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“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” – Brené Brown

Researchers conclude the popularity of Facebook and other social media platforms attributes to more than mere entertainment, personal connection, or a transfer of information. The popularity of such platforms is largely a matter of perception.

According to psychologists Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius, a person has two selves: the “now self” and the “possible self.” Creating a Facebook profile, Instagram feed, or personalized blog offers the opportunity to establish a third self: your “hoped-for possible self.” Anyone who has written a resume can relate to this concept. Some desire the perception of an expert, put together, without struggles, with all the best in life – and it is possible to be perceived in these ways.

It is easy to get caught up in the social media revolution and focus on the perceived self instead of the actual self. It is easier to hide your struggles than risk vulnerability by sharing a personal story or traumatic life event. Today’s featured author, Heather Cruz, sets the example of vulnerability.

Heather’s husband committed suicide when they were both around 28, leaving her with a 7-month old daughter. She wrote as she was processing her grief and experiencing her trauma in real time. Vulnerability became the foundation for her writing and her blog. Her blog became the foundation for her book, and both her blog and her book give Heather a platform to reach others. See how this writing journey affected Heather, and how she views the writing process as it relates to helping others.

————-

My name is Heather and this is my story. The Widow Next Door follows me from marrying my best friend and succeeding through an infertility struggle, to becoming a widow and ultimately a single mother. This is the journal of my life after losing the love of my life to mental illness and suicide. My hope is to help others out there who may be traveling a similar path as I am.

What prompted you to begin writing?

I started writing 1 month after my husband’s death. It started as a personal blog journal to help with my healing. I made the journal public in hopes to help others traveling a similar path.

How long did you know you had to write your story?

I knew right away that it would be a good avenue for healing. While it only took a few months to realize I wanted to make something more, I still never actually got the final push and published for about five years.

What role (if any) did writing play in processing your grief?

It was HUGE! Right away I felt some relief just getting the words out of my mind. Now, since the book was published, I feel that it has finally come full circle. The trauma I had been handed now is spun into something positive. It brought on a new meaning. I took back my “power” over my life and experience.

What has been the response from those who’ve read your book?

The response has been overwhelming. Whether it was the response to the original blog posts or the book, both have been so humbling. I’ve been told how well I write, and all I can really comment is, “I just write how I feel.” Many have commented how raw, real, and truthful it is. That’s exactly how it was meant to be. I was true to my story and left nothing out. It means the world to me when I’m told that my story meant something to someone else. It’s amazing how many people have been able to relate, even in just a small way.

What advice would you give to others going through difficult or traumatic events as it relates to writing?

Write it down! When you have a thought, scribble it on a piece of paper, write it on your phone, record an audio memo. Do whatever it takes to get the thought out, and documented somewhere. Not only does it help to get it out of your head, it helps capture the feeling of that moment, and work with it later.

Describe the process of using your blog to write your book. 

For this specific book, it was the perfect method. I was writing my journey, day by day. The best way to be “in that moment” and be able to be 100% true to the process was to share the story as a journal. I chose this method simply because that’s how it all began. I didn’t set out to write a book. When the decision was made, I felt that the best way was to keep it all intact. It makes the most sense going in order and kept the reality of it all intact. 

What methods/motivators kept you focused on writing?

I knew that writing helped. When life was getting overwhelming, or something was really bothering me, I wrote it out. I looked forward to it. I didn’t need any other motivation than that.

What has been your greatest personal change through writing this book? 

It has certainly given me a sense of purpose. I was given this life for a reason. I needed to make something positive of it, and I have.

What were your thoughts and feelings once the book was completed?

A major sense of relief and accomplishment.

Do you think you have helped others through your work?

I have. I’m so thankful to those who have reached out and told me that I’ve helped them. It makes the journey worth it.

Heather Cruz is the author of The Widow Next Door published on February 16, 2018. She is in the early stages of her next writing project focused on dating after widowhood. You can connect with Heather at www.thewidownextdoor, Facebook/thewidownextdoor, or Twitter and Instagram @widownextdoor, and purchase The Widow Next Door here.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jami

—————

Is there a story you have to tell hidden behind the fear of vulnerability? Do you have a memoir to write? A personal story you feel apprehensive to share? A traumatic event to which others could relate? To those contemplating writing such stories, take Heather’s advice and “just be real.” Need help? Start here.

—————

Resource: Taplin, Jonathan. (2017). Move Fast and Break Things. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.

 

The post Interview with Author Heather Cruz – The Widow Next Door appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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“Visibility leads to profitability.”

Facebook and Google occupy 85% of the online advertising sphere. In other words, eighty-five cents of every dollar spent on online marketing is paid to one of these two companies! That is a thought-provoking statistic for content creators and providers.

