Friday, June 22, 2012

Does Your Target Market Trust You?

By Tiffany Colter

This was an idea that I was thinking of recently as I was reviewing all of my clients and my business dealings over the last few years of Writing Career Coach. I started to think what was it that really bonded me to my clients, and my clients to me. I realized that we have trust and mutual respect.

By that I mean my clients trust that I always have their best interest at heart, that I’m always seeking to give them more than they expect, and that I’m always working hard to try to help them reach their needs.
In the case of Writing Career Coach, it’s either helping them as writers to learn how to build platform. Or, when I’m working with businesses that I’m helping, it’s to help them put their words to paper and to connect them to the people they want to connect to.

See, when I’m working with writers they know that I don’t see them as competition. When I’m working with businesses they know I don’t see them as dancing dollar signs. It builds a trust and mutual respect that has caused my clients to refer me to other people, and has helped Writing Career Coach grow far beyond what I ever thought it would be.

Take some time and look at your growth, outside of marketing, and ask yourself do my clients trust me? Do I walk in integrity? Are my words my bond? Or do I do things that undermine the trust and the relationship that I have with my client?

Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.

This blog originally posted on WritingCareerCoach.com on  June 23, 2011

Friday, June 15, 2012

Three tips for getting more done

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about what I’ve been up to. I have 4 busy daughters, a husband who is active at work and the community, and I run my company. I always seem to have lots going on and lots coming up. That is the way my life is, and I generally like it.
While we were talking I shared some things I do to help be more efficient. These kinds of things are second nature to me, but she was fascinated by them. I have shared a few of these in the past, but I realized that with all of the new readers we have to the blog may benefit from some of these tips as well.

1.  Group Like with Like.
Efficiency suffers when you keep trying to jump from thing to thing. For example, if I were writing this blog post then I suddenly stopped to place an order for books, then replied to a few emails and then came back to this blog. Why is that less efficient? Because I need to get back my train of thought. I also have to login to the ordering program. Emails can be time consuming and can pull me to other social media venues. Emails can also lead me to other things that need done. Nothing can be more discouraging than realizing how much is left to be done.
For a time I was checking my email twice a day—at the beginning and the end of the day. That was great when it was just me running the company, but now that I have more projects and more team members I find that checking my email about every 2 hours is the best system.
Do you see another piece of my program? I reevaluate my system periodically to make sure it is the most efficient way to do things.

2.  Recognize the cost of doing it yourself.
We’ve discussed this many times, but I will make the point again here. I recognize that I spend money and emotional capital each time I try to do more than I’m capable of doing. Also, within my professional life, it is far more expensive for me to spend hours working on something that someone can do better than I can. Constantly evaluate areas where you can outsource tasks to others.
To determine the opportunity cost of doing it yourself figure out how much time it takes you, your hourly rate and your level of expertise doing it.

3.  Make sure you set clear boundaries.
This is in your personal and business life. I have found that the best way for me to do this is to have an office away from the house. I couldn’t always do that—during those times I had to be much more disciplined—but now I have set hours when I am at my office and set times at home. I recognize sometimes doctor’s appointments will take me from the office early and sometimes a business meeting will hold me late, but for the most part I work to have set hours each day.
This also means that you have to be firm with family and friends. If you told a boss at any hourly job that you simply weren’t going to come in, were going to come in late, or that you were going to show up when you felt like it, you simply wouldn’t have a job long. Flexibility of the self-employed is nice, but it is also a reason that many people fail on their own. It is too easy to lose the discipline necessary to have success in business.
Action Steps
  • Look over your calendar for this week and see what you have on your to-do list.
  • As much as possible group things together.
  • Decide your hours, and stick to them.
  • See if there are any tasks on your list that should be done by others and begin to search for them.
Share some of your questions, results, or tips.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.

This blog originally posted on WritingCareerCoach.com on 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Come see our new place

Writing Career Coach has now moved our blog over to www.WritingCareerCoach.com.

There you will find free articles on:

-Meeting editors & agents at conference
-Editing your manuscript by finding problem words [The Rainbow Vomit method]
-And much more.

You'll also see Tiffany's speaking topics [I'd love to come to your next writer's conference]

And much more.

Thousands of you have visited Writing Career Coach over the last 2+ years we've been a blog and I hope to see all of you at our new home.

Come to the new site, sign up for updates, say hi, tell us about your writing, ask a question.

Come see what we've been talking about in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to select your genre



Many new writers like to say something like this:



“My story is in a new kind of genre. There is some romance and little historical and some science fiction all mixed together in a coming of age novel.


While you may not say this exactly, I am fairly sure that at some point you have decided you have a whole new genre, but, as King Solomon said in the Bible, there is nothing new under the sun. The same is true with our writing. While our books will have unique elements, we must keep our stories within an explainable category, aka genre.


How do you go about selecting a genre? Some say that you should write in the area you understand best, but that doesn’t always work for every author. While I have a degree in political science and history my stories are contemporary suspense novels. That means that I have more research to do in order to construct my plots, but it is the world I am best able to write in.



Consider what it is that most interests you and the kind of writing you get most excited about. Don’t limit yourself to the kind of writing that fits in with your background or learning. Look at the way the story starts to percolate in your mind. That is your first clue.



Once you’ve selected your genre you have the most important step: research that genre. There are certain conventions in writing that you must provide to your reader. Every genre is a promise. In a romance the promise is he and she will meet at the beginning of the book and be in a happy, committed relationship at the end. If you have her die on the final page you are breaking the promise you gave in writing a romance. In suspense you are promising the reader that there will be an emotional experience where life and limb are challenged. If the bad guy is caught 1/3 of the way through and you proceed to go in to the main characters childhood [without any further threat of the bad guy returning] you have broken the promise to the reader.



