loss)
  • Method friendly (new practices that lead to living in the goal consistently)
  • Behavior driven (triggers set up to help you accomplish your dream)

Are your goals MIA?

Of course, there is still another approach to the whole goal setting process, and that is to do nothing. Are your goals MIA: missing in action? Do nothing, risk nothing, and gain nothing. If this has been your approach lately, how about making a shift and creating a goal or two instead?

Write down your goals

Many of you may have heard of studies that show how writing down your goals (which you have to create in the first place) makes you much more likely to achieve them.

Earl Nightingale said that “success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” If you want to be successful in achieving your goals, you need to continually pursue them. To pursue them, you have to remember what they are. A great way to remember them is to write them down. (And if you are an author with publishing goals, writing is essential!)

One of the tips I have shared in my previous posts, my Do Behave Course, and my speaking engagements is to write down your primary goals in a green marker on your bathroom mirror. Don’t go crazy and write it all across your reflection, but neatly in the upper left corner going down the “margin.” Use a keyword or phrase to help you remember the goal. This will allow you to review your goals every time you look in the mirror. And when you accomplish a goal, simply wipe it away with a damp paper towel.

You can also write your goals on colored index cards and post them on your bulletin board or a wall in your office or around your home or work area. Use colored cards to stand out with vibrant energy and remind you of how excited you will be when the goal is accomplished. Once complete, you can put a big check mark and the completion date and leave it on the wall to remind you of your success, or put it in your “Success” file to reflect upon when you need encouragement.

SMART, DUMB, or MIA

You can choose goals that are SMART or DUMB, but I recommend you avoid those that are MIA. You deserve to achieve all of your goals and dreams. Any goals worth achieving are worth writing down. Set goals for yourself so you can move from where you are (even if it is already great there) to where you next can be. If you would like professional guidance, book a private session with me at http://tanyaloves.me/TalktoTanya. Also, feel free to share your recent accomplishments with me here in the comments. I would love to celebrate with you!

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com. Train with Tanya at www.DoBehave.net.

 

What is an ISBN?

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What is an ISBN? AuthorFriendly.com has a great answer

Is it important for you (as an independent author) to understand what an ISBN is and what difference it makes? Yes! With the proliferation of self-publishing, the importance of the ISBN is being diminished. When I read this article from AuthorFriendly.com, I knew I had to share it. With their permission, I am including it here, as is, in its entirety. It is chock-full of great information that answers the question, “What is an ISBN?” and it shows why knowing this information is important to you.

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The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system was created to assign a unique identifier to every published book. ISBNs consist of 13 numbers. Here’s what you need to know about those numbers.ISBN Barcode

  • EAN: Currently either 978 or 979, identifies the EAN element (European/International Article Number).
  • Group: Identifies the country or language agency.
  • Publisher: Numbers 6-9 makes up the four numbers of your publisher identifier, which means you and your publishing company. (You’ll need this number when applying for an LCCN. You’ll learn about LCCNs later.)
  • Title: The title or specific edition of your book.
  • Check digit: The check digit validates the ISBN.

What’s wrong with free ISBNs?

Many younger, hipper authors than me bypass the formal book publication process entirely simply by uploading their ebooks directly to the online retailers, none of which require ISBNs. Some of these authors make significant money on their ebooks, but their books aren’t counted in the book systems. If they print their books, they use Amazon’s free ISBNs. They don’t care if the publisher is listed as Amazon CreateSpace and not their own.

Sure, there’s no obligation to publish within the system, to stand up and be counted. But there’s no way for bookstores and libraries to find your books if you do not have an ISBN. Without an ISBN or a publishing house name and logo your book won’t stand up to scrutiny next to those being published by the Big Four publishing houses. Are being counted, being found, and looking professional important to you?

Here’s what’s wrong with free ISBNs for the professional independent author:

  1. Your book will be on record as published by that company when it should be on record as published by you. (Why would you put all that work into your book and then let somebody else’s name be put on it?)
  2. If you use a company’s ISBN and want to publish elsewhere, you’ll need to assign a different ISBN. Pretty soon you’ll have many ISBNs for the same book!
  3. If you want to stop publishing under a company’s ISBN you’ll need to “retire” your book and replace it with a new edition and a new ISBN. That’s confusing to consumers.
  4. Your print book will be forever available from Amazon resellers with the old ISBN.
  5. Bookstores do not generally buy books from the Amazon Expanded Distribution Program because bookstores require a 53% discount (not a 45% discount Amazon offers) and returns.
  6. Booksellers don’t really like Amazon, anyway.
  7. You need your own ISBN to get a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) and PCIP block for your book.
  8. Whoever buys your ISBN from Bowker controls the metadata for that book—so it should be you. (More on metadata in a future email.)

