How to Set Publishing Goals and Achieve Them

We all dream of publishing success. We see our books on best-sellers lists and in major bookstore windows. Goal setting is the foundation of publishing success. Without measurable goals and action, we just drift along and hope our dreams come true. Let me help you get started.

Before you can set your goals, you need to answer a very important question.

“Why have I written this book?”

If you’re looking to make mega bucks and retire on your royalties, stop right here. Few authors, self-published or otherwise, achieve this goal. But ask yourself this…

  • Do you want to improve people’s lives with your book?
  • Would you like to supplement your income?
  • Is your book for entertainment?
  • Do you wish to share your family history?
  • Would you like to be recognized as an expert in your field?
  • Will publishing a book improve your self-confidence?
  • Will you use your book to gain speaking engagements and other business opportunities?
  • Would you like to share your book with family and friends?

Write down a clear reason for publishing. Keep this on a postcard near your computer or creative space as inspiration during low energy times. Knowing why you want to publish will give you the confidence to move forward and help you make decisions in the self-publishing process.

Now that you know why you are publishing, you can set some goals. Here are some examples of the types of goals you may want to achieve.

  • The number of books do you want to sell
  • The number people do you want to help
  • How much money you’d like to make
  • An increase in your business
  • Speaking engagements
  • Awards you’d like to earn

Goals are personal and limitless. Come up with a list that is meaningful to you.

Now that you have your list, let’s set some milestones. Goals without dates are only dreams. To ensure you take action, you need deadlines. For example, you may write…

  • Sell 50 copies by 12/31/2014.
  • Obtain 3 speaking engagements by Thanksgiving.
  • Make my first $1,000 by January 2015.
  • Get 10 good book reviews on Amazon by October 30th.

Alternately, you make set your goals like this…

3 MONTH GOALS

  • Get 100 “Likes” on my Facebook Fan Page
  • Sell 50 copies
  • Obtain first speaking engagement

6 MONTH GOALS

  • Sell 100 copies
  • Be interviewed by the New York Times

1 YEAR GOALS

  • Make $1,000 from book sales
  • Win Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award

You get the idea. These are measurable goals. If you surpass them, great! You’re doing the right things and can aim higher. If you fall short, make some adjustments to your marketing and reset your goals. Either way, the point is to monitor your progress and move forward.

How do I reach these goals?

Many of us are intimidated by goals, but they are easier if we break each goal into manageable steps. For example, to sell 100 copies of your book…

  • Visit 3 local bookstores and ask to sell my books on consignment.
  • List my book on Amazon.
  • Promote my book on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Sell books to family and friends at my book launch party.

Can you see how each of these easy steps brings you closer to your goal?

Now you have a blueprint for self-publishing success. Set your goals, give them deadlines, divide them into small steps and you’ll meet those goals before you know it. Happy publishing!

Top Tips to Produce Well-Written Copy

When writing your material to educate, persuade or entertain, how do you ensure it is successful in achieving its aims?

Who are you trying to reach? What is your message? Have you created the appropriate tone?

Here are a few simple tips to help focus your writing to help produce the required results.

Who is your target audience for your content?

• Male/female or both?

• How old are they?

• What’s their level of education?

• What do they know about the subject already? Will they skim the text or refer to it continually?

• Is the text for general reading, reference, technical, brief or in-depth, complex or in between?

• Decide how to format: whether it’s plain text, the use of graphics, or short bulleted lists?

Its intended use, as well as who it is for, determines content, language and presentation, so check all are relevant.

Once you have pinpointed who the material/text is for, you then need to identify what it is for, and concentrate on that reason.

What does it offer? Reviews, promotions, information, entertainment, to educate? Here are some possible purposes:

• Sell a product – use photos / images. A brochure or website about a new product needs to show a photo of the product.

• Promote a service – should include testimonials and benefits for the user.

• Raise awareness about an issue – needs to be well researched and provide further information for the reader on how they can help, etc.

• Entertaining/social – a website, for example, should allow readers/subscribers easy access to content, to follow via social media, and there should be regular updates.

• To educate/inform public / readership – well-structured and must contain the correct facts.

