PublishHER Podcast Episode 129: Winning Book Proposals with Amy L. Bernstein

PublishHER Podcast Episode 129: Winning Book Proposals with Amy L. Bernstein

Join Alexa Bigwarfe, with guest, Amy L. Bernstein on this new episode of PublishHer Podcast. In this episode, Alexa and Amy discuss best practices in the process of writing, publishing, and selling your book, whether fiction or non-fiction using proposals and successful pitch packages.

Amy L. Bernstein writes stories that let readers feel while making them think. Her novels include The Potrero Complex; The Nighthawkers; Dreams of Song Times; and Fran, The Second Time Around. She is an award-winning journalist, speechwriter, playwright, and certified nonfiction book coach. Amy also teaches writing workshops and is a frequent guest on podcasts to discuss writing, publishing, and creativity. Her nonfiction book, Wrangling the Doubt Monster: Fighting Fears, Finding Inspiration will be published in October 2024.

 

In this episode, Alexa and Amy discuss best practices in the process of writing, publishing, and selling your book, whether fiction or non-fiction using proposals and successful pitch packages.

Key Takeaways:

  •  How nonfiction book proposals differ from fiction queries. Nonfiction requires a detailed proposal, including an overview, competitive analysis, audience analysis, marketing plan, and annotated table of contents. Memoirs, although nonfiction, often follow different rules and may use a hybrid approach.
  •  Identifying competitive titles and its importance.
  •  Defining a specific audience rather than claiming a broad appeal. This helps in targeted marketing and increases the book’s chances of success.

Learn more at:

  • Learn more about Amy L. Bernestein here:
  • https://facebook.com/AmyLBernsteinAuthor.com
  • https://linkedin.com/in/amylbernstein
  • https://instagram.com/amylbernstein
  • Share the podcast to help it reach more people and provide support to those who may benefit from the content.
  • Rate the podcast to help increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Check out upcoming events and join the Women in Publishing Summit community for monthly free webinars and other training at womeninpublishingsummit.com/events.
  • Join local writing groups in your state or city to find a community of like-minded individuals who can support you through your writing and publishing journey.

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PublishHER Podcast Episode 128: Writing Tools to Grow Your Audience with Mel Torrefranca

PublishHER Podcast Episode 128: Writing Tools to Grow Your Audience with Mel Torrefranca

Join Alexa Bigwarfe, with guest, Mel Torrefranca on this new episode of PublishHer Podcast for a fascinating interview with a very interesting young author. Mel and Alexa cover Mel's unique experience becoming a published author at the age of 17 while she was still a student in high school.  In an interesting twist, she shares how YouTube accidentally played a role in attracting readers to her book. She is now in the process of cowriting the screenplay for Leaving Wishville's short film adaptation of her book with director Sebastian Delgado.

Mel Torrefranca is an award-winning author from the San Francisco Bay Area, now residing in the jungle mountains of Northern Thailand. She has now published four books, is still writing and her publishing company, named after a location in her debut novel, Lost Island Press, is publishing for many other authors and constantly growing. She is known for writing stories with dark vibes, morally ambiguous characters, and bold endings. In addition to her own projects, Mel shares the work of others at her indie publishing house Lost Island Press. She also drinks way too many lattes.

 

Learn more at:

  • https://www.meltorrefranca.com
  • https://www.youtube.com/meltorrefranca
  • https://www.lostislandpress.com/book
  • Share the podcast to help it reach more people and provide support to those who may benefit from the content.
  • Rate the podcast to help increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Check out upcoming events and join the Women in Publishing Summit community for monthly free webinars and other training at womeninpublishingsummit.com/events.
  • Join local writing groups in your state or city to find a community of like-minded individuals who can support you through your writing and publishing journey.

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PublishHER Podcast Episode 127: A journey to becoming a bestselling self-published author with Ellie Hall

PublishHER Podcast Episode 127: A journey to becoming a bestselling self-published author with Ellie Hall

In this episode of the PublishHer Podcast, author Ellie Hall shares her journey to becoming a USA Today bestselling author in the sweet romance genre through self-publishing. With insights into her rapid publication model, disciplined writing routine, and challenges of maintaining a sustainable income, Ellie offers valuable lessons for aspiring indie authors seeking to achieve bestseller status. Her candid discussion about the fluctuating nature of book sales, the significance of building an email list, and the use of newsletters to connect with readers provides practical strategies for navigating the complexities of self-publishing. Ellie's commitment to meeting reader expectations while staying true to her creative passions underscores the importance of aligning personal interests with market demands. By delving into her experiences and strategies, Ellie Hall's episode offers a compelling guide for indie authors aiming to reach bestseller status, making it a worthwhile listen for those seeking practical insights and inspiration in their writing pursuits.