But ISBNs are so expensive!

Yes, ISBNs are expensive in the USA. In other countries, they cost much less and are even free! But the three things you need to pay for as a professional independent author are these:

  1. Editing
  2. Design
  3. ISBNs

Attention and budget applied to these three items are the minimum requirements for success.

  • 1 ISBN costs $125
  • 10 ISBNs cost $295
  • 100 ISBNs cost $575

The more ISBNs you own, the more bookstores will take you seriously as a publisher. Yes, they can tell by the digits if you’re a one-book self-published author or a small press with 100 ISBNs!

Purchase your ISBNs at Bowker

To buy your ISBNs visit Bowker’s MyIdentifiers page in your country of publication. Purchase a set of 10 or more. Members of IBPA enjoy a 15% discount. You can also sign up for the Bowker mailing list and wait around for a sale. They discount them fairly often.

When your book is ready to publish you’ll return to your account and fill out all the metadata in your ISBN record. This makes your book discoverable to distributors and retailers, which makes it discoverable to readers.

Assign one ISBN to each format, or sales channel

The International ISBN agency states that you need one ISBN per format. That means:

  • Hardback
  • Paperback
  • EPUB
  • MOBI/KF8 for Kindle
  • Audio
  • Fixed-layout EPUB (can be multimedia)
  • Fixed-layout for Kindle (also multimedia-capable)

List all the ISBNs on the copyright page of all formats of your book. Your copyright page will be universal to all versions of your book, and customers will be able to easily find the various editions.

The exception to the rule

Many authors upload the Kindle version of their book using Amazon KDP and distribute the EPUB (the format everybody else uses), with a distribution service. So assign the Kindle ISBN to the ebook only if you are uploading separately to Amazon. However, if you distribute your ebook to Amazon through IngramSpark, you’ll only use one ISBN for the ebook edition. Why? Because they send the EPUB version to Amazon to create the MOBI file for the Kindle.

When to change the ISBN

Change the ISBN for your book only if you have made major changes to the book content, changed the book title, or released a new edition. A book cover design change does not necessitate a new ISBN. My Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors is in its 4th edition soon, and I will have used 12 ISBNs.

Whew! That was a lot of information! Learn more from AuthorFriendly.com and sign up for e-mail news at http://eepurl.com/ca_Nrn.

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I hope you enjoyed the article and learned a good deal from it. It should make you think twice about using CreateSpace’s free ISBNs or that of others who will “take care of that for you.” If you are going to publish more than one book in more than one format, it makes sense to buy a block of ISBNs for yourself. If you need guidance, remember that Hallagen Ink offers Publishing Mentorship sessions. They are recorded so you can refer back to them again and again.

Let me know your thoughts with a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Networking is a SNAP

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Networking is a SNAP

© Viorel Sima | Dreamstime.com - Elegant business man snapping his fingers

© Viorel Sima | Dreamstime.com – photo credit

Lisa Nichols, bestselling author and featured teacher in the movie The Secret, shared an approach to networking that takes all other approaches I have learned to the next level. In the program Speak & Write to Make Millions (see: www.TanyaLoves.me/MTM), Lisa and her Motivating the Masses team teach the SNAP approach to networking. SNAP stands for Super Networking Accelerated Pace. It helps you to create a clear and concise, powerful and quick statement with a call to action that increases the productivity of your networking events. SNAP is an elevator pitch on steroids. It actually makes networking fun (this is a big deal for introverts like me) and ensures that networking is a snap.

Instead of babbling about the features of your product or service, your SNAP quickly answers the question: “What results do you produce in the world?” It begins with the end result, instead of the typical placement at the end of an elevator pitch. It flows like this:

  1. You open your SNAP with the “wins” you create for your clients (the results)
  2. You then make clear who those ideal clients are and how you create that value for them
  3. Then you tell them who you are looking for and then close with your call to action: “Who do you know?”

Leading by Example—My SNAP in Progress

I help authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to boost their brand and enhance their credibility by publishing a quality, nonfiction book. I do this through my company, Hallagen Ink, which provides ghostwriting, copyediting, and mentoring through the publishing process. I am looking for a dozen authors who want to publish and become an expert in their niche. Who do you know?

