Welcome 2021

Goodbye Virus and Trump

Happy New Year, Everyone!

By the time you are receiving my wishes, you have already broken your New Year Resolution, most of the world is in the grip of the second wave of Coronavirus, and Trump has ruined whatever hopes we had summoned in saying goodbye to 2020.

Nonetheless, we are still alive, after last year’s devastating fires, we had bumper rain in Australia; hence everything is green, and Trump can’t pardon himself.

So, let’s welcome 2021.

Jumping straight into lessons.

Authorpreneur Journey Step 3

In my 18 Dec 2020 newsletter, Break Every Writing Rule With a Smile, I showed you how to go deep and create 300 sub-sub-sub topics for blogging beforehand so that you never run out of topics. When brainstorming the topics, we intentionally chose a single word. Today I am going to show how you can write several posts from a single word.

There are about 52 kinds of blog posts you can write from any given keyword. I am kidding. But you can certainly write three or four.

Let’s take one of the mindmaps on storytelling.

I randomly picked six keywords from the above mindmap and build titles for storytelling articles.

If you can’t read them, here they are:

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Life

Sub-sub-topic: Interesting

1)      How To Make Any Story Interesting To Read

2)      Three Mistakes That Can Make Even Interesting Stories Go Bland,

3)      How To Become An Interesting Storyteller

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Life

Sub-sub-topic: Pace

1)      In Good Storytelling Pace Is Everything

2)      How To Pace a Long Story

3)      What Storytellers Can From Seinfeld About Pacing

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Life

Sub-sub-topic: Failure

1)      Why Stories Fail and How To Make Them Work

2)      How Failure Stories Have More Impact Than The Success Stories

3)      My Failed Story Attempts And The Lessons They Taught Me

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Elements

Sub-sub-topic: Memorability

1)      People Forget Facts But Remember Stories

2)      How To Write Memorable Stories

3)      Why We Never Forget Fairy Tales Even When We Know They Are Not True

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Elements

Sub-sub-topic: Layers

1)     Seven Layers of Storytelling

2)      How To Bring Depth To Your Story

3)      The Role of Subplots In Your Novel

Topic: Storytelling

Subtopic: Elements

Sub-sub-topic: Unexpectedness

1)      How To Make Endings Unexpected

2)      Where To Find Twists For Your Stories

3)      Life is Stranger Than Fiction (Three Real Life Incidents In a Day That Will Make It In My Stories One Day).

Let’s take the sub-sub-topics from “storytelling” and figure out what posts can be written from them. Each one can have at least four.

Your homework this week:

Write 3 - 4 titles for six of your keywords each day. At the end of the week, you will have 126 - 168 blog post ideas to write about.

A few tips:

  • Writing posts based on personal stories is easier than writing those based on research.

  • People have an insatiable thirst for “How To” posts. There is a reason “How To” posts still the most clicked posts.

  • When stuck, write a listicle. It is easy to compile a list on any topic. Just collect three points randomly. Three is the minimum. Don’t go for more than seven. Beyond that, you start losing people. People can’t keep more than seven things in their head at a time.

Writing Industry News

  • Each year Smashwords, a distributor of Indie ebooks, makes annual publishing predictions. Smashwords lists thirteen predictions for 2021, including consolidation in self-publishing just like the consolidation in traditional publishing. The big four publishers are about to become the big three with Penguin Random House’s pending acquisition of Simon & Schuster

    The self-publishing market is becoming overcrowded, too, with too many companies fighting for too few dollars. If you want to get your book to Apple Books, Apple lists Smashwords and 20 approved aggregators and conversion houses to help you, or you can upload directly. And there are thousands of other service providers who can help you do the same.  This is unsustainable.  For the same reasons the big New York publishers are consolidating, consolidation is inevitable for self-publishing.  Does the world really need hundreds of ebook distributors?  The answer is no.  In fact, the plethora of all of these companies doing the same thing is confusing and counterproductive for most authors.  

  • But the bit that heartens me is in the introduction of Smashwords 2021 predictions. It says authors hold great power in today’s era. Ever since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, there have been forces that seek to control the power of the printed word.  Although it’s easy for an individual author to feel powerless against this industry's broader forces, the opposite is true.  The authors' collective actions determine the direction of this industry and the exciting opportunities you’ll find within it. 

    According to Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, authors future success can be distilled down to four high-level factors:  

    1. The foundations you laid for yourself in the past (skills, training, experience, past actions).  

    2. The actions you take today.  

    3. The future actions taken by others in the publishing industry.  

    4. Black Swan events that come out of nowhere to cause abrupt and massive shifts in direction.

What Am I Up to?

  • On Tuesday morning, I had a pleasant surprise. Medium, the online magazine where I have been writing for six months now, is promoting me under the WHO TO FOLLOW section. Consistent writing paid off. I have close to 1000 followers now, although I don't know how many of those are true fans.

  • In my previous newsletter, I promised to share my business plan for 2021. I am glad I didn’t include it last time because the two-week break over Christmas and the New Year gave me a lot of time to think about my priorities. Besides, there is different energy associated with the New Year; it changes your perspective very quickly. I wrote a whole post about it on my website - My Author Business Plan 2021.

  • I also consolidated all my sketches in a post, 2020 in Sketches, giving a bird’s eye view that how much can be achieved in a year if you spend just 15 to 30 minutes a day on a thing.

  • Wrote two other posts on Medium Insights of 2020 — Wisdom For 2021, My Philosophy To Make It On Medium Is Pretty Simple.

  • But the biggest achievement of the week is finally figuring out a way to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram regularly with the least amount of effort.

    On Tuesday, I wrote a small post on Facebook telling everyone about the Medium surprise. I received 65 likes and 57 comments on the post.

    I have been avoiding writing on Facebook and LinkedIn because of the extra work it involves. But I certainly have many more readers on these platforms, and I am silly not to take advantage of that.

    I figured out that if I write a small post (no more than 200 words) and publish it on all three platforms, I can reach a wide range of people.

    Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

What Intrigued Me This Week?

Austin Kleon (the writer of How To Steal Like an Artist) came up with the following poster to help you “SUCK LESS” at something you desperately want to get better at.

“Lower your standards for what counts as progress,” writes Adam Grant, “and you will be less paralyzed by perfectionism.”

To get good, you first have to be willing to be bad. Don’t practice to get good, practice to suck less.

I think it is brilliant. I am going to make this grid and put it on my pinboard and SUCK LESS with fiction writing.

That’s it from me this week.

Take care.

Neera Mahajan