Ellie Hall is a USA Today bestselling author known for her expertise in romance novels. With a strong focus on collaborative efforts, Ellie achieved bestseller status as a self-published author, emphasizing the significance of a rapid release model and the advantages of connecting with a community of authors. Her commitment to a monthly release schedule since 2018 underscores her dedication to engaging with her audience.
Ellie's journey as an indie author exemplifies the importance of balancing creative output with the demands of administrative work and audience engagement, providing valuable insights for aspiring authors seeking to achieve bestseller status.

Your book might be the one. There's nothing saying that it can't. So keep at it because you just never know. – Ellie Hall

Key Takeaways

  • Master the art of crafting novels for publication.
  • Strategize to build a robust author email list for increased engagement and readership.
  • Harness the benefits of newsletter swaps to expand your author network and reach new readers.
  • Achieve bestseller status as an indie author through proven strategies and tactics.
  • Implement a rapid book release strategy to maximize your impact and visibility in the market.

Memorable Moments:

Timestamped summary of this episode:

00:01:23 – Writing Sweet Romance and Achieving Bestseller Status
Ellie shares her expertise in writing sweet romance and achieving USA Today bestseller status as a self-published author. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration and the changing landscape of book lists.

00:04:37 – Speed of Publication and Productive Writing
Alexa praises Ellie's rapid publication schedule and inquires about her writing process. Ellie discusses her writing schedule, outlining process, and the challenges of maintaining a fast-paced writing routine.

00:08:38 – Balancing Writing and Administrative Work
Ellie reflects on the challenges of balancing writing, social media engagement, and administrative tasks. She expresses the need for a more manageable pace and the impact of long-winded books on her writing process.

00:11:59 – Writing to Market and Genre Selection
Ellie shares her journey into writing sweet romance, driven by her love for Hallmark movies and romance novels. She discusses her organic entry into the genre and her passion for romantic storytelling.

00:12:53 – Early Success in Reader Base Growth
Ellie talks about her early success in finding a growing reader base for her books, attributing it to luck. She emphasizes the importance of meeting reader expectations in her writing.

00:13:26 – Print Books and Reader Satisfaction
Ellie discusses her experience with print books, expressing her preference for paperbacks over hardcovers due to reader satisfaction. She also mentions her venture into large print books for libraries.

00:15:22 – Pen Name and Genre Separation
Ellie explains the importance of maintaining separate pen names for different genres to meet reader expectations. She shares her experience writing under a pen name for fantasy and paranormal romance, emphasizing the joy of pursuing different genres.

00:18:21 – Building Readership Through Diverse Streams
Ellie advises starting with what brings joy when building readership, whether it's social media, newsletters, or collaborations. She emphasizes the importance of being patient, persistent, and consistent in growing readership through diverse streams.

00:22:29 – Making a Living as an Author
Ellie shares that she is making a full-time living as an author based on her family's cost of living, noting the impact of her children being adults and not living at home. She emphasizes the importance of setting financial goals and budgeting for sustainability.

00:24:43 – Early Success and Fluctuating Income
Ellie talks about her initial success after hitting the USA Today bestseller list, seeing a spike in sales. However, she also discusses the fluctuations in income and the unpredictability of the market.

00:25:29 – Unpredictable Book Sales
Ellie reflects on the variability of book sales, emphasizing the importance of having a healthy backlist and diversifying formats like audiobooks and large print to maximize the use of intellectual property.

00:28:21 – Income Milestones
Ellie shares her journey of reaching a modest but comfortable income for discretionary spending after the first year, sustaining a modest lifestyle in the second year, and experiencing a significant increase shortly after hitting the bestseller list.

00:34:58 – Email List and Marketing
Ellie highlights the significance of building and utilizing an email list for marketing. She discusses the effectiveness of newsletter swaps, promo discounts, and reader magnets in growing her subscriber list and driving book sales.

00:37:06 – Building a Writing Business
Ellie discusses the three indispensable tools in her writing business: Mailerlite for her newsletter, Canva for graphic design, and Vellum for book formatting. She emphasizes the importance of cultivating relationships with readers through her newsletter.

00:39:28 – Importance of Newsletters
Ellie highlights the value of direct reader communication through newsletters. She shares how asking about readers' lives and sharing sales promotions have a positive impact. She also emphasizes the importance of batch scheduling for newsletters.

00:40:39 – Finding Newsletter Swap Partners
Ellie explains how she initially built her subscriber base through bookfunnel.com and Facebook groups. She emphasizes transparency and the supportive nature of the author community in building relationships for newsletter swaps.

00:46:35 – Understanding Genre Expectations
The conversation delves into the complexities of defining genre-specific terms like “sweet” and “clean.” Ellie emphasizes the importance of meeting reader expectations and navigating genre-specific nuances when collaborating with other authors.

00:49:12 – Writing to Market
The importance of understanding genre expectations when writing is emphasized. Writing to fit within a specific genre can make it easier to navigate collaborations and reader expectations. This conversation highlights the influence of genre on audience reception.

00:49:27 – Future Book Releases
Ellie plans to release a book every other month in 2024, with possible box set collections. She also mentions the need to take a break to focus on personal matters and ease off the hectic schedule.

00:50:04 – Personal Life and Balance
Ellie talks about the challenges of moving and unpacking, highlighting the need to focus on personal responsibilities alongside her writing career. She emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between work and personal life.

Learn more at:

  • Share the podcast to help it reach more people and provide support to those who may benefit from the content.
  • Rate the podcast to help increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Check out upcoming events and join the Women in Publishing Summit community for monthly free webinars and other training at womeninpublishingsummit.com/events.
  • Join local writing groups in your state or city to find a community of like-minded individuals who can support you through your writing and publishing journey.

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PublishHER Podcast Episode 126: Productivity & Time Management Tips for Authors with Stacy Ennis

PublishHER Podcast Episode 126: Productivity & Time Management Tips for Authors with Stacy Ennis

In the latest episode of the PublishHer Podcast, Stacy Ennis, a best-selling author, coach, and speaker, joins host Alexa Bigwarfe to delve into the pivotal topic of maximizing productivity for writers. Drawing from her experience as a digital nomad living in Thailand and Portugal, Ennis offers valuable insights into creating a balanced structure around work to support a fulfilling life. Throughout the conversation, Ennis emphasizes the significance of time blocking and energy management in enhancing productivity, advocating for the creation of consistent, dedicated time for deep work. She also addresses the challenges writers face in finding time for their craft amidst other obligations, advocating for scaling down goals and starting with small time increments to build self-trust and make progress. Ennis's practical advice and personal anecdotes provide a rich resource for writers seeking to optimize their creative process and achieve writing goals while leading a fulfilling life. This episode is a must-listen for writers in need of productivity tips and time management strategies.

Stacy Ennis, a best selling author, coach, and speaker, brings a wealth of experience to the table. Her impressive background includes ghostwriting for a Nobel Prize winner in Medicine and leading as executive editor of Sam's Club's Healthy Living Made Simple, a publication reaching around 11 million readers. Co-author of the bestselling book, “Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact,” she also hosts the Beyond Better podcast. Ennis's expertise in helping leaders clarify their ideas and harness their unique stories to make an impact makes her an invaluable resource for writers seeking to maximize productivity and achieve their writing goals.

It's actually really inefficient to work 90 hours a week. You think you're doing more, but you're not. You're just spinning your wheels, and you're not putting out quality. – Stacy Ennis

 

Key Takeaways

  • Maximize your writing productivity with effective time management strategies.
  • Discover the benefits of outsourcing for authors and how it can streamline your writing process.
  • Explore the lifestyle benefits of building a location-independent writing career.
  • Uncover the importance of incorporating rest into your creative professional routine for optimal productivity.

Memorable Moments:

00:01:03 – Struggling with Productivity
Stacey discusses the challenges of productivity and efficiency in writing, marketing, and lifestyle design. She emphasizes the importance of time blocking and energy management to increase productivity and create time for rest and enjoyment.

00:01:45 – Creating a Life You Love
Stacey shares her experience of moving her family to Thailand and Portugal, embracing a digital nomad lifestyle. She highlights the significance of designing a life that allows for creativity, work, and personal fulfillment.

00:03:22 – Building Repeatable, Consistent Time for Deep Work
Stacey emphasizes the importance of creating consistent time for deep work and protecting it on the calendar. She discusses the impact of willpower and encourages prioritizing focused work at the beginning of the day.

00:07:30 – Overcoming Productivity Barriers
Stacey advises starting with small time commitments for writing, such as just ten minutes a day, to build self-trust and create momentum. She also emphasizes the need to lower the bar of success and build new habits for nurturing focus and creativity.