The beauty of this approach is that it is clear what value you or your product/services add because you are focusing on the results you create, not what the product or service is. This is the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) that people want to know. And you are expressing this value right out of the gate, instead of leaving them wondering if they will ever learn why they should care about meeting you.

Then, you make clear who benefits from that value—there is no guessing as to whether they should opt in or opt out. Instead, they know whether or not they are your prospect. But the biggest bonus is the call to action. Instead of ending your pitch with what you do, you put the ball in their court and ask: “Who do you know?”

This call to action question can sometimes catch others off guard, but when you clearly indicate that you are looking for names and introductions, they reach into their pocket of contacts and say: “Oh, one of my clients really needs your help. Let me introduce you.” Or, they realize that they are one of your ideal clients—Bonus!

SNAP for Authors—A Power Boost

Author Name Tag logoNetworking is a SNAP when you add a magnetic name tag from AuthorNameTag.com to the mix. It is a winning combination. I recently test-drove this myself. I already knew that wearing a magnetic name tag from AuthorNameTag.com had the following benefits:

  • It has a strong magnetic clasp that keeps the name tag in place instead of flipping over; it won’t put holes into your lapels or silk blouses.
  • The tag is visible from a distance with both the name and full-color book cover of the author. It draws attention from across a crowded room (no more squinting at your chest).
  • The tags won’t peel off or curl up like paper tags and the print is more legible than handwriting (ever seen a paper tag sticking to someone’s arm or in their hair?).
  • I can promote each of my books with a different tag depending on the event.

Now, I was adding my SNAP with the name tag. Most of the people who approached me at the event looked at my tag to see that I was a speaker and author. They could see my book cover and it prompted their initial comment/query: “Oh, you’re an author. What kind of books do you publish?” This opens the door to a SNAP conversation, even if the book you are promoting is not the SNAP you are using for that event. (Hot Tip: Have a SNAP for each business, product, or service you want to promote. And don’t be afraid to change it up at the event!)

The name tag opens the door to connecting with others, and using your SNAP makes that interaction more fruitful. A beautiful combination.

Double SNAP

When you have a moment, look into the SNAP approach that Lisa Nichols teaches. Or, contact me so I can share my experience. And as soon as you have a book cover designed for your next book, go to AuthorNameTag.com to order your Author Name Tag. When you do, you can start promoting your book before it even launches, and networking will be a snap!

PS Comment below to share your experiences with the SNAP approach. I would especially like to hear from those in the Speak and Write tribe.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Crafting Your Book’s Content—Part Two

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This is the second of a two-part post on crafting your book’s content. It is based on Chapter Four in Tanya Brockett’s new e-book The New Writer Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Nonfiction E-Book, which is available exclusively at www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Crafting Your Book’s Content:
Creating Your Book Outline

Content Part Two image

If you are writing a nonfiction book, an outline is an invaluable tool. It is amazing how the outline can help you to be more creative during your writing time. Instead of stifling creativity, it actually enhances it, and it boosts your productivity at the same time.

The additional benefits to creating an outline before you write your book include ensuring that you cover what you intend and you include what you need. When you create an outline, you may also find that you have a second book that will need to be written to cover all that you would love to share. (That is a great discovery!)

I have created a useful book outline tool to help you through this process. Click & buy yours here: www.TanyaLoves.me/OutlineTool. (This tool is free for purchasers of The New Writer Workbook.)

Five-Steps to Effective Writing

In my book, The New Writer Workbook, I share the DIGOD approach to effective writing (I also teach this approach in my new Clean Up Your Content course for writers. You can hop over to my Square page to register). DIGOD is an acronym that stands for:

D     Define your purpose

I      Identify your audience

G     Gather information

O     Organize facts

D     Determine format

I won’t go into detail on these areas in this post, but in the New Writer Workbook I review each acronym and provide space for you to write down information that will help you to craft your content. Right now, you can get the gist from the words in bold above.

Share your story

Now that you have identified all the information you want to include in your book and in what format, you can begin to share your story. Let your readers get to know you so they can enjoy the journey through your book’s pages. Review my post about writing for your ideal reader so your message can resonate.

In crafting your book’s content, share stories to help your reader understand your message. Help them to see how your words can benefit them. Show them how their lives will be enriched after reading your book. Be the best “you” that you can be and that will be enough.