The necessity of marketing through these companies is undeniable. If you have something to sell, you must contend with Google or Facebook to attract your audience.

Why Facebook?

Facebook shifted the perception of privacy, and through the process, simplified a marketer’s job. The 2.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook freely provide personal information. When the ReadWrite blog explored reasons behind Facebook’s popularity, they found Facebook capitalized on people’s desire to pass time and entertain, the two biggest drivers of online activity.

Now that Facebook connected with its vast audience, its gears have shifted to marketing. With that shift, Facebook became a great means to build a group of followers and sell. For those not ready to sell, Facebook is also an ideal network to establish interest groups and set the stage for future profitability.

Benefits of Establishing a Facebook Group

Facebook groups allow you to release content, stimulate discussions, and be established as a professional in your field. The number of users, and thus the amount of potential group members, offers no shortage of opportunities to find those interested in your work. Word of mouth referrals are still powerful! Let people know who you are, and allow others to do the talking (thus, the marketing) for you. Use Facebook groups to educate people about the need for your work, who will then find others who have a need.

Use #Facebook Groups to build your #author platform. #bookmarketing
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How To Establish a Facebook Group

First, you must have a Facebook profile! Once a member, head to Facebook and click the groups link located on the left side of the screen. There you will find the ‘Create Groups’ button. You will be guided in the following process:

  1. Create a group name and group description – Gives members an idea of what you plan to discuss and the information you will offer.
  2. Select a privacy setting – public, closed or secret.
  • A public group operates, well, publicly: free to all, open for membership, and anyone can see the discussions.
  • In a closed group, those interested in joining must request membership or be added by current members. Non-members can see the group name and description, but not the posts and stories in the group
  • For private settings, potential members need to be invited by current members in order to see the group name and description and have the opportunity to post in the group.
  1. Invite friends to like your page! – The administrator (you, if you create the group) gets the ball rolling. Start by inviting family and friend to your group and take responsibility for finding more members.
  1. Select a group image – Find something that stands out, establishes your brand, and represents what you have to offer your members.

Success In Established Facebook Groups

The secret to your success? Engagement! It is not enough to have members. You need to find particularly engaged members. You can foster engagement by asking good questions and starting discussions.

Use Facebook Groups to:

  • Determine interest level for your work
  • Discuss portions of your book
  • Get feedback
  • Post case studies
  • Give benefit statements
  • Find others interested in your research topic

If you are ready to lay the groundwork for book sales, start with a Facebook group! Find your audience, foster engagement, build your following, and one day – sooner or later – sell your book.

Share your success with Facebook Groups with fellow readers!

Resources:

Taplin, Jonathan. (2017). Move Fast and Break Things. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.

Small, Cathleen. (2017). 20 Great Career-Building Activities Using Facebook. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

https://bookcoaching.com/10-ways-to-sell-your-book-on-facebook/

Are you struggling to find readers for your book? Maybe you need to define what success looks like by setting goals as an author.

Click here to get your free download, Strategic Goal Setting for Writers.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” ~ Cheshire Cat

The post Build Your Author Platform with Facebook Groups appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Chances are you’ve considered this question before. Perhaps an action comes to mind.

  • Apply for a promotion.
  • Travel the country.
  • Start a business.
  • Build a house.
  • Return to college.

Perhaps yours is a creative response.

  • Teach an online class.
  • Launch a website.
  • Record a CD.
  • Publish an article.
  • Submit a piece of artwork.
  • Write a book.

Our minds instinctively weigh risks and rewards. When our perception of a risky venture is likely to be more successful than unsuccessful, we’re all in! If the opposite is true – we hesitate.

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

If your answer to this question serves a creative purpose, and your largest hurdle is funding – consider launching a Kickstarter campaign! When you launch a campaign, the risk is virtually non-existent. Failure is a possibility, but with a 0% fee for failed campaigns, you have little to lose.

Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter’s artistic founders created this platform with the goal of helping creative work come to life. Kickstarter does not crowdfund charity or personal campaigns, solely projects with clearly articulated objectives. The fundraising income is not intended to support ongoing expenses or be seed money for start-ups, but its purpose is to support a creative project.

“Carrying an undone project to completion” defines the goal for each campaign. If you kick-start – be prepared to kick-finish! Kickstarter projects must fall into one of these thirteen creative categories: art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater.

What does it take to launch a Kickstarter campaign?

