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Writing A Book? Create A Writing Habit With These 3 Tips

Writing A Book? Create A Writing Habit With These 3 Tips

In Team Up I’ve been working with a writer who’s started writing a book more times than she can count. She says that she has a dozen false starts on her computer. Those books never went anywhere.

“I start out great,” she said. “Then something comes up. I realize that I need another idea, or that what I have isn’t strong enough. I’ve made up my mind that this time I’m am writing a book — I’m finally finishing a book. No matter what.”

She’s got the right attitude.

However, she needs more than that. She needs to turn writing a book into a habit.

Make writing a book a habit

Writing a book is intimidating, if you allow it to be. Your biggest ally is the disposition we all have to create habits.

Currently I’m reading Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. He reveals that we form habits, both consciously and unconsciously. Those habits, once formed, can be cued at any time; we don’t realize it’s happening. This is great when you form habits for writing a book. Not so great with habits like procrastinating, and eating junk food.

It turns out that creating a habit is easy.

Researchers have discovered how habits work. When a habit is cued, we follow the habit’s routine in expectation of a reward. When rewards occur, over time the cue, routine and reward process becomes a habit fueled by craving. This is an unconscious process.

Writing a book has long been habitual with me. I don’t think about it. Over 30 years, it’s just become a habit. Although I developed the habit unconsciously, I can see that I followed the cue, routine and reward process.

You can do it too. Here’s how.

1. Cue yourself to get words onto your computer screen

Start by lowering your expectations. Your goal isn’t to write a book. It’s to get words onto your computer screen which will, in time, become a book.

You need a cue to sit down at your computer every day. Your cue can be simple. For example, many runners cue their exercise habit by setting out their running shoes beside their bed. When they wake up, they lace on the shoes, and they’re out the door. It’s a habit. The cue enables them to follow their routine for a run. Their reward is runner’s high: the endorphins which their body creates.

What would cue you to sit at your computer each day?

My cue is simple. It’s coffee. I wake up, make coffee, sit down at my computer and start writing. One of my friends has a crossword puzzle cue: he opens his crossword puzzle app, does a crossword, then opens Scrivener and starts writing.

Keep your cue simple.

2. Form a routine: meet a daily word count goal

I love Scrivener for many reasons, especially because it allows you to set word count goals. Let’s say you’re aiming for 60,000 words for a novel. If you wrote 1,000 words a day, you’d complete the novel in two months. Or, if your goal was 500 words a day, in four months.

Set any word count goal you like — just 50 or 100 words, initially.

When you’re cued, sit down at your computer and write those words. You’ll find that if you start at 100 words, on some days you’ll go over that. Extend your daily word count goal only when you’re regularly going over your current goal.

3. Reward yourself every day for following your routine

Completed your routine for the day? Excellent. Reward yourself. Essential: keep your reward simple. Save the champagne for your book’s publication day. Small daily rewards are enough.

For most authors the satisfaction of being done with their word count for the day is sufficient, but you might like to reward yourself with a little treat.

Once you’ve created a habit for writing a book, you’re set

The beauty of habits is that they become unconscious: cue, routine, and reward. Form a habit, and soon you’re writing a book automatically, without any will power at all.

Have fun. 🙂

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Ebook Publishing Horror: Downward Trend In Amazon KDP Select

Ebook Publishing Horror: Downward Trend In Amazon KDP Select

Once upon a time, ebook publishing on Amazon KDP Select was pretty much a goldmine for competent authors. Over the past year, the easy option is no longer so easy.

I talked about the tyranny of “free”, and suggested that you:

enroll your first book in Select, making it free on Kindle Unlimited, but offer your other titles widely. Once your other titles are selling, you can remove your first book from Select, because you’re gaining visibility, and readers.

KDP Select has this benefit for authors: you can go days without a sale, yet see your income rise, because people are reading your books.

Ebook publishing: the scammers, and Kindle Unlimited (KU) Pages Read

The challenge for many authors is that in real terms, over the past couple of years, KU authors (enrollment in Select means that your books are free to read for KU subscribers) are making 30 per cent less.

The Select “pot” — the money Amazon puts in to pay KDP Select authors — has been dropping. For June 2017, Amazon offers a KENPC of 0.0042229.

Many authors attribute the declining KENPC to scammers. I talked about scammers in this article on writing romance. That may be part of the problem, but the greater issue is the huge amount of content pouring onto the Kindle Store every month.

