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How to Get a Book Contract in 6 Months (with a Blog)

How to Get a Book Contract in 6 Months (with a Blog)
Books
    You CAN write one of these...

    You can publish a book.

    And you can do it much sooner than you think, actually.

    How do you do this? Not by wasting years writing articles or obsessing over writer’s conferences and book proposals.

    All you need is a blog.

    No other activity (including years of freelance writing) has brought me closer to my dream of publishing a book than blogging. It took me about six months to get a book contract with a publisher.

    And you can do the same.

    But why would want to publish a book?

    Because:

    • Being a published author makes you an “expert” in your field.
    • Traditionally-published books tend to be of a higher quality.
    • Publishers can help you with marketing.

    Let’s be honest: You don’t publish for the royalties. You won’t be retiring after your first book goes to print. But if you have a message the world needs to hear, going with a traditional publisher may be the right thing for you. Here’s how you can do it in six months:

    Month 1: Build and Launch a Blog

    All publishers want to know if you have a “platform.” A platform is an asset you own that gives you the authority to speak on a certain topic.

    If you can build a website that attracts a good tribe of followers, you have a good chance of getting noticed and eventually published. A blog is a great way to do this.

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    Getting started

    You can sign up for a free blog on sites like WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, and Blogger.com.

    Or, you can spend some cash on a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. For less than $100, you can have your site up and running in two hours. (Follow this guide for step-by-step instructions.)

    How to launch

    The first four weeks of your new blog should be focused on creating content, not marketing.

    At the end of the month, you should be fully launched with your core content and have easy ways for people to subscribe (you can do this for free via Feedburner), follow you, and interact with your writing.

    Then, you can send an email to friends and colleagues letting them know about your new site.

    Month 2: Start Promoting

    In the world of social media, promotion looks like connecting with people who can help you. However, you need to make sure you have the right tools.

    Your social media toolkit

    If you haven’t already done so, you need to do the following

    Once you’re on those social networks, don’t go crazy with promotion and mindless following. Start small and personal, and build from there.

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    Guest posting

    There are lots of ways to earn blog subscribers and get noticed online. The best I’ve found is guest posting. Reaching out to other bloggers and websites and writing for them is a great way to build a readership and get your name out there. Make sure you are smart about it, though. Target sites that focus on your topic and have a large enough readership that it will be worth your time.

    For more on this, read these six tips on how to be a good guest blogger.

    Interviewing experts

    Another way to grow an audience and build influence is to do interviews. Seek out other authors and bloggers in your niche and ask to interview them. This allows you to deliver value to your readers, while building relationships with influential people. Soon, people will think of you as the expert — which is exactly what publishers are looking for.

    For more on this, check out this series: How to Conduct an Interview Like a Journalist

    Month 3: Write a Manifesto

    Once you’ve built a blog and started generating an audience, you can now work on a manifesto. A manifesto is a short eBook that helps you connect with an audience that shares your beliefs. You can also use it to build an email list by giving it away for free.

    This is a short eBook — less than 10,000 words — which you should be able to write in a few days (or less). The shorter it is, the more people will read and share it.

    For more on this, check out this seven-step guide to writing an eBook.

    Month 4: Grow Your Brand

    Every author needs a brand. You want people to recognize your name, as they would Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. What’s the best way for a blogger to do this? Get social.

    Connect on social media

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    Social media is a great way to find fans and friends who will spread your work. It’s free, and most people are pretty approachable. The trick is to not focus too much on yourself. If you show interest in other people and add value, you can make meaningful connections and build a following that is actually worth something.

    On Twitter, follow popular hashtags that focus on your topic. On Facebook, “like” relevant pages and engage in the comments. Use common interests to build rapport that leads to relationship.

    Pick up the phone

    Once you’ve connected with someone via social media or email, the best way to take the relationship to the next level is to get on a call together. If you’re comfortable giving out your phone number, you can do that. Or you can Skype, which is free, and can actually be more personal if you do a video chat.

    Meet in person

    The whole point of all this is to lead to deeper connection. So once you initiate an online relationship, you’ll want to take it to the next level. A few ways to do this are:

    • Ask a social media friend to lunch or coffee.
    • Sign up for local, free meetups.
    • Attend conferences.

    While this may require some investment of time and money, it’s worth it. There really is nothing like in-the-flesh relationships. All you have to do is ask.

    Month 5: Find an Agent

    Once you’ve started to build a platform and are connecting with important people, it’s time to find an agent.

    Work your network

    Build off of existing relationships if you can. The best way to get an agent is through referral. If you don’t have a friend who can refer someone to you, then you may need to revert to “cold calling” by writing a query letter. However, if you’ve succeeded at building a platform, an agent may come find you.

    Do you need an agent?

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    Of course, you don’t have to use an agent. Without one, though, you’re on your own.

    The downside to having an agent is you share your royalties with them (the market rate is around 15%). The upside is authors with agents typically get better deals. Agents also help negotiate the terms of the contract and make sure you don’t get ripped off by a publisher.

    For more on this, check out: How to Find a Literary Agent

    Month 6: Get the Contract

    Finally, it’s time to start working on the book itself, but not actually write it. Not yet.

    Most publishers will want a say in your book, so it’s not productive to start writing before you have a contract. What you can do, though, is work on your proposal.

    Writing a book proposal

    If your agent doesn’t have a book proposal template, you can Google “book proposal templates” or follow a publisher’s guidelines. If you need further help, you can get this eBook: Writing a Winning Book Proposal by Michael Hyatt.

    To be fair, it may take months to get a contract from a publisher, but I don’t recommend working on your proposal sooner than Month 6. Investing your time in building a platform will give you a much better chance of being taken seriously by a publisher. It can expedite the process, as well.

    If you do it right, the publisher may come to you. This is not the “norm” in publishing, but it does happen. It happened to me and to many of my friends who are authors. And it can happen to you — if you build a blog worth noticing and serve your way into influence.

    Ready to publish your first book? Start blogging.

    (Photo credit: Nicola Romagna)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    George Lorimer contends,

    “It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

    In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

    Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

    So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

    1. Love

    You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

    Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

    People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

    Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

    2. True Friends

    Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

    But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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    It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

    3. Family

    We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

    A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

    The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

    Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

    4. Wisdom

    Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

    So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

    5. Happiness

    In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

      Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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      Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

      6. Health

      Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

      We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

      The Dalai Lama said,

      “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

        So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

        7. Long life

        During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

        But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

        8. Time

        The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

        9. Respect

        They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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        So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

        10. Character

        Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

        11. Confidence

        Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

        12. Beauty

        There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

        But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

        13. Sense of Humor

        Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

        The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

        14. Trust

        Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

        15. Talent

        Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

        16. Purpose

        People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

        They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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        17. Satisfaction

        If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

        18. Empathy

        Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

        19. Peace

        Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

        Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

        20. A Good Name

        A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

        What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

        Conclusion

          Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

          While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

          Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

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          Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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