Tag Archives: writing

Borrow Your Brilliance

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

My boss recently gave me a book about brainstorming called, “Jump Start Your Brain” by Doug Hall.  I flipped through it a little bit, but one chapter called “Borrowing Brilliance” stopped me in my tracks. I thought about all the times I’d people-watched while walking in the mall, getting fashion advice from magazines, listened to other people brainstorm, watched them while they work, and the ever-present question, “What would you do?”

After reading Jump Start Your Brain I quickly realized, I’ve always borrowed brilliance. I have always looked to those wiser, older, and more knowledgeable than I to gain information and principles that I could use as well.

This book offered a “David & Goliath” example in which you can learn something by “looking at other David’s who have done battle and won” to learn how to succeed yourself.  Very similar to learning from other people’s mistakes I’d say.  But, that’s precisely how I’ve lived my life. I’ve learned from other people’s actions, fashion, writing, and even communication skills.

Authors come to me often and ask what they should write about on their blog, and while the answer varies from author to author, it’s always the same.  “Take a look at this blog, this blog, and this blog.” I tell them that often reading a blog will give them inspiration on how to write one. It’s how I’ve always led my writing, especially for blog topics. Borrowing ideas and “brilliance” from other people seems to fuel the fire the best, and I say why not use the kindling?

As an author and marketer, take heed from your favorite writers, mentors, and friends. Every second is a learning experience, and life always has something to teach.

Click on the images below for links to help jump start your own brilliance:

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Where Is Your Creative Zone?

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

I am a painter. Oil and acrylics. Landscapes and still life. Lately, I haven’t been very inspired likely due to stress, a recent bout of the flu and a winter that just won’t go away. But this past Sunday, I got up early and enjoyed some reading and coffee in the quiet of the morning, went and got a massage, then went to my mom’s for Sunday dinner. While there I sat on her sunporch with the sun beaming in through the glass, I laid down in the warm light, stretched out like a cat and fell asleep.

I awoke later to sound of my toddlers talking to grandma about bees, butterflies and flowers. And in my freshly awakened, relaxed state, it hit me. I should paint something whimsical. Something for one of my girls’ rooms. Later that evening, looking out my bay window into my wooded backyard, I did just that. I painted some cute buzzy bees – it was outside my comfort zone and it felt great. And, if I must say so, it turned out cute.

Recently, my colleague, Shelley, wrote asking what inspires you as an author, what drives you to write every day and what drives you to create your next masterpiece. It’s not just ‘what’ inspires you, it’s also ‘where’ inspires you.  You need to be in the right frame of mind, the right place and the right time for true inspiration to take over.  My quiet morning, massage, catnap, and favorite spot in my home put me in the creative zone.

Where is your creative space?

What Inspires You?

by Shelley Rogers Landes, Marketing Manger

in·spire  verb \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\:  to influence, move, motivate or guide

 
At the beginning of my professional career at Macmillan Publishing, I remember being the youngest person on our sales team and I was proud of that fact.  I always felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time and to work for managers that valued my opinion and encouraged my development as an  account manager and sales professional.

I look around our offices today and realize I have suddenly become one of the oldest people on our team and often wonder to myself, “….how did that happen?”  Some of my colleagues are honestly old enough to be one of my kids and a year ago, that really bothered me.

Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, WordPress, Flickr, Yahoo IM, You Tube. I had a vague knowledge of social media and could talk my way through a meeting but the reality was, I was being left behind.  As a marketing manager, I was diminishing my value proposition to my employer as an effective part of our marketing team because I was feeling uninspired to know and use the tools that are essential to our industry today.

Once I got past the fact that I had aged much quicker than I had realized, I will tell you that much of my inspiration, energy, education and enthusiasm in 2010 came from the wide eyed, untarnished and courageous ideas of this young creative team I work with on a daily basis. 

