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Persistence

We’ve all had those days. In fact, I’m having one today. You know…those, “I don’t want to get out of bed days.” Yeah, that would be me today but that’s beside the point. As I pull myself up and out of it, I’m going to pull you along with me. Here’s a good article I found that should gives us the boost we need (taken from Scott H. Young at: http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2008/07/10/building-your-persistence-levels. For the full article, go to his site):

Building Persistence

Enough talk about what persistence is, how do you build it?  Part of persistence is just improving your self-discipline.  Increasing the level of what you can resist mentally and emotionally before you collapse.  While self-discipline is important in the short-term, I don’t think it is as critical for goals that last years and decades.

Instead, I think the way to improve persistence is to enhance the two forces that make it up.  Either by increasing your intrinsic enjoyment of the pursuit, or increasing your resolution that giving up is unbearable.

Finding Intrinsic Enjoyment

The first step to this is easy; don’t work on goals you can’t enjoy.  Don’t start a business if you don’t like the customers.  Don’t start a training regimen if you hate the gym.  Don’t enter a faculty if you don’t like the subject.

The second step is to find ways to enjoy the work, regardless of the feedback.  In many ways, this can be as simple as becoming aware of what you’re doing.  It can be easy to become so obsessed with feedback (i.e. motivated) that you completely lose sight of what you’re doing in the current moment.

If I had a bad month at the gym, where my strength levels declined, that might start to cloud out the fact that I actually like going to the gym.  The same is true of learning, running this business or my social life.

The solution is to switch your focus back on the tasks and let the results fade out of your thinking.  Get back to focusing on what you’re actually doing, and enjoying it, instead of obsessing about the numbers.  Focusing on numbers can be important for results, but that’s only when you’re actively making a new plan.  When you’re actually working, it’s usually better to focus on the work and forget the outcomes.

Avoiding the Alternative

The alternate way to boost your persistence is to accept that the alternative, to you, is less desirable.  I’ve written previously, that my goal is to run an online-based business full-time.  Only recently have I started to approach that goal.  In the past, there were many months when I completely lacked positive feedback that I was going in the right direction.

During that motivational crisis, the thing that helped me persist was that I knew struggling at this goal was better than the alternative of giving up.  I knew that I would always be driven towards the goal, so it was better to work towards and fail, than it was to sit back and wonder if I would have succeeded.

This approach may not sound too inspirational, but it works.  When you’re facing a dry-spell of motivation, it can be hard to summon up the optimism to believe things will get better soon.  But you can always compare the alternatives of giving up entirely with continuing through adversity.

I started this discussion yesterday, by referencing an article Cal Newport wrote about the danger of starting without commitment.  Since most worthwhile goals will have large gaps without feedback, it’s absolutely essential that your engines are running on more than just enthusiasm.  Persistence is the back-up fuel that can get you through the vacuums.

Whew. I feel better now. Don’t you? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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How to find time to write over the holidays

For some, the holidays provide a great opportunity for some good writing. Nothing like being home, wrapped up in front of a nice, crackling fire…away from work and the cares of the world. Then again, the kids and spouse/partner are home, the in-laws are in for a visit and the kitchen is bustling with activity as the turkey bakes in the oven. How, amongst the hustle and bustle will you ever find time to write?

Wonder no more my friend, because Brandi-Ann Uyemura from The Writer Magazine has shared the trick!

Prioritize. If you want to write during the holidays but think you don’t have the time, remember: You do. You just need to plan for it. “Think about writing as a good habit, like daily exercise, brushing teeth,” says Rochelle Melander, a writing coach and author of Write-A-Thon. Prioritize your time by scheduling writing sessions in your calendar and start committing to that schedule now.

Set deadlines. Some writers need deadlines to get things done. If you don’t have a project deadline, create your own and ask a buddy to hold you accountable.

Delegate. Melander suggests setting boundaries and delegating tasks to others. This year bring the side dishes and offer to help clean up after the Thanksgiving party. This will eliminate hours of prep time and save you extra minutes to write.

Disconnect. From the Internet, that is. Consider unplugging for a while and you’ll find oodles of time you didn’t know you had.

