How I Became a Best-Selling Author in 72 Hours

 

by Frank Lee

I was in the front row at the “Writing for your life seminar when “The” Barbara Brown Taylor told us, “As an author, fame is not what you think; it’s kind of like telling folks you are the badminton champion of Chesterfield County.”

Right Barbara, it’s easy to disdain fame when you are number one! Secretly, we all wanted to be just like “her,” a New York Times best-selling author, writer of inspirational books, all of which hit number one. She was successful, famous, and at the top of the literary pyramid – the number one spiritual author in America! – well, at least for today, you see Frank Lee has plans!

Following months of agony writing my first book, “WHY JESUS LEFT THE CHURCH,” the moment of truth arrived, I took a deep breath, hesitated, and hit “send.” The manuscript was submitted, and the book published. I was now ready to be famous.

Much to my surprise, the first 72 hours did not go as I had planned. Sales were “modest,” Oprah did not call, there was no nomination for a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize, and Ellen did not invite me to be on her show. Something must be wrong? I would soon learn what it was. Authors – important safety tip, if you do not put in an author profile, Amazon will do it for you.

The host of the Christian radio talk show was also seeking fame and apparently channeling Woodward and Bernstein. He was poised and ready for the “ambush interview.”

“So, Father Frank, don’t you feel hypocritical writing about the church’s shortcomings in light of your other books? We know about them!”

The host then read some of “my” titles: “LUSH EROTICA” – “NAKED JOURNEY” “MIDNIGHT BURNS” and many more…

His ensuing lecture was delivered in an animated eloquence reserved only to those accustomed to carrying clipboards and pointing out the failures of others. The words “disgusting “and “purulent “were offered as descriptors of my sinful behavior. All this followed by invitation to repent right there on the air! At this moment, the switchboard overloaded with calls from listeners wanting to emphasize my depravity further or to save my soul before the next commercial break.

For those who do not know me, I did not write those books. Amazon attached the biography and books of another author named “Frank Lee” to my Bookshelf page. For those who do, you are aware my pet peeve is condemning folks with a “holier than thou attitude.”

The diatribe ended. The moment of truth had arrived. It was time to set the record straight. Then, For some unknown reason, I lowered my voice at least half an octave and proclaimed; “Yes, absolutely, those were all my books, and we needed to discuss the tragic effects of “judgemental finger-pointing” on the church.”

The next five minutes were truly interesting. At this point, someone must have clued in the host of his mistake, and he tried to pivot out of the discussion;

“Well, Pastor Lee, it seems we have been ‘misguided’. My apologies, I should have known a minister would not” …

I interrupted to opine;

“I’m sure my sins are worse than the other Frank Lee. Heck, he wrote about sin. I lived it.” There but for the grace”….

Strangely it ended as it should have begun, a real discussion about “Why Jesus Left the Church.” TOGETHER we decided just maybe people living in glass houses were a contributing factor.

It would take Amazon 11 hours to correct the Biography mistake. Along the way, I learned that the other Frank Lee sells lots and lots of books. Then I noticed something – all the books were lined up by category AND in order of popularity. There, officially certified by Amazon, was my book IN THE NUMBER ONE POSITION.

I’m sure fame is not in my future,
But on that glorious day, March 26, 2020.
For eleven exciting hours, I was at the top of the pyramid.
Certified as America’s number one author in Religious Writing!

Move over Barbara Brown Taylor; there’s a new badminton champion in Chesterfield County after all!

Frank Lee
A Senior Encourager

NOTE: Please reference my official Amazon Documentation below.

 

The Fluidity of Decentralization

Our society is moving away from the rigid order of hierarchy toward the fluidity of decentralization. It is moving from nouns to verbs, from tangible products to intangible becomings. From fixed media to messy remixed media. From stores to flows. And the value engine is moving from the certainties of answers to the uncertainties of questions. Facts, order, and answers will always be needed and useful. They are not going away, and in fact, like microbial life and concrete material, facts will continue to underpin the bulk of our civilization. But the most precious aspects, the most dynamic, most valuable, and most productive facets of our lives and new technology will lie in the frontiers, in the edges where uncertainty, chaos, fluidity, and questions dwell.

