Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twitting my way to Time Management

I'll admit it, I really saw no point to Twitter.

I heard a few people who did it but many others saw it as a complete waste of time. But suddenly I realized the potential Time Management use of Twitter and suddenly I'm there.

If you Twitter, or are going to start now, add me to your friends! I'd love to keep up with everyone!

So how can a social networking site become a time management tool? Accountability!

How it helps me
I'm going to post on Twitter each time I start a new project. I'm even going to post when I get distracted....Oh MAN is this going to be hard!! I'm going to do this from now until mid-December and then I'll see if my productivity increased.

How it will help you
I want you to see what it is that I do. This will hopefully give you some ideas that you can use to build up your writing business. I'm going to HOPEFULLY set a good example for all of you by showing you how I break up my day to accomplish all I have to do.

The biggest danger is suddenly reading everyone's posting so what I'd suggest is find two or three people who will be your accountability circle and then check their Twitter logs at the end of the day and comment on the whole thing. Otherwise this will just be one more distraction.

In December I'll look over my log and productivity and I'll tell you if it helped or hurt.

So I hope to see some of you watching me [the more people watching me, the better I'll stick to my own schedule. Laugh.]

And remember, I'll have my eyes on you!!!!!!!!!!!

The next chapter of A Face in the Shadow will post tomorrow. I hope you're enjoying the book.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is your writing budget

Today I'm going to shift gears and talk about....the economy.

Not the stock market or the gold/silver ratios or the mortgage crisis. I'm going to talk about the economy of your writing business.

Oh, you mean you don't have one? gives seven definitions for the word economy but it is the 3rd one I want to key up on. It says:
3. the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., esp. with a view to its productivity.

Are you managing the resources of your writing business with a view to its productivity? When you pay $1,500 to go to a writer's conference are you taking what you've learned and applying it to your writing. Is there a direct correlation between what you spend on writing 'stuff' and what you earn writing [your ROI-Return on Investment]?

Now all of us have a period of "paying our dues" by submitting articles to magazines, writing things for free and rewriting our manuscript to the point of frustration. But these are all ROIs. You are getting a RETURN on each of your investments when you do this. You are writing, editing, submitting, networking and growing as a writer.

My experience as a writing career coach has been VERY different than what I've just described. I sell my writing career coach course "Intro to the Writer's Life" for $35 on my website. That cost includes not only the 86 pages of lessons but each lesson gives exercises that people are encouraged to complete and send back to me for feedback. I work very hard to give meaningful feedback on each lesson sent to me. I usually spend between 30-60 minutes reading and responding to each email from each lesson. This is a GREAT value because I charge $15-$20/hr for coaching.

Now, over the last two years out of all the copies of this course I've sold or donated to raffles do you know how many people have actually taken the time to complete all 12 lessons and send them to me?? Guess....2. Yes, two people.

This is what I'm talking about when I say "What is your writing budget". Do you have so much extra money that you are able to spend hundreds of dollars [or thousands] to work with a writing coach, attend a conference buy a book, pay for a class and then do NOTHING with it.

Likewise I have taught more than 2 dozen people in classes through the Christian PEN. Usually in each class there will be 2-4 people who are really involved and participating in the lessons. The remainder of the people will "lurk". They've paid $30-$50 usually for the class and they don't participate.

I've been guilty of the same thing. When I won the Daphne I also won a free class...I lurked.

So we all do it. My question to you is are you done lurking? Are you ready to grab the bull by the horns and really get focused? Learn, apply, learn, apply. When I taught about showing vs. telling did you take the time to look at one of your writing projects, even a page, and see if you could bring it up a notch?

If you are too busy now, then when are you ready to stop wasting time and start really writing? NaNoWriMo is coming up in a few days. Why don't you use that time to DO what you say you want to do?

I dare you!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Have you gone over to read the latest installment of A Face in the Shadow? Go over and read it from the beginning at

Monday, October 27, 2008

How much contact is overkill?

