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From Child Prodigy to Self-Publishing Expert: A.G. Billig’s Amazing Literary Journey

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a two-part series on author/entrepreneur A.G. Billig, and how she is bringing her vast media, publishing branding experience to thousands of authors through SelfPublishingMastery.com. Here, she discusses her professional background, writing experiences, and her vision for the world’s most diverse self-publishing online platform.)

She wrote her first short story as a child. At age 13, the Romanian media dubbed her a child prodigy. Three years later, she was writing professionally for a popular national newspaper on teen issues. Then, at 17, she became a radio host — which led to producing a TV show for an independent Romanian network. Finally, when A.G. Billig entered her twenties, she became editor-in-chief for a variety of teen magazines.

Author, self-publishing and branding expert A.G. Billig

How’s that for the start of a writing career? A career seemingly predestined at birth? What happens if you add to that a Master’s Degree in public relations and communication and a sharp, incisive entrepreneurial mind?

Now, this captivating, multi-talented author, and international media and branding expert has established herself in the U.S., imparting her knowledge and insight to benefit thousands of authors. She is the creator of SelfPublishingMastery.com, a multi-channel platform that brings writing and business tips, consulting, books, writing and editing services, resources, online summits, professional referrals, the best writing instructors, a publishing imprint and much more. In 2017, it was named one of the Top 100 self-publishing blogs online. It’s only going to grow.

In an announcement I’m very proud to make, the editorial services wing of my company, Word Journeys, is shifting to SPM in a new partnership agreement.

As a writer, A.G.’s work is extensive in the journalism world, and growing in books. Her two books, Four Doors and Other Stories and I Choose Love, are award-winners. Her deep, thoughtful soul and incisive mind merge in her works to provide delicious prose that informs as it invokes feeling and thought, giving us insight into ourselves. Interestingly, that is what the greatest mentors do: show the way, often without stating it in those terms.

A.G. Billig presenting a workshop on branding and marketing for self-published authors at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference. Branding and marketing are central themes _ and features — of  SelfPublishingMastery.com

A.G. is a mentor to authors throughout the world, and has caught the attention of writers conference directors. She has presented at the Greater LA Writers, Genre-LA and Digital Writing & Self Publishing conferences, and recently conducted a Master Workshop on author branding. In this two-part interview, she unveils the full scope of SelfPublishingMastery.com, a huge author asset in a self-publishing market that saw an estimated 900,000 titles published last year.

WORD JOURNEYS: Let’s start at the beginning. What inspired you to begin writing?

A.G.Billig: When I was 8, my parents bought a brand new car. My excitement about the prospect of future summer trips across Romania translated into a short story, the first in a long series. My father, an avid reader and aspiring author, loved my writing and encouraged me to pursue it. By 13, I was winning national literary prizes for short stories. I wrote my first novel, a teenage love story, at 15 —and then took a break from writing fiction until 2012.

WJ: What was one of the biggest takeaways of your early journalism career, when you had years of top professional experience by the time you reached your twenties?

A.G.: It was a beautiful way to meet extraordinary people and share their amazing stories with the rest of the world, stretch my comfort zone, and learn new skills. It felt good whenever someone would stop me on the street to tell me they enjoyed my shows.

WJ:   What books did you read as a teen and young adult? How did they inform and shape the stories and book ideas you wanted to pursue?

A.G. Though Romania was still under Communist rule in my early years, I was fortunate to grow up in a house filled with books. My father was born in Paris. He loved French culture as well as universal literary giants. The moment I learned how to read, I started devouring writers such as Honore de Balzac, Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Lev Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Giovanni Boccaccio, Jane Austen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, to name a few. These authors and readings shaped my literary tastes and taught me how to write. I learned how to use description, write dialogue, and build solid characters from them. I also learned the type of emotional and cognitive experience a book is supposed to create for the reader, that essential element that stands the test of time. Although I never wanted to be like these authors, I always aimed at giving my best in my writing. We can all do that by being authentic and passionate about what we do.