 

– from “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly

What Can I Accomplish in Six Months?

  by Angela Enos

Whew, six months have passed since I attended my first Writing for Your Life conference. Many of the knowledgeable speakers left me feeling suitably equipped and inspired to write.  I must admit though, my jaw did hit the ground several times during the conference as we discussed building a platform. Brian’s teachings were accurate, to the point, and tremendously informative; yet the task of building a platform seemed so overwhelming to me.

Do not dismay my friend.  If you apply the wealth of information you have gained at your recent conference, and add some blood, sweat, and tears–okay, perhaps not blood–you can build a platform.

I attended my first WFYL conference in June, 2019.  For reinforcement and encouragement, I attended The Business of Being a Writer, in October, 2019. Heeding the saying “two heads are better than one,” I invited my husband to attend the October Business seminar with me, and we were educated together.  A great idea.

Six months have now passed since I began my endeavor to build a platform. Please allow me to highlight what I have accomplished.

  • Brainstormed and birthed a brand, business plan, funding, and strategy for Prayers for Life, my free, innovative, online prayer school.
  • Attended professional photo shoot.
  • Had a professional website designed and launched.
  • Learned how to produce videos, edit said videos, and add sounds, music, and subtitles.
  • Began Facebook business page and YouTube channel.
  • Learned how to produce and manage Facebook ads.
  • August 2019 – Launched Prayers for Life, my online prayer school, on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Produced weekly teaching videos and posted videos to website, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • Produced a weekly Newsletter to obtain email subscribers.
  • Designed two Prayers for Life t-shirts. Preparing to sell in 2020.
  • Submitted articles for possible print to various magazines.
  • My husband and I attended The Business of Being a Spiritual Writer workshop by Brian Allain in Nashville, TN.
  • Began working towards gaining speaking engagements. (Taught at five successful speaking engagements in 2019).
  • Began Instagram channel, Morning Prayers. A video prayer is posted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Inaugurated and advertised my 2020 plan for Prayers for Life, “Claiming the Prize.”

Well, what is left to do in 2020?

  • Procure many more speaking engagements through a mailing campaign, which was launched January 2020.
  • Add Spanish subtitles to my videos in order to open the door to a whole new audience.
  • Produce e-teachings as giveaways in order to obtain more email addresses and subscribers.
  • Submit more articles to magazines and enter writing contests.
  • Attend additional writer’s conferences.

I have worked tirelessly in 2019, and I am just getting started.  Why?  Because I believe in my books and in God’s healing power as it comes alive through my writings.  That is the key. Believe in yourself and what you are producing, whether in writing or video.  Speak those things that are not as if they are (Romans 4:17), run the race and receive your crown (I Cor. 9:24).  Be encouraged, it is possible.

______________________

 

Angela Enos is a retired youth pastor and children’s pastor; now author, speaker, and the founder of Prayers for Life, an innovative online prayer school designed to bring power and victory to God’s people.  Angela produces a weekly 10-minute teaching video, a bi-weekly electronic Newsletter, and supplemental videos and inspirational postings.  Check out Angela’s website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page for further details and to view her life-changing videos.

 

Website: www.angelaenoslive.com

Writing a Business Plan for Your Platform

by Angela Enos

 

Attending a WFYL Writer’s conference certainly provides a writer with a wealth of information.  And, if you have made the decision to dig your heels in, climb the mountain, and build a platform, attending the Business of Being a Writer conference is invaluable.  Afterall, we are all writers, but we are not all business savvy.  Yet, a writer is an entrepreneur, and being a successful author requires more than just creating a winning manuscript.  Though formerly unchartered ground for me, the business of becoming a writer has now become a well-traveled path.

I needed to formulate a plan and organize my thoughts into concise steps.  First thought, financing.  How much is this going to cost?  I had a family friend that I thought might help me get started by investing in my vision to build a platform.  Therefore, I began to write out the steps I needed to take, and the money required.  I spent days working out the details and rehearsed my speech.  In the end, as I stood and presented the sales pitch to my friend, I realized that I was selling myself as well. I truly believed in the plan I was about to initiate.

Below are the steps to my business plan, along with the dollar values I paid, which will obviously vary.  I pray that these steps help you get started as you begin writing, pitching, and believing in your platform.

