- “10 Tips to Finish Your Book in 2012!” by Karen Hodges Miller
- “5 Quick Radio Interview Tips for Authors” by Sandy Diaz
10 Tips to Finish Your Book in 2012!
by Karen Hodges Miller
A recent survey showed over 80 percent of Americans would like to write a book–but most never will.
In fact, in my experience, of that 80 percent who WANT to write a book, only about ten percent will ever start–and only about one percent of those who start will finish! After years of helping writers to complete their books, I’ve learned that the best way to finish is to schedule two to three two-hour blocks of time each week to work on it.
Think you don’t have that time? Here are a few tried and true techniques to help you find it.
1. Develop Your Vision. Why do you want to write a book? What do you want your book to do for you? There are as many possible answers to these questions as there are books and authors. You may want your book to inspire others, to help you build a business, to build your reputation as a writer, or all of the above. There is no wrong answer, only your answer.
2. Don’t Wait for Inspiration. How often have you said, “I’ll start writing my book when ...” You are waiting for that special moment when time, energy and inspiration all come together. It may be when your kids are in school, the week they are in camp, or when you quit your job. But somehow, whenever those moments do arrive, something else always fills your time. There are clothes to wash, appointments to make, meetings to attend, and a host of other excuses. But if you are going to finish your book you must schedule regular writing time every week–and then make that time sacred.
3. Write About Your Passion. If you are not passionate about the subject of your book you are not going to want to spend the time needed to write it. Writing is hard work. There are times when you will have to give up evenings or weekends or Saturday afternoons to work on your book. Just because dozens of people have told you that you ought to write a book on a certain subject, doesn’t mean you should. If you don’t love it, find another topic!
4. Set Your Goals. A book is a big project. You can’t finish your book in one afternoon, or even one month. So set some goals for yourself. “At the end of one month I will have completed my outline.” “I will write one chapter per week.” “I will finish my books in six months.” Make sure your goals are realistic–then stick to them.
5. Give Yourself Rewards. Now that you’ve set your goals, reward yourself when you accomplish them. It works for your kids, why shouldn’t it work for you? Set small rewards for small goals–a relaxing cup of tea for finishing 1,000 words, for example. Set larger rewards for larger goals–for completing a chapter, treat yourself to a night of fun with your favorite video, popcorn and some friends to share it with. And don’t forget to set a really nice reward for actually finishing your book!
6. Manage Priorities, Not Time. Make a list of your priorities, then divide these tasks into four categories: Urgent and Important, Urgent and Unimportant, Not Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Unimportant. For example, a ringing phone urgently pleads for your attention, but is often unimportant. The two hours you block twice a week to work on your book are important but not urgent, so it’s easy to let something else slide into that time slot. How much of your time is spent on urgent but unimportant activities? Using this quadrant will help you see just how you are using your time.
7. Block Your Time. Now that you know what your most important priorities are, take out your calendar and start blocking in times. Block out the time spent on running errands, attending meetings, taking kids to activities. What time is left? Can you find two or three two-hour periods each week to work on your book? Once you’ve blocked them, make them sacrosanct. Only real emergencies should keep you from working on your book in those time periods.
8. Find the Right Place to Write. Writing takes concentration. You really cannot do your best work in the middle of the family room with the TV blaring and kids running around. Find a quiet corner where you can keep your work organized and easily accessible. Even if you live in a small apartment, make yourself a comfy corner where you can work without distraction.
9. Find an Accountability Partner. An accountability partner is someone who supports/nudges/nags you into completing a difficult project. Accountability partners can be used for everything from weight loss and exercise to writing your book. The relationship works best if each person has the opportunity to be both the nagged and the nagger. If the deal is only one way, it can devolve into something uncomfortably like the relationship between a parent and teenager – and that’s a good way to ruin a friendship. Both people don’t have to be working on the same thing, although that can be helpful. Just make sure that you and your partner have clear rules about the structure and type of nagging that will occur.
10. Why projects fail is failure to start. What’s the number one reason why projects fail? Failure to start. So pick a topic. Pick a time. Pick a place. Pick up a pencil. Pick out a file name for your new document. And write.
Karen Hodges Miller is the founder and publisher at Open Door Publications. The seven-year-old company, whose motto is Empowering Authors, has published 20 books, most by first time authors, on a variety of non-fiction self-help topics. Karen is the co-author of Finish Your Book! A Time Management Guide for Writers. Her second book for authors, Sell Your Book, Think Outside the Bookstore, will be available in mid-April, 2012. For more information, visit www.opendoorpublications.com.
5 Quick Radio Interview Tips for Authors
by Sandy Poirier-Diaz, President of Smith Publicity
Radio interviews should be a staple of most publicity campaigns. They are remarkably convenient because no travel is involved, and even our busiest authors are able to fit radio interviews into their schedule. As in any facet of promotion via the media, remember the process is absolutely a “you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours” deal. Every talk show has air time to fill. Hosts and producers are looking for meaningful, entertaining or commentary on current news stories to keep their audiences growing.
Here are five tips to remember for radio interviews:
1) Set your surroundings. The best part about a radio interview is the flexibility. You can be in your pajamas in your bedroom or in your office between a hectic day of meetings. No matter where you are, stand for your interview (your voice will sound better), have a glass of water on hand, prepare note cards with the call in number, radio station’s time zone, location, host name and target listeners, use a landline telephone when possible with no background noises (dogs barking, lawn mowers, etc.), and remember to smile as listeners can hear you smile over a telephone.
2) No one wants to interview a book! YOU are the one with the information, you are the expert…your book is your credibility. You are the centerpiece to the interview, your book comes along for the ride. Remember your job is to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire. The fact is sometimes a host doesn’t care about your book. From their perspective, they need interesting guests who do not oversell their books. Refrain from leading every sentence with, “As I say in my book…”
3) People LOVE stories. When possible, tell stories related to your book that will draw the audience into your conversation.
4) Make sure your book is part of the interview. The reason you are doing this interview is to continue to build your name and spark book sales. While most hosts will plug your book, if the interview is wrapping up and they have not mentioned your book, you need to be prepared to do this yourself. For example: “By the way, if anyone would like a copy of ‘Book Name,’ it’s available at your local book store or at Amazon.com…” Or, “If anyone would like to learn more about TOPIC, visit my website morenews.com ….”
5) Be ready for the closing. Have a summary sentence prepared to answer a question such as: “Do you have any final words of advice for us?” Or, “Do you have any predictions how TOPIC will play out over the next week or months.” Make sure it is geared for the radio show’s target audience. Always thank the host for having you as a guest.
About Smith Publicity
Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the leading promotional firms in the industry. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 1,000 individuals and companies—from New York Times bestsellers to first time self- published authors. The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K., and from Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and London.
While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.
Corinne@smithpublicity.com Smith Publicity, Inc. 856.489.8654 ext 309