Last week I posed a question to a group of writers I know [ACFW]. I wanted to know about their perceived value of newsletters vs simply blogging.

Among the authors who replied to me, most really expressed no real increase in readership since adding a newsletter. The next day as I was scanning through the blogs I regularly read [you can see a list of them here] I found a posting titled "8 Reasons to add a newsletter to your Blog. [read it here].

So now there is a dilemma. A business and marketing focused blog is saying that newsletters are fundamental and authors are telling me that they are ineffective.


Whenever I see a discrepancy like this I always put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and start looking for the reason. After reading the responses to my question, looking at blogs and newsletters I read and reading probloggers blog I have come to a few conclusions:

1. People who aren't getting success with their newsletters haven't quite figured out their market.

This can be tough for writers. We like to talk to each other and share our neat tips [like I do here] but most of our readers will likely NOT be authors [at least not serious ones who are actively submitting to publications]. So how do we appeal to both groups? In many ways, we can't. We cannot expect that people who read our fiction books about Regency Romance novels will be fascinated with the nuance of subplot. Likewise, being a contemporary suspense writer, it is unlikely that I will be fascinated by an in depth piece on costumes of the 18th century. [See, I'm not even sure the TIME PERIOD of Regency books....].

So if you have a newsletter, know your audience.

2. Offer something unique.

You can't simply offer your reheated blogs in newsletter form and expect it to fly. Being a full-time writer involves a great deal of time and effort. That means that if you are going to send out a monthly newsletter you need to take the time to offer content that is unique to your readership. You may have some cross over between newsletter readers and blog readers but, for the most part, you are appealing to two different groups.

One way you can maximize your time is to mention blogs that might be of interest to your newsletter readers and only offer them on the days you release your blog. That way both readers will meet on those days. [This is a variation of the theme for points 1-3 on that blog]

3. Overkill

And now we come back to the title of this blog. Consider whether you really have ENOUGH information worth sharing to support a blog and newsletter and website...and...and...and...

Don't simply get a blog and a newsletter because everyone else has them. Invest a bit of time to decide what your real goals are with these marketing ventures. What do you hope to accomplish? How can that goal best be met?

I like blogs because I can give up to the minute information but I have found that, despite my huge amount of visiting traffic, I'm daily looking for new 'customers'. That is because many people come to read one or two blogs but only a very few come and read every single blog posting. I can honestly say that, despite LOVING the blogs I read, the only blog that I read EVERY SINGLE time it posts is Chip MacGregor's blog. I think there are a few reasons for that. First, Chip doesn't post that often. About once every week or two. Second, Chip has been in the industry, a-hem, most of my life. [Chip, if you read this, sorry]. I know that he knows his stuff. Third, he is honest almost to a fault. He doesn't sugar coat things and that makes it easier for me to plan my business. But Chip is a unique case.

Some of the people I've seen who have the greatest success in building and keeping a newsletter subscription are people who frequently go out and do speaking. As they're meeting new people they are constantly adding to their newsletter roles. I get Randy Ingermanson's newsletter every month and read it cover to cover but I'm only able to hit his blog periodically.

Final thoughts

I think I've shown through my own reading habits why having a blog and a newsletter is so important. I'd even suggest that someone who speaks/writes to a variety of groups that they have several newsletters because each market would have different needs.

So how much time are you spending marketing yourself like this? Are you effective? The results will speak for themselves.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Read the novel A Face in the Shadow FREE at

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's not what you think !!!

...we all know writers must first be readers, and this blog talks all about about that. But it's not what you think!

What I mean today is that you not only need to be reading books in your genre, and in other genres, but you need to be reading information that will help you remain informed about the industry. Up to the minute information.

So, what are you reading to keep posted about events in publishing, the market, developing craft, ideas to improve your plot lines....

There are a few great resources for you online. First there is Publisher's Lunch. They email me things periodically and I enjoy scanning them to learn about what's new that day.

