Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#AmWriting #Success #GuestPost BURDEN OF PROOF by @DiAnnMills w/ @TyndaleHouse

7 Traits Every Writer Needs for Career Success
from DiAnn Mills, author of newly released Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof (FBI: Rapid Response, #1)

Burden of Proof
(FBI Rapid Response #1)
by DiAn Mills
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Tyndale House Publishers

Reeling from a negotiation gone wrong, FBI Special Agent April Ramos is caught off guard when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. Worry for the child's safety quickly turns to fear when a man claiming to be the girl's father abducts them at gunpoint. April puts her hostage negotiation skills to use to learn more about who she's dealing with: Jason Snyder, a fugitive accused of murder.

As Jason spins a tall tale about being framed for the killing of his business partner, April must sort through his claims to find the truth. A truth that becomes all the more evident after April overhears a conversation between Jason and the local sheriff and realizes something more sinister may be happening in their small town of Sweet Briar, Texas. But aligning herself with a known fugitive to uncover the burden of proof could cost April her job . . . or worse, her life and the lives of other innocent people.

7 Traits Every Writer Needs for Career Success

We writers love to write. We live for the times when we can isolate ourselves and simply create. Our characters step onto the page with problems that keep us at the keyboard. When the story is released, we are thrilled. But to reach our readers, we need to master social media with our brand, genre, and unique expertise. How can writers do it all?

I’d like to offer seven traits every writer can incorporate into his or her lifestyle to ensure a professional platform.

1. An Expertly Written Story

Our most important job as novelists is to develop a suspenseful story that keeps our readers turning pages. We must be passionate about the story or the reader will never get past the hook.

2. A Distinct Brand

A professional writer seizes control of her career and develops a brand that is an asset, not a liability. This begins by assessing what a writer knows about herself and her readers. Unfortunately, if a writer fails to take distinct steps to establish a brand, the publishing industry will do the job, and a writer might not like the result.

The following four tips will help writers brand their writing style:

1. Define the genre that seizes your attention. Writing contemporary one day, fantasy the next, and horror after that confuses the reader. When writers establish a writing niche, they build readership.
2. Understand readers. Successful writers take time to explore their readers’ lifestyles, problems, and dreams. Writers who fail to address the needs of their readers soon don’t have any.
3. Develop a distinct voice. A writer’s voice is perfected by studying the craft and writing. The more we create, the more our voice is deepened. Personalize and be professionally transparent.
4. Establish an online presence with Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and BookBub. A blog presence—either posts by the writer or guest appearances—is valuable.

3. A Thorough Understanding of Readers

The following items will help writers reach out to their audience and cultivate valuable relationships. Note that every item is what writers do for their readers . . . not the other way around.

* The reader must know the writer’s specialty.
* The reader must be able to access the writer’s works.
* The reader must recognize the writer’s unique voice.
* The reader must fulfill his/her needs through our writing.
* The reader must know he/she is valued.

These are our goals:

1. Dear reader, my goal is to build a friendship with you. I care about you, and I’m constantly working to answer your questions and inform and entertain you.
2. The passion for my stories comes from a deep desire to provide a great book for you. Your encouragement is why I work hard to develop strong characters and an intricate plot.
3. You can trust me to stand firm on my brand. I’m a writer who is true to my promises. My books, blogs, and social media posts reflect my integrity.
4. You are important to me. My multiple daily posts are about how I can meet your needs. My promise to keep in touch is reliable. Leave comments, and I will respond.
5. Your input helps me be productive. I’m listening to your suggestions, questions, and advice.
6. We’re a team. No writer is ever alone. We need each other to walk this path called life.
7. What stories have influenced you? How can I best continue to serve you?

Readers are priceless gems. Nurture and take care of them.

4. Knowledge of Social Media Analytics

Social media analytics give us insight into our followers, their preferences and demographics. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter do a great job of helping writers with social media content. Goodreads is “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.”

5. Tenacity

Writers are determined to succeed. Never lose sight of dreams and goals. We are always learning, and we never give up.

6. Street Team

Street teams help spread the word about our books and brand. Today’s writer journeys many roads. We adjust to constant changes in the publishing industry and remain current with navigating social media platforms. Every writer craves encouragement and support. So why travel alone?

A street team, sometimes referred to as a dream team, posse, gang, road crew, backstage team, etc., is a means of spreading our message to others through a volunteer group of readers who are willing to promote our books, brand, speaking events, and blogs.

A writer’s support team is found among readers, book reviewers, bookstore owners, store managers, and just about anywhere people gather who enjoy a quality book. The goal is to recruit other readers and social media followers, and a street team makes this happen.

In turn, a street team deserves a writer’s respect and appreciation. I write a weekly devotional for my team, offer random contests just for them, and remember special occasions. Writers choose how to manage and support their street team.

7. Time Management: Tame the Beast

Busy writers realize they must master the feat of time management or they will fall into a hole called “overwhelmed and unproductive.” With a few guidelines, we can learn how to take charge of our responsibilities and reclaim time to spare.

The key is to understand life is filled with interruptions—family, health, vacations, and unanticipated delays. We can prepare for these intrusions by planning ahead.

Here are 10 tips to master and prioritize how we spend our time.

1. Record the number of work hours in your day. Be realistic. God should take first place in our lives, and His Word shows us our families and friends are vital.
2. Prioritize the tasks to be completed in order of urgency—book projects, articles, blog posts, social media posts, and any other marketing and branding deadlines.
3. Calendar the due dates when each task is to be emailed/sent to its home, preferably an online calendar that will alert the user.
4. Count back at least one week from the due date determined in items 2 and 3. The earlier the writer can place the date, the better. This becomes the new due date. (If the writer is working on a book project, back up the date two months.)
5. Look at those new due dates. How many words written per day will ensure those tasks are completed by the newly established dates?
6. Record that word count in a prominent place as a daily reminder.
7. Reach out to others who have mastered time management for assistance.
8. Breathe. A goal and a plan take time. If your plan isn’t working, reevaluate and begin again.
9. Take time for you. All work and no play won’t clear the cobwebs. Writers need to be fresh and excited about their work.
10. Writers who meet their deadlines are the writers who are successful.

These are by no means the only traits of a career-minded writer. I want to hear your tips so we all can grow our readership.

DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014. Connect with DiAnn at www.diannmills.com.