Malik Sharrieff

Make time for writing!

To say that the world we live in is hectic has got to be the understatement of the century!

If you’re like most of us, with already busy schedules you’re probably saying, “How can I make time to write?”

With all of the responsibilities we have as adults it does seem impossible to make time to write in an already busy day. Once we get beyond our already packed schedules lie all of the distractions of family and convenient entertainment. Sometimes, we’re just plain tired!

However, the truth is that if you make the choice to pursue a goal that you really want, you will make the time to go for it!

Part of the reason we struggle with making time is because we know that it’s a huge undertaking. Writing a manuscript isn’t like writing a letter to a friend.

Completing your manuscript requires dedication, research, creativity, and last but not least time (and a lot of it). So when time is an issue, how do we conquer it?

Break it down into smaller segments!

Attack your writing project as if you were eating an elephant… one bite at a time!

Chop the project into more manageable portions and schedule their completion. Then, stick to the schedule!

Use whatever small window of opportunity you can grab until you can get your manuscript finished. If you have thirty minutes while your baby is down for a nap, take it!

An hour while your son is at soccer, take it! A lunch break at work, take it! Take your computer with you and write on the train on your way to work. If you’ve only got a couple hours every Saturday, then reserve them for writing. Even better, record your prose on your phone and then use those few hours you have to transcribe what you dictated earlier.

You’ll be surprised at how much you can get accomplished if you are creative, dedicated and efficient with your minutes.

Remove from your mind that you need huge blocks of time in order to write. A book is not written chapter by chapter; books are written one word at a time! If you change the way you look at the project, you can change the way you schedule your production.

Think about it like this… even if you write for thirty minutes you’ve advanced your story. Do that enough and you’ll see progress!

As long as you keep moving forward, eventually you will get to…

~ THE END ~

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you were able to use your time more efficiently to complete your latest project.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

Why Does It Take So Long To Write A Book?

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of people who’ve written a book in 30 days. You may have even wondered why it’s taking you so long to write a book.

Can I let you in on a secret…?

Being able to churn out a book in 30 days is a rare talent. It’s even more rear to be able to produce anything that a publisher or a reader would consider quality in 30 days or less.

For the majority of first time authors it takes longer because there are fundamental aspects of writing you must learn first. Then, once these fundamentals are learned, it takes more time to master them. It’s only with this mastery that a writer is able to produce quality, faster.

As a publisher, I can tell you that writing your book(s) faster MUST NOT be your goal!

Instead focus on these production basics:
  • Strengthen your imagination: build your capacity to create so you can do so at will. You can produce much quicker if you aren’t waiting for inspiration to come,
  • Develop your writing skill: practice with short stories and flash fiction or articles (for non-fiction writers). Be ready and able to craft characters, conflict, climax and closing (or resolution). This saves loads of time with rewrites and revisions,
  • Take control of the schedule: You determine how you will spend your 24 hours each day just like everyone else, allocate specific times for writing and work that schedule like a job. Once you master the point above, you will be much more productive during writing periods and you will be able to plot your book’s ETA,
  • Develop a support team: writing a book isn’t all about the manuscript, get reviewers and copy editors in place before you start your next project. Make sure you have a publishing plan and that you have your production budget set aside or planned for before you start you next project. These concerns are major distractions and can easily derail a project.

 

It doesn’t have to take forever to write a book if you know the steps to take.

This is your dream and it’s worth the effort!

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you were able to increase your production speed.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

How Indie-Bookstores Can Get You a Publishing Deal

Just a couple years after launching Write On Press, a fresh-faced aspiring indie-author approached me seeking help getting published. In our second consultation she told me that her dream was to get a book deal with a major publisher.

After she was certain that I had taken no offence, she asked if I could help her create a strategy to attract the attention of one of the traditional publishing companies.

Here’s the play-by-play of how we made it happen…

Step 1:

We reviewed the authors’ manuscript to get a better understanding of who her target reader was and where they might be found. We discovered that the content we were publishing was attractive to readers who frequented bookstores. Not that a bookstore was the only place this author’s readers could be found, but in this case it was the most readily accessible consumer source.