Next, I'll say it again, make sure you're reading blogs by people who are in the industry. I use my "follower" option on my dashboard at blogrush. This allows me to quickly skim the blogs I read most. I can see what is being written that day and a few sentences of that blog. If I see something helpful I jump over to the blog and read the whole thing.

That is exactly how I stumbled on this great blog by Chip MacGregor where he talks about Paulo Coelho giving away...and ending up with 100 million books sold. [If you haven't stumbled over to my free book online "A Face in the Shadow" you can click through here.] I was pretty excited to see I was doing something a wildly successful author has also done. And I came up with the idea not knowing that he did it.

Then I found out about this great idea for revising your work. Jenn talks about what to do with her "Editor Notes" but I think we authors can add some of these ideas to our own self-editing. Like the idea of outlining in revision stage. I actually do that myself so that I can braid in deeper characters.

Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent who always has GREAT information to share. I read her often.

Do you notice that I am heavily influenced by agents? Why might that be?

Also, are you reading Publisher's Weekly? Writer's Digest?

Finally, if there is a magazine you want to submit to are you reading sample issues to get a feel for the tone of the publication?

So, while writers need to be readers we also need to be informed.

By getting wisdom from key players in the publishing industry we can not only learn, but we can use their wisdom [and sometimes conflicting opinions] to develop our own long term publishing strategies.

Just as reading great books helps us develop our craft, reading great industry voices and resources will help us develop our writer savvy.

But decide who you will read and why. Don't just chase down interesting stuff. Have a reason for each blog your visit. Have take away value....or stay away!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter.

Visit my full line of writing products at
Read my full manuscript at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Engage your reader by relating to your reader

Have you ever read a book and screamed to the character "No, don't do that!!" Why did you do that? It's because you were so pulled in to the book that you cared for the reader.

Not only that you had experience from life that told you they were making a mistake.

As you know from reading my blogs on movies, I learn about craft from some non-writing sources. That is true for today's blog.

I heard a song when I was surfing through stations recently and was intrigued. It is "Because of you" by Kelly Clarkson. Many of my characters have been hurt and thus have a very difficult time relating emotionally to people. They throw up emotional walls.

But how do we convey that in a book?

That is what we have to learn as writers. I'd like you to go to this youtube video of Kelly's for the song "Because of you" and really look at what the story is about. You hear the words. You feel the emotion. You see the package.

In less than 30 seconds...actually more like 5...I immediately relate to the characters. Go watch the video now. I'll wait. We'll discuss it here below.

Okay, how did you feel about that poor little girl? [The younger 'Kelly Clarkson"] My heart hurt for her. What in the pictures did you see that showed you that her dad was preoccupied with his own issues?

What about the mom?

How do we see that she was trying to smooth things over between her parents?

How did we see that there were problems in her parent's marriage?

How did we see her parents divorced?

How did we see that "Kelly" was determined NOT to make that same mistake?

Now watch the video again but this time mute your computer. You have no words but yet the entire message is being communicated to you RIGHT!

THAT is showing rather than telling.

Now turn the music back on. The words don't coincide with all that is happing but rather summarizes. Like interior monologue. We get the emotional reaction to the physical events.

That is what you need to do in your writing. You need to let the reader SEE what is happening and then react to it emotionally by the POV character's reaction to it.

So does that clear up Showing vs. Telling?

I'll see you later this week. I hope you all have gone over to read A Face in the Shadow. It is 100% free with no sign ups.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What is this blog doing right?


Over the last four weeks I've suddenly noticed a surge of non-subscriber traffic. That means that people who do not automatically get the blog sent to their mailbox through feedblitz are coming to this blog in increasing numbers.

I've seen a large number of you [74 in the last 11 blog postings] have come through seeing my blog listed in the BlogRush window on the right.

But how are the rest of you finding this blog?

What has made you come back?