  • 100% commitment.
  • A completed project ready to present to the public.
  • A compulsion to get funded.
Launching Your Campaign

You will need to create the following prior to launching a campaign:

  • A project image, title, and category.
  • Your story about your project.
  • Description of your project. (Always make sure your descriptions are searchable!)
  • Amount of money you needed to fund your project.
  • Rewards and the donation amount for each reward.
  • Duration of the campaign to meet your fundraising goal.
  • A video explaining and promoting your project.
  • A list of contacts and highly probable supporters.
The Fine Print

Kickstarter fees based on fundraising amounts:

  • 5% to cover Kickstarter marketing and analytics.
  • 3-5% Amazon payment processing fee if goal is met.
  • 0% for failed campaigns!

Use @Kickstarter to fund your book publishing. #pubtip #bookmarketing #selfpub
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All Or Nothing

Setting a fundraising goal can be the trickiest part of launching a campaign. Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing approach means you achieve your full funding amount, or receive nothing at all. You may be tempted to low-ball your fundraising goal, but do not risk coming up short and being unable to complete your project.

Kickstarter campaigns have a 36% success rate. While this may be viewed as a low statistic, 140,719 successfully funded Kickstarter projects and $3.5 billion pledged dollars to date equals great creative successes. Learning from failure is all part of the process, and learning from failure is especially part of the creative process. The 36% successfully funded campaigns started with a solid project and intense determination – and yours can too!

“If you don’t fail at least 90% of the time, you are not aiming high enough”
~ Alan Kay, Computer Scientist

“I was inspired by this ideas of people being like, I don’t know what I am doing but I can try.” Christian Joy, in an article published by Kickstarter for creatives.

For more insight on crowdfunding, click here.

To check Kickstarter’s live stats, click here.

To view the most successful campaigns on Kickstarter, click here.

Raise money. Raise awareness. Raise your game.

Share your Kickstarter success (and failure) stories here so our readers can gain additional insight.

The post Kick-Starting (and Finishing) Your Kickstarter Book Campaign appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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Let’s face it. Authorship is a business. And like most business, your author business needs start-up funds. But where can you turn if your pockets contain nothing more than a touch of lint and a gum wrapper? Check out a few ways you can find cash to pursue your dream of publishing your first or next book.

 Crowdfund It.

These options differ from traditional crowdfunding, but offer great perks for creatives, and could be a great fit for your book project.

Publishizer

Publishizer’s crowdfunding platform differs from others by matching authors and publishers. Authors fund their books by generating book pre-orders, and publishers base their interest in a book on the amount of money raised. At the end of the campaign, authors can choose to accept any offers from traditional publishers or choose to use funds raised to self-publish.

To launch a campaign on Publishizer, you must create a solid book proposal (Publishizer offers a free course to writing proposals!). Publishizer also offers an incentive for popular campaigns to be featured in their weekly email.

Unbound

A crowdfunding platform for “liberating ideas,” Unbound supports authors by fulfilling the role of a publisher. You need a great pitch and pitch video to launch a campaign. The pros: Unbound helps promote your campaign, draw pledges, and associates your book with publishers who use the platform. The cons: Unbound keeps 100% of your campaign profits and splits profits above the campaign goal.

Patreon

Patreon is unique in that it supports, you – the creator! Instead of focusing on funding a single project, Patreon creators receive a sustainable income without sacrificing creative control. Subscribers designate a monthly subscription amount to creatives of choice in exchange for freebies and pre-releases. Establishing a Patreon page gives the opportunity for your fans to find and support your creative lifestyle!

For more crowdfunding options, be sure to check out Crowdfunding Your Book Project.

Can you get others to help fund your book publishing? Find out how. #selfpublishing #pubtip #amwriting
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Earn It.

Many online options give writers the ability to write, gain experience, and get paid. Success is in your control! Earn an income doing what you love to allow you to continue doing what you love. The more you publish, the greater your search-ability on Google. Getting your name in the public will support your book-writing efforts in the long run.

Freelance Writing or Editing

Teach Writing Courses

Enter a Writing Contest Secure Pre-Launch Commitments
  • Sign up to offer Kindle pre-orders through KDP Select.
  • Create a landing page with pre-order sign-ups to get commitments from readers before your launch date. Collect email and physical addresses from readers and send the books out once you launch. Although you can’t charge readers until the product is ready for sale, you can gauge readership and budget accordingly.
Get Sponsorships
  • Look for opportunities to support local, national or online businesses as they help support your book project. If you are writing a memoir about your triumph over cancer, approach your doctors or MRI facility with an opportunity to purchase an ad in the back of your book. If you are writing a book about internet marketing, seek out platform providers (email, lead page, etc.) to sponsor your project so you can realize the mission of your book.
  • You can also sell ads on your website or email for additional income!
Drip Additional Book Content for a Membership Price
  • Create additional content, similar to what you may offer as a crowdfunding gift, to enhance your book material. Inside information, in-depth research, study guides, and group study material can be available for a monthly membership price or one-time fee. You can also create additional book chapters only available to members.
Borrow It.