00:15:40 – The Value of Outsourcing in Business
Stacy discusses the importance of outsourcing certain tasks in order to save time and focus on high-value activities. She emphasizes the need to invest in business processes for long-term gains.

00:16:22 – Understanding the Value of Time
Stacy highlights the significance of understanding the value of time and how it directly impacts productivity and financial gains. She emphasizes the importance of focusing on high-value activities like client meetings and content creation.

00:20:34 – Productivity Tips for Entrepreneurs
Stacy shares valuable productivity tips such as setting time limits on screen usage, having no meeting days, and limiting email checking to specific times. She emphasizes the importance of protecting focused work time and creating a clear calendar for catch-up days.

00:25:54 – Achieving Location Independence
Stacy shares her journey of achieving location independence, from teaching abroad to intentionally building a global business. She emphasizes the importance of setting a clear goal, being intentional in business growth, and taking practical steps to make the dream a reality.

00:30:09 – Moving to Portugal
Stacy shares the journey of moving to Thailand, facing challenges, and ultimately settling in southern Portugal. The conversation highlights the importance of finding the right place to live and work.

00:30:26 – Immigration and Business
The discussion delves into the immigration process and running a business from Portugal. Stacy explains the tax structure, non habitual resident visa, and the benefits of hiring a relocation company.

00:32:03 – Efficient Work and Living in Portugal
Stacy discusses the benefits of living in Portugal, including a favorable tax structure and affordable medical care. The conversation emphasizes the importance of building a productive lifestyle while living abroad.

00:35:13 – Building a Writing Lifestyle
The conversation shifts to the discipline and dedication required to build a lifestyle around writing. Stacy emphasizes the importance of balancing hustle with efficiency, especially for women and mothers.

00:43:39 – Areas of Expertise
Stacy Ennis shares her expertise in business leadership, social equity, personal development, science, and wellness, highlighting her active presence on Instagram, LinkedIn, and staceyennis.com.

00:43:56 – Newsletter and Podcast
Stacy discusses her popular bi-weekly newsletter and the engaging community it has built, as well as her long-running podcast “Beyond Better,” featuring a recent episode with Alexa.

00:44:13 – Connection and Gratitude
Alexa expresses her appreciation for Stacy's insights on dream building, mindset, and creating the right structures for success, emphasizing the value of their conversation.

Learn more at:

  • https://stacyennis.com/
  • https://www.instagram.com/stacyennis/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacylynn/
  • Share the podcast to help it reach more people and provide support to those who may benefit from the content.
  • Rate the podcast to help increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Check out upcoming events and join the Women in Publishing Summit community for monthly free webinars and other training at womeninpublishingsummit.com/events.
  • Join local writing groups in your state or city to find a community of like-minded individuals who can support you through your writing and publishing journey.

Subscribe to the podcast:

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PublishHER Podcast Episode 125: Becoming a Speaker as an Author, with Jess Ekstrom

PublishHER Podcast Episode 125: Becoming a Speaker as an Author, with Jess Ekstrom

Alexa Bigwarfe interviews Jess Ekstrom, who shares insightful tips for aspiring speakers and entrepreneurs, highlighting the importance of focusing on the value you bring to your audience over just your personal story. Through this session, Jess provides tips around leveraging connections as starting points for speaking engagements, how to negotiate for assets beyond speaking fees, such as professional event photos, testimonials, and referrals. Jess also provides recommendations on structuring your talks and her formula to deliver concise, impactful messages. These strategies are aimed at empowering women writing nonfiction books who want to take the stage to make a bigger impact.

Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope and Mic Drop Workshop, investor in women, 2x best selling author, Forbes Top Rated Speaker and new mom. Her first brush with success was selling all of her toys on eBay when she was twelve. Since then, Jess and her companies have been featured on Today and Good Morning America and in Seventeen, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and People. More importantly, they've helped millions of women and girls around the world. She’s the bestselling author of Chasing the Bright Side and Create Your Bright Ideas. Her hobbies include writing, hiking, board games with her husband, playing peekaboo with her baby, and searching for the best breakfast burrito in America.