WJ:   When did you start considering working with self-published authors? What need did you perceive?

A.G.: In 2015, at the London Book Fair. It seems like this event changes my life every three years — I wonder what’s going to happen in 2018! I attended as a journalist (I was a contributor to the Romanian edition of Playboy). I was already following podcasts on self-publishing and wanted to know more about it. The free talks and panels proved to be of great help. The success stories of self-published authors such as Mark Dawson and C.J. Lyons, making six-figure incomes on their books, gave me an A-HA! moment. I realized that the publishing game was changing and self-publishing opened a global market for authors, provided they had the necessary skills. Since I have an entrepreneurial mind, I seized the opportunity, not only for myself, but also for my fellow authors. I realized that they needed support with branding and marketing their books. They would needed resources, information, and education. “Why not use my passion for journalism to serve these people?” I asked myself.

Early in 2016, just about the same time I self-published I Choose Love, Self-Publishing Mastery was born.

WJ:   Let’s go back to your creative love – writing books. First, tell us about I Choose Love – certainly a timely read in this day and age.

A.G.: I never thought I would write a non-fiction book, but a lot went on in 2015 — terror attacks, natural disasters. The world was (and still is) governed by fear. The only way out was choosing love, again and again, every second of our life. At that point, I Choose Love came to me as what some would call a “download”. It took about a month to complete. It was easy for me, because it stemmed from my heart. I also had a clear structure from the beginning, and a thorough knowledge of the topic based on seven years of spiritual practice and personal experiences. It offers practical tools for overcoming fear and attracting love into one’s life.

WJ: Can’t think of a subject more purposeful! You also mentioned you shelved your teenage love of fiction writing until 2012. Typically, when we leave our story writing youth, we rarely find that thread again, but you did. Tell us about Four Doors and Other Stories.

A.G.: This book shows what can happen when we are in the flow. It marked my return to writing fiction, and it brought me a contract with a U.K. publisher.

I created this short stories collection about love, because love represents the foundation of who I am and everything I do, including helping other authors become successful. My vision was to portray love as our true essence, which can be expressed in so many different ways. Once I had this concept clear in my mind, I just allowed the inspiration to flow in.

WJ: What is your vision with SelfPublishingMastery.com? What are the features? How do you, and the platform, assist writers in their journeys?

A.G. My original concept for Self Publishing Mastery was to be the Billboard magazine for the global self-publishing industry. My vision was to support and empower indie authors from around the world to self-publish, and help them master the publishing process.

We began by (and are still) covering book marketing, the writing craft, the right mindset for success, writers’ conferences, success stories, writers Facebook groups, podcasts, and book blogs. After the past year of getting a chance to talk to authors, we decided to add an educational component. Now we will also have workshops, online courses, books, and an online academy. We’ve just further expanded the range of our services for authors through the full-service portfolio, twenty years’ standing, that Word Journeys is bringing in. We have evergreen content, constantly refreshing. We’ve also got some goodies for those who subscribe to our newsletter such as “The top 20 Amazon book reviewers list” and “The successful book launch checklist.” Authors can and will find all that they need for successful self-publishing on our site. Please stop by!

(NEXT: A.G. Billig breaks down SelfPublishingMastery.com, and the particular challenge self-published authors face with branding, distribution, and lifting their work above the growing mass of titles and voices — and how to reach their world of awaiting readers in the process.)

 

 

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The Hybrid Author Movement

During the Southern California Writers Conference in February, keynote speaker Michele Scott talked about a subject that has been near and dear to me for many years – becoming a contracted and self-published author … at the same time. This is otherwise known as hybrid authorship.

A fine multi-genre novelist, Michelle has written 23 books, some under a pen name.  If you look at this with traditional eyes, you would rightfully assume she keeps contracts with two or even three different publishers. That’s not the case – anymore. After years of selling her books to publishers, and developing a strong and loyal fan base that numbers in the high five- or low six-digit mark, Michelle took control of her creative process and began self-publishing.

Risky business? For sure. If you’re making a living as a writer, self-publishing can be quite risky. Suddenly, you are responsible for every penny spent to edit, market, promote, publicize, produce and sell your book – all expenses typically handled by traditional publishers. If you don’t know how to do all of these things, or sub-contract people who do, then it can be a one-way road to supreme disappointment.

 

WHY BACK STORIES MATTER: NEW 366 WRITING BLOG

 

Michelle knows how to do these things. Consequently, instead of merely satisfying her one-book-a-year deal with contract publishers, she can write and publish three or four titles per year … and keep all the proceeds after expenses are met. This is much different than traditional publishers, which offer advances against royalties (for those lucky enough to receive them), and then royalties in the 6% to 10% range of wholesale to retail price, escalating upward to 15% with increased sales – and 25 to 50% net on e-books. Unless promotion is great and sales are brisk, these numbers do not always add up so well.

Michelle has switched all the way over to self-publishing, even buying back some of her backlist rights (books already published). A few of her titles remain in circulation from her publishers. She’s in a win-win – royalties on books already published, plus pulling in the full bounty from all the books she’s writing now.

She is an example of a hybrid author, which is becoming more and more the way to go if you’re a prolific writer who has several books on your mind – and plans to write quite a few more. The hybrid approach is also the right approach for authors like me, who write in different genres and do not want to get tied down by contracts in which publishers want the one book for which they’ve contracted you to be the only book you write for a set period of time.

The subject of hybrid authoring is a big one at this week’s Book Expo America , the largest booksellers and publishers convention in the U.S. Traditional publishers are being compelled to relent from their “we buy your book, we take you off the market” philosophy, which forces many prolific authors to write their other books under pen names unless they have lucrative multi-book deals. More and more, authors are doing both, self-publishing titles they want to write while under contract for another book.

Hybrid authorship is not for everyone. First of all, you need to have the money to produce and promote the self-published books yourself. Or, like me, enter into an arrangement with a collaborative publisher (mine is Tuscany Global), in which you publish your book and handle all promotional costs while splitting revenues with the partner (in my case, the jack-of-all-trades Brian Wilkes), who handles production through a well-established self-publishing service (Amazon.com’s Create Space, in this case).

Then, you need to write and produce the books – and make sure none of them compete, in any way, with any books you might have under contract with the traditional publisher. In fact, the best approach – and the one that makes everyone happy – is to openly promote your contracted book at the back of the self-published title, and in any press releases you generate on its behalf (quick commercial: we offer such a service for all authors with books to be published, Beacon Publicity, where releases go to up to 10,000 targeted points and you get placement reports for a very low fee).

Hybrid authoring will become more and more common, especially in this era when writing e-books is so easy and self-publishing your book is a badge of respect, not the perceived scourge of vanity or province of poets it used to be.

As for forthcoming titles? Have Just Add Water under contract, another about to go there (When We Were the Boys, in which I’m working with author Stevie Salas and my agent, Dana Newman), and two titles – Backroad Melodies and Every Day Is The Write Day: The Best of Word Journeys Blogs, Vol. 1 – which will be out this summer through the collaborative/self-publishing route.

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Economy of One: Elizabeth Allen’s Vital New Book

 

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To order from Amazon.com

Sometimes, new books simply release at the most crucial time. Call it perfect timing — timed perfectly.

So is the case with marketing consultant Elizabeth Allen’s new e-book, The Economy of One, which comes out during a time of double-digit unemployment in most of the country. It also comes out during a jobless recovery in which entire career segments and occupations have been eliminated from the workforce — thus forcing career workers to reinvent themselves for an economy built on speed, technological savvy and versatility. In The Economy of One, Elizabeth combines her proprietary CODE (Communicate-Organize-Document-Evaluate) sales and marketing program with an “All Hands on Deck” approach, showing the unemployed, underemployed and those considering career chance to think and act with an entrepreneurial mindset. This book and its subject matter have been praised by the likes of the Wall Street Journaland bestselling business author Michael Gerber.

The Economy of One

Since we were involved with the initial editing of The Economy of One manuscript, as well as ongoing book promotion, we’ve decided to share with you Elizabeth’s longer responses to questions asked for the Economy of One’s media materials. This deeper look will give you a strong idea of how vital and valuable this book is — not to mention the author’s deeply caring, compassionate approach to helping men and women around the country reinvent themselves and their work skills.

 Q: At what point in the past few years did you fully conceptualize this idea of The Economy of One, and how that would be the ultimate solution to finding success in this changed economy? 

Elizabeth Allen: I came to the conclusion when I was asked to present my sales process, the CODE, to unemployed people.  While it was originally developed for companies, I came to realize that these people represent our single largest uninvested national asset, and that they needed the skill sets to re-engage and think differently in order to capitalize on their value. In working with them, I realized they had forgotten their value and lacked a process by which to change their mindset about their circumstances.  They needed a new way to think in order to leverage their wealth of knowledge, know how and skills.

Q: What is the most challenging and/or most vital aspect of the marketing piece for people to grasp when they have to market themselves after years of working in a career position? 

EA: That what may have worked in the past, in terms of finding a job, simply isn’t working any more.  The system as we know it is “broken”.  If they will confront the reality of the problem, then they can take responsibility for themselves providing themselves permission to explore other options.

Q: Which leads to The Economy of One, which is rooted in successful approaches you developed and truly informative case studies.

EA: The Economy of One was crafted from the perspective of what does work.  This program was designed after nearly a decade of cutting-edge industry research defining “best practice” as it relates to how entrepreneurs “think and sell”.  It breaks a highly fluid and intuitive process into specific and actionable steps. It’s not a huge mystery; it’s a set of skills and processes that can be learned. The Economy of One applies no matter whether you are simply looking for a job, are considering being a contractor or exploring opening a small business.  It’s a new way for individuals to confront and overcome “the system” that is broken.

 Q: What do you feel distinguishes an entrepreneur from an unemployed career worker with highly valuable job skills?

EA: Having served the entrepreneurial community for decades, I realized that there was only one difference between someone who is unemployed and someone who is an entrepreneur – the entrepreneur has decided they have something to sell.  That’s it!  The skill most fundamental to entrepreneurs is that they’ve given themselves the permission to engage and try to sell something.  The challenge is that they do this so intuitively, that it’s difficult to break the behavior down into specific roles and processes critical for success. The Economy of One translates this highly intuitive process into very simple steps that provide an immediate solution to people desperate for a new method in which to engage.

Q: It seems that the ability to sell yourself and your skills is perhaps the most important competency anyone can have these days.

EA: This issue of selling is now mission critical for both our country and our people, because whether they choose traditional employment, contract work or self employment (or any combination), people must know how to effectively sell themselves, their capabilities and their value.  Whether people use this skill of selling for themselves, or present it as a skill they’ve developed to potential employers, it opens a new solution to people who need a method to move forward.

Q: How did all of your work with CODE among small- and mid-sized businesses over the years help you to define and share the core competencies people need to reinvent themselves and be successful again?

EA: My passion is entrepreneurs and the companies they build.  Fundamentally, there are three roles that are required for sales: That of the Prospector, Technical Expert and Closer.  The companies I’ve worked with frequently need to train everyone in their company how to support the sales process, because now more than ever, it’s time for all hands on deck as it relates to creating customer loyalty and sustaining a predictable sales pipeline.  The very issues that company leaders face in translating these three skills to their employees are the same issues that people in general face in terms of adapting these skills for their own personal use.  The process of mindset adjustment is the same.  Where in the past employees have claimed that “sales isn’t my job, I’m just a technical expert,” companies are saying, “It’s not enough.” They are now requiring everyone who has anything to do with the customer to take increased responsibility for the care and support of that customer, and this is a challenge to people who don’t see it as their job.  They have to change their mindset.

Q: That seems like an action we need to take across the board — changing our mindset.

EA: People who are considering transition or are unemployed also have to “change their mindset” because what’s worked in the past simply isn’t working any more.  According to the US Bureau of Labor, by the year 2019 40% of the US workforce will be Free Agents (people working contract to contract). So beyond this short term issue of how to create jobs and get people engaged with the process, having a method by which to predictably engage and position and sell your skills will become increasingly vital.

Q: What is the potential benefit for a reader who embraces the precepts of The Economy of One and targets leads and opportunities? 

EA: For people “stuck in transition,” this process will help them to recognize and take control of their own economy.   We all realize that we individually have ” God-given talents, resources, skills and know-how. The question is, how do you create demand for what it is you can supply? The Economy of Onetakes you through a simple, step-by-step process designed to empower people to better position and sell what they have to offer, whether they are looking for a full time job, considering contract based work, or thinking of starting a small business.

Author Elizabeth Allen

 

TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EARLY RELEASE OFFERS FOR THE ECONOMY OF ONE:

Facebook: http://eof1.com/offers-fb-eof1/

Twitter: http://eof1.com/offers-tw-eof1/

LinkedIn: http://eof1.com/offers-li-eof1/

Through Word Journeys: http://eof1.com/offers-word-journeys/

 

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Readings, Teaching Workshops, Going Online

To purchase The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life

To join Writing The World Workshops

During the Southern California Writers Conference, I met the associate editor of Toastmasters Magazine, Beth Black. We talked for a few minutes, and continued the dialogue during the past week. Our conversation pertained to the way writers and teachers of writing have migrated online to conduct all parts of their businesses.

This is a monumental week for me in that regard, in three ways:

• I have joined Harvey Stanbrough and Chris O’Byrne in presenting the Writing The World Workshops membership-based website, with its writing courses, articles, tips and video classes;

• The 7-minute social media and networking tutorial I delivered at the end of my “Your Journal, Your Goldmine” workshop at the Southern California Writers Conference is now available on You Tube and my newest business website;

• Which is the third major development: I’ve joined my longtime friend, John Josepho, in forming Millennium Media Masters — which is all about print and online publishing, platforming, media and affiliate marketing development for entrepreneurs, artists of all media (including filmmakers), musicians and writers who want to get their stories, messages and brands out to their audiences in a variety of different forms.

So when Beth asked me a couple of Toastmasters-type questions pertaining to the online migration, and reading publicly, I obliged. Thought I’d share the answers with you:

Q: If you can give me a quote or two on what it’s like going from the quiet of writing time to presenting in public (or pitching to an agent or publisher), that would be great.

A: Writing alone is very solitary and insular, almost like being in another world — especially when writing fiction, when we should be in another world, the world of our story and characters. Everything happens between the creative and thinking minds. When presenting workshops or talking about writing, we have to carry all this information outward and be crisp and confident when doing so, because attendees are seeking to apply your experience and knowledge to their work. I find it easiest to approach this like a storyteller, weaving together information with anecdotes that best illustrate the point. Pitching to agents or publishers is different yet: I have 60 seconds to interest them and another 60 to 120 to summarize my book — making the ability to communicate verbally and with good expression a must.

Q: Also, if you’ve done any public readings of your work, what’s your take on that?

A: I’ve read from my poetry and essay collections all over the country — Boston, New York, Chicago, LA, New Mexico, Tampa, the South, San Diego, plus a few European cities — Munich, Venice, Florence. I love interacting with the audiences, seeing which poems or essays draw them most or provoke strong responses, and telling the back stories behind the works. It is a great way to see how your writing impacts people — and a reminder that all writers should read their works aloud, to hear their voice.

Next week, we’ll post the three-part series on Platform Development.

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Why You Need to Build a Platform — NOW

As I prepare to return to the Southern California Writers Conference this weekend to teach writing workshops and offer read & critique sessions to writers of all genres, I can’t help but think about what has kept me very busy for the past six months with clients and businesses alike: building platforms.

Until about 10 years ago, the word “platform” was unknown to most people outside the public relations and marketing world. Now, every publisher and most literary agents are requiring that anyone trying to sell a book — writers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, celebrities, athletes — enter the publishing arena with a strong existing platform before they bother to pitch their book or message with a book proposal and sample chapters.

This scares 90% of working writers to death — with good reason. Most writers don’t consider themselves strong self-promoters, let alone experts on social media, social networking, traditional media, promotions or marketing. Yet, in today’s world, you need to know how to factor all of these tools into your ability to sell your book — even if you’ve signed with a publisher. And you also need to know where to turn for help. I’ve been fortunate in this respect, since I owned a public relations agency for seven years and now have migrated those skills to book and brand promotion — and offered those services to authors.

Which begs the million-dollar question: What is a platform?

Quite simply, a platform is the way in which you build public awareness in yourself and your company or message — or, in the case of an author, your book. The greater the public awareness, the greater number of potential readers or customers — and the greater your platform. The bigger and more expansive your platform, the closer you are to becoming a household name, at least among the target audience of your book or business initiative.

That’s what book publishers are looking for, because it guarantees a core group of people likely to buy your book. No matter how wonderful your relationship is with your agent, or the acquisition editor of a publisher, it all comes down to one thing with virtually all publishers, from the biggest New York houses to your own self-publishing initiative: SALES.

This leads to the next question: How do I build a platform that expands awareness in my book and myself, and attracts these very discerning publishers?

The quick answer: One plank at a time — starting RIGHT NOW, no matter where you are in the writing process of your book or the process of converting your message and practices to published form.

We’re going to spend the next four blog posts focusing on the following four essential elements of building platforms:

1) Strong Traditional Media Presence — Print, Online, Consumer and Trade

2) Strong Online Presence — Websites and ACTIVE Blogs are a must

3) Strong Social Media/Networking Presence — If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, sign up NOW

4) Outside Activities Related to Your Book Subject — This includes participation in workshops, conferences, teaching, speaking engagements, seminars and the like.

We’ll address each of these elements in future blog posts. Also know that we offer top-of-the-line platform building services and consultation to authors of all genres. Our goal is the same as yours: to see you in lights, and to see your book published.

Visit us on Facebook:

Word Journeys — Resources for Writers

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Latest Adventures in the Writing (and Editing & Consulting) Life

I am finishing up another of those two-week periods where I feel very privileged, and downright lucky, to be a writer and editor. The stream of people, readings, plans, contacts, opportunities and creativity that move through my professional and personal life remind me not only of how wonderful my writing life is, but also how much hard work and responsibility go into it.

The past two weeks alone have included:

• The Meet the Authors event at Crittenden County Library in Kentucky. Nine authors came together and engaged in one of the best panel discussions in which I’ve ever participated, two hours of conversation with each other and a highly attentive audience about writing, editing, digital publishing, promotion, the future of print books, and much more. My best takeaway, literally, was the book Blood River to Berlin, by Michael Freeland, who was a medic for the 182nd Airborne during the grueling march from Normandy to Berlin that ended World War II in the European theater. While war books are usually the last works you’ll catch me reading, I couldn’t put this one down. What a joy to meet Michael, now 85, and hear his comments about writing, rooted in his rock-deep integrity and character. I felt doubly honored to be there because of the man sitting next to Michael, Marine Lt. Col (ret.) Tom McKenney, a prolific author whose comments were just as insightful and impressive.