Look for hidden moments. “Over the years, I have discovered that there are hidden moments during the holiday season when no one is expecting me to be anywhere or do anything,” Melander says. You may find time waiting in line at the grocery store or bank or in between buying holiday gifts. Plan to have a notebook with you for those unexpected precious moments. Or follow Melander’s lead by writing in the early morning before the kids are up.

Photo by Sheri Inman

It requires some extra effort to write during the holidays, but a shift in perspective might help. Instead of perceiving your writing as an additional task to check off your to-do list, think of it as a rare opportunity to pen that perfect character, juicy scene, or dynamic drama inspired by your real life. In fact, why not let the winter trimmings, joyful songs, holiday festivities and even your obnoxious relatives become characters in your next writing project?

But what if you still can’t find the time to write? Don’t beat yourself up about it. You may not be able to get to all of your projects this season. “Writers do more than just write,” Melander says. “They also need to develop ideas for new projects.” Sometimes being productive means taking a break. Read that novel you’ve always wanted to get to, watch that holiday play. Seeking activities that tickle your senses and experiencing the magic you felt as a kid will do wonders for your writing.

I’ve found that engaging in a bit of winter whimsy lifts the doldrums of daily writing. I’ve never regretted it, and my writing has yet to take a hit from my simply being and enjoying life. Try it yourself and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits, inspire a breakthrough, and energize you so that come next year you’ll be refreshed and ready to write.

– Hoping Santa brings me something good this year  –  Evin Wilkins (www.mrgurupublishing)

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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How to get the cover of the book right

As a reader, I can tell you that there have been times when a book cover has been the only reason I have picked up a book, especially from an author I had never heard of. I bet you have done the same. In most instances, I’m glad I did because it led me to some great authors I would’ve otherwise never read. Your book cover can make or break your book. All of those months, possibly years of writing your book and going through the arduous publishing/promotion process, only to have a less than desirable cover. 

How in the heck can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you? Andrew Pantoja gives some great advice!

For self-published authors visibility is key. Generating visibility takes time and persistence and includes everything from a Twitter feed to commissioned book reviews. But a great book cover can generate more buzz and visibility than most social marketing plans and pay-to-play endorsements.

E-Book Editor is one of many service companies offering cover design services

And in today’s online world, a book’s packaging -– binding, paper stock, etc. –- is thrown out the window. Online, the only distinguishing feature is the cover. With online book sales growing, and e-books taking off, cover design has become more important.

“If an e-book cover appeals to someone and speaks well on the book’s behalf,” said Chris O’Byrne who heads up The E-book Editor, “I think it could have a huge impact on whether a reader buys it or not.”

Without the budget or marketing team of a big publishing house, self-pub authors have to weigh their design options carefully. Options vary depending on the author’s skill set, time frame and resources.

A convenient option is to work with outfits like The E-book Editor that include a cover design as an add-on to their editing and digital conversion services. The E-book Editor charges $99 for e-book covers and $199 for print book covers. But only about 50% of the authors O’Byrne works with request a cover design. What are the other authors choosing to do?

The most affordable and in some cases cost-free option is to do it yourself.

Keith Robinson went from this…

Self-published author Keith Robinson self-designed the covers of his Island of Fogfantasy series. Using images from stock photo websites, Robinson manipulated pictures to recreate scenes from his books.

“Ideally, an author picks a scene from their book that best sums up the story, and a cover artist is employed to paint it to specification,” said Robinson. “But this approach is rarely possible for self-publishers. Cover artists cost a lot of money.”

In his first book Island of Fog, Robinson went with “simple but effective.” He found an image of foggy woods, tinted it blue, and added the title and author credit.

However, Robinson admits that there has been a learning curve.

“Today I see [Island of Fog] as my weakest cover simply because it has nothing in the center to grab the eye.”

In his subsequent books, Robinson seized the attention of his YA audience with flame-breathing dragons. For the cover of his latest book, Lake of Spirits, Robinson transformed a woman into a jengu, a water spirit with pointy ears like an elf, using graphic design tools.

…to this.

“Sales come from word-of-mouth about the story itself, not about the cover,” said Robinson. “I won’t be spending a lot of money on the cover until I’ve achieved huge success in selling the story.”

