The Procrastinators Guide To Story Avoidance

by Hayley Clarke

Nice catchy title, and oh so true in my case. (Case in point – me writing this blog post is a good example – I should be finishing Winter’s Magic).

I also have a horrible habit of going off topic, (yet another symptom of procrastination), so I’ll try my hardest not to do this too much.

Image from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/the-9-weirdest-writing-habits-of-highly-effective-authors/

Let’s get straight to the point here. Writers generally drop into procrastination mode when either of the following conditions occurs:

  1. Coming up to the point in their story where there is a difficult scene to plot out and write
  2. Characters write themselves into a situation that the author does not know how to get them out of
  3. Your Manuscript is in the editing stages of the second and third drafts (and everyone definitely wants to avoid that)
  4. Any other situation that a writer can find themselves in that makes doing the dishes right at that very moment a high priority task.

Now, this blog is supposed to be about story avoidance. That means, whenever any of the above conditions occur, you must immediately go and find something as far away from the object of avoidance as possible.

Avoidance strategies can be either very simple or extremely extravagant. Strategies that I use regularly are:

  1. House cleaning – it does help getting your mind off the hurdles in your writing and then gives you time to look at things from a fresh perspective and can actually be helpful in the long run.
  2. Baking – This does the same thing as house cleaning except you get cakes, biscuits and cookies at the end of it.
  3. Research – This can be anything ranging from historical to scientific or basically fact finding in general. This again can be helpful in both finding plots and ideas for future stories, or for finding examples that can get you out of your writing quandary.
  4. Taking the family on a day trip – This also does the same thing as house cleaning, except that you also get to exposure to daylight and spend quality time with your family.
  5. Television – Um, television really is the procrastinators’ friend. I never get anything useful done when the TV is on. Unless I’m watching something in connection with point 3.
  6. Internet – Same point as Television. It is an incredible tool for procrastination. But it can also help overcome your issues by going to relevant blogs, websites, and friendly communities that might help you by discussing issues or reviewing the piece of work or idea that is troubling you. There are many of these writing communities around; it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you and your genre. Also be aware when trying to find a writing community that there is a difference between constructive criticism and being downright mean.

I could make this list a lot larger, but I think I have procrastinated long enough. I hope that I have given some good tips to successful procrastination methods and I would love to hear what works well for you and what doesn’t.

Happy Procrastinating

-HMC

How To Create Multiple Income Streams With Your Book(s)

by Cherry-Ann Carew

Image from http://www.powerhomebiz.com/working-from-home/earn-money/how-to-create-multiple-streams-of-income.htm

Every savvy solo/entrepreneur knows the importance of increasing the lifetime value of their customers, since it’s easier to sell to previous buyers than it is to get new ones, and the sensible way to do so is to create multiple items that fit their needs. Producing information products enables you to take your business to another level that ultimately leads to multiple income streams.

Let’s look at a scenario – you publish a book and instantaneously you become part of a community with instant credibility. Why? Because authors are seen as unique – it’s a societal thing. When you are introduced to someone as an author, the first notion is that he must know what he’s talking about to have written a book; therefore he must be an expert. This is the power of imparting knowledge in book form; you are automatically deemed an expert even if you don’t consider yourself as such.

And if you are perceived as an expert in a particular area, when people are looking for services, programs or products, you’ll be the person they will look to. Or if your book is recommended and the person wants to know more about you and your business, she will invest in your book. This is not to be underestimated; it’s incredible power and can provide many opportunities for you.

Let’s say your goal is to build a business around writing and publishing books – you want to launch a book empire. You churn out a series of books, along with setting up a website to promote and market those books, branding yourself as the go-to person in a specific niche, say wedding planning.

Your books are about selecting the picture perfect wedding gown, flowers, getting married abroad, honeymoon, etc. etc. Each micro niche gives you more selling opportunities, because instead of selling only your books, you can use them as leverage and create products that can be replicated and sold over and over again.

In fact, even if your goal is not based upon writing and publishing numerous books per se, you most certainly can write a book and still create multiple income streams.