Your book is a business! If you are ready to launch your career and need options to fill in gaps to help establish customers, these options might be for you. Pay down your debt as sales from your book start rolling in.

PayPal Credit

“No payments and no interest if paid in 6 months on purchases of $99 and more.” It’s a great solution for short-term borrowing. https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/paypal-credit

Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit

You can borrow against the equity in your house to seed your book project. Talk to your local bank or mortgage lender for options. Read this article for more information about different types of borrowing.

Credit Cards

Look for sign-up deals that offer cash back or interest-free promotions. https://www.creditdonkey.com/credit-card-deals.html

Microloans

According to TheBalance.com, microloans are generally used for startup funds up to $35,000. Find out more about qualifying for a microloan here.

Can you think of other fundraising methods? What methods have you pursued or intend to pursue? Post below!

Other Resources to Fund Book Publishing 

https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2014/03/06/5-best-sites-teaching-courses-online/

http://blog.bookbaby.com/2017/02/funding-for-your-book/\

The post Ways to Fund Book Publishing appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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Crowdfunding Your Book Project

As a self-publishing author, you take control. You choose who to work with and what to write, make the final design decisions and take charge of the editing process – a liberating experience! With independence comes the price tag of great responsibility. Self-publishing is no exception; and in addition, self-publishing may carry an actual price tag of publishing expenses.

Publishing a book is comparable to launching a business – you need start-up funds! You invested great amounts of time writing, and the finished product should represent the depth of your effort. Whether you choose to partner with a self-publishing company or go at it alone, consider an alternate, ever-popular money-raising option:

 Crowdfunding your book project.

Crowdfunding raises small amounts of money through online pledges from a large number of people: namely, “the crowd.” For those less familiar with the concept, crowdfunding skips the traditional money-raising roots and appeals directly to the customer. Your crowdfunding campaign is based on donation, not investment, from people who support your work.

Ultimately, your success in crowdfunding comes from creating and growing a large following, most successfully through social media. Social media is where “your crowd” will find and connect with you! Other means of creating a following include email lists, blog and personal websites, friends and family connections and local interest groups.

Crowdfunding Platforms 

Crowdfunding websites exist for personal, charitable, local, or project-based campaigns. Project creators are required to define their fundraising goal and timeline in order to launch a funding campaign. The ones detailed below are among the most popular, project-focused crowdfunding platforms.

Kickstarter

In 2009, Kickstarter launched as a means to fund creativity and became the crowdfunding pioneer. To date, Kickstarter has the largest user base with $3.5 billion pledged to Kickstarter projects, almost 140,000 successfully funded projects, and over 14 million backers.

Focused solely on creative projects, Kickstarter works with an all-or-nothing framework. If campaigns close even $100 short of the fundraising goal, all pledged money will return to the backers. The all-or-nothing framework ensures creators can complete projects at the end of their campaign with adequate resources.

Indiegogo

Similar to Kickstarter, Indiegogo accepts creative, personal, or charitable projects on a large-scale, although smaller than Kickstarter. The major distinction between the two platforms, Indiegogo offers options for all-or-nothing or flexible funding. Flexible funding allows the campaign creators an opportunity to keep the money raised, even if it is not the full funding amount. Unmet goals do incur higher processing fees.

RocketHub

Smallest in size, RocketHub is a more personal, flexible funding platform, best for users who have an intimate following. This platform appeals to users with its limited restrictions.  RocketHub secures association with A&E, and A&E offers potential funding for projects of interest and a spotlight for unique campaigns.

Benefits of Crowdfunding

The first benefit, although obvious, you get funded! Much needed funding for you to carry the weight of your expenses, and cross the finish line to published. In addition, crowdfunding is marketing. Crowdfunding your project creates a following of people not only interested in your work but also invested in your success. You have more than just a fan club! Your supporters become “lifers,” “your platform,” “your tribe.”

What do you have to lose? If the fear of failure holds you back, Kickstarter ensures a 0% processing fee for failed campaigns! Additionally, consider the exposure to groups of people who may not have known you before.

Success in Crowdfunding

Since failure is not the goal, consider the following tips to establish a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Create excellent rewards! 

The success of your campaign falls on your ability to entice donors. Create different rewards for various tiers of donations, or dedicate a week of your campaign to offering one-of-a-kind rewards. Create a reward for someone who promotes your campaign, or for a company whose staff offers a combined donation.