Within the formula there is always some room for a SKILLFUL adjustment [notice I said skillful], but you must master the convention before changing it.


In the comments why don’t you share a bit about the genre [or genres] you are writing in and what you like about that genre. You may also want to share your understanding of the conventions of that genre to help others learn about that kind of writing.




The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.




Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com
Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.
Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Clearly defined purpose


Why do you want to write?


It may seem a silly question but it really deserves an answer. This business is full of rejection, low pay, and long shots. During a soaring economy it was about 10% of Manuscripts [maybe slightly less] that actually saw the light of day and joined hundreds of other books sitting lonely on the bookstore shelves.


Authors, once they get that publishing contract, also find that readers can be snide, cruel and difficult individuals sometimes. Now, I’m not talking about all readers [I happen to be an AWESOME reader. The kind every author longs to have. Ha-ha], but there are those few who want to copy edit your novel instead of reading it or debate a single minor comment on a single page in an obscure part of the subplot.


Why do you want to subject yourself to that?


When I answered it I realized that it was because, to me, the characters in my books are alive. They have stories to tell and a need to be heard. They were born [created] to touch someone and I want to help them do that.


So why do YOU do it? I’d love to hear in the comments. And those of you who are editors, what role do you feel you play in all of this? I’d love to hear from you as well.


To read more on a similar topic follow these links:


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Interview with Diana Brandmeyer




Today we are interviewing author Diana Brandmeyer. Her most recent book, Hearts On The Road, is available through Heartsong Presents.


Diana Lesire Brandmeyer has a background in education and psychology. Her credits include My Devotions, The Metro East Family Gazette, Little Visits Family Devotions and The Lutheran Witness. She received her degree from Webster University. She is the author of Hearts on the Road, A Time to Dance, Mystery of the Smithton Necklace and The Trouble with Ralph. She lives in Southern Illinois where the corn grows at a rapid rate behind her home.

She’s married and has 3 grown sons all on their own now, each of them bringing someone special to join the family. Yay! Daughter-in-laws!

Diana loves having pets, right now there is only one in the house, a cat named Wendell and an occasional granddog named Rusty.

Hearts on the Road:

Love cannot be trusted.

Abandoned by her father, betrayed by her fiancĂ©, and forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

Soon Randi and Matthew find themselves at cross-purposes. His life on the road has just begun. Her eight-year-old niece needs a parent to come home to every day. Is this the end of the road for Randi and Matthew’s romance?

Which road leads to God’s ultimate plan?


Diana took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.

Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published?
Diana Brandmeyer: Before my book was available for purchase I began posting to my blog at least twice a week. I also put out teasers on various social networking site. When my cover became available I posted it on my blog and tweeted and used my facebook status to alert people. I posted reviews of other books on my blog to entice readers to come back often so when my book became available they would know. In all my signature lines for email and when posting comments on blogs, I listed my book and the excepted date of its release.

WCC: Tell us about your book.
DB: Abandoned, betrayed, and feeling forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
DB: I am a SOTP with some degree of planning. I like using two programs, liquid story binder and Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro to collect my thoughts and ideas. LSB is a great tool for keeping photos of my characters, settings and my loose ideas. I can write with the program too but I like using word. When I begin a story I usually start with a character, they seem to come to me with a problem they want solved and the story evolves from that problem. I spend a lot of time locating photos of what they might look like, what they wear, drive, where they live, and if they have a hobby I have photos of what they collect or make. Once I do that they are real to me and I begin thinking of the three worse things that could happen to them and start writing.

WCC: What is it like working with editors? Do you have tips for getting along and building a great relationship with them?
DB: I have a great editor at Heartsong Presents and before that with Awe-Struck. My best tip is ‘listen’ they know what they are taking about. You can always disagree, but think about it carefully and pick your battles. What is the most disturbing change that you can’t live with? That’s the one to question. Always be respectful, the publishing community is small and you don’t want to be known as the one who was impossible to work with.

WCC: Do you have a tip for finding-and working with-an agent?
DB: Join a national organization like American Christian Fiction Writers-ACFW, attend conferences and network with other writers. It’s possible that someone you know will recommend you to their agent. I can’t stress the importance of networking enough. I didn’t realize how much it could help your writing career when I first began.

Read more of Diana’s interview here at Examiner.com

Other books by Diana Brandmeyer:

YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of Hearts on the Road. The drawing will take place on December 28, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.
The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.
Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clearly defined success


How is it you are defining success? Your answer that will not only show a great deal about who you are but also about who you will be. If your goal is to maintain where you are-do you like where you are? Some people really do, and that is great! I like where I live. I like the size of our family and I love the relationship I have with my husband. Those things I want to maintain. I write a few columns in addition to my blogs each month. I am happy with that level, but would be willing to take on one more paid article per month [maybe two]. That means I may spend some time on submitting to a few places to try to develop my connections in paying markets.


I want to contract 3 novels this year so my daily tasks will be deemed “successful” each day if they are leading to that ultimate goal.


In Steve Martin’s Hilarious novel, The Pleasure of My Company, the main character has an odd view of success [such as touching the corners of every copier at Kinkos], but he takes very deliberate steps to reaching those goals. Some might call the man crazy, but how much crazier is it to daily say you have a goal but do nothing to cause forward momentum.


At least he left the house to go to Kinkos.


To read more on a similar topic follow these links:
Clearly defined goals
The right opportunity in the right hands


The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.


Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com


Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.


Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.


Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.


Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.


Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.


She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.