[Failure pt.2] You’re Going to Experience It…We all Do

FearisALiar

We’re all going to fail at something. 

It’s something that’s hard to swallow but true. We are all going to fail at something. It could be from something simple to breaking a key off in a door lock or something big like a failed book title. 

The beauty is, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you choose to keep trying. This is the difference between a failure and someone who fails. The failure stays down and quits fighting while the one who fails keeps getting up and trying new things.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill  

 

It’s perfectly fine if your first trial fails. It’s supposed to!

 As an author, I am constantly learning to accept there are projects that may not see the light of day for one reason or another. The beauty of it is, it’s okay. Odds are you’re not going to have a perfect first draft. As a matter of fact, it’s most likely going to be horrible, however, the most important thing is for it to simply exist. You can’t edit a blank canvas 12071-terry-pratchett-first-draft-quotebut you can edit a bad first draft.

We see it all the time. New editions of books, remakes of games, character designs updated after years. These are people who realize that they’re allowed to edit or fix something. They developed their skills, honed them and got back in the saddle. Whatever you, never settle on your first draft of anything being your magnum opus. It won’t be. It’s not supposed to be.

The Wright Brothers went through many stages of the first planes which failed miserably. J.K Rowling wrote her first draft on a napkin and received multiple rejections on Harry Potter before it got picked up.

Allow yourself to fail. In the long run, it is the ultimate teacher and can make something turn into something else you never thought of.

 

Starting is Hard….

 

“The hardest thing to do is to start.” — Stephen King

He was right. Beginning anything new is terrifying. You may fear not having enough money, enough time, giving up something like binge watching Netflix, feeling you’re too advanced in age? 

 If this is you (because it was and sometimes still is me) ask why you’re terrified? Then weight the pros and cons. What do you have to benefit from being willing to fail? What do you have to lose? 

 Then remember: “I’m not alone. Others have failed before and become great. I can do this too.”

 Every single success story from Apple to Pixar, from Harry Potter to Twilight, have experienced failure. The difference, they didn’t quit. They took the hits and got back up.

To quote a very amazing rat: “Change is nature, dad and it starts when we decide.” 159578a41f29f4b8a14c080117a55d8d


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[Failure Series] Part 1: Understanding Failure and Why We Need It

Failure. 

So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?

In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.

What Is Failure?

The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.

According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:

  1. A lack of success
  2. nonperformance
  3. or an insufficiency

You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success). dont-fear-failure-fear-the-absence-of-progress-motivational-gym-quotes

Why Does It Terrify Us?

Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly.  Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.

History Is Made on Failure

No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures. 

Why It Is More Valuable Than Success

db12c93a5358756069a09d2cacd08033This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature. 

Why We Need Failure

We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise. 

The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane

Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television. 

“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House

Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?

Failure-2

Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:

Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House

Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar

Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor

 

[Marketing101] The 80/20 Rule

Marketing-Quotes-8If you’ve been on social media, and I know you have, for any amount of time, you have probably come across the 80/20 Rule at some point.

This little rule can change so many things if applied correctly.

Now, I think anyone who sells anything can agree that getting posts bashing a reader over the brain with “Buy my…” can not only result in massive brain hemorrhaging but also send people running as fast as they can to the “unfollow”, “unlike”, etc button.

Why is this?

Because in marketing, people want to be seen as valuable. They want to feel like the services they’re being offered fills a need that they have. Truth is, they may not even know they have it. They want to feel like they’re being invested in and appreciated.

We need to focus not on what people are giving us but what we are giving to them. We need to focus on how they feel when they’ve invested their time and money into a dream they know little about.

“If I know how to make you feel good, then odds are, you will keep coming back.” Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Founder of Shake Shack

So what is the 80/20 Rule?

Put simply, in terms of posting on social media, it’s focusing 20% of the content on one’s own product, service, etc while focusing 80% on your readers. Whoever they may be.764348-Gary-Vaynerchuk-Quote-The-best-marketing-strategy-ever-CARE

You can do this by sharing articles about topics close to your heart, adventures in starting up your business, inspirational quotes and retweeting and commenting on their content.

Social media has made it so easy for us to just spam our streams with me, me, me. The truth is it’s not a “me” market, especially as an author, artist, etc. Getting in the mindset of a market of “we” can make a world of difference.

“One of the best ways to let people know about your book is to not talk about it yourself, but to let readers know about it in other ways, and get them talking.”