• There is an urgency to act now – eg press release should be concise, all the relevant details are included and correct.

If there is anything in your writing that does not achieve the purpose – it should not be there. Also, if you don’t know what the copy is for because you are writing for someone else, then you need to find out. Don’t assume or second guess.

Knowing how to create the right tone is important because it determines whether your readers take action, they are engaged, and there is positivity associated with your message/brand.

• Your tone needs to feel reliable and trustworthy, and not trying to be something you’re not or promising what you can’t deliver.

• Make sure you are funny when attempting to be funny! More often than not it rarely comes across as funny and can fall flat. Remember you are catering for a global audience who might not get or appreciate your jokes or irony.

• You don’t have to copy the competition’s way of presenting a similar message. Use your talents instead. If you have a flair for an energetic or conversational tone, or if you can use graphics, tables or illustrations to a great effect, this will help you to stand out from the crowd.

• Be consistent with your tone. Don’t mix trying to be formal if the overall tone is casual, or be brief and concise on some parts, and then thorough and lengthy in others.

Some articles, blog posts, website content, reports or newsletters may have multiple purposes and this may be unavoidable. But if this is the case, it’s advisable to check whether it would be better divided into separate pieces.

The Movie NEBRASKA’s Unique Characters

The movie NEBRASKA’s unique characters made it very enjoyable enjoyable to watch.

Like this film’s main character Woody Grant, all of us have had and will again experience older relatives who have senility. And by the way, you and I will get there also in time. And Woody enjoys his alcohol, which both helps and hinders his thinking at various times.

Internet Movie Data Base had this logline for NEBRASKA: “An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.”

NEBRASKA’s lead character Woody Grant displays a dark comic study on aging.

So, let’s have a look at this description of unusual characters for a film or novel: Specific unusual details make a character feel real and a genuine character is one we connect with because we feel comfortable with him or her. Use quirks, like someone being a clean freak, biting his nails, always worrying, or coughing too much – little things like this make them more human. They now remind you of your uncle or cousin, both of whom you’re comfortable with. Self-contradiction is an easy trick to make a character seem like you or me – she complains about her alcoholic father, then pours herself a double shot of whiskey – he talks about his buddy who was killed in a car accident, then he drives at dangerous fast speeds.

When viewing a film, use this next exercise to increase your knowledge for characterization: Identify and explain usual or unusual characteristics of the film’s characters. Which ones do you find amusing or interesting? List the film’s characters and identify what is different about them. Writers should make each character different from one another. What might you add that could make a character better?

A great thing about the film NEBRASKA is that nobody could watch it and not be reminded about someone in their life.

I found it interesting that Woody’s son David Grant could be so normal when we observe what a character his father is, and had been. Early in the film we hear David and his brother Ross discussing their father, and how Woody had been more concerned with alcohol than them.

David and Ross’s mother Kate was also an amazing woman. She was so honest and often so crude. But she was strong when she needed to be in defence of her husband.

Screenwriter Bob Nelson and director Alexander Payne did a fantastic job of making NEBRASKA’s characters different and unusual. They did this in a special way, making each character so basic and vulnerable regarding who each really was. Talk about small-town narrow-mindedness, this movie portrayed this so very well.

Five Benefits of Summer Submissions

With summer comes a spark and renewed enthusiasm for sports, reading and travel. The summer spirit encourages book authors and publishers to give the best they have for the benefit of their avid readers.

If you are an aspiring author, summer is the perfect time to come up with new ideas and begin new book submissions and writing projects. Here are some reasons that explain why summer is the most favorable season of the year to submit your work and become a published author.