But some authors see the need to invest in winning cover art from the beginning.

“A good book jacket should be worthy of the words on the pages,” said self-publisherJennifer B. White, who is releasing three new books (Dead AsleepOtherwise and Hummus for the Holidays) by November. “It’s also paramount for the book to sell.”

White, who works as a tagline writer for Universal Pictures, believes book covers are analogous to movie posters.

“A movie poster can often determine whether a film gets buzz, or fizzles at the box office. Likewise, a well-conceived, well-executed book jacket design translates into a book cover that motivates readers to crack the cover or download the e-book,” said White.

Unlike fantasy author Robinson, White does not self-design her books. Her friends and colleagues at Universal and photographers at the car auctioneer Gooding and Company are helping to create her book covers.

“Designing a book cover starts with brainstorming,” she said. “We communicate ideas and create a design that stays true to the story and considers its target audience.”

Authors without pre-established relationships with designers, or graphic design skills, are left to other devices. Often the first stop in finding help is online directories, forums or message boards. But this time-consuming option yields few results.

“Sites like Elance and Craigslist can help you with your hires, but it’s really hard to find folks specialized in the e-book space,” said Miral Sattar, founder of Bibliocrunch, a self-pub platform which facilitates relationships between book professionals.

“I joined all the Linkedin groups and often saw postings from writers who were looking for good cover design,” she said. “Their requests often got lost in the noise. So I thought, why not offer it all in one place.”

On BiblioCrunch, professionals can sign up as an author, designer, editor, copy editor, publisher or reader. Authors can convert their books for digital distribution while searching the site for a cover designer.

One key feature of Bibliocrunch is the rating and review system where designers, and other professionals, are given testimonials on their work. “Most authors like to work with someone whose work has already been vetted or vouched for,” said Sattar.

While specialized online communities cut down on the riff-raff, developing professional relationships online is difficult and takes patience. For authors who are eager to enter the market quickly the answer may be crowdsourcing.

A 99Designs sample cover

On 99Designs, authors can commission book cover designs. The first step is drafting a design brief which provides the crowd of designers with a better understanding of the project. This includes a description of the author, the book, and specific technical guidelines like file type, document size and resolution.

After setting a price, which can range from $195 to the project’s budget limit, authors can kick back as dozens of designs are submitted from around the world. 99designs already has over 100,000 registered members.

In 2009, author Tim Ferriss ran a design project through 99designs to generate ideas for The 4-Hour Body. In 7 days more than 450 designs came in. Ferriss awarded 4 finalists $250 each.

With varying price points and a multitude of resources online, self-pub authors have more options every day.  Whether they opt to crowdsource, outsource, collaborate with friends, work with new online contacts, or go it alone, the goal is clear -– maintain the same level of quality consumers have come to expect from the industry giants. This begins with the cover and ends with the story.

“Of course, a great cover doesn’t make the book itself great,” said fantasy author Robinson. “But it’s important not to make a potential reader wrinkle up his nose before he’s even read the first page.”

 

Yep, just another day at the office of Mr. Guru Publishing. 😉 (Evin Wilkins – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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How to promote your book on a low budget

Remember I mentioned that I would give you tips on how to promote your book on a low or shoestring budget? Welcome to the first in my series.

Does the word “touring” scare you as an indie author? Do you see nothing but dollar signs and high credit card debt running through your head? Many indie authors do BUT, this does not have to be the case and yes, you CAN promote your book without raking up the credit card debt and in fact, you can actually tour for FREE. Yes, for free.

Let me introduce the *drum roll* blog tour! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the blog tour. This is a free and exciting way to promote your book. BEFORE I delve into this, let me warn you of one thing. You will find services out there that want to charge you to set up your blog tour. The costs can be big. I found one that offers a paid consultation and then $1000 down to even begin the start of your blog tour. This is not necessary. Should you choose to pay someone to help you, find someone that has legit references that you can contact AND, does not charge you an arm and a leg so to speak.

I’m going to share a video from Stacy Cochran, a self-published author. He will explain blog tours from his own experience, along with other low cost book marketing ideas. It’s about 20 minutes long but well worth the listen!

Happy blog touring!

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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