Please, don't be shy. Share with the readers [and me] so that we can all learn what it is that attracts new traffic to our blogs. If someone told you about it, let us know that too.

I'd love to know what I'm doing right so that everyone else can implement these tools to grow their own blog traffic numbers.

And those of you who have recently found us, thanks so much for coming over. I hope that you'll subscribe to this blog as well as my fiction blog.

See you tomorrow.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did you just let that opportunity pass by? Part 2

Last time I talked about how I realized a few things were blocking my opportunities or I was distracted from them. We talked about how planning my writing projects and having a long to-do list helped me accomplish more than I had previously. Today I'm going to talk about how focus and confidence can help you maximize your time and take advantage of opportunities you otherwise wouldn't.

3. Focus
This ties in quite a bit to last time with the planning. When you have a plan you know exactly what projects you're going to work on. This helps as you mentally prepare to sit down and write. I need to be in a completely different mindset to blog than I do to write fiction.

So how does focus tie in to taking advantage of opportunities? When you are working on multiple opportunities [or when I get ideas for cool stories] it is crucial that I maintain focus. It is easy for writers to get distracted from their primary goals-writing stories. This is even more true in the days of the internet where there is an ever present excuse for jumping online to conduct a bit more 'research'. Before long you've spent an hour reading the newest headlines, checking out the political polls and responding to a few emails.

But this focus also goes beyond these obvious distractions. What about that saggy middle of your manuscript. You know where you want to be at the end but right now that ending is 30,000 words away and you've run out of things to say. How do you maintain focus during those times. If a person is going to have any level of success in writing there will come a time when they will sell a concept to a publisher without a completed MS. What if you've been paid on this MS and you can't put words to page? What an awful feeling.

That is why you must take the time NOW, before you're published to learn the skills needed to push through writer's block, distractions, barriers and sagging middles to produce consistently well written books.

4. confidence
This is a subtle one that I've only recently discovered. It is MUCH more difficult to write when your confidence is shaken. I find the BEST time to write is right after I've sent a proposal off to the agent. At that moment anything is possible. I can fantasize about the bidding war that will ensue over my manuscript. I can dream of every one of my projects being picked up at once and then being offered huge cash advances. What about after spending a day writing up four article queries. I'm jazzed. They're off. I could be on the verge of breakthrough and national stardom. So with those dreams in my mind I go off to my writing cave...and write.

You know, I'm feeling pretty excited right now. I'll be teaching if two days at the Midwest Dreams Conference in Mansfield, Ohio. I will [hopefully] be meeting some of you there! I have written all of my blogs for the week so that has been scratched from my to-do list. I feel inspired to go write. How 'bout you?

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Did you just let that opportunity pass by?

We hear a great deal about taking advantage of various opportunities but do you?

I was thinking back over this last week [a rather productive week] and I began to wonder why I was able to accomplish so much in that week but other weeks had resulted in little or no word count. What was it that caused me to miss the chance to develop as a writer. Here are a few things that I realized separated productive from non-productive weeks.

1. Planning
The first thing I realized was I needed to know exactly what my word count goal was for that week if I was going to get anywhere. Can you believe that in 2 weeks I was able to put together 2 book proposals [with sample chapters, from scratch], work more than 25 hours outside the home, homeschool 4 kids [one of whom is special needs], take a full day off to play with my kids, add nearly 10,000 words to a manuscript, write over 2,000 blog words AND perform all the functions of a SAHM [stay at home mom] all without stress?

Really, I did. then I looked at the previous weeks and realized that the only thing that was different between the two weeks was I had a calendar that listed what needed done each day. I compartmentalized my time, focused on each project until I'd reached the daily goal and then I stopped. That meant I cut back on the email time, I spent time with my kids after working and I didn't waste time. The great bonus was I realized that since I KNEW what project I was working on the next day my mind began churning ideas as I went about my housework and other tasks. When I sat down at my keyboard the two hours I had produced lots of words.