    1. Less intense competition – It’s always beneficial to hit the market when there are fewer competitors. Many people plan long summer trips, family vacations and other avenues of sun-kissed fun. Some writers find that summer is a great time to commence their new book project. Because of the increase in holidays, only a few writers are around to complete their work and see it published. Hence, if your new book was to get published in the summer, it would have less competition and enjoy heightened popularity. If your work is ready to get published, do a publisher search online and contact a suitable publisher to print and promote your book. Using the market’s down time will help your book to get that extra edge.
    2. Open for business – There are rumors that the publishing industry remains closed in the summer, but they are just that – rumors. Just like any other business, many publishers remain open in the summer. And just like any business, some employees take the Friday off, but this doesn’t mean that the whole industry remains closed. Publishing houses have office hours, and a quick online search for ‘ publishers book search ‘ will tell you whom to contact and when to send your work.
    3. Reading on vacation – With all the vacations taking place, readers consider summer a great season to work their way through their personal reading list and some well-reviewed books available in the market. Once the fall begins, vacations are over and life gets hectic once again. If your book is ready to go to the market in the summer, you will have lots of avid readers and book lovers getting their hands on your new book. If your book is in the early stages yet, literary agents will be able to work actively on your work while they are on vacation. When they have finished their edits and publication, get ready for your book promotion!
    4. An increase of book fairs – Delving deeper in the events of the publishing industry, you will discover that lots of global book fairs, such as the American Library Association, take place in the summer months. If you submit and publish your literary work in the summer, you will have plenty of opportunities to promote your book in various global book exhibitions. This will help you attract a large number of readers, new reporters and various other members of the publishing industry and media waiting to get their hands on your book. You will also get the opportunity to increase your contacts in the publishing industry.
    5. The best time is now – If your manuscript is ready and you are planning to submit and publish your work, don’t wait to commence your work. It all begins with just one step. If you keep waiting for the right time, the time will simply slip out of your hands and you might end up waiting your entire life. Remember, the best time to commence a new chapter of your life is always now. Make your submission and get it published this summer.

How to Present Content?

Creating a good piece of write-up contains few dimensions of its own. If you think you have covered some ground with the actual text, there is much more to be done. Irrespective of whether you are a content writer, technical writer, or blog writer, you need to present your text in the best possible form to engage your target audience. E-Learning course development requires a comparatively higher degree of variations in presenting content.

According to the demographic, a writer can choose to emphasize between different elements of the content. How we present our content is as much (or more) of a differentiator as the content itself. It’s the experience we give to the audience that makes them pay attention and come back for more.

In totality however, the content could be presented with respect to following factors:

Paragraph

Each and every paragraph in your content must be strong enough to express your exact intent. This is why you need to have a clear message. Don’t make the readers work hard to acquire your message.
Each paragraph thereafter must be a smaller part of a bigger picture. Individually a paragraph must be complete running through a single idea.

Arrange these series of ideas in some logical order by prioritizing the information to keep the content comprehensive enough. Establish what you want your readers to see first, second, third, and so on.The reader should understand the natural progression of your thought and the exact route to get to the conclusion.

Images

Our visual sense is the strongest of all senses, forming the greater portion of our judgement in a given situation. So, if you can identify the key points within the content, you can always make use of images to convey the exact thought. Be sure to use high quality pictures taken by a professional, as will lend you a similar level of credibility. There are many places where images can be used.

For Example:

“Use headshots of the board of directors and management in the biography section. Providing a photo puts a face to the name.”

Tables

Tables are pretty helpful in presenting any form of data in a concise format. Readers can quickly get an overview regarding the key parameters involved in your content.

Keep the number of tables adequate enough and place those across the key points. Provide sufficiently descriptive and accurate categories and keep sufficient spacing in-between, so not to clutter-up a table. Also, make sure to provide meaningful column and row headers to define the content covered in the table.

Charts

If you think that the key points can be expressed best in a chart form, don’t hesitate to add one. You can provide tables by setting out the figures, and you can also talk about numbers and percentages forever. However, the chances are that your point will be lost if you rely on these alone.

Put up a graph or a chart, and suddenly everything you’re saying makes sense! Choose the right type of chart to get a better appeal and to accommodate all the parameters involved.

Provide a descriptive chart title and label the parameters in such way, that there is no confusion. Position your chart and labels such that you the text is not crammed in between.

Graphics

Communicating ideas whether its simple text or rich multimedia, can be powerful and sticky by achieving two simple things:

• Your ideas should be memorable
• The content should be shareable

If you could pair your information with corresponding visualization, you could grab attention among the general audience. Use visually appealing icons, menus and logos for this purpose. Get yourself some info-graphics or motion graphics to represent your data better. It could be illustrations or cartoons placed properly within the text.