The rewards for your campaign should align with the goal of your campaign. Reward ideas include a copy of your eBook (for say, a $10 donation), a signed, physical copy of your book ($30 donation), exclusive bonus chapters, study guides or group discussion guides (+book for a $60). For larger donation amounts, consider tickets to an insider event or catered book launch, their name published in your book, or a hosted book club invitation. Pull connections, be creative – the reward possibilities are endless!

Promote, promote, promote.

Email lists, inner circles, Facebook likers, former coworkers, high school connections, college professors, the mailman, your cycling partner – get them on board!

Also, think through when to best start your campaign. You may love 5 am and consider that the best time to launch, but consider your target audience. You want them to be anticipating and alert. Consider starting your campaign at night and spend the day counting down to the launch.

Do your research.

Look into failed and successful campaigns. What was the cause of success or failure?

What types of campaigns resonate with audiences? What was the average length of time and set funding goals of the successful campaigns?

Consider the interest level, the explanation of the campaign, the presentation, the promotional video, the donor rewards, and marketing strategies. Why were people interested in certain campaign categories over others? Review the stats and make sure your project descriptions are simple and searchable!

Count the cost.

In addition to the cost needed to complete your project, be sure to estimate the cost of hosting fees, marketing expenses, rewards, and tax liabilities. Calculate, but do not over-calculate your needed funding amount. Setting an unreachable and unreasonable goal may hinder you from receiving any funding.

Crowdfunding seals the deal. What you promise, you must deliver! Spend time evaluating your promises; remember it is always better to under-promise and over-deliver.

Wondering how you will pay for publishing your book? Learn more about crowdfunding your book project. #crowdfunding #pubtip #amwriting #selfpublishing
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Check back soon at The Happy Self-Publisher for additional ideas to fund your book project!

Resources

Mapua, Jeff. (2015). Making the Most of Crowdfunding: Digital and Information Literacy.

New York, New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

Ennico, Cliff. (2016). The Crowdfunding Handbook. New York, New York: Amacom.

http://blog.bookbaby.com/2017/02/funding-for-your-book/

https://www.business.com/reviews/rockethub/

https://ideator.com/blog/kickstarter-vs-rockethub-vs-indiegogo/

Looking for a better way to publish your book? Start here.

The post Crowdfunding Your Book Project appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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This week’s blog is a guest post by literary dynamo, Ramona DeFelice Long about her writing routine.

It is 6:45 a.m. and I am sitting in my writing spot. My coffee is poured, and my daily biscotti indulgence is ready to be unwrapped. I have already checked my email, posted on Facebook, and revised my 10 things per day to-do list. A lot can be accomplished in the wee hours of the morning if you are a lark like me.

In a few minutes, I will open my laptop to my work in progress. I will write for one hour because that’s how much time I can devote to writing today. I am in the middle of an editing job and my website needs updating and I must prepare a new bio for a conference workshop in May. This not atypical. It’s normal for someone making a career in the publishing industry.

I have a few pre-writing prep steps: I set my phone’s alarm for 5 minutes, and then I close my eyes and breathe. I do this slowly, methodically, while my alert and busy mind empties and slows. It took me years to learn to quiet my brain so I can shift from the frantic call of all that needs to be done, to the ability to sit still and do it. The five minutes go quickly. I’ve been awake for more than an hour, but when the phone alarm goes off, I feel as if I’m newly awake all over again.

Next, I record what I plan to write in the hour ahead—only that, what I think I can accomplish in 60 minutes—in my daily writing journal. Just as with the 5-minute meditation and the 10 things only to-do list, I’ve learned to think about writing in small increments. What can I accomplish in one hour? Maybe a new scene, or revise an old one. I don’t plan to write a full chapter because I know I can’t do that in an hour, but I can do a single scene. In my notebook, I write the date and “swimming championship scene.” 3 words. I don’t describe the action or the characters. I know that in my head. The act of recording this small goal is a promise to myself to do it. Every day, I set a small goal writing goal I know I can accomplish in my hour.

It is almost time. I settle into my chair, position my coffee, open the laptop, find my place in the manuscript. When the digital clock clicks to 7:00, I am ready to go. I don’t need to warm up because my body recognizes this place, this position, this task. I am here every morning, so it recognizes my morning routine as muscle memory.

This hour is the foundation of my writing routine. During my writing hour, I won’t answer the phone, peek at email, post on Facebook, glance at the TV. No distractions or interruptions. It’s one hour out of 24, but this one-hour increment is the foundation of my routine.

Routine. Habit. Muscle memory. Establishing a regular writing practice means finding a place and time that works for your life, and dedicating yourself to sitting in that spot for a set amount of time. The time and location are different for everyone but the mission is the same: find a time, a place, choose a length of time, and go there every day. Turn off interruptions. Write for a doable amount of time. Devote an increment of your day to writing.