As I write this, over the past 30 days, 117,569 ebooks have been published to the Kindle Store. By the time you read this, it will be upwards of 120,000 ebooks.

How many of those ebooks landed in KU? I just checked.

Here you go: 58,242 ebooks are Kindle Unlimited Eligible, meaning that they’re enrolled in Select — that’s around half of the ebooks published within the past 30 days.

More ebooks are sharing Amazon’s pot, so it’s inevitable that authors’ earnings will go down.

Over the past few years, I’ve taken my ebooks (and my clients’ ebooks) into and out of KDP Select. Currently, I’m out, except for first books in series.

Adjust your self-publishing plans for success

I’ve no plans to go all-in with KDP Select for the foreseeable future. With so many new ebooks enrolling into the program each and every month unless Amazon increases the pot substantially, it doesn’t make sense.

Your self-publishing plans may be completely different. KDP Select still works for many authors; they’re making money.

What holds authors back from publishing widely is that when you publish elsewhere, as well as on Amazon, chances are good that your income will go down. It’s normal for authors to take an income hit for three to six months.

This a real challenge for authors who depend on the money, and I feel the pain of authors who are tied to KDP Select. Authors’ groups are filled with threads about the drop in KENPC, and whether KENPC will drop even lower.

No one knows.

Here’s what I suggest — look at your options. I gave you some ideas in the article on the tyranny of “free”, check them out.

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

I’ve written about using short stories for marketing before, but since “can I really sell short stories?” is a question which keeps coming up, here are three more tips which will help. They may inspire you to make the most of short fiction; few authors do, so there’s a real opportunity here.

Something to keep in mind too — short stories help you to take advantage of the holidays to sell fiction. Christmas stories always sell. Consider that you can write a short story in a few hours, so short fiction is an excellent way to boost your sales.

In addition to Christmas, other holidays, like Halloween (spooky stories) and St. Valentine’s Day (romances) offer wonderful opportunities for you to sell more books.

Short stores are short: focus on the emotion

The big reason I love short stories is that you’ll learn things which you can apply to all your fiction. Such as:

  • Emotion is everything: deliver an experience;
  • Stop explaining, it weakens the story;
  • Tighten up: choose one word rather than ten.

“One word rather than ten” is a challenge for me. I tend to wordiness.

Here are the tips.

1. Use short stories to preview your current novel in progress

“I want to write faster…” There’s a trend at the moment with authors complaining about how slowly they write. The other side of the coin is authors bragging that they finished their novel in a week.

If you’re a slow writer, that’s perfectly fine. You write the way you write a particular novel. You may write your next novel in ten days, it doesn’t matter.

Short stories give you a simple and easy way to boost the sales of all your fiction. If you’re in the slow writer camp, consider writing a couple of stories to prequel your novel. Not only will that prime readers to expect your novel, they can pre-order it if you’re offering pre-orders.

2. Use short stories to test a new genre

I’m a ghostwriter. Occasionally someone will offer me money to write something in a genre that’s completely new to me. Unless I have an instinctive reaction like — no way, not with a gun to my head — I ask the client to give me a chance to test whether I can write in that genre.

If I find that I don’t like reading in the genre, and can’t come up with a mile of ideas after reading a couple of books, my investigation stops.

On the other hand, if I enjoy the genre, I try writing a short story of around 10,000 words. I can do that in a couple of days, and I’ll know whether I want to accept the ghostwriting commission.

3. Write short stories for collaboration marketing with other authors

Bundles of short stories sell well in various fiction genres, as well as in sub-genres of major  categories like romance.

Recently on Facebook, groups for author marketing collaborations with bundles have seen an uptick in members. I haven’t researched, but I imagine that if these groups are popular, there are assuredly others on Facebook, as well as on venues like forums and LinkedIn.

When you join a group, you’ll hear about bundles which are calling for submissions, and you can send off a story for inclusion.

Although I haven’t joined any of these groups yet, I’ve got it on my task list. Come October, I start writing Christmas short stories, for my pen names, as well as for clients.

Several authors I respect have told me that joining other authors in a bundle of short stories has worked well for them. They’ve gained subscribers, traffic, and sales.

How many ways could you use short stories in your self-publishing venture?

I hope I’ve inspired you to think of short stories as useful, and if you haven’t tried writing a story or two — write one today. 🙂

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.