Things I need to do: 

  • Establish your brand and platform. See previous blog “After the Conference – How to Determine Your Brand and Platform,” posted 1/13/2020.
  • Obtain professional photos (to be used on website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) – $300
  • Obtain website professional to create a website, produce a banner for Facebook business page, set up YouTube channel, create business email, and create email marketing service provider $1,500
  • Pay for website subscription for one year – $250
  • Create business cards with new photo – $30
  • Clean up personal Facebook
  • Update Linkedin
  • Write out a realistic timeline: photo shoot to launch date
  • Order banner for marketing and video production – $20
  • Learn how to create a meme
  • Giveaways?!
  • Create a launch team
  • Send Launch team members some business cards and a free gift for signing up
  • Purchase free gift for launch team members – $25
  • Learn how to create Facebook ads – (I spent $10-$15 a week on ads. You can spend $5 a week or $500 a week.)
  • Learn Instagram and begin to post on Instagram
  • Consider Etsy and Twitter benefits and use if appropriate
  • Create three-fold brochure for marketing
  • Obtain speaking engagements

Videography

  • Learn how to make videos for Facebook and Youtube and learn how to post videos.
  • Download video editing software and learn how to use it.
  • What equipment do I need? Microphone?  Camera? Teleprompter?
  • Find free music to add to videos during editing.

 

You may note that many of these steps did not involve money.  It is possible to do all of this on a low budget.  You don’t need an MBA or a fat wallet.  You need a vision and a few organizational skills. WFYL offers professional assistance in many of these areas.  See: https://writingforyourlife.com/writer-support-services/

Now, combine your creative juices with a dash of organizational skills and begin to type.  You can create a business plan that fits your platform.  Begin to believe in yourself and your mission; and stay passionate.

 

Angela Enos is a retired youth pastor and children’s pastor; now author, speaker, and the founder of Prayers for Life, an innovative online prayer school designed to bring power and victory to God’s people.  Angela produces a weekly 10-minute teaching video, a bi-weekly electronic Newsletter, and supplemental videos and inspirational postings.  Check out Angela’s website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page for further details and to view her life-changing videos.

Website: www.angelaenoslive.com

Wildly Controversial

Erring on the side of audaciousness – trying to grab the customer by the throat – is partly why a lot of the projects we are talking about were wildly controversial and, in some cases, deeply upsetting when they launched. Think of Orson Welles combining fact and fiction in his famous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds – in that moment he was reinventing entertainment and deeply scaring people at the same time.  Think of Matisse’s Blue Nude being burned in effigy in 1913. (Today you can buy a print of it at Walmart.) Think of D. H. Lawrence’s novels banned for their obscenity. Think of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which invented a new genre of nonfiction – people were incensed; was it real or not? Think of the technology that is subject to protests and reactive legislation – from Airbnb to Uber. Eventually, they become a part of our daily lives, but at first there is something deeply shocking and forceful to them. “Either you’re controversial,” as the perpetually controversial writer Elizabeth Wurtzel advises creatives, “or nothing at all is happening.”

 

– from “Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday

 

After the Conference – How to Determine Your Brand and Platform

by Angela Enos

 

I attended my first Writing for Your Life conference in June 2019. In addition to making new friends, I was inspired by other writers and taught by knowledgeable speakers.  My weekend also included an encouraging one-on-one with a literary agent that left me dancing in the streets.  And now…nothing left but to build a platform.  My head was spinning with a tidal wave of ideas during my three-hour drive home.

The next morning as I sat at my home computer, those ideas began to overwhelm me.   I quickly realized that this was going to be work, hard work.  Hard work, yes; impossible, no.

If you have attended a writer’s conference, I am rather confident that you have experienced some of the same highs and lows that I have described above.  Now, what is your next step?

The conference left me with a treasure chest full of information, newly formed ideas and, the challenge of building a platform.  I decided to accept the task at hand.  Now, how do I create and build a platform?

Allow me to offer the following springboard.

It is time to contemplate what you might have to offer on social media.  What will be your specific platform and how will you take that first plunge?  Time to grab a pencil with a large eraser or, sit at your computer, willing to cut and paste, and answer the following questions.