“Speaking is a really great way to just humanize your writing. So, when people know your words, it's like, why people would read the book and then want to go watch the movie, like, they want to see you in human form, deliver it with the storytelling and the emotion and the humanness that they've read from your words.” – Jess Ekstrom

Key Takeaways

    • Ignite Your Speaking Career: Uncover the essential steps to kickstart a successful and impactful speaking career.
    • Mastering the Art of Women in Public Speaking: Empower yourself to seize public speaking opportunities and break barriers in the professional world.
    • Crafting a Captivating Keynote Speech: Learn the secrets to building a keynote speech that captivates and inspires audiences.
    • Maximizing Your Worth: Discover effective tips for negotiating speaking fees and securing the value you deserve as a speaker.
    • Unveiling the Mic Drop Workshop: Explore a comprehensive review of the Mic Drop Workshop and its potential to elevate your public speaking prowess.

Memorable Moments:

00:03:14 – Finding the Bright Side
Alexa and Jess discuss the impact of Jess's book “Chasing the Bright Side” and how it resonated with Alexa during a difficult time in her life. They emphasize the power of sharing personal stories and finding optimism in challenging situations.

00:06:48 – The Power of Speaking
Jess shares her experience of using speaking engagements to promote her company, Headbands of Hope, and how it became a source of funding without external investment. She emphasizes the importance of adding thought leadership to marketing plans for founders and entrepreneurs.

00:09:50 – Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking
Jess acknowledges the fear associated with public speaking and highlights the differences between writing and speaking. She encourages authors to consider speaking as a way to humanize their writing and connect with audiences in a more personal and impactful manner.

00:13:54 – Crafting a Compelling Speech
Jess Ekstrom shares the importance of breaking down a public speaking engagement into five mini talks, each focused on a key lesson. She introduces the “bump set Spike” method to make the talks concise and impactful.

00:16:39 – Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Alexa Bigwarfe discusses the fear and imposter syndrome that can hinder people from becoming speakers. They emphasize the importance of learning the necessary steps and strategies to overcome these obstacles.

00:17:39 – Sharing Value Over Personal Story
Jess Ekstrom reflects on her initial mistake of pitching her story instead of her value. She highlights the importance of leading with how one can help the audience rather than focusing solely on personal achievements.

00:20:27 – Finding Speaking Opportunities
Jess Ekstrom provides insights on finding speaking opportunities, including alma maters, local chambers of commerce, and associations. She also emphasizes the value of negotiating for non-monetary benefits such as photos, videos, testimonials, and referrals.

00:25:57 – Negotiating Speaker Contracts
The conversation delves into the importance of formalizing agreements and contracts for speaking engagements. They discuss the significance of being assertive in negotiating non-monetary benefits and the value of putting everything in writing.

00:27:39 – Mic Drop Workshop Creation
Jess Ekstrom shares her motivation behind creating the Mic Drop Workshop in 2018, highlighting the need for more women in speaker lineups and the gender pay gap in the speaking industry.

00:28:44 – Community and Referral System
The Mic Drop Workshop not only provides speaking training for women but also fosters a strong community where women support and refer each other for speaking opportunities, creating a powerful network.

00:30:34 – Free Training and Newsletter
Jess Ekstrom discusses the free training available on the Mic Drop Workshop website and the value of signing up for the newsletter, which includes gig opportunities and tips for speakers.

00:31:47 – The Power of Community
The closed community of the Mic Drop Workshop is a significant draw, providing a platform for women to meet, share opportunities, and support each other as thought leaders, emphasizing the importance of community in professional growth.

00:33:24 – Goal Setting and Keynote Preparation
Jess Ekstrom encourages setting speaking goals and building digital assets to prepare for pitching bigger events, emphasizing the importance of laying the groundwork for future success in speaking engagements.

Learn more at:

  • Visit micdropworkshop.com to sign up for a free training on how to get paid to speak. This is a great way to learn more about the workshop and get started on your speaking journey.
  • Sign up for the five-day speak on stage boot camp starting in April. This is a comprehensive program designed to help you refine your speaking skills and prepare for paid speaking engagements.
  • Join the mic drop workshop community by enrolling in the course. This community is a valuable resource for networking, sharing speaking opportunities, and receiving support from other women thought leaders.
  • Text the word hype to 704-228-9495 to receive a weekly hype text with an inspiring quote to kickstart your week. You can also use this number to connect with Jess Ekstrom directly and ask any questions you may have.
  • Subscribe to the mic drop workshop newsletter to receive gig opportunities, speaking tips, and updates on upcoming events. This is a great way to stay informed and engaged with the mic drop workshop community.
  • www.instagram.com/jess_ekstrom
    www.twitter.com/jess_ekstrom
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/jess-ekstrom-59160342/

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