How to Quickly Write a Book

The quickest and easiest way to write your book is to record it, have it transcribed and you have a draft. Audacity or Acoustica are popular recording softwares. In addition, most computers already have ‘Speech Recognition’ software that you can use to dictate text into a word-processing program. Dragon Speak Naturally software provides the same function. You can employ the services of a transcriptionist from www.idictate.com, www.voicebase.com, elance.com, or odesk.com.

Whichever method you use, all that’s left to do is to organize the material so that it has a structured beginning, middle and end.

Organize your material into chapters then sub-chapters. You can modify as necessary, as you may find that you need to transpose certain sections.

Do spend the necessary time to write the Introduction. This is really important, as the majority of e-book-selling websites, e.g. Amazon.com, gives readers the option to view the first pages and that naturally includes the introduction. If you lose readers at this point, you lose them forever. Here are three tips to bear in mind when writing an introduction.

  • Aim to inform and entertain by using informal language and avoid overuse of jargon.

Use facts and figures, quotes and, or, a case study that will let readers see that they are not alone. For instance, if a reader always wanted to write a book, you can quote writer Joseph Epstein, who said, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.” Or, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou.

  • Provide readers with a taste of what to expect to get them interested and excited to read on.
  1. Be wary of writing fluff to make up words. If the information can be condensed or eliminated, do it.
  2. Conclusions represent the end goal for the reader, so ensure that by the time he’s reached the end, he understands at least the fundamental principles about the topic you’re written about.
  3. Review, revise and edit until you’re confident the readers’ goals have been met and the document is free of errors.
  4. Format the document into an eBook and paperback, or outsource the process. You can find great outsourcers at eLance.com, odesk.com and Fiverr.com.

Creating Multiple Products From Your Book

Once the book is done, the magic begins, whereby you can create multiple products from that single book. For instance:

  • Audio Book
  • Special Report
  • White Paper
  • Workbook
  • Templates
  • Action Plan
  • Booklet
  • Checklist
  • Mind Map
  • Cheat Sheet
  • MP3 Audios
  • Audio CDs
  • Podcasts
  • Video Tutorials
  • E-Course
  • Home Study Course
  • Multi-media Products

How to Package Your Products to Create Multiple Income Streams

From the above, you can now package and sell your products to generate multiple income streams. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Sell your Special Report, White Paper, eBook, Audio Book, Transcript and Mind Map as an individual entity.
  • Bundle and sell your eBook with the Audio book, along with your Mind Map.
  • Bundle and sell a workbook, Transcript, Action Plan and Templates.
  • Create an E-Course that’s delivered by email and include templates and, or cheat sheet as a bonus.
  • Create Podcasts and place on iTunes directory and charge a fee.
  • Create a multi-media system in a box that includes CDs, Workbook and Transcript.
  • Combine all three media elements (MP3 Audio, Video, CDs) and market as a high-ticket digital item.
  • Break up the content and drip feed it via a membership site and charge a monthly fee.
  • Break the content into articles and add to a paid blog.
  • Create video tutorials and include transcripts.

Many of these bundles can range from $17 to upwards of $1,500 for a single sale.
In addition, the ability to reach customers globally is easy with the Internet regardless of where you operate your business. But to reach them, you need to market your business and with the wonderful products you’ve created, you can use them for that very purpose as well, not only for selling. For instance, you can:

  • Use the book, special report, white paper, or mind map as a lead generator gift if you are partaking in a giveaway or summit.
  • Use a book chapter as a free gift with opt-in.
  • Use content from the book for your book description.
  • Select parts to use for your blog posts and guest posts.
  • Create a series of articles and submit them to article directories, e.g. ezinearticles.com. A fantastic resource for those who are curating articles on your topic, thereby giving you further exposure.
  • Extract sections and Tweet and use for Facebook comments.
  • Create quotes and share on any social mediums.
  • Extract a quote for your press release.
  • Add quotes on infographics (you can use PowerPoint for this) and place on slide share, Instagram, other social mediums, your blog, website etc.
  • Extract sections and use in your newsletter, speeches, presentations, teleseminars, webinars, sales letter, Internet/radio and TV interviews, online and physical magazines.
  • Use templates, workbooks, checklists, cheat sheets and mind maps for physical workshops, VIP Days and Retreats.
  • Upload videos to Youtube, Vine and other video distributions channels.
  • Create and upload podcasts on iTunes and other audio directories for free.
  • Include personal coaching, consulting and a mastermind group as a backend strategy and give relevant products to your clients.