2. Long to-do list
This ties in with the previous one. I have found that every time I get REALLY busy, I get more done. That means that when I have a week where I have to work 4 days, run the kids to dance, grocery shop and help out at church...I don't waste time. Sure, I groan when that alarm clock chimes 1 1/2 hrs before everyone else's in the house-but I also go to bed knowing I've accomplished a full days work. I also find that the excitement of crossing things off gives me more energy than any coffee!

Next time I'm going to show the link I found between focus and confidence with productivity. See you then!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, October 13, 2008

Building the layers in your writing

A recent email from someone has inspired me to begin sharing a bit more on building craft on this blog. Typically I try to focus on marketing writing and reflections on the writer's life, but this person's comment took me back to my early writing days.

I remembered when I couldn't seem to get the hang of creating a scene. It felt flat without any real interaction between the place, the character and the reader. Then I read a book where the exact same moment was lived through the eyes of three different characters. In that instant I realized the power of POV to develop the location of the story as a character. In the book I read there was a hero, heroine and bad guy all approaching a clearing in a woods. This may seem cliche but try creating it in your mind.

Think about the different fears, expectations, goals, and 'baggage' that will influence each person's perception of what is happening there. I'm going to paste below the example I shared with my new friend. We now join the email, already in progress:[laugh]

...give a physical reaction to an emotional one. Imagine a lady is walking in to a dark cabin after getting lost at sunset in a woods.

"She stopped just inside the door of the old cabin. Cobwebs crackled as she pulled them down with a stick and twisted them around and around like the cotton candy man of her childhood. Only this place wasn't a carnival and the white strands balling up on her stick were flavored with dread."

Physical=hearing the crackle of cobwebs.
Emotional= contrasting this terrifying moment with something from childhood.
Physical=flavor of cotton candy
emotional=flavored with fear.

This is not a perfect example but rather a rough draft. I want you guys to try to build off of this. Let's have fun. Take the scene and build on it. Give us more sensory detail. Why is she in the woods? Escaping a bad guy? Broken down car? Because she's mad at her husband and she's run to the cabin of her childhood to think?

If you have your own blog and want to build on this then tell us in the comments [with a link] so we can all come see it and comment. If you don't want to do that, then edit this piece and put it in the comments of this blog so we can all see the creativity of each other. Don't be shy!! Let's have fun!!

Tomorrow [Tuesday Oct. 14th] Tiffany Colter Fiction launches with the first chapter of my Daphne du Maurier award winning Manuscript "A Face in the Shadow". I hope you all will subscribe to have each chapter sent to you, that you'll spread the word about it and that you'll enjoy reading it.

So, I'm off. I'm teaching at the Midwest Dreams writing conference Saturday, Oct. 18th. I hope to see many of you there!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Friday, October 10, 2008

Driving Traffic to your blog

Do you have a blog?

If you do then, depending on the goals, you'd like to increase traffic to your blog. I have spent some time this week reading a variety of articles, blog postings and other materials to find out new ways to bring traffic to our blogs, websites and articles.

I've put together a few you might not have thought of before, and some you have. Try these and then we'd love to hear back from you and find out what has worked for you.

1. Blog Carnivals
I am a huge fan of blog carnivals. They bring over people who are in your target readership [assuming you do them right] and they helped me reach a much wider readership with my blogs. The key to blog carnivals is taking the time to READ THE REQUIREMENTS, DEADLINES AND THEME. These can be a very time consuming way to spread the word about your blogs, but it is worth it. If any of you run a blog carnival and would like submissions from our readeship, leave your info in our comments.

2. Follow
I talked about it a bit a week or so ago. Blogger now has a feature where you can follow others. The added benefit is that people can see you and might investigate.

3. Blogrush
You can see the theme list on the right side of my blog. Click through and join. It may take some time before you show up on thousands of blogs [like I do every week] but I have had a number of people subscribe to this blog recently as a result of seeing me through blog rush. As an author, the added bonus is you learn to write catchy titles based on what people click through to read.

