Thursday, 23 September 2021

T The Pro-Active Author

What To Do When "Nothing" Is Happening

Some days particularly in certain seasons like summer seem like “nothing” is happening. As an editor, I'm calling authors who have received contracts but they aren't responding via email or returning my phone calls. Or maybe you are pitching agents and no one is responding to your proposals. Or maybe your agent is pitching your latest project and it is not getting a response. Or maybe you are querying magazine editors about writing articles and not getting responses. Or pitching podcasts or radio stations and not getting responses. You get my idea. You are actively working but getting nothing in response. I have this experience as well and in this article want to give you some encouragement and action-oriented ideas.

I've written about the importance of how every author has to continually pitch to get magazine assignments, book deals, podcast interviews, endorsements or anything else in this publishing business. It is a continual part of the process and at times the response is underwhelming or even silence.

From my experience in publishing, your consistent actions are important and will pay off for you—maybe not immediately but in the long run. No one reads every blog post when you want them to read it. No one reads your social media posts when you want them to be read. No one listens to your podcasts or radio interviews when you wanted. Or reads your magazine article when you wanted them to read it or reads your latest book release. It is important to keep building relationships and continue to pitch.

Several months ago, a fairly high profile podcast sent me an email asking me to pitch and possibly be a guest. It took me about a week to respond and give them what they requested. I didn't get a response. I sent it a second time. Finally I heard they were backed up at the moment from the responses. It was essentially saying thanks but no thanks. OK, on to the next opportunity. This exchange was four months ago. Then last week I got another email from the same podcast saying they were scheduling again with a calendar link to select a time. I chose a time and had a wonderful interview which will be published soon. I tell this story to remind you that we only see the situation from our viewpoint and not the person who is receiving it.

I sent birthday greetings to an editor this week via text since I had his cell phone number. We exchanged several texts and it gave me an opportunity to say how I'd love to work with him in the right project. Our exchanges gave me an opportunity to get in his mind for possible future work.

Here's some ideas for you when “nothing” is happening:

1. Pitch some new magazine articles.

2. Begin a new book proposal or book manuscript.

3. Create a new website to sell a product.

4. Create a new ebook to promote your mailing list.

5. Take an online training course to get new ideas.

6. Read a book about the craft of writing then apply it to your writing life.

7. Pitch some podcasts or radio stations to be a guest.

8. Write a guest blog posts or a pitch to a blog for a guest blog post.

9. Organize your office and pair down the clutter (something I've been doing lately).

Yes the list of possibilities for action can be endless. Here's a simple truth that I've learned: if you are stuck and do nothing, then nothing will happen. What actions do you take when “nothing” is happening? Let me know in the comments below.

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I've recently published some articles on other blogs and Richelle Wiseman Buzz on Book Biz released a podcast. I hope you will check out: Writers, Use This Simple Way to Stand Out and Learn Before You Leap into Ads (just follow the links).  These articles may give you some additional ideas about action steps for your own writing life.


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During some seasons in the writing world, it seems like “nothing” is happening. What actions do you take? Get some ideas from this prolific editor and author.  (ClickToTweet)


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Columnist: Terry Whalin

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.

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