While I have taken the position of the “industry veteran” on our team, my young colleagues have taught me a whole new way of communication through social media.  I have been inspired to keep up, stay fresh and educate myself about trends and technology that are essential to the success of my job.

So what inspires you as an author?  What inspires you to write every day?  What drives you to want to create your next masterpiece?

You’re an Author. You’re an Expert.

by Kevin Gray, Public Relations Manager
I often speak with authors, who are actively engaged in publicizing their books and the great majority put a strong emphasis on pitching their books to book reviewers at daily newspapers. They’re disappointed when their books aren’t reviewed, are rejected or summarily ignored. Many think this means the end to their efforts to “make news.”

The reality is that just as publishing is changing, so too is the news media. A 2010 study released by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported ominously that “roughly a third of the newsroom jobs in American newspapers in 2001 are now gone, and those cuts come particularly in specialty beats like science and the arts, suburban government and statehouse coverage.” Book reviews can certainly be thrown into this mix.

In a July 2010 interview with the Public Relations Society of America, John Drescher – the executive editor of the Raleigh News & Observer admitted that coverage responsibilities at his paper – the 59th largest in the U.S. – have changed dramatically.

“All beats are still covered, but reporters are doubling up,” Dresher said. “Fewer do more, with changes like paring back to one healthcare reporter, splitting healthcare business coverage among existing business staff, and relying on wire services and correspondents to cover fitness.”

What this all means is that reporters are busier than ever, which puts the squeeze to the time-consuming process of choosing a book, reading a book and writing a review. Whats more, these time constraints come at a time when in 2009, according to R.R. Bowker, more than one million new titles hit the shelves.

So what’s a fledgling author to do?

Well the squeeze being put to reporters can actually favor you, dear scribe. An author, well-versed in a particular topic, that’s written and published a book, is an expert!

In 2008, leading up to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jim Bendat, author of Democracy’s Big Day parlayed his collection of historical Presidential Inauguration potpourri into a landslide of media coverage. USA Today, Bloomberg News, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times were but a few of the prominent outlets that leaned on his expertise.

And once a few reporters called a gaggle of busy scribes and correspondents in need of knowledgeable sources practically knocked down Bendat’s door. Throughout the media frenzy, Bendat consistently mentioned his book. During TV appearances he always had a copy in hand. Bendat got not one single book review, but the number of readers that learned about Democracy’s Big Day is incalculable.

Check out Jim Bendat on Fox News as he talks about his self published book, Democracy’s Big Day:

Book Signings: An Extraordinary Adventure!

By Jann Robbins, Author

This is a guest post from Jann Robbins, author of Harold and Me and widow of Harold Robbins, the best-selling American fiction author. Jann has years of experience with books and book marketing. She is currently blogging about her life with Harold, old Hollywood and all the stories behind the stories on http://haroldrobbinsnovels.wordpress.com/

I love book signings, except when no one shows up! I have done book signings for my own novels as well as my husband’s novels and most have been packed with enthusiastic readers. But, there are times when you sit alone. I have been a participant of book signings since 1982 and seen a lot of changes. I began my experience in the book business with the #1 best-selling author in the world, Harold Robbins. He signed hundreds of books, talking and sharing with his reader. Some wanted special inscriptions and he always accommodated them. If we frequented a particular restaurant some people would bring their books over to him and ask him to sign. He denied no one. It was his pleasure, so I felt I learned from the best.

After Harold was no longer here to sign his books I was asked to sign for him. Since I was not the author I wanted to give his fans a tidbit, a story to take away with the book. I was always grateful that they had gotten into their car, drove and attended a book signing. It was a genuine pleasure to meet each one of them.  

Book signings always have an embedded treasure awaiting the author, and usually one that you will always cherish. So, don’t avoid book signings. You are the entrepreneur for your work, and the person who has created the characters that will engage the reader. It’s up to you to make the event “pop,” not only in reading excerpts, but giving your reader something they don’t know about your story, your characters or you. And remember, you are meeting someone who has taken the time to come see you. Always give them a memory. And if no one is in line, go into the store and engage a customer in conversation. If they don’t like your book genre, recommend another writer.  And for you, finding that treasure in the moment with your reader is priceless.