As is evident, you can set your book up to create multiple income streams by disseminating information in many formats, while at the same time be of service to others, whether it’s to solve a problem, teach a new skill, including fun things such as, how to make an edible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, to how to build a tree house, or share a message to motivate and inspire.

Selling on the Internet, especially, gives you access to global customers and the great thing is that people get to try your product without direct selling—great for those who shy away from face-to-face rejection. If they like it and wish to invest in your other services and programs, they are already pre-qualified.

Of course, one is not limited to cyberspace; products and programs can also supplement offline businesses, as well.

So in essence, a book is a vehicle that allows you the opportunity to maximize it in multiple ways to enrich people’s lives and give you multiple income streams to live your lifestyle.

Write It, Work It, Publish It™

© Cherry-Ann Carew

Award Finalist & Bestselling Author, Cherry-Ann Carew | Book Coach | Editor | Founder of Writetastic Solutions helps Authors, Speakers, Experts & Service providers to bring out their creative expression to write, publish and market their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you Write It, Work It, Publish It™ at: http://www.writetasticsolutions.com.

How to Write a Prologue that Hooks Readers

Among those of us who proudly call ourselves writing geeks, the topic of prologues can be like discussing the morality of the death penalty in other circles. I know authors who hate them, as well as readers who skip prologues and go straight to the first chapter. Personally, I love a great prologue. I think of a well-written prologue as a teaser pulls me in to the story right away.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times to avoid the prologue. But when used appropriately, prologues can be a powerful tool to hook readers and add an extra layer of tension or depth to the first reading of a story. Below are some of my favorite prologues in YA fiction and the lessons I took away from them. Each of these authors used their prologues to achieve different ends, but they all created an opening that hooks the reader and enhances the story that follows.

Add dimension to your story by giving away a key piece of information.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The prologue for Eleanor and Park sets up from the get-go that the two title characters in this teen romance are no longer together. By giving this away from the beginning, it makes the romance that follows all the more bittersweet. It also adds an element of danger – are they broken up because the heroine died? Constructing the prologue this way adds to the tension of the story in key scenes, and the payoff in the end is very satisfying.

Inform readers of key backstory.
Paper Towns by Josh Green
Paper Towns was the book that got me thinking about the effectiveness of backstory. The author uses a prologue to introduce readers to a key scene that is telling about the two main characters in the story, a suicide that they witnessed as children. The scene is prologue-worthy not only because it reveals the personalities of the two main characters, but also because the incident has an impact on how they process the world for the rest of their lives.

Give readers a peek into the future.
Timebound by Rysa Walker
A prologue can be the perfect tool to drop readers in the middle of action without frustrating them. It’s a great hook, and you can then back up and tell your story more slowly when you begin with Chapter 1. In Timebound, we quickly discover that the protagonist is time traveling, and is in incredible danger. The mystery of what’s happening in this scene become unraveled throughout the book, and we only discover how it is resolved in the climax.

Use your prologue to set the stakes.
Sanctum by Sarah Fine
In Sanctum, the heroine goes to a kind of hellish afterlife to save her best friend from an eternity of limbo, while risking her own chance at finding heaven. To understand why she would go to these lengths, the reader has to understand the relationship. Fine skillfully uses her prologue to establish the roots of the friendship, as well as the roots of the problems that lead to the premise of the story. The prologue captures the reader’s attention and leads seamlessly into the story that follows.

Subvert expectations.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
The Twilight series has its detractors, but I thought Meyer did an excellent job with her prologues, particularly in the first book of the series. As the heroine explains that she is happy to die for love, it not only tells us something about her character, but also sets us up for the climax of the book. Throughout, we are sure that Bella will be sacrificing her life for her new soul mate, but in fact the prologue is talking about her love for her mother. The surprise was sweet and increased my sympathy with the protagonist.

Did you include a prologue in your story? If so, what purpose does it serve?