Rachel Thompson, Founder of BadRedHeadMedia

Rachel Thompson is one of the leading ladies in the world of book marketing. She has written some of the most amazing books titled The 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge and How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO: 25 Tested Tips Writers Need to Know Now.She is also the founder and organizer of NaNoProMo featuring some of the leading names and their advice on how to market social media among other valuable subjects.

In her blog, titled How To Develop and Perfect Your Book Marketing, she offers some helpful resources and advice on how to enhance your marketing and turn you “me” view into a “we” view. I would recommend reading her blog for any a

The truth is, in the end we’re all living beings with jobs, struggles and times when funds are tight.

As a bonus, check out this article about the 80/20 Rule in regards to time management!

 

 

 

Authorlife: It Can’t Be About Fame or Money

Sales. love-life-money-quote-by-luis-d-ortiz-390364

We all would love to see consistent sales of our products. They can be books, services such as coaching classes, art, games, etc. The list goes on.

As an author, learning to accept that we will suffer times of feast and famine is a part of the art of marketing and writing itself.

There may be periods where our books and/or ebooks are flying of the shelves quicker than we can produce them. Yet there are times when we can fall prey to disappointment. Wanting to give up because things aren’t going the way we planned.

This is something, through hours of research, that we quickly realize especially as Indie or self-published authors.

It takes hours of hard work and persistence to build a brand. That’s what needs to be focused on. Build the brand, not the book.

But most important, a creator needs to remember why they chose to create their product in the first place because let’s face it. History is full of entrepreneurs of all kinds who went through periods of plenty and nothing.

d1dd5e679b0da3d15d96eff945e15583“Make Your Passion Your Paycheck”

Why did you choose to create your product in the first place? What were the goals you set for yourself when you began? Was it for the money? Fame? Etc? Or did you do it because you love doing what you do?

Why did you spend hours of stress, blood, sweat and tears to hold the product in your hands?

The truth friends, you have to do it because you love what you do. Many authors who are starting out usually won’t see much turnaround and often wind up spending more than they earn. This is a common occurrence when building a new business. It’s about taking a huge risk and being open to realizing, you might fail but accepting that failure and continuing anyway.

“True writing is not about money and selling.

It’s about passion. And readers certainly do discover and buy, well-written books by new writers. Authors only need to inform readers intelligently that they are passionate about what they do. Then book sales will look after themselves.”

Via Justpublishingadvice.com

Do what you do because you love to do it. Not for fame or fortune.

Work Smarter Not Harder

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One of the most successful women in the Indie publishing industry I have seen is Kristen Martin. Author of five best-selling books including her new self-help novel, Be Your Own Goals, Kristen offers multiple avenues of inspiration to those just starting out.

A powerful phrase she uses is “Work Smarter, not Harder.”

Now what does this mean? It means do the research and find what has worked for others and be willing to reach out to mentors who have been through what you are hoping to achieve.

It can also mean, utilizing the tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to handle the work of scheduling early. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to use these tools and it takes a great deal of stress off and avoids the twitter hustle and batch retweets.

Set deadlines, carve out hours to work on your passion and hold those hours sacred.

Be Consistent

“Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get, from the work you didn’t do.”

Entrepreneurship-is-about-turning-what-excites-you-in-life-into-capital-so-that-you-can-do-more-of-it-and-move-forward-with-it_Richard-Branson-Quote_Mindset2MillionsAny successful entrepreneur will tell you they only got where they were because they put in hours of work.

Authors and creatives of any kind, in any field, must put in the late nights, early mornings and weekends to create and become successful at what they did.

You have to be willing to treat what you do like a business. Do not rely on just social media. It is necessary in forming bonds and networking but does not often result in sales.

 

Don’t Give Up!7da6194cf12177755188f4220f92d19b--writing-quotes-on-writing

Odds Are, you Might Not be The Next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer.

It may take a few titles, events and hours of promotion and networking. It may take break-downs, sadness, depression, and questioning your decisions. All of this is normal! We all go through it. Whatever you do, don’t give up!

Snail to Sprint: How to Write Your First Draft in 4 Weeks by Michelle Rene

We all want to write as many books as possible in our lives, right?

The problem is, we seem to get ourselves stuck in the lull of every day life. Laziness, sweetlifestyle_10thingsprocrastination, work, kids, etc all seem to play against our desires to write another one of our stories we long to tell.

Well, look no further than this amazing article by Michelle Rene. An award winning author of multiple titles and an advocate of all things creative and a personal friend, Ms. Rene offers some amazing tips on how you can boost your creative production.

Tips Included:

  • Why Write Fast?
  • How do you start?
  • How to manage your time
  • How to handle distraction
  • How to get over waning enthusiasm
  • What to do after you’ve finished!

