Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Never doubt you're making progress

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I beat the drum of "consistent effort over time produces results".

Okay, I may have never articulated it that succinctly, but that was the idea.

That means that if you continue to do things that waste time and take you no closer to your goals, your results will be frustration, lack of progress and you'll likely give up.

If you continue to learn and apply marketing principles like I teach or like you can find in my suggested readings, then you will find yourself moving forward and growing a successful business.

I honestly didn't realize how much progress I was actually making until about a two weeks ago. Many of you will recall that I asked you to come over to the blog for that one day. I had realized that I wasn't getting an accurate accounting of my readership so I wanted to be sure that I got a better head count.

I was floored.

See, it had appeared that I'd had a substantial dropoff in readership, to the tune of 50%, over the course of a month or so. Bummer! What I disccovered, however, was that my readership had actually GROWN my more than 50% in that time.

I was misreading the numbers.

Despite a glitch in my system that prevented people from being able to subscribe to my blog [that should be cleared up now, so I encourage you to subscribe through the feedblitz link on the right] and an insane schedule that kept me from marketing the way I wanted to, I was growing at a constant rate.

Sometimes in marketing it seems like nothing is working. You are taking all the steps I suggest but you are seeing no return.

Have confidence!! You are making progress. Keep doing productive marketing tasks and one day you'll wake up to realize that your hit counter isn't picking up more than 1,200 hits a month and that your unique readership has doubled in the last quarter...

And you will realize you're reaching more people than you thought.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let nothing be wasted

I've had something interesting happen this summer. Our family has acquired a few animals, a garden and...well...essentially we've turned in to a small farm.

A funny thing has happened as I've cultivated this little patch of earth we were blessed with. I've learned the interdependence of me with nature and nature with me. I understood this a bit already. The outside cats protect the house from mice when the neighbor cuts the acres of alfalfa and wheat that surround my house. The dogs alert us when someone comes near. I, in exchange, provide food and love to them.

Here is actually how it all started [yes, this will apply to your writing/marketing in a moment]. In early spring my neighbor informed me that her duck had laid 13 fertilized eggs. Did I want pet ducks?

It really seemed easy enough for me to handle. Ducks need little more than water, right?

Of course, food prices being what they are, we'd already planned a rather large garden. I think it is about 6 or 7 feet long and nearly 5 feet wide.

Well, the ducks were in our garage doing what ducks do when I decided to take the big holes the dog dug in the front lawn and turn them in to a small duck pond. So my friend gave me some rubber they didn't need and suddenly I had a little pond. I sat outside and enjoyed watching my ducks every evening.

But stagnant water stinks.

So, I began to pump out the small pond every saturday and fill it with fresh water. I didn't want to waste the water, so I pumped it in the garden. Clearly duck pond water makes gardens happy because is SPRANG to life!

I began looking for new ways to connect things. I'd catch praying mantises and put them on my beans so that little bug predators wouldn't kill my crop. Also, ducks really liked the vegetable scraps so I'd chop up the ends of my carrots and beans and feed it back to the ducks. [a little recycling]

And then the chickens...

I'll stop. I think you're starting to see the picture. Each animal has a job and serves a purpose beyond the outward one. All parts of the 'farm' work to make a successful enterprise.

It is the same way with your writing business. Are you looking creatively at every area of your business. Are you looking at how your work in one area could cause growth in another? Are you looking at each project, at each part of your business, as something on its own, or are you seeking ways to grow overall with each small step.

If you're not yet, what is holding you back? Sometimes all it takes is one small contribution, like adding a duck to your yard, for all the pieces to fall in to place.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What would Tiffany Read?

I am asked many times by aspiring writers what books I would suggest they read. I used to have a list of suggested resources on my website but took it down when I overhauled it a couple of months ago.

Now it is on this list. These are books that I have personally read [and re-read] and have really been foundational to my ongoing success. I have connected each to an Amazon.com link so you can easily click through to learn more about these books, purchase or add this reading list to your own blog or website.

