image_pdf

Um … Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet (Beta-Reader Copies!)

page01-color

page01-color I’m happy to announce my first children’s book, Um … Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet is ready for beta-readers! It will be available for purchase soon on Amazon but you can see it before anyone else and for free!  Just tell me where to email it to you.  Enter your information and I’ll zip it right out to you. I only ask that you give me an honest review on Amazon and tell me how much you like it!  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Put your name and email down in the Facebook comments and it’ll be on its way!

Writing for Your Audience | The Best Marketing You Can Ever Do for Your Book

Stop marketing and start writing is my motto this year of 2013. I’ve noticed that there has been a tremendous emphasis on tweeting and Facebooking and other types of marketing and social media marketing and I think that’s great, if you have the most important thing of all, a great book.

And not even a great book, a phenomenal book, a buzz-worthy, spread-worthy, share-worthy book that sparks word-of-mouth. Without it, you can tweet until your fingers bleed and it’s not going to do anything and certainly not going to sell anymore books or help you build your audience.

I’m telling you, you don’t even have to be a great writer. You just need to be a phenomenal storyteller. There are many huge authors who people say aren’t great writers and they don’t care because they’re writing for their audience. (More on that later)

I’ve interviewed hundreds of authors and all of the huge ones, especially those that top the Forbes World’s Highest Paid Authors year-after-year all have one thing in common, they’ve all told me one of their secrets to their success is that they write for their audience, they don’t write for themselves. On a rare occasion, they are the same audience they’re writing for but not very often.

As my favorite author, Nicholas Sparks says, “write what readers want to read, which isn’t necessarily what you want to write.”

James Patterson told me he thinks about ” the kind of audience with whom I’m talking to and what they might be interested in. ”

CJ Lyons advised authors to, “Re-write your damn good book with your reader in mind. With every decision ask yourself: what would delight my readers?

They all aim to write a share-worthy book for their audience.

How do you write a share-worthy book for their audience? If you are aiming to sell a lot of books too and not just books for the very small literary fiction-loving niche audience,  keep these tips in mind when you’re writing or rewriting your books:

1) Know who your audience is. And I mean, as specific as possible. Don’t try to appeal to everyone, not yet. Not everyone likes Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not everyone likes $100 Start Up or even War and Peace. Each of those books were written for a specific audience. When’s the last time you saw a 6-year-old little girl reading Anna Karenina from cover to cover?

2) Write for your audience. After you know who your audience is and you know their likes and dislikes and you know what they want and what they don’t want, write your book in a language they they would appreciate. Shape your sentences, your mentality, everything you do so that your writing will appeal to them and them alone. When I’m writing kids books for 4-8 year-olds, I write them totally different than when I’m writing eBooks for the entrepreneurial audience (at least I hope I do).

3) Tell them what they want to hear in the way they want to do hear it.  Simple but profound advice if you really let it sink into you.  That’s some advice a really huge author whose sold over 500 million copies of his books told me. Since you know who your audience is and you’re writing for them, and you know what they want, you need to tell them what they want to hear. What do I mean by that? If you’re writing a vacation book about the beauty of Costa Rica, the people who are buying it want to hear about how lush, fun, gorgeous and friendly the country is. They don’t want to hear about the poverty or the diseases or the venomous snakes. If you want to tell them that, then write a different book. These people are paying good money for your book, give them what they want! People tend to buy what they want, not what they need.

What Lessons Did You Learn in 2012?

2012 for me, was an amazing year of mostly highs but a few lows.  I went through a major breakup this year only to be reunited with the love of my life with renewed energy and gratitude for each other.  Although I feel like I was rained down with amazing blessings beyond my wildest dreams this year, I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of life and forget to stop and be grateful for all the great things that happened; so I’ve learned to take the time at least once a week but preferably every day and reward myself (usually with an ice cream cone or chocolate tortino, something I’m not supposed to eat) for the great things I accomplished that day or week.

Yet there were four major emotional lessons I learned this year that I wanted share in hopes that maybe it might spark some ideas for you and maybe you won’t have to learn the hard way, like I did this year.

1) “Do not throw pearls before swine. ”  Not that anyone in my life is swine but it’s an old biblical verse that illustrates a point that really came into play this year. I’ve easily donated tens of thousands of dollars in cash and volunteer time to charities both private individuals and organizations this year. I made no public announcements about it because I don’t think that’s necessary but I learned more than anything to only give to people who appreciate it.  I’m grateful to be able to have the time and resources to give so much when less than a decade ago I was trying to count the loose change I had and had to decide between bus money and Ramen noodles (literally, no exaggeration).   I also re-learned that not everyone is grateful; some people become entitled when you give them things or when you go above and beyond for them and I’ve learned this year to only help people who appreciate things, people who really need it. If you’re American or live any other free country and you have access to the basics of life: food, shelter, clothing (even if it’s government subsidized) you can do anything.  Can’t, is only a mindset. People value things only when they pay for them themselves, whether that be cash or barter. I’ve been reminded of that over and over again this year and “Universe, I hear you loud and clear.”   I can think of at least a handful of times this year when I went above and beyond to help someone, spent money out of my own pocket because they cried poverty, only to have them come back and spit in my face.  Not again. Never again.

2) The second thing I learned was to slow down. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you just slow down.  Although I have some amazing virtual assistants that have helped me tremendously, I’ve found that it takes time to train people and to supervise and to then redo the work they didn’t do correctly the first time. I could have done it myself right the first time. And a couple of my assistants this year caused some havoc with the things they did and this was a reminder that echoed in my mind like a massive church bell.  I will still work with a handful of assistants but only to support the work I’m already doing. That’s why I’m only taking on 2 clients at a time, that’s it, so that I’m not too overwhelmed and feel like I need a massive army to support the need; an army I don’t have time to supervise.

3) I learned that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. I’ve spent hundreds of free hours teaching some people how to make their careers better, step by step; time I normally charge big bucks for, only to have them not do anything I said or start to do the work but then come up with excuses for not following through with it.  I’ve given some people life-changing opportunities or shots at doing what they say they’ve always wanted to do, but they’ve found a way to sabotage it.  They said they wanted to change their life for the better but in reality, yet their actions showed they were perfectly comfortable where they’re at and didn’t plan to change until if/when they were good and ready. It amazed me how many people said they didn’t have time to do something, yet you would see them on Facebook all the time or they would cry poverty and say they didn’t have the money but then they would talk about how they just went to see half a dozen movies at the theater or did something else with discretionary income they could have save or invested toward the goal they claimed they’ve always wanted to accomplish.

4) I’ve learned this year is to do what Tyler Perry suggests,which  is to pick just one career goal, just one and focus on that.  I have one goal for 2013 and that’s to become an amazing storyteller that’s it. This is why you’ll see me do less and less celebrity interviews and take on less clients no matter how much money they throw my way this year of 2013. You’ll also see me write less and less about how other authors can market their books or land agents, etc because I’d rather reserve my energy for my one goal which is to become a full-time author by 2014. In order to do that, I need to clear my plate, put my head down and write.

Don’t get me wrong, 99% of this year has been bliss both personal and professional but I will take with me the four major lessons I learned forever and I’m grateful for ever single one of them. What were your life lessons this year?