• Working with clients. My day job has to be one of the better ones out there – helping authors shape their stories and ideas into fine books, and developing or assisting their strategies on marketing and promotion. In the past two weeks, I’ve been vicariously: learning the complex inner world of former fugitive Eric Rudolph in attorney Richard Jaffe’s forthcoming memoir, Divine Injustice; hearing the story of an ancient Persian girl; sitting next to dedicated charter school students with Hall of Dreams author Marsha Aizumi; joining the adventures of a comatose woman who re-created a fabulous world for her 17-year-old self in Colleen Jiron’s Possibilities; roaming in Africa through Gail Bornfield’s sweet children’s story, Tampei; sharing the triumphs of Al Gilbert, one of the United States’ greatest (and most unsung) track and cross-country coaches ever in Centering Up!; romping through Mexico with a wandering hippie; standing in the kitchen as Chef Renee Kelly whips up dishes full of vitality and taste in her recipe book/memoir; and laughing at the farcical antics of a group of people lodged in a two-story building in Steve Jam’s forthcoming novel, The Seventh Sense.

• Guest Blogging. Thanks to my publisher for The Write Time, Paul Burt of Pen & Publish, I was asked to be interviewed by Deb Eckerling of Write On! Online, a fine writing organization and website. A day later, I wrote a guest column for Write On!, “Why Writing Exercises Work” – not a bad promotional dovetail for , The Write Time. The key point, which relates to this blog as well: By using writing exercises to practice, you can eventually develop a command of language and a versatility that makes it possible to write about anything, at any time, in any genre. Oh yeah, by the way, isn’t Write On! one of the better names for a writing organization that you’ve heard recently (along with Word Journeys — of course)? Facebook them or visit them online — they have some great activities.

• A Book After My Own Heart. This weekend, my client and author of The Champion’s Way, Dr. Steve Victorson, is in Orange County to discuss with me the next book we’re writing together. Let’s just say that a bunch of runners in two Kentucky high schools will be most familiar with the subject matter – and the voice of the crazy coach on the sidelines.

• The Hummingbird Review. Publisher Charles Redner and I are well into production on the Spring/Summer issue of The Hummingbird Review, which is the creative brainchild of bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea. Charlie and I have been marveling over the quality of the work for the second issue from outside contributors and the fine writers of the Cabin 20 literary blogging group, as well as wonderful contributions from younger poets (the youngest is 18, but you’ll never know it from the wisdom of his words). One thing already giving this literary anthology voice and presence: its multi-cultural presentation. The stories, essays and poems for Issue 2 are riveting. Stay tuned for more – and check out the premier issue while you’re waiting.

• The Word Journeys Show. I’ve wanted to do this for two years. Now, Tucson-based Internet radio producer Jennifer Hillman and I are creating The Word Journeys Show, an hour-long radio program that will debut in mid-June. Get ready for a first-class show with some very special guests, great readings — and call-ins! It will serve as a flagship for all things audio connected to Word Journeys, our clients and my current and future books, which leads to yet another exciting development in these past two weeks …

• Mapping out the Future. Word Journeys is adding an entire new wing to our operation (name to be revealed after we make it official), to handle all platforming, digital publishing and distribution needs for our private and corporate clients. We can now literally produce written material in print, digital, web, audio and video form – and use those same forms to promote the authors and their messages. While a few other companies are doing similar things, here is what sets us apart: the capability and proven track record to zero in on specific programs in specific markets for specific clients who have specific stories to tell. I’m excited about this, because it pulls together everything I’ve ever been in this 34-year journey since a frightened high school kid saddled up for day one of work at The Breeze in Carlsbad and, six months later, The Blade-Tribune in Oceanside: print journalist, book author, editor, public relations executive, event, retreat and conference coordinator, ghostwriter, workshop instructor, teacher, consultant, coach, scriptwriter, show host …

…and most of all, someone who so deeply cares about the written word that it has been my life since 1976.
Now to get into the journal and write the moment. Have a great weekend — and be sure to write something new during the next three days.

To order The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life

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