This is NOT an exhaustive list. It's a list of books that will help you look differently at your writing business. I have a couple of resources [like two really cool thesauruses] books by authors [On Writing by Stephen King is one] and books on marketing. Then I also have books that will help you think differently about success. What I learned is that many times I was my own worst enemy. I was convinced I could NEVER do it...so I didn't.

These are NOT "out there" books that tell you that you can think yourself in to being a radish. :-) These are serious books for people who want to seriously pursue their highest potential. And each and every one has become a part of my success.

I hope this list will be helpful for you. I've told you what I like about each book and why it's on this list. Maybe you'll find some you want to buy, or that you can pick up next time you're at the library.


The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
What does a business book have to do with being a successful writer? Everything. The first step to taking your writing career seriously and moving forward towards your goals is to see yourself as the owner of a business. You are the CEO of your writing empire. Many of our self-destructive habits show up in how we work and organize. This book not only helped me in establishing my business but it also helped me as a home school mom. And can you believe it helped me get better at housework? Everything we seek to accomplish is made easier when you have a system and clear lines of communication. This book will help you with that.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Whether you want to be a millionaire or no, this book helps you understand the hidden biases each of us have inside. These actually sabotage us in our quest for success. If we view people who have wealth as something undesirable we will subconsciously do all we can to keep ourselves from being wealthy. How does this apply to your life as a writer? As a writer and business owner you have certain prejudices you didn’t realize you have. When you begin to understand what they are you can fight them. This book will also help you if you want to be a millionaire.

The Synonym Finder
This is an excellent tool to have on your shelf. It is a comprehensive thesaurus and the one I use most. If you already have a thesaurus you like, you don’t need this one. But if you don’t have a thesaurus, this is the one to buy.

Flip Dictionary
This thing is so cool. This is designed for people like me who are forever forgetting the word I want. This dictionary is set up so you can look up “hair” and find things on hair styles, hair pieces, names for pieces of hair…Whatever you need. I do not have enough words to praise this book. If you already have a thesaurus you still need this one. You will find yourself actually READING it. It really helps with research so you can START with the correct vocabulary.

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008: The Essential Reference Tool for the Christian Writer (Christian Writers' Market Guide)
This is for anyone who writes specifically for the Christian Market. It lists CBA publishers, contact information, what they’re looking for (or not), magazine and book markets as well as trends in the industry. It is worth every penny you spend. I use mine so much the spine is broken. The 2008 edition has a great CD with it that has the book on it in a word document. You can quickly search using your search function and do in seconds what took HOURS in previous editions.

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
This book is so short you can read it in an afternoon or listen to it on your way to and from work. I suggest people who take my course “Writing Career Coach: Intro to the Writer’s Life” read this after they complete the 4th lesson. This is timeless and should be read over and over. I have it on tape and re-listen to it once a year.

PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life
This book is a must have. It tells of the technique used by Rick Warren to launch “The Purpose Driven Life” and by Mel Gibson to launch “The Passion of the Christ.” There are techniques you will be able to use immediately to build your writing business, even if you haven’t finished your manuscript. You can buy the print book through this link or he used to give it out for free online at his website.

Straight Talk from the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission
This is what is called an “Amazon Short”. It is a little downloadable book that costs 49 cents and it is worth every penny. I bought this a while back and have read it so many times I need to print a new copy. It is simply and straightforward. And for the price if it doesn’t help you, pass it along and help another writer.

Fiction 101 by Randy Ingermanson. Affectionately known as “The Snowflake Guy” Randy will take the craft of ANY fiction writer and kick it up a notch. I paid over $1,000 to attend a writer’s conference to hear Randy teach and it was worth every penny. I didn’t know about Fiction 101 when I was starting out but if I had, I would have bought it.

Fiction 201 (by Randy Ingermanson) is the follow-up to Fiction 101. I do own this course and in a word it is WOW. Suddenly those places you’ve been getting stuck on in your manuscript go from BLAH to A-HA. I truly believe if you want to write solid fiction that sells you need to own these two lessons.

On Writing
By Stephen King. Okay, I am not a person to read cuss words but I was able to sift through them and grow as a writer through this book. This man can make an ear infection interesting, and he does in this book. Truly I wrote one of my novels simply because one sentence he said in this book took my mind on a wild tangent. And it ended up winning the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in 2007. If you want to write fiction, get this book.

Writing the Breakout Novel
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook
My husband and daughter’s got this for me as a Christmas gift and my writing has never been the same again. Every manuscript has to go through the “Breakout Edit” now where I use my editing worksheet with the first draft and use every lesson in the workbook on the manuscript. For fiction writers, it’s a must have.

Elements of Style, The (4th Edition)
This is a must have book that can be read cover to cover in an afternoon. Stephen King recommends it in his book On Writing and there is not a writer I know who doesn’t own a dog-eared copy. It is easy to read when you need to know a comma rule or how to tighten your writing.

The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency As a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less
This book is exactly what it says. A way to help you build a writing business in six months or less. If you’d like to be a successful writer, even before you get that first book contract, then this is the book for you. It allows you to pursue your passion of writing and make a living at it. I suggest you read all three of this lesson’s books side by side. Allow the lessons to be braided together in your mind.

The Well-Fed Writer: Back For Seconds A Second Helping Of "How-To" For Any Writer Dreaming of Great Bucks and Exceptional Quality of Life
This is more than a sequel to The Well-Fed Writer, it is a companion book that is so full of new information it is a stand alone. Use the techniques in this book and hone your skill as a writer to create a writing business you can be proud of. There are some of us who are only happy when we’re writing. So do it, follow your passion. Write. And do it for a living with the help of this book.

Instant Income
The title grabs you, doesn’t it? You’re either thinking it is a total sham or it is a get rich quick scheme. It is neither. This book is page after page, paragraph after paragraph of “a-ha” moments. I have only been able to read about 1/3 of the book so far, despite having it for nearly 10 weeks, because it is SO full of ideas when I read it I must stop. Janet Switzer is wonderful at helping a person who has an idea build upon that idea to create business success. Her ideas are simple, yet brilliant.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
This book helped me see myself as a business owner and not as someone who works for a magazine or a publisher. It will adjust your attitude and get your ready mentally for success.

Rich Dad's Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in, That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not!
This book will help you develop your personalized plan for streams of income. This is a topic I’m passionate about. This goes further than I ever could.

The Fly Lady
One of the greatest lessons I learned after college was how important balance is to my life. It didn’t matter how great my plot line was if I kept forgetting to get the kids meals. [my girls are little. much too young to cook their own food.] I also learned that I was incapable of keeping my house spotless while homeschooling, chauffeuring and raising 4 little girls. My husband and I are not robots. This resource really helped me to focus on small projects, small goals, and one thing at a time. So now that you’ve spent this time building your writing business spend some time getting everything in to perspective.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to get something done

You know I once heard someone say in passing "Well, if you want something done, give it to a busy person."

It seems completely illogical but I've come to realize it is pure genius. As I was preparing last week to teach a time management course through the Christian Professional Editor's Network I started to think about business plans for writers. Why do people never get anything done?

Think about it. The life of a writer involves day dreaming, telling people about your stories, writing your stories down on the closest scrap of paper [or your lap top] and then doing it all over again. Why is it that so many writers I talk to never seem to get anything accomplished.

I truly think it is not busy enough. It is because we think the writer's life IS nothing but writing stories. We don't consider that once we have a book done that we will have to market that book to readers, possibly sign that book for readers as well, then we'll have to work on the next book while calling around to market the one just released.

That is when we will be BUSY. And if you think that first cash advance means quitting your day job....no WAY.

So is this a blog telling you to give up your dreams? Absolutely not!! It is telling you that you need to be focused on effective marketing behaviors. I know that means some of you will stop reading my blog to focus on writing. I hope you will come back soon, but I also know that is not always bad.

It also means that doing planning NOW before you have that book out, a second book to work on and you still have your full time job.

Remember, the only way to get something done is to give it to a busy person. And right now, you look pretty busy!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wisdom from a Ketchup Bottle

Okay, it is likely you guys are really beginning to question my sanity. First I blog at length on how a horror film taught me about understanding your target readership and now I'm talking about Ketchup.

Well, you're not alone. When my husband saw me pull out my pen and planner last weekend to copy something off of a bottle of ketchup he thought me a little odd too. Although he should know me by now, yesterday [July 20th] we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Doesn't feel that long. Still remember what it was like to be so young and so in love...probably because I'm still both.

Okay, back to ketchup.

Here is what I saw on the back of a bottle of Heinz Ketchup "To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success." Henry John Heinz.

WOW, did you see that? The man who started a ketchup company [that is still around and easily recognizable all these years later] said that doing something uncommonly well bring success. How amazing!!

I'm a person who loves quotes. I think they really get to the core of a person's success. Like Thomas Edison who said [among other things] "Many of life's failures are pepole who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Any writers out there that need to hear that today??? Don't give up!!

Now Thomas Edison was a man known for creating new things. He was an inventor. He was an innovator. Many people will say "Well, I could never do that." I've felt that way too. I'm human!

But look at what Heinz said. You don't have to try to make something new. Write a strong book. Study marketing. Have a plan to execute. Know the benchmarks and targets. Then pursue it with all the passion you can muster. Don't earn out your advance GO IN TO A THIRD PRINTING! Take something that other people are doing and be the BEST at it.

Don't say you can't do it-figure out HOW to do it.

I spoke tonight for about an hour with my 4 girls on this very topic tonight. Every word we say is a seed. The Bible says that out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks. So we really know what is inside of us by what we say when squeezed. Conversely we can CHANGE what comes out of our mouth by filling our heart with great stuff.

Go out there and find out what is being done. Then find out how to do it better. Don't do it to BEAT someone, do it because you want to be successful. Remember, this is NOT a zero sum game. Your innovation and perspiration will inspire others. They will then look at your example and they will seek to go even further. They will want to do what you did...but even better!

So what have you seen and said "Wow, that is a pretty clever idea."? How can you do that even better without being them?

I mean, honestly, if someone can do it for Ketchup [how many ways can you REALLY mix vinegar, tomatoes and spices??] then can't you do it to market your writing? Of course, you can. You're in the creativity business.

Now quit talking and get moving!!

Your coach for the journey, Tiffany Colter

Friday, July 18, 2008

horror flicks and advertising?

Last night I was watching a movie. The premise was that a bad guy was killing people and the more hits on a website, the faster the person died.

Normally I don't watch gory movies but I thought this one might be more psychological...and I was right. As usual I watched it as a writer and as a marketer [I can't simply WATCH movies or READ books anymore. Laugh.]

So here is the premise, whether good or bad, word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. In fact, there is a line in the movie where the bad guy says exactly that.

So what is being spread about you and your work? Are you a person who follows through on your word, or are you consistently late on deadlines?

When you say on the book jacket that you have an intense emotional thriller, do you deliver?

When you have a contest, do you give an award?

If you give someone a powerful experience, good or bad, it will get around. Think about the impression you'd like to make.

But this blog isn't all about wagging a finger :-), Also think about how to best create buzz to get your reader chatting. In this movie the bad guy built up anticipation. He'd leave the site down until he was ready to kill again, then he gave a count down. He'd done market research. He knew how to take advantage of his target audience and manipulate the powers that be to create buzz. He knew little triggers to draw in more watchers.

This is what we all must do in our marketing campaigns. We must know our audience so well that we can anticipate their next move, their next need, and deliver. Even just curiosity seekers should be able to find something compelling that makes them want to know more about you and your book.

Do you know what those triggers are for your audience? You'd better take some time to learn them.

I have to go, I have marketing research to do.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is what it's all about

Yesterday I stepped away from what I had planned to blog on to take a moment to give some tough love.

To be honest I was really a bit nervous about it. I figured the hate mail would pour in explaining how I didn't understand how tough it was etc....etc....etc...