  1. This is, perhaps, the same first question you asked yourself before writing a manuscript. What information do I have to share?  In what area(s) am I knowledgeable?  In what arena can I be accepted as skilled and proficient?  What am I passionate about?
  2. What are your talents?  What are your strengths?  Are you a good speaker?  Are you comfortable on camera? Perhaps a vlog?  Or, are you more of an introvert, no crowds or camera for you?  A blog is more your style.
  3. What are people looking for on social media?   Where is there an open niche, a need?  Write some questions that you believe are most commonly Googled in your area of expertise and experience.
  4. Lastly, how can I combine my knowledge and talent to produce something that meets that need, something that encourages people to tune in because they are receiving the desired information they have been looking for?

For the next few days I sat at my computer, typed feverously; cut, pasted, and deleted. After days of brainstorming, I birthed my platform, Prayers for Life, a free online prayer school.  You see, I love being in front of people, I am comfortable teaching God’s Word, and people are always coming to me for prayer, even asking me to write them a prayer.  My platform:  videography, teaching, and prayer.

What’s yours?  Commence the brainstorming and take the plunge.

 

Angela Enos is a retired youth pastor and children’s pastor; now author, speaker, and the founder of Prayers for Life, an innovative online prayer school designed to bring power and victory to God’s people.  Angela produces a weekly 10-minute teaching video, a bi-weekly electronic Newsletter, and supplemental videos and inspirational postings.  Check out Angela’s website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page for further details and to view her life-changing videos.

Website: www.angelaenoslive.com

What Added Value Items Should You Include in Your Book Proposal?

– by Jana Burson

 

Beyond all the standard sections that need to be included (Title/subtitleSynopsisTable of Contents and Chapter Summaries, Sample ChaptersPlatform) there are some added value items writers can include to enhance their overall proposal.

They are:
* A designed proposal
* Photographs
* Author video

Oftentimes, we work with our clients to have their proposals designed once the content has been finalized. This allows for a visually pleasing document to be sent to publishing houses for consideration, rather than a plain text document. Editors receive stacks upon stacks of proposals and a designed proposal stands out from the crowd. It’s also another way for an author to showcase their overall style or brand and personality.

Including an author photo personalizes the content even further and allows for an editor to put a face with the content. If you also have an active speaking platform, or perhaps you lead a small group, or you do one-on-one coaching … including additional photos of you in action in your element will add even more depth to your platform.

And last, but not least, when it makes sense and the author has the ability, they can include a short (never more than 2 minutes) video where they share their heart behind the book. This provides yet one more way for an editor to connect with the author and suddenly they become more than just a name or an image on a page.

What Should be Included in the Platform Section of Your Book Proposal?

– by Christopher Ferebee

 

Everybody hates talking about platform. We get it. We do too. But the reality of publishing today is you have to be building one. For reasons we’ll tackle in a later post, the ability of a publisher to “make” a bestseller has diminished. The unfortunate reality is that most books are sold to the author’s audience. The platform section is where you describe how you intend to reach an audience with your message.

 

Your starting place is your own, actual platform. How many Facebook fans and friends do you have? How many Twitter followers do you have? How many Instagram followers do you have? Do you have an e-newsletter, and if so, how many subscribers? Started a podcast? How many downloads are you averaging?  Do you speak? How often? What size crowds? Basically, you want to describe in detail every point of contact you have with your audience.

 

To take this a little further, you should also drill down into audience engagement. What is the typical ratio of engagement with the things you share? Do some analysis into how engaged your audience is with your content. What’s the open rate on your e-newsletter? What’s the percentage of likes and retweets you receive on average per tweet? How many likes and reposts do you receive on your Instagram posts? A small following with significant engagement is far more valuable than a massive following with no engagement.

 

Next you want to provide information about the networks of influence you have access to. This is not a place to list every person you wish you could reach, or you hope will lend support. This is supposed to be the list of people you can count on. Provide their name, organization if applicable, and their specific reach.

 

Finally, where else have you written? Have you published previous books? Which books, what year, what publisher, and how many sales? Have you contributed articles? To what outlets? Have you written a chapter in another book? Which book and chapter. List your prior publishing here.

 

The tendency here is to be modest, or to downplay your actual reach. Don’t. You want to be as detailed and specific as possible. This is your chance to convince an agent or publisher that you actually can bring an audience to your idea.

 

Get in touch!