4. Leave comments
I had heard of the value of leaving meaningful comments on other blogs for potential customers but had never really thought about it as a source of traffic for my blog. Now when people leave comments on my blog I will sometimes go to theirs and thank them for their comment. I do this first, because it is nice. I believe in saying thank you when a person pays you a compliment. What I didn't realize until recently is the number of times someone will see my comment posted on another person's blog and come over to mine to find out who I am.

5. Leave comments: part II
The other thing about leaving comments is going to the blog/website of someone who is talking about a topic that interests you or that pertains to the topic of your book. As you become a part of that blogging community there will be interest when you let them know about the book or article you wrote on their topic. Recently Rebeca Seitz wrote a book with scrapbooking as a main theme. She is an avid scrapbooker so not only did she appeal to writers and lovers of her genre, but people with an interest in scrapbooking. You can generate the same kind of interest in a topic of your book that will attract people who might not otherwise read it. The same with your blog.

6. Other
I'll talk about it more this month but NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] has become a sensation and is another way to get to know people regionally who write. Last year I found a writer's group less than 30 minutes from my house [I live in the country so that is like 5 minutes for a city person. :-) ] These are not huge marketing opportunities, but they do introduce you to other writers in the area who might help generate buzz about your project, your writing in general and your blog.

Here is where you'll find my profile. If you're going to take a shot at writing a novel in November with NaNoWriMo then make me one of your friends.

So go out there and get noticed!!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Friend or Groupie?

A funny thing happens as you begin to grow as a writer. Friends you meet along the path to publication begin to get published. Some of them really breakout and become award wining writers. Some achieve significant levels of fame.

And you realize that you're friends with a famous person.

This has begun to happen to me and to be honest....It doesn't make me feel any different. I don't feel like I'm super special nor do I expect special favors from my well known friends. They are just people. I begin to realize that as fame grows so does the need to have true friendship.

Because a new kind of friendship appears with fame-groupies.

Of course I don't mean literary groupies that follow your book signings in a big white van, what I mean is people who suddenly want to get something from you. They no longer see you as a person but rather a path to their own success. They want to be known as "The friend of [famous person]" rather than being content to be a silent supporter.

I share this with you for two reasons. To protect you from groupies and to protect you from becoming groupies.

Make sure that you always evaluate your motives for creating a friendship with someone. [whether famous or not] Is the friendship motivated by your desire to advance your career, get a possible endorsement or to meet their agent? Or is your motivation simply because you share common interests. Do you feel the need to namedrop? Do you want to be seen with certain people?

This may not speak directly to marketing but it does speak to the character of you as a writer which is even more important than marketing your book. A bad reputation can destroy even the greatest marketing plan. So be sure to examine your motives.

Later this week we will talk about ways to drive traffic to your blog. Hope to see you then.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, October 6, 2008

Write it down.

Do you have a system for recording great book ideas? What about marketing ideas?

I have a system but it needs a bit of refinement. I usually write ideas down in my calendar or planner and use that to keep track of things. I learned tonight when I sat down to write my blogs for the week that this is really not very effective.

See, as writers we need to be readers. We need to keep on top of many things: story craft, marketing and publishing trends just to name a few. I often find that as I read wonderful ideas come in my mind. As I'm reading on story craft I'll have ideas for a book I'm writing or even an idea for a new book.

When I read books, articles and blogs on marketing I think of things to share with all of you.

That happened to me last week as I began to devour a new book on marketing. I suddenly began to have a-ha moments that I wanted to share with you, but they fluttered out of my mind because I didn't write them down. Don't worry, they're not gone forever. I just need to reread all those things.

So what is my marketing lesson for you today? Write it down!!

Get a notebook and have a page for websites with great information that you'd like to read. Have a few other pages where you write the addresses of websites that impress you with their style and layout. Takes notes on what make them appealing to you, the reader, and how you'd like to get that same response from people who visit your website.

