Tag Archives: goals

Stay Thirsty

I love a good ad campaign.

When I started running a small publishing business years ago, I had to teach myself advertising and marketing. I read some classics on the subject, such as How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor O. Schwab and Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples.

My favorite, though, was Ogilvy on Advertising by the legendary ad man David Ogilvy. This volume made me appreciate what goes into successful ads, and just how hard they are to pull off. It also made me realize that some of the same elements of a good ad can be applied to our stories.

One of my favorite campaigns was “The most interesting man in the world” commercials for Dos Equis beer.

A typical spot featured “vintage film” of this man in various pursuits, while a narrator recited a few facts about him. A few of my favorites:

• He lives vicariously through himself.

• He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels.

• The police often question him, just because they find him interesting.

• He once taught a German shepherd to bark in Spanish.

• When he drives a car off the lot, its price increases in value.

• Superman has pajamas with his logo.

At the end of the commercial we’d see him—now a handsome, older man—sitting in a bar with admiring young people at his elbow. He would look into the camera and say, in a slight Spanish accent, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.”

And then, at the end of each ad, comes the man’s signature sign off: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

What was so good about this campaign?

It was risky. Having a graying man as the lead character in a beer ad was, as they say, counter programming.

It was funny without trying too hard. The understated way the deep-voiced narrator extolled the man’s legend was pitch perfect.

It had a complete backstory, revealed a little at a time in the mock film clips.

These are qualities of a good novel, too: risky, in that it doesn’t repeat the same old; a bit of unforced humor is always welcome; and its backstory renders characters real and complex without slowing down the narrative. All that we can learn from “the most interesting man in the world” campaign.

And from the man himself we can learn, as writers, to live life expansively and not just lollygag through our existence. Not waiting for inspiration but going after it, as Jack London once said, “with a club.” Believing, with Jack Kerouac, in the “holy contour of life.”

We ought to be seekers as well as storytellers, a little mad sometimes, risking the pity and scorn of our fellows as we pursue the artistic vision. Then we park ourselves at the keyboard and strive to get it down on the page. Why go through it all? Because the world needs dreams rendered in words.

Writer, keep after it and someday this may be said of you as well: “His charisma can be seen from space. Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number.”

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Source: writershelpingwriters.net

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How to Achieve Goals: 5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Actually Accomplish Your Goals

The end of the year/beginning of the next one is always exciting. It’s a time to reflect on your accomplishments and prepare for the next ones. But often times, the newness and anticipation of New Year’s resolutions lasts for just a few months before fading away, checklists long forgotten in a dusty drawer. Here’s how to achieve goals and actually maintain your motivation throughout the new year.

acheive goal

5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Achieve Goals

If you want to stay strong throughout the entirety of 2018, here are five tips to help you achieve just that.

1. Set goals for the month rather than the year

That’s not to say year-long goals aren’t important, but “smaller” goals that are easily finished in a short amount of time will give you that rush of positive energy everyone needs in order to keep up the good work.

Think about your long-term hopes and dreams for yourself, such as writing a novel, and break them down into more manageable chunks that you can spread out over twelve months, like writing 10,000 words per month.

2. Write a checklist

Who doesn’t love checking off boxes when a task is completed? Make your list of goals something large, aesthetically pleasing, and visible.

It must be placed where you’ll see it often to remind yourself what still needs to be done and what you have already finished. And if you don’t enjoy looking at it, you won’t necessarily enjoy doing anything off the list, either. Keep it positive!

3. Create consequences

First decide if you are the kind of person who works better under the threat of punishment or the promise of reward. Maybe you work well with both, in which case, even better because you have plenty of flexibility with which to work.

If negative consequences are the way to go, give yourself deadlines for each of your goals. Writers have to work under deadlines all the time, which is a great way to boost productivity when you know someone is counting on you to pull through. But if you are your own boss, you have to come up with your own punishment, too. If you don’t reach the deadline, maybe consider pulling the plug on the television for a while.

If rewards cause you to race to the keyboard with glee, set concrete promises for yourself, such as, “If I finish editing this short story by the end of the month, I will treat myself to a nice dinner and a movie.” When you have a specific incentive in mind, you will be that much more determined to finish what you started.

4. Switch up your setting

If I ever start to feel bored with my usual routine, I pick up my laptop and move somewhere new. This can be as drastic as sitting yourself down at a coffee shop or library or as simple as moving to a new room in the house.

A different view and a different seating orientation can do wonders for your enthusiasm for your work.

5. Envision your future

What kind of writer do you want to be? When you picture yourself ten years in the future, what do you see for yourself?

Don’t be afraid to dream big. Imagining your future can be exciting and terrifying all at once, but it always helps when it comes to deciding what your next move should be.

But if you do, be ready to put in the work. The amount of effort you put into a task will match the outcome.

How to Achieve Goals and Make Changes in the New Year

Don’t sell yourself short. If you want to be somewhere else a year from now, figure out what you need to do to make the change and do it.

One more tip for how to achieve goals? Ask for help, if you need it. Having a community standing behind you in support is one of the best ways to drum up the courage to achieve your goals in any way possible.

You’ve got this.

What are your goals for the New Year? Do you have other tips for how to achieve goals? Let us know in the comments.

By The Magic Violinist
Source: thewritepractice.com

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How to Launch A Book In 3 Steps

First Edition Design Publishing

Another great guest post from Duolit!

The following is a guest post from Nick Thacker.

While any kind of launch – whether the launch of a book, a product, or something else entirely – usually involves many steps and lots of pieces, it can also be distilled down into its core components.

I’ve launched a few things over the past two years, including nonfiction books and products, and I am also in the middle of a fiction book launch. And while each of these launches were different in style, methodology, and subject matter, I’ve found that there were three basic elements that went into each one.


Let’s assume you’re launching a book. You’ll need to have a few things taken care of before you even begin planning your launch:

A great product (book). “You can’t polish a turd…” maybe you’ve heard that expression before. If not, I’m sure it makes enough sense that I don’t need to explain.
An audience. You don’t necessarily need a large audience, but at the very least you should have a good idea of who that audience is. Know what they’re interested in, know how they like to find new authors and books, and know how to reach them.
A goal. Want to make money? Want to break into the Amazon bestseller lists? Want to have something to show off to friends and family? These are all great goals, but without specifying that goal, you’re going to feel lost.
Got it?
Once you’ve nailed these prerequisites, you’re ready to launch a book – in three steps!

A quick note: I know you’re going to think that these “steps” really represent “phases” of multiple steps, and you’re right. Just understand that each of these phases can include as many steps and as much detail as you’d like (and are able to accomplish).

Step 1: Plan

“Fail to plan, plan to fail.” You must write out a marketing plan for your book – this should include at the bare minimum:

A timeline
A list of marketing/advertising/promotion venues
Your timeline can be as simple as, “by next month, I will have written x blog posts, spent x dollars on advertising, and hosted x book signings.”

Obviously the more detail you put in this timeline, the more use you’ll get out of it, but it doesn’t need to be ridiculous – things change, and nothing goes exactly to plan. Keep it simple and save the stress.

For the “venues list,” you’re just trying to get your ideas down on paper (or into a computer). By writing down your chosen advertising/marketing venues, you’re setting up a psychological “accountability partner,” and getting a feel for the logistical side of your launch.

Lastly, set goals.

Write them down – make sure you know exactly what those goals are. Don’t be vague. And don’t set hopes – ideals that are just results out of your control – set goals: actionable, measurable, check-off-able items that help you feel like you’re getting somewhere.

Step 2: Prepare

Once you’ve taken some personal “brain time,” move into the “action time.” This phase is when you’ll write, send, and schedule guest posts, interviews, Q&As, and any other marketing “collateral,” and when you’ll want to actually do the things on your Action Plan list from above.

It’s great to follow your timeline, but it’s really difficult to stick to the plan once things start rolling – give yourself ample time (more than expected) to knock out the to-do list you’ve set for yourself.

Step 3: Launch and Measure

This is it – the moment you’ve been waiting for!

It’s time to press “Go” on that launch!

…And when you realize that there’s no “Go” button, don’t freak out – the “launch” phase is just that: a phase.

It starts with the book launch (if you’ve set up a pre-order on Amazon, this date is the “publish” date), and the first order of business will be to tend to any comments you’ve received on those guest posts, respond to emails regarding any “pre-launch” giveaways/specials, and try to not go crazy during the (soon-to-be) busiest week of your life.

Plan some time to not think about the launch as well – it’s great for your sanity, relationships, and long-term health. Schedule downtime, relaxation, going to the movies, etc.

Most importantly, measure the results of your efforts. Use tracking software – Google Analytics, MailChimp’s reporting features, Amazon’s KDP Select Reports, or whatever – to keep tabs on how well your “launch campaign” is doing.

Don’t worry too much during this phase about tweaking and/or changing your plan mid-launch – just go with it, and let the measuring work for you. When all is said and done, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out what when on under the hood.

Rinse and repeat
Launching – anything – takes time, effort, and practice, and the first time you launch a book you’re going to do something wrong.

Actually, every time you launch something you’ll do something wrong – but that’s okay.

There’s no better way to learn than to make some mistakes and try it again. Scrutinize the results closely (remember that part about measuring?), and figure out what you can improve upon next time around. Figure out what really didn’t work, what took too much time for too little ROI, etc.

Above all, do it again. Launch another book, and then another. There’s no marketing quite like having a large backlist, and that’s the only type of marketing that you can actively pursue while you’re writing (‘cause it’s the same thing…).

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