If writing is important to you, treat it that way. Plus, there is a reward. No matter what happens the rest of the day, if you’ve written for an hour in the morning, nothing can take that away.

Do it. Do it for you.

Ramona DeFelice Long works as an author, editor, and writing instructor. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary and regional publications, and she is active in the Delaware arts scene. In 2016, she was awarded a Masters Fellowship in Fiction from the Delaware Division of the Arts. She maintains a literary blog at www.ramonadef.com. Check out the National Endowment for the Arts’ United States of Arts map for her story as an artist.

The post Writing in Increments appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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The Happy Self-Publisher by Lois Hoffman - 3M ago

Do you feel a constant pull to write? No matter how many times you push it aside, the desire to write always manages to resurface? Many great authors have felt this compulsion! We can be thankful they made the choice to write as we benefit from their work and example. Maybe you, also, are meant to write, and it is time for you to discover the root cause of that desire.

Do you long to write because you couldn’t imagine doing anything else?

Michael Lewis, one of today’s finest nonfiction writers, writes for this reason.

“There’s no simple explanation for why I write. There’s no hole inside of me to fill or anything like that, but once I started doing it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living. I noticed very quickly that writing was the only way for me to lose track of time.”

Then something extraordinary happened. His writing turned into influence. Michael Lewis realized his writing could move hearts and minds.

“The reasons why I write change over time. In the beginning, it was a sense of losing time. Now it’s changed because I have the sense of an audience. I have the sense that I can biff the world a bit. I don’t know that I have control of the direction of the pinball, but I can exert a force.”

Do you view your desire to write as a holy calling?

Novelist and nonfiction author Elizabeth Gilbert made a vow to writing and built her entire life around this calling.

“I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling. I became a writer the way other people become monks or nuns.”

She too influences countless many to live the life of a creative. “Your only job is to write your heart out, let destiny take care of the rest.”

Do you approach writing as a personal responsibility?

Malcolm Gladwell views his research and writing as “your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible.”  Gladwell starts with a puzzle and stumbles around, searching for common sense explanations for everyday mysteries to update his perspectives.

Do you write because you are passionate about your message?

John C. Maxwell’s writings help others learn about leadership because he believes “everything rises and falls on leadership” and “leadership starts with developing self and connecting with others.” Maxwell describes his passion in life as “growing and equipping others to do remarkable things and lead significant and fulfilled lives.”

Do you have a compulsion to write? These writers do. #amwriting
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Chances are your desire to write falls in line with ones listed above. Don’t push it aside and wait for the next wave to surface! You may miss your opportunity. As the poet Jack Gilbert once asked a young writer, “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside of you are hoping you will say YES!

Why do you write? 

Other Sources:

Why We Write by Meredith Maran

If you have a burning desire to write a book but don’t know where to start, click here.

The post Why We Write appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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This week’s blog features Frank Ingraham, the author of Your HR Goal Achievement Pocket Guide: Practical Guide for New Managers and Small Businesses, written to elevate personal and professional journeys of successful achievement to the next level of accomplishment. Frank culminated his writing, self-publishing his work in June 2017.

In the interview below, Frank shares insight related to his writing and publishing journey, including a few thoughts specifically for those just beginning to write. As you follow along Frank’s journey, take the time to reflect upon your own. Included below are reflection questions to guide you through stages of writing and marketing. If you feel uncertain where to begin, this a great place to start! If you feel stuck and overwhelmed, be encouraged by someone who accomplished their writing and publishing goals.

Write Your Why

Why did you decide to write?

“My primary life approach is to help others achieve. The inner circle encouragement of trusted colleagues and family members’ impacted me to write and publish my goals-focused message and nine-step instructional framework for next-level successful achievement.”

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 “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche. For more about finding your why, read here.

What is your why? Do you believe your why will carry you through seasons of hard work, struggle and doubt?

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 Define Your Objective

What is the description of your self-published book?

“A ‘how-to’ goal achievement book targeting new managers and small businesses, providing everyone with an easy to follow nine-step, and well-defined, instructional framework to help create and achieve their goals of successful achievement.”

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After you write your why, define your ‘what.’ Your ‘what’ is the information you provide for your audience. You write your ‘what’ within a framework to reach your ideal reader.

Who is your target audience? What are you writing?

———————————- 

Establish Your Timeline 

What was your timeframe to write and publish?

“Essentially, I dedicated two years to write this book, although a family-related circumstance delayed my self-imposed timing by a year.”