 

This concludes a two-part post on Crafting Your Book’s Content. Let Tanya know if you would like to be a part of her new self-learning course on Content. Feel free to contact Tanya for mentoring through the book writing process, or grab a copy of the New Writer Workbook to take a stab at it by yourself first. Either way, I wish you much success in Crafting Your Book’s Content.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Client’s Book, Love to Live By, is a #1 New Release on Amazon

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Client’s Book, Love to Live By, is a #1 New Release on Amazon

Love to Live By cover

#1 New Release on Amazon

Passion pays. Hallagen Ink client, author Karen Mann Nelson, turned her passion for writing into a #1 New Release on Amazon today. But it is the love that infuses each page that really makes this book soar.

Karen is an absolutely beautiful (inside and out) mother of ten children who shares her experiences of love, loss, healing, wonder, joy, laughter, and the wisdom they represent so that readers can experience the majesty of her teaching in their own lives.

As the editor and designer of the book, I went through the book with a keen focus, yet I wished I had read this book for my own benefit years ago! The guidance and golden nuggets of wisdom within these pages are so profound at times. The way she shares her stories and the perspective she offers will truly enlighten you from page to page. I am so grateful to have been a part of the journey for this debut author.

Here is an excerpt from the book description:

This is an “Incredible Journey” book. It takes you into the mind and heart of a woman who was blessed with the chance to raise ten children in her, now, forty-two-year marriage. To capture all she was learning “along the way,” she would write down “Mom’s Philosophies of Life” onto little scraps of paper and shove them into her pockets. At night, she would take them out and write short essays about the things that brought her joy, suffering, beyond imaginable “crazy,” heartache, happiness, wonder, dancing, answers, healing, voices, magic, laughter, light, and miracles. These paper messages have now become a toolbox; a treasure box called LOVE TO LIVE BY.

One thing that is so helpful in gleaning the most memorable thoughts from this book is that it is organized by topic within each of its fifteen chapters. From “Inspired Living,” to “Parenting & Children,” to “Giving & Being of Service,” there is so much to gain from this delightful book. And you can just jump into any subject, grab a few nuggets to satisfy yourself, and then go about your day. You can then pick it back up at any time and learn to love more.

I encourage you to take the advice of Connie Ragen Green who wrote the foreword for the book: “Visualize her sitting next to you, taking your hands in hers, and telling you what you already know but may have long since forgotten. For in reading what Karen has written here, we are all so much closer to experiencing God’s love for each of us.”

Love to Live By may be just what we all need right now.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Crafting Your Book’s Content—Part One

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This is the first of a two-part post on crafting your book’s content. It is based on Chapter Four in Tanya Brockett’s new e-book The New Writer Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Nonfiction E-Book, which is available exclusively at www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

Crafting Your Book’s Content

Crafting your contentIf you have a book inside of you that needs to come out, crafting your book’s content will be one of the essential steps in your book-publishing journey. Consider the following steps as you sit down to contemplate your process. This information is a summary of what you will find in greater detail in my new e-book, The New Writer Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Nonfiction E-Book.

Visualize Successful Completion

What do you want to feel like when you have finished writing your book? What do you want your readers to feel when they buy your book? How do you want them to respond after they have read your book? Take a few minutes to visualize all of these things in your mind.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

—Albert Einstein

Close your eyes and take a look at your book cover, see the book in your hands, feel the sense of accomplishment, and hear the ca-ching of sales as your book flies off the shelf. See it as if it has already happened.

Now as you open your eyes, ready to move forward, simply remember your creation as you plan to write it down.

Plan Your Time

When I first met best-selling author John Grisham (The Whistler), I asked him how he was able to crank out one bestseller after another. He told me that he gets up to write at the same time each day and grabs the same cup of coffee and same pen and sits at the same table and writes whether he has something to add to the story or not.

Do you have time set aside that is just for your writing? If you did, what would be the best time for you to do so? When are you most creative or open or refreshed for writing? Use that time and use it consistently.

Organize Your Thoughts

Planning your approach to crafting your book’s content and doing the actual writing can make you eight times more productive in completing the task. If you know what you want to write about and what you want to achieve with your book, you will have greater clarity as you work.

Clarity is perhaps the most important concept in personal productivity. The number one reason why some people get more work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives, and they don’t deviate from them.

Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog

Planning your content will help you stay on track, eliminate redundancy, and streamline each writing session.

Summarize Your Book

I recommend writing a few sentences about what you want to cover in your book. Here you can include what you want your readers to do, be, and have as a result of reading your book. This particular piece is just for you (though you may end up using some of it for your book description on Amazon or your back cover copy). It will help you to remember your overall objective and help you to see when you are off track as you create your book outline (the next step).

 

This has been part one of a two-part post on Crafting Your Book’s Content. Feel free to contact Tanya for mentoring through the book writing process, or grab a copy of the New Writer Workbook to take a stab at it by yourself first. Either way, stay tuned for the second installment on Crafting Your Book’s Content.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.

How to Attract Your Ideal Reader

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How to Attract Your Ideal Reader by Tanya BrockettIn the book publishing classes I taught, I worked with many first-time authors. One of their greatest fears was that no one would read their books. This fear kept many of them from finishing their books, because if it is not finished, they can’t expect anyone to read it, right? In this post, we are going to discuss how to attract your ideal reader so you can stop using that as an excuse for not sharing your message.

The Concept

Why do you want to learn how to attract your ideal reader? Won’t they just find you on Amazon and buy your book? Maybe, but not likely. They have to have a reason to find your book and you have to give them that reason. To better attract that ideal reader, it helps to know whom you are trying to attract.

Who is Your Ideal Reader?

Identify that ideal reader by giving them an avatar. If you already have an audience for your blog or previous books, this may be easier for you because you can learn directly from them. If not, imagine: what does your reader look like, what is their name, what age are they, where do they live, what do they like, etc.? What experiences have they gone through that make them want to pick up your book? Visualize that reader with your book in their hands. What are they asking for? If you took them out to lunch, what would they tell you about your book subject? What questions would they ask you? Make him/her real and your book/writing will become more real to the reader.

Write Something Worthy

One way to attract and engage readers is to write something worthy. Not only should you write something of quality (grab our free tips bundle at http://www.HallagenInk.com), but also something that connects to them in a way that is worthy of their time and energy. When you know who your ideal reader is, you can write about what they want and need to know, and thus serve them better. Knowing your ideal reader helps not only in providing words they want to read but sharing them in a way they want to receive them. As you picture that ideal reader, what do you want them to know?

“You Be You”

Knowing to whom you are writing helps you to be authentic in your expression to your reader. You won’t have to hold back or fear offending someone when you know your reader feels and thinks like you or at least doesn’t mind that you do. When you are not caught up in “what will they think of me?” you can write a much better piece. Remember, what other people think of you is none of your business! Write from your point of authenticity and the reader who aligns with that will appreciate your writing.

Your Ideal Reader Makes Writing Easier

When you know your ideal reader, writing becomes easier. That is why some writers will put a picture or image of their reader avatar on their computer so they can keep that reader in mind while they write. Your writing can then be more personal and feel more like direct communication.

When you have a specific recipient in mind, you have a much easier time communicating your ideas…. Give your ideal reader a name, a personality, interests, worries, and a birthday. Then, every time you write, write for that one person. —Ali Hale, DailyWritingTips.com

Master marketer and prolific author Joe Vitale does this in his marketing and writing. He writes each of his books with an individual reader in mind, not the millions who will eventually end up reading his books. He writes to one and it resonates with many.

Deeper Dive to Your Ideal Reader

There are lots of resources for really digging deep into the psyche of your ideal reader. One that I find most engaging is from YourWriterPlatform.com. Kimberley Grabas has a very authentic series on understanding your reading audience. Not only does she suggest the details you need to know about your reader, she also provides the means by which you can get the information.

 

To alleviate the fear of not having any readers for your books or writing, decide to whom you want to write, create an avatar of that reader, and write your material to them. Doing so may not only make your information more appealing to your ideal reader but also make it easier and more enjoyable for you to write it. Please feel free to comment on this topic of how to attract your ideal reader. I would love to know your approach and what works for you.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com. Join her Live Your Best Life Now Course at www.LiveYourBestLifeNowCourse.com.

How to Benefit from a Sample Edit without Paying

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How to benefit from a sample edit without payingHanding over your manuscript to someone to edit can be a scary experience. But there is a way to test the waters before jumping in the pool (full of alligators, ahh!). It is the sample edit. There are a few editors who charge for this service but read on to learn how to benefit from sample edits without paying.

What is a Sample Edit?

A sample edit is a full copyedit on a sampling of your manuscript, rather than the whole thing. Typically, you would submit five pages of your manuscript in a separate Word file that your editor would then review. In that review, they will track the changes in your document to show you where it can be strengthened and to show you the mechanical errors that they found. They will return the sample to you with all of these changes showing, so you can see what would be required to produce a publishable work.

Note that you should only request a sample edit of serious contenders only. An editor’s time is valuable, and they want to work with those who are professional and serious about their work. Don’t waste your time or the editor’s time with frivolous samples. Remember, editors are not just providing an estimate here; they are actually performing the work on a small section of your manuscript.

Why Do You Need a Sample Edit?

There are several benefits of a sample edit. I will outline five of them here.

  1. The sample edit allows you to see the extent of changes that might be required to prepare your manuscript for publishing. This is an eye-opener for most authors. Many feel that they write well and that they have reviewed their document so much that “an editor couldn’t possible find much of anything.” Yikes! There was so much more here than you ever imagined! The level of copyediting required will be determined as well, and this factors into your fee estimate.
  2. The sample edit allows you to see the level of care that the editor takes with your words. The goal of an edit is not to have an editor change everything you are saying. We editors are here to ensure excellence in your message, not to change it. Your voice should still shine through; it will just be clearer, more accurate, and more polished.
  3. The sample edit will allow you to see how the editor comes across in their comments and queries. Do they belittle you and make you feel bad for writing, or do they encourage you to improve and make you feel like you will be a bestseller when they are finished? This will be a business relationship that will carry on for several weeks or manuscript after manuscript: can you see yourself working with that person that long?
  4. The sample edit also allows the editor to determine if your work is in line with work they want to do. Really. All editors will not want to review every manuscript that comes their way just to collect a fee. I will speak for myself here and say that I am selective in who I choose as a client. I don’t want to read manuscripts three times over that make me feel slimy or gross or give me nightmares! I also will not take on a manuscript in a genre that would be better served by another editor (like medical textbooks). I will let you know if that is the case.
  5. The sample edit will reveal if your manuscript is not yet ready for an editor. You may need to make changes or improvements first and may need guidance as to why. In a sample edit, I will give you great feedback that will prepare you for your edit, even if I won’t be the one editing the full manuscript.

How Do I Request a Sample Edit?

Most editors will provide directions for submitting a sample edit on their websites. If they do not mention the availability of a sample edit, ask them if they provide “free sample edits.” If so, you might prepare your edit sample as such:

  1. Create a new document and name the file with your name, the book title (or a few words of it if too long), and the word “sample.” Example: Brockett—New Writer Workbook Sample. Add the book title as a header in the document, then paste in a continuous flow of five (to ten) pages of text from your original manuscript.
  2. Select all the text and make it Times New Roman, 12-point type. Then double-space the lines and change the margins to 1” all around. (Note: appearances don’t matter here. We are focused on content, not formatting/aesthetics.) If the editor doesn’t have a submission form asking for manuscript specifics, you might add the following to the top of your sample page: Word count, Genre, Publishing Goal (traditional or independent), and Intended audience (ideal reader).
  3. Save the file and submit it according to instructions from the editor. At my site (www.HallagenInk.com/Services), you will find a submission form that asks a few questions about the manuscript and then provides a submission button for uploading your sample file.

Your editor will work the sample edit into their schedule and return it to you, usually within a week. At Hallagen Ink, our samples come with a short editorial report that lets you know what we found that may be overarching issues with the manuscript; the level of editing required to meet publishing standards; and an estimate of the level of investment and time required to perform the edit (given the sample, the total word count, and the current workload).

Have Sample, Now What?

When you receive your sample edit and editorial feedback, review it with an open mind and the assumption that the editor wants only the best for you and your work. As I have said for many years, “Editors are not here to find fault; we are here to ensure perfection.” So instead of feeling defeated or inferior, feel excited that the editor found enough material to make you look good! Imagine if you released your words to the world and they were riddled with errors? Now you won’t have that issue because you have found an editor who can make your words shine!

Be grateful, and be sure to ask the editor for clarification on anything you do not understand. Remember, they are looking to industry standards so that you look like a successful author. There are times, however, when standards are meant to be broken, but you and your editor can decide together when that will be.

After your review, accept the changes in the sample, and paste it into your original manuscript. That way, when you return the entire manuscript to your editor for editing, they won’t have to make those changes again.

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Before you commission your next editing project, see if you can test-drive a sample of your manuscript. You now know how to benefit from sample edits without paying, so you have no excuse for sending your book out to agents or to Amazon without a full professional edit. Comment and let me know about your sample experiences. I would love to hear about them.

To Your Editing Success,

Tanya

PS To request your sample edit from Hallagen Ink, click on over to www.HallagenInk.com/Services, upload your sample per this blog post, and hit submit. We will connect with you on the other side.

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at www.HallagenInk.com.

The Fact of the Matter

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Let’s face it, if you have never published a book before, you have no reason to know that the order in which things appear in your book matter. But the fact of the matter is that how your book is organized can peg you as an amateur.

What is this Matter?

Each book has both front and back matter. These are the items that appear in your book that are not the actual chapter contents. For example, you might have a foreword and an acknowledgments page. There could be an index and a dedication. You might have a bibliography and an introduction.

What difference does it make where these things show up in your book? Believe me, if you put them in the order that I listed them above, you would be quite embarrassed indeed. And your readers (should you acquire any) would be quite confused.

Why Should You Care?

There is a specific order that all of the matter appears in a book. That order is outlined in the publishing industry standard Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). The CMOS is a reference book on every editor’s desk. It outlines the birthing and production process of our publications, from the way we use our language to the way we document and produce our works. It is the primary style guide for book publishing.

CMOS coverThe fact of the matter is that we have standards so that all of us can pick up a book and know that our table of contents will appear within the first five or so pages of the book. We can count on it being there. We wouldn’t want to have to search in the middle of the book for a list of contents, would we? Absolutely not. So standards help us by organizing our content in a reliable way that we can depend on from book to book.

We can always find publishing data on the copyright page on the first four pages of the book (after our title pages). We know that if anyone meant anything to the author, we will know who they are before we get to the first chapter. Standards help us to count on these things.

What’s the Order?

In my e-book for nonfiction writers, The New Writer Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Nonfiction E-Book (at http://www.NewWriterWorkbook.com), I lay out the primary parts of the book and their uses. They are also found in Section 1.4 of the CMOS that I referenced earlier. To give you a quick glimpse of common components (not all), they are:

From the front of the book

Title pages (half title, series title, full title)
Copyright page
Dedication
(Table of) Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Introduction
(All of this before Chapter 1)

In the back of the book

Appendix
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

So that you are aware, these pages also appear on a certain side of the book (recto or verso), thus you will need to understand what all this means. Take a look at the book The New Writer Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Nonfiction E-Book for a detailed listing with explanations. (Find it at www.NewWriterWorkbook.com.)

Keep It All Together

If you are an independent author and you want to look like you have it together, be sure to keep your book parts in order. The fact of the matter is that your book’s organization will matter to both your reputation as an author and to your readers.

To Your Writing Success,

Tanya

PS If you would rather just have a second pair of eyes to watch your back (and front…matter that is), contact me via e-mail at Tanya@HallagenInk.com to request a $20 Matter Review. I will look at both the order of appearance and the content of those pages. (NOTE: This is a great deal even if your book has already been published because we can fix it before anyone else buys/sees it.)

Thankful Living

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Thankful living

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough” (Meister Eckhart).

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend. If you are in the US, you may be gathering with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. It is a wonderful time of year to collectively give thanks for all the good and abundance in our lives. What if we practiced thankful living every day?

Master teacher Joe Vitale recognized the importance of gratitude to our lives in his book The Secret Prayer by that expressing gratitude is the first step to creating what you want in life. It is the first of three steps to what Vitale calls The Secret Prayer.

Jack Canfield lists gratitude a factor in success in his book The Success Principles. It is the spirit of gratitude that is essential to creating more of what is good and successful in life.

The lead quote by Meister Eckhart expresses the importance of gratitude in our lives. It is this thankful living that helps us to seek more good, and it is that action that helps us to recognize more good, and thus more good is found, and the cycle continues.

So even if you don’t have lots of friends and family around this Thanksgiving weekend (here in the US), give thanks for what you do have, no matter how big or small. It will bring to you more to be grateful for in this present moment. Integrate this into your daily routine and your act of thankful living will give you something to be grateful for on a continuous basis.

I am grateful for you and that I have the opportunity to share my passion and talent with you on an ongoing basis. Please e-mail me or leave a comment if you are really grateful for something. I would love to share in your joy of thankful living.