Give the article a read and offer some feedback on some things that have helped you move from Snail to Sprint.

Source: Snail to Sprint: How to Write Your First Draft in 4 Weeks by Michelle Rene

3 Moves Entrepreneurs Must Make by Gerald Pilcher

There’s a lot of pressure for small-business owners to be masters of every aspect of their business. This is especially true when you’re first starting out and are often a one-person […] With somewhat limited resources and fear of failing, small-business owners will often push challenging tasks to the back burner. This may work out […]

via 3 Hard Moves Entrepreneurs Must Make — Gerald Pilcher

[Book Marketing 101] Know Your Target Audience!

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose

Let’s say you just finished writing, editing, and getting beta readers to read your latest, greatest book. You’ve made it the best you can be and are ready to release it to the world.

Wait? Where are the readers you hope to find? How are they going to see your book in a vast world of social media, book promotion and saturated Amazon pages?

If you’re asking these questions, you probably hadn’t taken the time to locate what authors and publishers call the “Target Audience.”

Light it up (1)What is a target audience?

Defined, a target audience is the readership you hope to market your book to. For example, for authors of paranormal romance with a focus on wolf shifters, you’re probably hoping to catch the attention of people who are fans of the shifter sub-genre. Taking it further, what age range are you going for? Are you hoping to catch male or female readers or both?

How can you find them?

  1. Go to your local bookstore. Look around at the different sections of the fantasy, young adult, romance, etc. What are they looking at? When in doubt, talk to them. You don’t have to bash them over the head with the fact you have a book. Just strike up a conversation to find out what books they’ve read recently or recommend. If they seem interested, then, author drop. Offer an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Many love a good free book in exchange for a friendly conversation.
  2. Utilize Amazon’s search bar. Type in some keywords you may think relate (and some that don’t) to your book. What are the shoppers in the kindle and book categories looking at? Take down some lists of some popular titles and utilize the “Customers Also Bought” section. Keep notes of the authors and the book titles.
  3. Use GoodReads. Goodreads has this nice little feature called book lists. Many readers have their TBR (to be read) lists named by genre. For example, for Biker romance lovers, you might find lists titled MC Romance or Biker Romance.
  4. Find your tribe. What this means is google some of the forums, facebook groups, book clubs, etc who have a focus on your genre. Offer ARCs in exchange for reviews and see what they have to say.
  5. Use Demographics. This focuses on where they are located, how old their are, financial standing, etc. Yes this is important. You can use Twitter and Facebook to find such information. Who are your main fans?
  6. Check out Market Trends. This goes along with using Amazon’s search bar. Try to use helpful tools like Google Trends to see what readers are doing. Knowing this can narrow down where you should go and who is looking for your book.
  7. Utilize Google Adwords. Adwords is a powerful tool. It can show you some of the top searched words in Google’s search engine.
  8. Ask a bookseller. While you’re in the bookstore looking for some potential prospects, why not get insight from the store on what is selling? Often they’ll share some of the titles that are flying off the shelves. This can help you greatly because you’re getting an insider’s look at the market.
  9. Offer up some surveys. Get some short answers involving popular subjects and genres. Readers often don’t mind answering these because they get curious as to what it is you’re looking for.
  10. When In Doubt; Consult a Mentor. Talk to other authors who have written your genre and age range. Authors love to help new and upcoming authors get over the plateau because too often, they remember being there. We all started out not knowing a thing. Finding coaches may help alleviate some stress.

Some helpful tools:Light it up

  • KDP Rocket – This is a helpful little tool endorsed by Jeff Goins and the Kindlepreneur. It helps to take away the trouble of hours of keyword typing and research. For a one time price of 97$, this is a powerful tool. Hurry because it looks like it might go to a subscription basis.
  • Kristen Martin’s course, Valiance – Kristen walks you through her own journey as a self-publisher. A five-time Amazon best seller, Kristin clearly has things under control as far as finding and marketing to her target audience. She also offers a neat little pdf on how to write a first draft in two months just for subscribing!
  • Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn has some helpful information that walks you through the self-publishing process and a free eBook to help. She is one of the leading experts on indie and self-publishing. Her writing podcast, The Creative Penn offers different interviews and helpful information as well.
  • Jane Friedman is one of my favorites and another successful self-publisher. Her blog at janefriedman.com is loaded with helpful information.

Remember, you are never alone in this journey! Writing and blogging can be lonely but there are people who are willing to offer their expertise. If you have an experience that you found helped you find your audience, please leave us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

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