I was in Albuquerque once signing soon after Harold’s passing. I was talking about his life and times. The book store had a glass storefront. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up and let a girl, about 14 years old, out of the double-parked car. Mentally, I dismissed her as someone who would be coming to the book signing. And yet, I was completely surprised when I looked out on the crowd several minutes later and she was sitting on the back row. I immediately engaged her in conversation, asking her if she knew the writer, Harold Robbins. She answered emphatically that she did and began to repeat Harold’s history about earning a million dollars before his 21st birthday and losing his commodities in the sugar market. All the guests were fascinated with her and so was I. I told her that Harold would have loved to be there to meet her. She looked up at me smiling, “Oh, he is, that’s why I came.” Needless to say, it was an extraordinary moment and a “treasure”. I gave her a copy of the book I was signing with a special inscription about Harold.

Being an author/entrepreneur is an extraordinary adventure!

The Changing Face of Publishing: Digital Formats

by Megan Leiter, Event Coordinator

A digital boom is reverberating within the literary world with the rise of eBooks, eReaders, eBookstores and apps. Some establishments are trading in the traditional form of books altogether in exchange for a digital replacement. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary is considering never publishing another print edition. In addition, some colleges are requiring students to purchase eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad to download their textbooks instead of purchasing printed textbooks. Such is true at Long Island University where they’ve launched the “IPAD PROJECT,” a program that sells Apple iPads to students for half price and allows them to connect with faculty, classmates and advisors, get the latest campus news and apps, download digital textbooks, take notes in class, and even organize and store their assignments and presentations.

The publishing and book industry is moving to digital formats fast, so what does that mean for authors? What are the advantages?

  • For authors, this gives you the chance to meet a whole new demographic other than the traditional in-store book buyer
  • Digital and multimedia formats offer readers a new way of reading books with photos, interactive links, games, animation, music, voiceovers and more like never before
  • Children’s authors gain the capacity to engage their readers more effectively than ever
  • Environmentally friendly digital formats offer cheaper per-purchase prices for eBooks and entice readers to make a satisfying purchase (doing good for the environment, and saving money compared to printed books)

As a consumer who has an expansive collection of printed books in addition to an e-reader myself, I strongly believe that traditional, paper books will always remain in the market but digital formats will continue to grow and give readers more options than ever before.

I encourage you to talk to your publisher about offering your book in a digital format, whether it’s an eBook or digital app, to reach a quickly growing segment of the book market.

Indie Author Community Outreach

by Shelley Rogers, Marketing Manager

One question I’m frequently asked by independent/self published authors is, “….how do I go about getting a booksigning with a major book retailer?”

Unfortunately, it’s not a fun question to answer because often, requests to major book retailers by indie author’s result in a negative response or ignored altogether.  In defense of book retailers, over one million books a year are published so logically and logistically, it would be impossible for every published author to be hosted at an instore event.  However, the reality and restraints of this industry does not minimize the sting of not being invited to the party.

Author Solutions, Inc. announced on Wednesday that they will be sponsoring book signings for several of its independent authors at select Borders stores October 8-10 in Seattle, Washington and Indianapolis, Indiana.  The goal of these signings is to connect local authors with readers in their community. 

“We’re pleased to be working with Borders to support Indie Author Weekend. Bookstores like Borders serve an important role as a community gathering place, and we believe events like these, which feature local authors, strengthen the bond between a community and its bookstore,” said Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer.

Kudo’s to Borders for connecting local grown authors with their immediate community while acknowledging the voice and relevance of the independent writer. 

For a list of participating stores and authors, check out the following link: http://www.prweb.com/releases/author_solutions/indie_book_weekend/prweb4614154.htm