Business Tips for Writers

Going Viral in a Good Way

We’ve all seen the video that is lifted from obscurity to make the prime time morning show circuit. What is it that brings the masses and how can you, as an author, profit from this market? The process is really simple however the execution is what becomes difficult.

Here are the “Simple” Steps:

1. You create a video.
2. You post said video on YouTube, or GodTube  TalkFusion (or similar site).
3. You let your friends know.
4. They let their friends know.
5. The friend of a friend let’s his friend know.
6. Number 5 happens to the infinite power.
7. Said video goes viral.
8. You are invited to the morning news show circuits.
9. You sign a 6-figure book deal

Now for the not so simple execution of the fictional account above:

1. You create a video with the hope of going viral.
2. You follow steps 1 through 3 above.
3. You look at said video months later to find only 10 people or less have watched it.

So, what went wrong?

The idea of a viral video to those who market is to get sales. Let’s face it, the videos that go viral have no sales in mind. They are quirky, fun or just plain silly. There isn’t a marketing genius out there who has not analyzed and studied these videos in the hopes that imitation will yield the same results. And, some have come very close.

There is a bottom line and “secret” sauce here, the videos that go viral don’t mention the product. They entertain, delight, embarrass or wow the viewer. In other words they illicit a response. Recently while attending a family celebration at a friend’s home she had to share her latest YouTube find a video of a dog that appeared to be speaking to it’s owner. I watched her reaction as she watched it and she kept stealing sideways glances at me to be sure I was watching as well… she was just as amazed each time she viewed the video as the first time. Therefore, add engaging to the list above.

Let’s break this down, the video must be:
1. Entertaining
2. Delightful
3. Wow it’s audience
4. Engage

Sounds like Marketing 101.

Notice the video in question did NOT mention a product. It was purely entertainment. Perhaps my friend a dog lover, with a dog that often chews the legs of her furniture secretly (yes, I’m assuming here) hopes that someday her own pet will behave in like-wise fashion. Or, better yet, that someday she’ll own a dog like that. I’m not sure. What I do know is the million plus viewers of the video equally enjoyed the dog’s antics.

An engaging video allows the watcher to dream, aspire to an ideal, or secret inclination. It is the perceived value. For those who market directly the hope is to illicit a response from the buyer. The value may be to get thinner, think smarter or in the case of authors, convince a buyer to purchase their book!

That’s it, simple.

Create a video that allows those who watch it to see the perceived benefits of your product and there you have it, a million-dollar idea in the making. Easy? Not really. However it is worth a try!

If you have a great video that shares your product idea please post it here! Who knows we might help you go viral.

Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

Co-Authors and Contributing Writers ~ Ken Lambert

Guest Blog Post by author, Ken Lambert
Top Ten Most Influential Christians
How to work with a Co-author, and contributing writers
As the launch of our book, “Top Ten Most Influential Christians (since the Apostles)”, is nearly upon us, I have a few words of practical advice for any writer who is thinking about working with a co-author, or other contributing writers.
For a variety of reasons I decided that my best avenue to market (and to book sales) would be to work with an equal co-author.   After I had started an outline from my initial idea (a “Church History 101” for average churchgoers), I reached out to Abby Matzke.  Abby is the founder of a Christian magazine, and also writes and edits for the publication.  After some phone discussions, some email exchanges, and showing one another some of our published works, we both decided it was worth a try. 
We did sign a simple 1 page business agreement- which I would highly recommend.  It outlined the basic terms, including the fact that we were 50/50 equals on all decisions and in all fiscal matters.  Note that in some ways being a true “equal” can be dangerous in a partnership, but we took the chance and thus far it has worked out fine.
There are some reasons why working with a co-author is always a positive idea: 
  1. Brainstorming
  2. Initial first pass at editing
  3. Reduces the workload; divides in half

 In addition, if you are self-publishing, like we are, there are additional reasons, like:

  1. Doubles your potential sales, via their network and circles
  2. Lessens the upfront and other printing and publishing costs
But a fair warning:  having a co-author is not always a walk in the park.  You will not always agree, and you must be able to find resolutions and compromises at times.  In a manner similar to a marriage, two people will not think alike (or write alike) on every aspect- so there will be differences of opinion.  Whose opinion is correct, or most important?  How do disagreements get decided?  In our case, there were very few “battles”, and we managed to work it out fairly easily and quickly.  But, there were also a couple of anxious circumstances that would not have been the case if I had chosen to write it alone.
Another similar subject is that of infusing contributing writers within the book, which we did.  This was done for practical and marketing reasons, such as:
  1. Reduced the actual writing workload for Abby and I.
  2. Expanded the likely sales numbers via the friends, family and networks of those contributors
  3. Enhanced our book’s credibility, via selecting relevant and noteworthy contributing writers.  We are able to market that we have some significant “experts” in the subject matter- which in a nonfiction book is key
In using a healthy number of contributors, our roles shifted more towards compilation and editing than that of a true author.  That is good and bad, and we then had to deal with varying levels and styles of writing within the same book.  With more people to work with, there are inherent issues that will come up- as opposed to writing every chapter and paragraph yourself.
Overall, I am happy with the decision to both work alongside a co-author, as well as compiling other 3rd party contributing writers.  The pros have outweighed the cons, especially given the fact that I am a first-time (Christian genre) author, and am self-publishing.
The book is now available as an ebook ($4.95), and a print version ($9.95), via Visit our website at
Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

Become an Author via Article Writing by Author Carol Barnier

Guest post by Carol Barnier:
Information in a Nutshell Radio Show ~ Listen to interview here

I’ll soon be guesting on the “Information in a Nutshell Radio Show” sharing a bit about writing my latest book. But I’m such a believer in the idea that those who write books should also be frequent writers of magazine articles, that I thought I’d explore that concept a bit in today’s guest blog post. 
My first break into a national magazine almost didn’t happen. It had taken a serious stretch of my confidence to even approach this publication. This was one of those slick paged magazines. This sat on the shelf in Borders. This, for me, was the big leagues.
I put my best foot forward and wrote a query letter to the owner/Sr. Editor. It was okay, but in retrospect, nothing spectacular. There were even a few typos I didn’t catch until glancing back over it years later. The editors response was a single sentence: Please send a resume and past writing/publishing vitae. Oh dear. At that time, I only had about three published pieces, and these were mostly in tiny regional publications. There was not enough experience to scoop together for a paragraph, let alone the lofty vitae. However, I did write a response that got a “yes” from this publisher, and I’ve since gone on to write nine pieces for them, as well as having my face at the front of their magazine in their roster of “contributing writers.”
So what did I write? What could I possibly have said, me with so little a publishing history, that could win a chance from a national magazine?
At first I was honest about my meager writing history, but I didn’t belabor the point. Then I went on to say this:
So why should you have me write for you? Well, even though I’ve so happily self-deprecated, let me add, perhaps even boldly, that I do bring some worthwhile things to the table.
  • For all my lack of magazine experience, I can actually write. And while I don’t have a long list of previous articles to evaluate, I do have enough available to judge merit.
  •  I’m always on time (or early) with deadlines. It’s just a value that permeates all my life.
  • I’m usually passably funny (as long as I’ve had enough sleep).
  • Best of all, I’m not married to my words. I’m FULLY open to following direction to accommodate changes that will better meet the needs and preferences of your readers. I don’t even whine.
I think she may have liked what she read, but I suspect I closed the deal with “I don’t even whine.” I knew this was a sensitive spot with editors. I’d heard from various blogs, books and conference speakers that editors and agents in the Christian publishing market hear some of the same tired old phrases over and over again. Things like, “God gave these words to me.” Some even go on to say, “If you don’t publish it, woe be upon your head.” (or various other forms of eternal damnation). No kidding.
They hear this stuff all the time. 
In the end she sent a note saying simply, “I like you. My editor will be in touch.” 
I know that so many people long to write a book. I understand that. I truly do. My fourth book is coming out April 1, so I appreciate the satisfaction that comes with completing a book and finding a publisher for a book. But for most of us, a book that sells well may sell between 5,000 and 25,000 copies (Yeah. Yeah. I said most of us. Runaway bestsellers don’t count in this equation. Those are the literary equivalent of winning the lottery.) There’s nothing wrong with these smaller numbers. But a well-placed magazine article can touch 100,000 people or more. (A piece with AARP will put you in front of 47 million readers!) So I encourage writers to reach for both books and articles. With articles you can gain entrance by way of smaller publications, build your voice, strengthen your writing chops and grow your audience. Then, when you want to publish a book, lo and behold, you’ll have those now-required “platform numbers” that publishers seek.
Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

Five Secrets Every Author Should Know

“Secrets” is very possibly a misnomer for this piece, but as with every other blogger out there capturing your attention is important; and additionally, this may be new information to those beginning the process.  Perhaps you believe I’ll begin by teaching writing techniques, how to set the scene in fiction or how to wow a publisher into taking your manuscript? Sorry, that’s not what this post is about. It is about the raw truth. What every author wishes he or she had known at the beginning of the journey and what every new author should glean from and take heart.

The raw truth is that there are steps to the writing process and none of them begin with a sheet of paper, unless you are a list writer and then it is important. Writing is about a story, a lesson, accomplishing a task (for those of us oriented to “do”), and about sharing something inside us that will not remain bottled up! Writing is putting that idea on a piece of paper and hoping the world will consider it as brilliant as we do. Writing is about overcoming your fears and having courage to let someone outside read your work and possibly tear it to shreds, or even worse … ignore it!

While writing is all of these things and so many more it is also about getting the word out about you, what you write and having anyone care enough to pause long enough to listen! We’ve become masters at words and little else. We’ve honed our craft, taken classes, joined groups and listened to radio shows on the topic at length. These too are highly commendable and congratulations if you are pursing improvement of your skills.

Jump Start Your Writing Career!

But writing is about the little know angles that no book, even my Information in a Nutshell: Writing and Publishing can cover well and that is getting your book seen takes an army and that means more than one. I’ve worked with many authors throughout the year and the first thing I look at is their motivation.

Why? Because if they aren’t excited, thrilled and elated with this project they won’t last.

Similar to the sappy comedy, The Wedding Planner (sorry guys, chic flick here), and the heroine’s prediction that a bride-to-be’s selection of a bridesmaid’s dress color or song for the wedding signified whether or not the marriage would last, I too make a prediction. My prediction is based upon years of working with lackluster, unenthusiastic authors who think they want to write a book, and then at the least little bit of a road block or obstacle, cry foul.

It is all about the presentation in food and so too in writing! Excitement and enthusiasm goes a long way. Having talent is icing on the cake. You don’t believe me? Think about the last lackluster book you took off the shelf and said, “How did this author ever get published?”

I can tell you how. Someone believed in them, their message or their social media outreach. The new crop of the writing elite are bloggers with thousands of followers. Blogging is a full time job if done well and the new blogger is the new best selling author. Bloggers have been given book deals, movie deals and soon possibly cologne deals!

Perhaps your manuscript is truly the next Indiana Jones, The Lion King or Les Miserables… so what if no one knows about it! How are they going to find you? Behind your laptop or in your home?

Perhaps. We’re living in a new world, the new frontier and believe me many have gone before you with great success. These are the people who recognize that the “flavor” of the month was the electronic reader for adults for Christmas. And what goes on that eReader? Thousands upon thousands of manuscripts that might have sat undiscovered and unloved.

I will be sharing about writing eVersions soon, however the reason for this piece is there are things for you to do before you write that next best seller.

So what are the five secrets every author should know?

1. Relationships Matter and so do joint ventures
2. Branding is important
3. Your Reach
4. Your Contact List
5. Podcast, Radio, Internet, TV

This topic will be the covered in an upcoming webinar I’ll be presenting hosted by Nathan Kievman group owner of Linked Strategies on LinkedIn. I’ve learned alot from Nate as well I should. I’ve worked with him over the past two years as a ghost writer and now I’ll share my strategies with his group.

You are all invited to attend.

Where? Online: Here
Time? Noon ET
Host: Nathan Kievman ~ Linked Strategies


Speaker: Felice Gerwitz ~ Five Secrets Every Author Should Know Before Writing the First Word
Speaker: Carol Topp, CPA ~ Five Secrets to Short Cut Your Record Keeping for Tax Benefits

Can’t make the live presentation? I’ll post a recap for you here as well as share more about my ideas for the eVersion reading craze and how you can profit in these hard and challenging times!

Felice Gerwitz is an author and publisher of the series:

Information in a Nutshell:

Author: Felice Gerwitz Writing and  Publishing and
Author: Carol Topp, CPA Business Tips and Taxes for Writers
(To catch Carol’s interview go to

You can find these books on Amazon in print and Kindle and in other versions on the publisher’s website at Media

Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

Book Business ~ Terry Whalin

Shocking News To Authors: The Book Business Is A Business First
By W. Terry Whalin
            Before I began working inside a book publishing house, I had written more than 50 nonfiction books, ranging from children’s to adult books. I have never self-published a book and always worked through traditional publishers. However, I was unaware of the financial production numbers for nonfiction books and I found it shocking—and something critical for potential authors to understand. The author never sees these figures for their books as the publisher doesn’t reveal them throughout the contract negotiation process. A publisher will produce these financial calculations as simply a part of good business practices.  As an author, understanding this helped me see publishing as a business. Authors have huge amounts of time and emotional investment in their words. When I saw these production numbers, I understood that the publisher, not the author, has the largest out-of-pocket cash investment in a book. 
            Inside the publisher, the editor will gather a sales projection about how many copies the sales department believes they can sell of your title the first year. That sales figure will be used to calculate the production costs of ink, paper and binding for various amounts of printing (5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 copies). As the initial print number is raised, the cost per book decreases. You may ask, So why not print a large volume each time? The answer is, if the publisher prints a large number of copies, then he has to store those copies in their warehouse (read cost and expense), plus make sure they actually sell those copies within a year’s timeframe. The cost of tying up financial resources in storing and warehousing books that aren’t selling is large. Also the federal government taxes publishers on each copy in storage. These tax rules have forced publishers to think long and hard about how many copies of each book to print.
            Inside my former publisher, we calculated the overall printing details of the book (paperback with general publishing look or hardcover with jacket) and the number of books to print before offering a book contract. In short, publishers pour a great deal of work into their books and financial projections before they call you and offer a nonfiction book contract. Understanding this process helps you see some of the reasons it takes such a long time for an author to receive a publishing contract…
            Often the publisher returns to an author with whom they have already published a book. If the publisher takes a second or third book from the same author, they are investing in that author’s career and trying to build that author’s audience and market. If the author’s books are selling well, then the publisher will be eager for another project. Each week, publishers monitor sales numbers on their books to see if particular authors merit another book contract.
            Many writers focus only on the creative aspects of writing a book and getting it published, but the executives inside a publishing house are business people who want to sell books and turn a profit at the end of the day. It’s a delicate balance between creating the best possible product and assuring that each product has the best opportunity to sell into the market and reach the target audience.
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and publisher lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. A former acquisitions editor, former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry 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:
Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

Unlocking the Writer’s Block

Available on Amazon

Unlocking Writer’s Block
Guest Post 
by Karen Zeigler

Rarely will individuals admit to being worriers unless they are going through a really difficult time.  So it’s not unusual that writers don’t recognize that the writer’s block they are experiencing is just worry in disguise. 

• What if no one read what I’ve written?
• What if the publisher rejects it?
• What if I don’t connect with my audience?
• Why does it matter?
• What if I miss the deadline?

Or perhaps it’s something total unrelated to writing.
• I wonder what they will find in those tests the doctor’s office ran.
• I hope my child has the courage to discuss the problem with their teacher. Should I step in or am I helping her become a responsible adult by asking her to step up?

• I haven’t heard from my spouse, the presentation was over an hour ago.  Is this a good sign that they got the business or is he lamenting at the airport bar?

Whatever the case is I can tell you from experience that there is likely a thousand thoughts running through your brain, perhaps even some on the topic you wish to write about, but the fearful, anxious and worrisome thoughts have taken over control.  Your mind maybe racing but the results are zip – going nowhere, nothing happening.

When I wrote my book Freedom from Worry – Prayer of Peace for an Anxious Mind it was more about eliminating worry and connecting with God is a real and life changing way.  What I didn’t realize until I began to share the practice is what can actually get accomplished when worry is out of the way.  Clarity comes, courage to take action and confidence in yourself, your calling and your God are just high level things that happen over and over again.  And if clarity wasn’t enough to make any writer rush online to purchase the book here are just a few more reasons you’ll want to include this book and the process that it teaches into your writing routine.

1.    The first key thing that happens in the process is the journaling.  That journaling is many things but first and foremost it is a means of getting the negative thoughts out of your brain.  As writers we often try to set all the positive variables in place – right time, right place, right atmosphere with little action taken to eliminate the negative thoughts rolling around in our head, which we carry with us regardless of where the writing takes place.

2.    Second we shift our mindset to that of gratitude.  It is when we are in a grateful mindset that our mind delves into deeper meaning, in life and in the topic at hand.  A mindset that is ultimately where most writers hope to take their audience.  Even the most comedic of writers is hoping to help their audience realize through humor that which is important about the topic.

3.    And last but not least it is a connection with the Creator.  A means for getting divine inspiration from the author of all creation. 

Practice the steps of the prayer and journaling found in Freedom from Worry and it’s guaranteed that thoughts will flow and writing will occur.  It happens by design.  By the end of your journaling time you will have spent 15-30 minutes pouring out (writing) your worries, fears, gratitude and requests onto the pages of your journal.  And as the peace of mind settles in, the flow continues on to the inspirational thoughts and words for which you were meant to write.

Karen Zeigler, Speaker and Life Coach, Inspiration to Change. 
Karen has come full circle, after almost 20+ years of climbing corporate ladders and pursuing her career that provided the prestige and money she thought was so critical from her college days, she realized there was more to life! She discovered coaching. Although she agrees being an Investment Advisor was somewhat fulfilling it never really scratched her “itch”…longings to write and speak on topics of purpose, passion and personal development.
Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website

What is Information in a Nutshell?

Tired of looking through books that are 400+ pages long. Or, asking someone a question only to get a long winded answer (yes, I’m guilty of that one!) Well, look no more. Here is information you can use, FAST…in a nutshell!

Welcome to my aspiring author’s page. If you have considered becoming a published author this is the place to be. Why? Because I hope to be your mentor, someone you can look to for answers and someone whose opinion you can take seriously.

I have many years of experience in the publishing world and believe me; I’ve made my share of mistakes some of them costly. With the information online, much of it for free…who can you trust? I recently worked with an author who claimed their book had been picked up by a publisher. After extending my congratulations, I asked the name of the publisher only to find it was a pay-for Vanity Press: Print On Demand service. Not that all print on demand services are “bad” but some pass themselves off as real publishers wanting your manuscript when in reality you pay to have it published.