Step 2:

Write On Press published the manuscript and obtained production services through a Print On Demand (POD) platform.

Once we received the first shipment of 50 units of the trade paperback, the author and I targeted a local independently owned bookstore. We then role-played several potential interactions so that she would be ready to engage the store owner or manager and pitch her book.

Then we called the store and arranged a meeting between the store owner and the author.

Step 3:

At the meeting with the store owner, the author was personable and charming and briefly pitched her book. She kept the book description to about 90 seconds but spent an additional minute or two letting the store owner know that she didn’t want the store to buy her book. Instead, she wanted a consignment deal where the store would receive 40% of the sale price. To sweeten the deal, she offered to print and post her own Point of Sale (POS) materials.

After the store owner understood that he wouldn’t carry any risk or cost, it was easy to get 10 books placed in the bookstore.

Step 4:

We organized a quick email promotion to about 150 contacts in my author’s email list. These were just local family, friends, and associates that she felt would have at least some interest in her book being offered in a bookstore. We crafted a short message stating that the author was so excited that after having her new book stocked on the shelves at her local bookstore, there were only 10 copies left!

That message resulted in all copies being sold out by the end of the week. There’s a lot more to tell about crafting a message to potential readers inside your social circle, but I’ll have to cover that in another post.

Step 5:

At the end of the week, my author went to the bookstore to collect her 60% and restock. The bookstore owner asked her for 50 more copies! Of course, we sent out another email message and made a few social media posts saying thank you to all of the fans who helped to sell out her book at the first bookstore.

Then my author visited a second and third independently owned bookstore to talk to the owners about the success she experienced at the first bookstore. Both stores were willing to carry her books on consignment (one did insist on getting 5 free copies, but she also took 50 copies right away). Of course this gave my author more to celebrate with her social and social media networks and build more excitement.

Step 6:

It took about nine months, and she had to work an eventual total of five small bookstores like a part-time job, but my author was able to get just under 4,000 units sold. In that time, she also published a digital format and sold almost 1,000 downloads. With her popularity growing organically now, it was time to develop the assets needed to move to the next step.

I consulted with her about how to prospect/attract a literary agent (I’ll offer more details in another post). Let’s say that it was much easier to get several agents to reply to her after she included her sales receipts with her letter of introduction and writing sample.

After completing the process of selecting a literary agent and putting him to work, my author received three offers over the next two months for single book deals! These were with smaller imprints of the Big 5 Publishing houses, but hey, it’s a contract!!

I’ll have to relate the story of what happened after receiving the offers in another post. What I really wanted to illustrate in this story is that the book deal offers, the attention of the literary agents, even the willingness of bookstores 2 -5 to stock this incredible book would never have happened if not for the author’s ability to demonstrate that this product had a market that was willing and ready to buy it.

Here’s what this means for you:

Whether you use this particular strategy, a variation, or something else altogether; you have to be able to show in real numbers that your book has a market. Publishers, literary agents, and bookstores are all businesses. In order to get what you want from them you have to show how supporting your dream will profit them.

In the publishing world, a book’s perceived ability to sell is king. Prove to the publishing companies that your books can sell on a small scale and they just might take a chance that your books will sell on a large scale.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or suggest strategies that might help others in the community to prove your book’s salability.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

Key Terms and Additional Info:

Consumer Source = that place where your target readers congregate, discuss, consume or purchase books that are in any way similar to yours.

Point of Sale (POS) = Posters, fliers, postcards, bookmarks, coupons or any merchandise (swag) that markets you as an author or any of your book projects. Point of sale items can be sold, but are most often given away to encourage current or future purchases. There is a subtle difference between POS merchandise and sales merchandise, as sales merchandise is either offered for sale or free with purchase (i.e. a free t-shirt with the purchase of a novel). POS is unconditional and sales merchandise is conditional.

If you have any questions, you can post them below and we’ll get you some feedback. Or, you can visit the contact us page and send us a note. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please click the services tab at: WriteOnPress.com to book a meeting with one of our consultants.

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