———————————-

“A goal without a deadline is just a dream” – Robert Herjavec.

What is your ideal timeline? What is your acceptable timeline?

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Embrace Your Obstacles

What was your greatest obstacle?

“Biggest obstacle was ensuring my life’s distractions DID NOT derail my progress to write.”

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Remember, a rough course does not alter the destination.

Can you foresee any obstacles? Do you have a community or support system established to help keep you focused during unforeseen or difficult circumstances?

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Enjoy Your Process 

What did you enjoy most about the writing and publishing process?

“The immense gratitude found in self-discovery and the opportunity to document my easy-to-follow goal achievement process.”

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Keep your mind focused on the final result, push yourself to write, but never cease to enjoy the process. Ultimately, keep what you want out of life in focus.

Who do you hope to be at the end of your journey? What do you hope to have learned?

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Reach Your Tribe

In what ways have you marketed your book?

“I will admit marketing is my weakest link, and an area where I seek to be more aggressive. My marketing methods include sharing Amazon hardcover book and Kindle eBook through LinkedIn with colleagues and gifting a set number of copies to key members of inner circle. I have established criteria for speaking events to include book purchasing and availability, attended book signings at local college campuses, and included book copies in registration for events.”

———————————-

Someone out there needs the work you’ve completed. Finding and testing various marketing strategies ensures you reach those who need you most!

Have you considered your marketing strategies? What connections/platform can you establish now to help you market once your book is released?

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Advice for Beginning Writers

What do you wish you knew before you started?

“Knowing my inner ‘WHY’ for writing and publishing was a huge incentive. Therefore two primary keys I wish I knew before I started writing include:

  1. The need to share my message through my writing.
  2. The need to partner with a stellar publisher.”

What advice would you give to those starting out on the writing journey?

  1. “Do not let life’s distractions derail your writing contribution.
  2. Always stay consistent.
  3. Seriously evaluate publishing options and publishing agents upon book-writing completion.”

Frank Ingraham is a credentialed Mediator, Instructor, and HR professional with 25+ years of experience, fulfilling roles as Volunteer, Mediator, and MSM Program Academic Advisor and Adjunct Instructor within graduate and doctoral Wilmington University – College of Business programs.  

Read Frank Ingraham’s full biography by accessing his website www.frankingraham.com. Purchase a hardback or Kindle version of Your HR Goal Achievement Pocket Guide here and connect with Frank on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

If you are ready for the next step, start here.

The post Interview with Author Frank Ingraham appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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“Not ready to tell the story of your life??  Perhaps you believe you have nothing important to say, or that no one is interested, or you don’t write very well, or that you are too busy, or there may be other reasons.

But you may be overlooking something that is very important. Unless you are famous or notorious, no one can even begin to tell the story of your life. Only you can do that. Look at it this way: You have lived, and are living a life that is totally unique. No one has ever lived a life just like yours. Never.  At the same time, there will never ever be another person born whose life on this earth will be like yours! And so, if your story of your life is not preserved, it will vanish. Forever. Think about that.”

These wise words are from Homer Bruno, author of 12 books, all penned after the age of 80. At 91, he gets up every day with purpose – to tell his story. He shares his successes and failures, joys and sorrows, and most of all, his perspective on the many years as a farm boy from New Jersey, son of immigrants, soldier, state employee, father of 6, grandfather of many, lover of words, puzzles, gardens, politics, history, photography, and his wife of 66 years.

No one will live that exact story. It’s his alone.

As one of his avid fans, I devour each story and bits of hard-earned wisdom. His story is my story. It’s my story partly because he touches on the universal truths of love and loss, anticipation and disappointment, but also because he is my dad. I’m fortunate he puts his fingers and memory to work each day sculpting more detail into what I know about him, about his family, MY family.

His words help me understand the history of my earliest thoughts and my long-held biases. I know why I am wise with money and politically active. I know how our family developed a love for sports and a loathing for the Dallas Cowboys. I know why he came home from work many days with a frown but went back every day fighting for the people he served.

The Creative Age by Gene D. Cohen describes the importance and natural need to sum up one’s life. Whether it’s a memoir or autobiography, writing helps you make sense of your life. In the process, you may heal some wounds or discover something extraordinary. Your research can reveal unexpected treasures of family memories nearly lost to time or free you to tap into your creativity.

Your story is your legacy, forever preserved. It’s an acknowledgment that your life matters. The lives you’ve touched, in large or small ways, the lessons learned, and the wisdom gained matter. As we all strive for significance, writing your story will uncover how different the world would have been if you’d never been born. Just as the angel Clarence tells George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” This world wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Writing your story and sharing it with friends, family, or the world can open conversations, reveal common truths, and preserve history. While others may have experienced similar traumas or celebrations, no one has experienced it through your eyes.