Believe me when I tell you that an authentic publisher is not going to pay for a click through link on a website that starts with the heading …”We are looking for people to publish…” They have a slush pile full of people wanting them to publish, and sadly many of those manuscripts will never be noticed. (That’s what I hope to help you avoid.)

So, that’s what this website is all about…all about learning more!

Fine-Tune Your Writing Vision

Some time ago I shared I was struggling with leaving my vacation time attitude, and moving back into the “workplace.” I seriously struggled and no matter what, lists, deadlines or looming financial disaster (okay, so that is a little stretch), I could not make myself work.

However I soon found the root cause of this “funk” …and none too soon… it was the lack of focus and vision. I had so many projects to work on, all with pending deadlines and I couldn’t make time to finish even one! Until I was able to pull back, analyze my work load and make a plan, was I able to gain clarity and tackle the project one thing at a time.

Maybe you are a ball-juggler and like to have several projects going at once. I am one of *those* types of people. However, knowing which job to pick and put down is very important. I often run many things in my head at once and until I stop and take the time to write it down, it normally remains there.

Here are five keys to finding a focus and re-gaining your vision:

1. De-Clutter:
      While a messy desk may be the sign of a creative mind it wastes so much time! I recently de-cluttered my entire office, shelves, desk drawers, table tops and more and found so many things I had lost or misplaced months ago.

2. Organize
     If you clean and declutter and go back to your old way of doing things the same thing will happen. I have so much paper and often there are piles around my office. Now I’ve organized each group into specific places. This system is working well for me and helps contain the paper-monster piles.

1. Something I’m not finished with, but doesn’t need my attention for awhile, goes into a folder and into a small holder beside my desk.
2. Work in progress into a notebook, sometimes with hole-punch and other times paper clipped (large ones) for easy flipping through. This works great for manuscripts that I’m reviewing, for example I have a final draft of the new Information in a Nutshell Book, “Taxes and Tips for Writer’s” by Carol Topp sitting in a notebook at my desk waiting for ONE (hopefully) last set of eyes. (Book is due for pre-release in September.)
3. Important: This is pinned to one of my three bulletin boards. (Did you know I was a teacher?) Sticky notes for things to take care of and then discard, and more important to-do’s are pinned on the board.
4. Completed project into a file and drawer.

3. Prioritize
     I’m open to suggestions on this one. I consider just about everything a NOW job! For example I am hosting several webinars and while hosting one I am taping behind the scenes sessions and planning and scheduling the next webinar. My list of to-do grows at this time and only with help can I accomplish everything in a timely fashion. Obviously a schedule is of major importance and the event schedule takes precedence over other deadlines. Which brings us to the next point…

4. Set Deadlines
I’ve found that I can work best under a deadline so I try to give each project a projected finish date. This has worked well and now with some help I am finding this to be a valuable aid. Having a mid-point date to re-evaluate is my goal, and would be wonderful, however I am not at that point. At least at this writing.

5. Celebrate
    All work and no-play makes Jane dull…and even if my name isn’t Jane I’ve become dull at times. Racing to one deadline, only to begin another is seriously a recipe for disaster. I need time to regroup with my family, take a break and turn my computer off. Hibernate does not count! Taking time to celebrate the big and little events are a great way to get your focus back.

Whatever ways work for you, I hope you will share your successes here with me. What has worked for you and how do you handle one or more of the issues that plague even the most organized writers?

Expert advice for anyone interested in writing a book. Felice is an author, speaker and consultant for aspiring authors. Felice has a weekly podcast on BlogTalk Radio for authors, Information In A Nutshell. Follow Felice on many of the social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or at her website



Are you ready to learn about the world of writing and publishing? Are you an author ready to take your manuscript to the next level? Well, take your time and explore all the information on this website. Join me weekly for my live radio show each Monday at 12:00 PM EDT. Each show is lively with interviews with new authors as well as those who aspire, print, publish, edit, publicize and so much more! Subscribe to our feed and sign up for our updates.