But I knew in my gut that it was exactly what I should do. I should step back from the pep talk and the information giving and just BE REAL.

If you haven't read yesterday's blog, you should. Here is the link in case you are reading this blog on another person's blog.

This does have a marketing application! Sometimes you have to throw out the plan and make adjustments as you go along.

Don't worry, I'm not saying don't HAVE a plan. I'd NEVER suggest that. Even now as I blog to you I have my calendar with my to-do list and marketing plan for the week sitting about 8 inches from my left arm.

What I am saying, is we need to be flexible enough to adjust the plan if it needs to be changed midstream. When I think about what would have happened if I hadn't trusted my gut and given some tough love yesterday...

I truly was so blessed to hear the kind words begin to pour in almost immediately after posting. I realized that despite the miles, we all have a connection here. There is a sense of real community.

Sharon told that she reads every day. That kind of trust is both humbling and encouraging.
Tracy and Carol thanked me for the kick in the pants.
Dianne....you have no idea how encouraging your note was Dianne. You were going to unsubscribe but didn't after reading that post.

See, my blog is one that doesn't ask for comments. I don't give out gifts for reading [usually] and I simply try to offer advice based on my own reading and learning. But there are days when I wonder if ANYONE is out there or if I'm typing to myself.

That is the kind of connection you want to make to your readers as you write and market your writing. You want them to come because you are giving excellent information in a personable way. Whether that is through a prairie romance or a sci-fi set in 3015.

And just like you, many readers will remain almost silent. You'll receive the occasional letters telling you that you misspelled a word or that they were sorry they ever wasted their money on your book.

What you won't see are the unseen masses out there quietly reading and loving your words.

So be encouraged as you market. Trust your instinct whether it tells you to follow the plan, or to throw it away.

I have to go!! I have more writing to do.

Your Coach for the Journey. Tiffany Colter

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do you feel overwhelmed?

I have had a number of students go through my writing career coach course and one thing I hear most often from them at the beginning is "What do I do now?" or "There is so much to think about."

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever look at your writing dream and think that it is impossible. Maybe you've received your first contract and you look at the marketing and everything else and you realize 'Wow, writing the book was the easy part.'

Don't get discouraged. Everyone has something to overcome.

I was over at Sharon Lavy's blog today. She was kind enough to announce my upcoming internship program and I wanted to go thank her. Instead I was stopped by the photograph of a strange dog. Now THAT pooch had something to overcome. After I looked at that story I decided that instead of writing the blog I'd planned I'd write a "Tough Love" blog.

So here it is. Read the WHOLE thing...[now that you hear it is tough love I can already hear the mouse clicks on the little red x]

The time for whining and fussing over how hard it is has come to an END! You've grown soft in your complacency. You sit there talking about how everything is too hard and how you can't do it. Do you want to be a writer or not. Are you willing to go on a little less sleep and watch a little less TV to see your dream realized. Or would you rather tell all those people who know about your writing dream "Oh yeah, I tried that but it's too hard." Are you willing to sit where you are, on the verge of realizing your dream and give up because you have to dig a little deeper? Of course you have to dig deeper. Do you see the Olympians fussing?? No, they run out on the floor to do gymnastics barely able to hold themselves together with sports tape.

Do you see pro-ball players whining about being hit again and again. What about that quarterback that got sacked on every play for 4 straight plays? All he wants to do is throw the ball down field and every time he tries this mob of guys keeps smashing in to him. Now he's limping off the field.

Do you ever consider that maybe you just need to toughen up a bit, quit whining and start moving forward. Look at EVERYTHING you've overcome! Look at how HARD it was to get to where you are today! Look at how much it almost destroyed you!

But it didn't. So get up, quit being lazy and pursue your dream. Because if you don't start working for it, I'm not willing to listen to you whine about it anymore.

And that my friends is the tough love I gave myself 3 weeks ago, right before I turned my writing business around. Don't you think it is about time that you got tough with yourself. You are the only one who can TRULY be honest with yourself...and the only one who can TRULY fool yourself.

You and your dream are worth the little extra effort.

And can you help me with ONE things. If you read this in your mailbox [subscribers get it delivered via feedblitz will you please read THIS blog posting on the blog. Go to the blog. My numbers are increasing and I want to know how many of you are actually reading it in your email so I know how many of you out there are new. Thanks SO much!!

I'll see you tomorrow. I have deadlines to meet-with myself.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Internships coming soon

This is the first announcement to let you know that I will be soon announcing a 12 week internship through the writing career coach. I will have 7-10 spots on this first round.

Here are some details on the internship:
There shouldn't be more than a 5-7 hour per week committment
Interns will learn ways to conduct marketing research, increase traffic to their blog/website, create relevant content, assess content
This is unpaid but interns who complete the 12 weeks will have a full marketing write-up done for their proposal. It will include all you need to submit to the editor/agent of your choice. This includes editing of first 40 pages and the full proposal [a $600 value]. They will also be taught how to use what they learned in the intership to build their writing business.

There will be more details coming but please feel free to link to this announcement on your blog or website, forward it to writers loops or notify writers groups.

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 5th and full details will be coming soon. If you have questions in the meantime contact me through my contact page at www.WritingCareerCoach.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blog tours and book sales

Show of hands, how many of you are familiar with blog tours? Okay, it looks like most of you raised your hands.

Now, how many of you have purchased a book because you heard about it on a blog tour? Okay, not as many. That sounds about right.

As a part of a group of writers I am very familiar with blog tours. About a year ago Mary DeMuth did a blog tour where she did a quantitative study of the results of her blog tour. Did a blog tour really equal sales? That is the purpose right?

Well, it depends on where you are in the game.

I really have begun to wonder about the effectiveness of blog tours as it pertains to books. Maybe it is simply because most of the people I know who do blog tours are writers and each writer invites another writer and they write about other writers....and it gets to be like that bad tupperware party where everyone keeps booking a show off of each other and you end up running out of money because you're going to one a week.

But I also see a really great side to blog tours.

If you are not to the published stage yet, blog tours may help you introduce yourself to a possible base of readership. I have had MANY people come over to my blog to visit because they heard about me on another person's blog or they linked to me from an author/editor/agent's website.

So really deciding the usefulness of a blog tour is really about deciding what your goals are and what your definition of success is for the tour. Once you've decided that then you can create a realistic plan for marketing YOU.

And that is the first step in creating a platform for YOUR book.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The changing reality

Things change.

We hear that often enough but what do you think of when you hear it?

Do you become afraid and wonder what is changing and how it will impact you? Or do you get excited about the potential for the future?

I don't usually like change. Whenever someone suggests something new to me I greet it with apprehension.

But today I was working on some articles and I realized how much has changed in the last 5-6 years in the writing world.

* There are more places to get published-but less of them pay.
* It is cheaper to submit articles now that e-queries are becoming the norm, but now some places are so flooded with articles they aren't open to submissions.
* There are a good number of E-zines, online magazines and other world wide web based exposure.
* There are lots more books being published.

So there is good and bad in this.

Some people will view this changing reality with fear. What will happen to them now that publications want to pay 1-2 cents per word on 500 word articles? How can a person live on that?

Some people will be excited. Tye'll see the increased opportunities to get published online as a way to build experience as a writer working under deadlines.

Some people will see it as reality and try to find ways to maximize this opportunity. Kind of like the "Who moved my Cheese" idea.

Now relate this to your book. If you sign a book deal now it could be 2 years or more before that book makes it to the shelf. How will you need to adjust your marketing platform to accommodate that? Can you use the idea you got 3 years ago on a book that will be published 3 years from now?

Considering the changing market is important as part of your overall marketing plan. But, if you're following trends and seeing every change as an opportunity it is likely you will flow in to the new way of doing things when the time comes.

It is reality, are you going to change too?

Visit me today on my other blog at www.Writersrest.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Time Management for Writers

As writers there is the tendency to want to wait for "our muse". When you're in a creative endeavor you have to wait until your creativity is flowing right???