Have a section for marketing ideas you think are really. One part should be ideas you've seen people do. A second section should be unique ideas you've come up with.

Be sure that you keep your notebook neat so you can quickly retrieve information. Messy notebooks are about as good as having no notebooks.

And then, implement what you've learned. That is what I am doing by offering my full novel. I have a few subscribers already and I hope to have many subscribers and followers soon. The first chapter will go up in less than two weeks.

I learned this from another author. That person posted a first chapter that so excited me that I couldn't help but gush about their fiction. If you'd like to check out that blog use this link here. Also, if you have a blog or website please spread the word.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fundraiser for uninsured Lymphoma Patient

Happy Friday

As many of you know on November 10, 2005 my husband found out a "arthritic knee" was a 12 cm tumor in the bone marrow of his right distal femur. Initial reports suspected Osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. However, in mid December biopsy indicated he had Lymphoma [initially staged at IV, YIKES, then reclassified to I-AE.] He was 29 and we had 4 small kids.

Well, yesterday I found out about a raffle for a Lymphoma patient who is 29 and uninsured. An editor friend of hers has raffles for full edits, partial edits, query letter edits, books...on and on. They even have Children and YA edits to raffle off.

They are trying to raise $6,000 so she can get a PET Scan. This is VERY important for Lymphoma patients.

So, if any of you would like to enter the raffle for edits [a full edit, that would usually be close to $1,000 is only $20/raffle ticket] then jump in. The tickets are between $5-$20 depending on what prize you're trying to win. Full details are here.

And if you have any encouraging stories of cancer survivors, please share them in the comments to encourage others.

My hubby is now 2 years cancer free!! And I'm so thankful.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am dropping my hourly rate, you should too

Yep, I'm dropping my hourly rate and I suggest you other freelancers do the same.

I have been considering for a long time whether I should continue to post an hourly fee on my website. To be honest, I'd freak if I saw someone charging $15-$20/hour to edit my stuff. I would quickly think about how many hours I'd have to work at my part-time job in order to pay for that edit....

And, as you know, I'm always trying to maintain a customer focus without undervaluing my services. I mean, honestly, I have THOUSANDS of dollars invested in the knowledge I've acquired. I've spent years studying techniques, reading books, attending writer's conferences and learning how to market.

So I've decided I'm going to drop my hourly rates and simply charge by the package. Look at this from a customer perspective for a minute and see how you react differently to these two statements:

I charge $20 per hour
I charge $25 to do 16 pgs or 4,000 words, whichever is longer.

Obviously it is easier for a person to say "Okay, I'd like you to edit the first chapter of my book, it is 30 pages long so that will be about $50 [actually it would be $40, but you wouldn't know that]." If they go to my website and see $20/hour...AHHHH sticker shock. How many pages does she read an hour. How much will it cost me.

Taking it, again, from the customer's POV it also allows for budgeting. Despite what people may think, I'm not made of money. :-) I have a strict budget and when I need edits I only have a certain amount I can spend. I've had to tell people "Only edit up to $xx"

This applies beyond editing! Consider the power of words and perception. How will it impact your readers? It will depend on where they're coming from.

Now consider your craft, how will characters see things differently based on their position in your book. If you have someone in your book who honestly has NO money, NO credit, NO job, NO NOTHING trying to come up with $25 for a bus trip home might as well be a billion dollars. On the other hand a person living paycheck to paycheck may simply wait for payday. Finally, someone who has savings could go get the money [but maybe they don't want to. Maybe they resent dipping in to savings]

Think about how each person in your book will respond differently to the same scenario. Think of the emotional implications of this. Consider how you can use this understanding of human nature to effectively market.

And if you just got home from conference and an editor or agent wants to see your first chapters, you now know that you can get your first 30-35 pgs edited by me for $40. Just contact me through my website. I can have it done for you by next week.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter