Writing Your Writing Goals Makes a Difference

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

(This blog is based on a writers’ workshop conducted by Beth Fowler)

Do you normally set goals or let things just happen (or just not happen)?

What kinds of things (if any) have you set goals for in the past?

What are some of your beliefs about setting goals?

Which beliefs need to be re-tooled? For example, I was taught, “If you start something you should finish it.” I no longer believe that.

A goal is worthless if ________________(fill in the blank until you run out of ideas).

According to one study, people who write their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals.

Ruth, shown in the photo, set goals and has taken steps to reach them. See for yourself at https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany

Cite some examples of how God (or the universe or whatever entity you think runs the big show) has supported your writing goals so far.

Now, write your writing goal and steps you’ll take to reach it.

Be specific when setting your writing goal. Include dates, amounts, numbers, names. Someone else would be able to measure if you achieved your goal because of the objective, concrete way you state it here.

 Example: Send out a query a week for 8 weeks to print magazines that pay freelance writers.

 Example: Submit my story about adopting a baby from China to YorkFest Literary Competition, Spring 2015

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What steps will you take to reach your goal?

Example: 1. Write rough draft query “template.” 2. Read submission guidelines for magazines. 3. Read articles in targeted magazines. 4. Tailor query to magazine’s guidelines and audience.5. Send queries. 6. Log queries sent and responses received.

 

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Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved, coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

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$harpen Your $ales Tools: Part 2

Beth Fowler headshotDo you want to earn more writing dollars? Do want to rise from hobby to business status IRS-wise? If you answered “Yes!” then it’s time to sharpen your sales tools.

Here’s Part 2

Tool 6: Persist.

Sometimes editors reject articles for reasons having nothing to do with quality or suitability. Let’s say you’ve submitted an article about the therapeutic value of animal companions to a magazine for nursing home administrators. The editor shoots back a form letter: “While we’ve given your article consideration, it doesn’t meet our editorial needs at this time.” At this time!

Perhaps animals starred in a centerfold spread less than two years ago, or headquarters overhauled the magazine to cover administrative topics exclusively, or budget shrinkage precludes compensating freelancers, or the editor’s dog crunched its final biscuit, making a story about comfort creatures discomfiting. Persistent writers try another time.

Tool 7: Become multitalented.

Anne Lamott’s first novel was published in 1980. More novels and memoirs followed. She wrote columns for magazines and then, “Someone offered me a gig teaching a writing workshop, and I’ve been teaching writing classes ever since.” And writing.

Tool 8: Create a business plan.

Dynamic plans lead to dynamic results. Writers’ plans include income goals, milestone goals, and quantity goals. Overall goals are supported with specific actions to maintain loyal customers and cultivate new customers.

Tool 9: Produce systematically.

Novelist Wilbur Smith says, “If you just let it happen, then it’s not going to happen.” To make it happen, Smith gives himself a date on which to start producing a new bestseller.

A production schedule is a “to do” list with due dates. Coordinate the production schedule to avoid bottlenecks, missed deadlines and downtime. Track queries and manuscripts sent, accepted and rejected; dollars spent, owed, and earned.

Tool 10: State your USP.

Marketing wizards bandy around the term USP. Writers, too, can announce their Unique Selling Points by proposing articles with unconventional angles, having access to meaty quotes and new research data, highlighting unique qualifications and experience promising an insider’s view, taking a contrarian’s stance and busting popularly held myths.

Tool 11: Negotiate.

Don’t freeze out non-paying publications. Ask for a free advert to be published in the issue with your article. The addendum “Email the author to find out about writers’ workshops” is fair consideration in lieu of dollars, as is “This short story is excerpted from the novel of the same title.”

When a prospect asks, “How much do you charge for an article?” reply, “I recently received X dollars for an article of the same length” or cite fees from Writer’s Market or tell the editor you’ll get back to her. Find out what that and similar publications pay freelancers. Ask for additional pay for photos. Retain as many rights as possible. Have copyright revert to you after publication so you may sell reprint rights.

Editors and readers are customers. You’re a salesperson. Sharpen your sales tools and watch your writing dollars grow.

 

 

Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

$harpen Your $ales Tools: Part 1

Beth Fowler headshotDo you want to earn more writing dollars? Do want to rise from hobby to business status IRS-wise? If you answered “Yes!” then it’s time to sharpen your sales tools.

Tool 1: Identify readers’ tastes.

Analyze advertisements in several issues of the targeted publication. Content and ads reflect readers’ genders, age ranges, marital status, occupations and income levels, education, social groups, moral, political and religious outlooks; main likes and dislikes; fantasies and fears.

A food mag editor advertising classes in Tuscany with Chef Carluccio won’t salivate over a query about “Five Meals with Frozen Fish Fingers.” Editors shove potluck queries to the back burner in favor of those that satisfy readers’ tastes.

Tool 2: Get names right.

“Instead of going to the top editor, these [incorrectly addressed] queries will go to the lowest editor (the slush pile),” writes John Wood in How to Write Attention-Grabbing Query and Cover Letters (Writer’s Digest Books). Check recent editions at newsstands, bookstores, libraries and publishers’ websites for editors’ names. Find out who gets your article about home trends: the business or lifestyle editor. Track down departed editors who’d previously bought your work. Editors who trusted you before are almost as good as money in the bank for future sales.

Tool 3: Focus on readers’ concerns.

A query with “I’m a member of SCORE. I’d like to write for Small Business Magazine” is author focused and won’t hook editorial attention. A query with “Small Business Magazine readers who don’t want to be among the 80% of small businesses that fail need to know that SCORE offers business advice and workshops,” is reader focused and more likely to get an editorial OK.

Tool 4: Pursue add-ons.

Writers pursuing add-on sales should immediately acknowledge the first purchase, express appreciation, and offer a logical extension that will satisfy more customer needs. Sell sets (a column, a two-part article) and mention another product in the context of a current product, such as naming a recently released book in one’s byline.

Tool 5: Be available.

Sales savvy writers are available when their customers need them. Among other things, this means answering the newspaper editor’s phone call during the Super Bowl and responding to text messages and email ASAP.

Part 2 coming soon!

Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved, coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

What do Chopsticks Have to do with Tips for Writers?

Beth Fowler headshot

Hear an excerpt from the beloved YA novel, Ken’s War, read by the author. She then provides tips for authors and insights into writing and chopsticks (!).

Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

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Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.