As I have always promised you, I always share with you things that I've done to help me become successful and productive. I teach what I practice. I don't tell you to try a new product hoping to make money on affiliate fees. I share only what I'm doing and I share the results it gives me.

I started two weeks ago to change my entire schedule. I had really become frustrated that I wasn't accomplishing more and so I took a look at what I was doing. It seemed I was doing everything I'd done before. I spent a few hours each evening on my writing. I kept track of word count, projects and deadlines. I kept a calendar and knew my budget.

So WHY wasn't I moving forward? Why did it seem that I was STUCK?!?!

I decided to start changing one thing at a time. Just one. I changed the time of day set aside for writing.

I was SHOCKED! My productivity soared. It took about 3 days to get used to the new schedule but by the end of that first week I could already feel more motivation to write and market. Really it is motivation, not some elusive muse, that defines great writing.

By the second day of the second week I took an inventory of all I had accomplished. I realized in those two days I had done more than I had done [in my writing] in the previous 3-4 weeks. Not only that but I'd also been in a better mood, had more time with my kids and had time for a date evening with my husband [rather than watching a movie with my laptop dividing my attention].

So look over your calendar and see if there is ONE thing that steals your time. If you don't see something stealing your time see if there is ONE thing that isn't as productive as you'd like. Make a small adjustment and be sure to keep track of the changes it makes to your productivity. Give it a couple of weeks before you decide whether or not it was successful. Then decide if further adjustments are necessary.

If you'd like to know more about time management or how to find time for your writing/editing business you can sign up for my time management class through the Christian PEN. I will be teaching it starting July 21st.

I will let you know soon the financial results of my increased productivity but I can tell you that last week I earned $100 more than I had the week before with my writing-and I expect when I hear back on queries that number will be far higher!

I have to go, I have writing to do.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Other projects


So we've talked about articles,

We've talked about columns.

But you really need to make more money than that if you're ever going to be able to write full time. So what can you do.

Research writing opportunities in your community. These include writing newsletters, editing copy for local companies, freelance writing customer letters...etc.

Truly the possibilities are endless. Some of these can be as simple as a column for a newsletter. Other projects can be as large writing manuals for a company.

Many places outsource some or all of these kinds of projects. In order to look in to all the various kinds of opportunities out there I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of the Well Fed Writer. This book will teach you how to market yourself as a writer in a variety of disciplines as well as business development and strategic planning.

So take some time to look at your overall goals as a writer and then see what you need to do to get there. Don't be so focused on writing that one book that you miss out on opportunities to live other parts of the writer's life.

So we'll see you next week! Have a WONDERFUL 4th of July [for those of you in America]. And to the rest of you, enjoy your week!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Making money as a writer

How can you make a living as a writer?

This is what is on the mind of many people who'd like to quit their day job and write full-time. Most people when they say that they envision themselves sitting down to write a novel and then replacing their income with that book.

However, for most people it will take from two to four books in a year to make full-time income. How long will it take you to write four books that go to publication?

And then what about all the marketing you'll need to do? Will you have time to write four more books the next year in addition to marketing those first four?

It can seem a little overwhelming, but book writing is not the only way to earn money writing. I recently looked over my own writing plans and realized that I was missing a wonderful opportunity by not investing the time to write one article a week. For some articles I earn as little as a few dollars, others I've written have earned me $300 or more. So for the sake of simplicity I assumed an article paid $100 for my example.

How much do you have to work at your 9-5 job? How much time does it take you to write a 500 word article?

Is you day job helping you increase your skills as a writer? Will writing an article? [yes]

Can you resell the work you do at your job? You can with an article [reprint rights are usually 1/2 first rights but if you resell an article for $50 you're being paid a second time for the same work.]

Will showing your 1 year of work at your day job help a publisher buy your book? Do you think showing 52+ articles will? Would an extra $5,200 help you?

I think so often we miss the simplicity of simple, consistent effort. Really look at those numbers again and think about how that would help you in your ultimate writing goals.

Now, go on over to Writer's Rest where I'll continue this story.