January 2014 through December 2014 - Page 25

the “stickiest,” meaning, people who can see you, meet you, and interact with you are going to be interested in not only you but what you have to say. By speaking three times a day at 10-12 different events, he sold 10,000 books on his own before his book was picked up by a major publisher. Pamela Binnings Ewen took marketing matters into her own hands and drove cross-country stopping at strategic bookstores along the way to meet managers and drop off break room copies of her books. Judy Lockhart DiGregorio is no stranger to those who are members of every organization from the Lions’ Club to AARP. You name the venue, Judy’s sashayed through their doors. Also an actress—which helps to meet and greet—Judy knows how to charm the soles right off a hard sell’s feet. John Koblas—now in cowboy heaven—made appearances with Wagon Train actors and others at the Old West historical events across the nation. Agent and many times western author Terry Burns, who wears several hats, is innovative at creating and keeping an online buzz going while other authors hold contests. Speaking of contests, Dorothy Howell still can’t wait to give away a smokin’ hot pocketbook every year, while Linda J. Gilden once used clear plastic lunch boxes and created a love notes kit that held printed notes, blank notes, stickers, and a card with back-to-school prayers for her book Love Notes in Lunchboxes. Known for her flair when it comes to contests, Vicki Hinze has given away a diamond necklace and emergency roadside kits for automobiles. And yes, flares were included. Having a musical husband comes in handy for Angela Dolbear, author of The Garden Key. Hubby not only woos her with cheeseburgers, he co-writes songs with her that blend with the storyline to make a soundtrack performed by their Adult/Alternative band, Child of the Son. Buy both the book and CD and get a discounted price. Michael Haskins has helped raise money for charity by letting the highest auction bidder become a character in one of his books. He offered to put me in one of his books but I was afraid he’d make me a bad girl and bump me off so I delicately declined. Perhaps you’re ready to try some of these innovative ideas or perhaps I’ve given you inspiration for ideas of your own. However you promote, market, and advertise, excel with flare, promote with punch, then treat yourself to a cheeseburger after you’ve bought yourself a smokin’ hot pocketbook—unless you’re a dude. Then you’ll probably want Michael Haskins to make you a CIA agent who bumps other people off. Oh, the power of the pen. Happy writing trails! n Book Proposal Boot Camp by W. Terry Whalin Resolve to Publish Your Book in 2015 S ome people have been “talking” about writing a book for years. They seem determined 2015 will be their year to get the book out of their head and into the marketplace. Does this sound familiar to you or do you know people saying these statements? Here’s some action steps you can take for your plans to succeed this year. The first step is to learn how to create a book proposal. Editors and agents throughout publishing use this specialized document. Your proposal is critical for nonfiction or fiction. Admittedly, fiction is about the story and must be completely written before submission. In contrast, you can submit a nonfiction idea with a proposal and a sample chapter. With millions of submissions in circulation, an excellent proposal helps you stand apart from the other writers. You can check out a book from the library like my Book Proposals That Sell, take an online course (www.WriteABookProposal.com) or a free teleseminar (www.AskAboutProposals.com) or study my free book proposal checklist (www.terrylinks.com/bookcheck). Second, you need to schedule regular time to write the proposal. Maybe you craft words during lunch or set your alarm and get up a little earlier or write late at night. Everyone needs consistent time to complete an excellent proposal. Third, get feedback from other writers before you submit your proposal. Maybe you are a part of a critique group (www.terrylinks.com/critique). If you can’t locate a group, just exchange your work with another writer and ask for honest feedback. You don’t want to be the only person who has read your words before sending them to an agent or editor. Finally, connect with other writers, agents and editors. As editors, we buy from people that we know, like and trust. You can build this trust online through commenting on blogs or Facebook posts or even using Twitter. Because you have worked at your relationship, when you submit your material you increase your possibilities for it to be read and receive a publishing contract. These steps will take the idea out of your head and get it into print. If I can help you, just ask. n W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and has recently updated Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (available in bookstores everywhere). He has over 131,000 followers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/terrywhalin). Southern Writers 25