Flowcharts

Flowcharts give you the gist of a process in a single glimpse. Identify your core concepts and that will help to prepare the ideal layout for your data. In your flowchart, separate complex process and highlight the main points. If a flowchart is too long, you can break it into multiple flowcharts. However, make sure to use the correct shapes to represent data. Each shape in a flowchart represents a meaning, for example, a diamond represents a condition.

Hyperlinks

If you need your reader to go through the hyperlinks, you will need to make them distinctive enough. The proper use of hyperlinks can certainly aid readability. Keep away from the generic ‘Click here’ link text and try to incite reader to take the action. Keep the text in a different colour and address your reader directly. Users shouldn’t have to guess or scrub the page to find out where they can click. You can provide hyperlinks to link to content within the same page/file or across websites/files.

Formatting

Apply strategic formatting for your text that helps you emphasis on your key points. Another effective way to instantly improve the visual friendliness of your content is to simply break up and organize your text.

For example:

• Try breaking up a paragraph into bulleted points
• Highlight essential information in bold and italics
Provide the proper indentation and bold formatting, to help a reader scan through your content easily. It is equally important to apply the same style of formatting throughout the piece of content.

Content writers in Mumbai are getting increasingly aware of the importance of presenting content, and are working in coordination with graphic designers to complete their piece of work. Writing today is not simply restricted to the use of words and goes beyond to include graphics and formatting.

BLUE JASMINE and Its Protagonist’s Obstacles

BLUE JASMINE’s protagonist Jasmine had many obstacles, and most were self inflicted.

Let’s digest this information about a film protagonist’s (hero, main character) obstacles in a film, and then you and I will apply this knowledge to BLUE JASMINE: all of us deal with obstacles in life and ideally a film’s protagonist will be dealing with three obstacles: the main obstacle or antagonist, then maybe a relationship problem, then a health problem to your protagonist or someone your protagonist loves. Writers must get creative and come up with what they need in their screenplays and novels. Make a list of one to ten (life problems) and your necessary material will arrive. Making your list forces you to think hard and dig deep – you will cover various angles you hadn’t previously considered.

This is a strong exercise for screenwriters and novelists. Find all of the protagonist’s obstacles and explain them. Do the same for the antagonist.

Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) had this logline for BLUE JASMINE: “A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love… “

If you and I think we have problems, well, maybe so, but this Jasmine gal is up the creek with no paddle.

When it comes to diagnosing obstacles in a film, BLUE JASMINE is a dream movie. Why? Because Jasmine has many problems in this character-driven film. You might have a different opinion than I do about what is the main obstacle, because there are a few to choose from.

Okay, so what is problem number one, the main obstacle? Is it that Jasmine has been thrown out into the cold after a former life of luxury? Or is it that her husband is dead? Come on, help me here!

I have to go with her pretentiousness and denial being her number one problem, which coincides with her losing everything and having to move in with her sister.

Jasmine’s husband did die (suicide), so she is lonely, but he was divorcing her anyway. But let’s face it, him dying is very extreme when you consider a relationship problem. But she is too busy trying to piece her life together to be very lonely, but she would appreciate help from a potential love-interest.

Her next obstacle can be a health problem to Jasmine or someone she loves. Well, we don’t have to look past Jasmine regarding health problems because she’s hooked on antidepressants, which is understandable with all she’s had to go through.

The antagonist in this movie is Jasmine herself, her pretentiousness and denial that manifests to dishonesty regarding a new man in her life. After making big changes for the better, she stoops to her former husband’s level of lying rather than be truthful to her new man. Everything was turning around for the good in her life and you guessed it, she’s caught lying, and life caves in on her again.

I didn’t anticipate the dark ending in this movie. The final scene was very sad, but so very realistic, its darkness making this movie resonate within for days afterward.
A movie that still affects a viewer days later must be powerful, which this movie is, which in turn was because of Jasmine’s numerous obstacles and how she handled them.

To understand story (film) is to understand life. How do each of us handle obstacles that confront us? Can we use Jasmine’s examples of how not to do deal with life? Yes, we can. To replace anxiety and frustration with creativity is a welcome trade.