Pick up your pen or turn on your computer. NOW is the best time to write YOUR story.

Ready to write? Start here.

The post The Story of Your Life appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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This week, we’ll hear from freelance writer, Ashley Wagner with her experiences as a ghostwriter. 

A generation of information offers no shortage of opportunities to grow as a writer. From lengthy passages on Instagram (you have those friends, too!), to more concisely written tweets, to Facebook updates and blog posting – you can create and post in seconds!

But.

What if you want to grow as a writer without exposing all to the world? Maybe you question if writing is a true fit for you. You enjoy writing, but wonder if you can carry the weight of producing solid content each week. Maybe you lack the confidence to use your voice. Maybe you have no idea where to start. Ghostwriting could be your unique transition to becoming a writer. 

First, let’s define ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is “to write for another who is the presumed or credited author.” Your work is explicitly written for another to receive the credit. Essentially you are borrowing the mission, platform, goals, and audience of another. Ghostwriters can stand in as expert, write full books, or create for an experienced writer or blogger who wishes to shift their energy elsewhere. Ghostwriting provides excellent opportunities to explore your abilities and grow as a writer by focusing solely on writing. Focus is a greenhouse. Letting go of other considerations allows you to write, and love being a writer, simply for the sake of writing.

Before floating into the ghostwriting world, you have much to consider. With all the opportunity ghostwriting offers, you will also experience some missed opportunities. Take time to consider the following and decide whether the upside or downside wins out. The following considerations fall under a central theme, ultimately the definition of ghostwriting: The writing isn’t yours. 

Anonymity

When you produce as a ghostwriter, you have ultimate identity protection. I consider anonymity to be one the greatest pros of ghostwriting – you get to write freely! The writing isn’t yours. You get to learn and grow without pressure getting it perfect from the start. As bonus, you get to hear experiences and pick the mind of someone with a successful writing platform. You have opportunity to share and sharpen your ideas with them. Additionally, you will have another set of eyes to provide feedback on your work every week.

On the flip side, you’ve been laboring with a topic. You write, edit, rewrite, edit, and write some more, to go about your day like Elf – on a full 40 minutes of sleep, but mission accomplished. The next step is to release your prized possession to the world, remembering now no one will know you as the producer. Your name won’t be attached. The writing isn’t yours. Can you release something you created and celebrate on this side of anonymity?

Changing Voice

As a Northern who spent time living in the South, I fully understand the influence of culture and accents. Even if you try your hardest keep your roots, whomever you spend time around affects you. This fact can be a negative around negative influences, but a positive in relation to ghostwriting. Using another’s voice can give ground to stand on. You filter your writing ideas through the lens of an already established voice and platform. This narrowed focus makes a world of endless writing possibilities less daunting. Your limited focus also limits your barriers to write.

It may be difficult to produce your own work while under the influence of another. Borrowing a voice means you cannot speak of your personal experiences or events. It means you cannot insert your opinion without considering the opinions of the named author. Your writing will always carry your voice, but it needs to be your voice with an accent. Specifically, the accent of the writer whose name you borrow.

Altered Words

Your finished product is perfect, remember? You labored with the topic, put your sweat into every sentence, occasionally added some humor, possibly a seasonal reference and hit send. Once published, you follow up with your work and realize your Sandy Patterson edited some content from the original.

Before you go down the mental paths of wondering what could-have or should-have been, return to your role as a ghostwriter. Your role is to write. Your role is not to publish. Your position is not to make the executive decisions. You are not to worry if the final product is 100% yours because it isn’t anymore, but it is theirs. Keep yourself focused and simply write. When you write, you gain perspective. When you write, you filter your thoughts. When you write, you increase experience; and when you write, you grow.

If you have further questions related to ghostwriting, please comment below. I would love to hear your struggles, and help you plow through any hold ups that may keep you from growth through ghostwriting.

About Ashley Wagner

Delaware-born and lover of unique experiences. I recently spent a year living in Washington D.C. without a driver’s license or a permanent address. Thanks @housesitting and @wmata!

I am a virtual assistant for solo-preneurs, teacher-preneurs and online businesses. This dream job allows me to travel, utilize past work experiences (ranging from collegiate coach to preschool teacher to financial counselor to name a few), and own being a life-long learner without being a life-long student.

I specialize in content creation for bloggers and teachers and customer retention marketing. If you are looking for business support in these areas or others, I can help! Send all business inquiries to aelisabeth.wagner@gmail.com.

The post Growth through Ghostwriting appeared first on The Happy Self-Publisher.

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