Tag Archives: time management

Another Lucrative Niche Market


Earlier this month, I discussed the idea of writing for niche markets. I gave examples of markets that one might not think of if one weren’t told the markets exist. Today, I am sharing news about another niche market that has readers with strong book-buying habits. How about 3.8 books per month on average!

If you are knowledgable in the areas of interest discussed below, you may want to consider publishing for this market.

from bama.org:

A recent Barna survey found there are 315,000 Protestant houses of worship in the United States—that’s compared to approximately 13,000 McDonalds and 4,000 Walmarts. Or, to put it another way: more than 300,000 people who purchase, on average, 3.8 books per month. That’s not counting the number of books purchased by people influenced by pastors, such as other ministry staff and congregants, likely driving the total number of books even higher.

According to new research by Barna Group into the buying and reading habits of pastors, younger pastors buy more books per year than do older pastors. This is a strong indication that the market for book-related content will remain strong among the youngest generation of faith leaders.

So what are the books these pastors are buying? Well, for the most part, they’re related to a specific topic a pastor needs to know about or is interested in. When a pastor selects a ministry-related book, the single most important factor is the topic. This was followed by the author and a recommendation from someone. Price, title and convenience were reportedly rare selection criteria.

So what topics are they looking for? When asked to identify the types of books they have read recently, pastors identified spirituality, theology and leadership most frequently. Other popular subjects include prayer, history, cultural trends and church practice. About half of pastors are reading biographies and one-third are consuming business books. Fiction is a slightly less prevalent category among pastors, compared to the general population.

Where They Buy It’s clear pastors are buying books, but where are they purchasing them? After all, usually the “death of books” headline is accompanied by a “death of bookstores” subhead. We saw the rise of Amazon and the death of Borders. Is that the trend among pastors too?

Yes and no. In the Pastors + Books report, pastors reveal that Christian retail and online were the two primary channels through which they acquire books. General retail was a distant third, followed by book distributors. Small slices of pastors purchase direct from the publisher or from their denomination.

Time Is the Enemy


Kristen Lamb speaks truth when she says time is the enemy of the writer. If you have followed my blog, you know I have worked in fits and starts on my novel. The manuscript has collected dust for months between writing sessions.

Recently I chose to cloister myself away from life to finish my first novel. It has been a struggle for the exact reason Kristen warns about: loss of momentum, massive re-writing, and sometimes loss of interest in the story because time has passed.

My terrier-like persistence is what keeps me working. Setting a daily quota of words also helps. I set a goal–1,000 words per day–that isn’t too arduous, but makes completion likely within a month. (I don’t write on weekends.)

My advice? Read the following and heed the warning!

Time is the Enemy

When writing anything (but especially fiction) taking time off can kill momentum. We need to go back, reread, familiarize ourselves with the story and characters (since we’ve slept since that last bit we wrote). This can lead to editing the beginning to death and stalls forward progress. We get bogged down in the first part of the book.

Take too much time? Likely, you’ll have to start all over.

I did. Yes, even NF authors are vulnerable to time.

I spent more effort trying to retrofit work I’d done for my agent back in 2011 than I want to admit. Finally, I just tossed most of the writing and started over. 100 pages of wasted work all because I didn’t keep writing.

My mistake. Won’t happen again.

Quit Beating Up on Myself


Once a month, I meet on a Wednesday afternoon with a group of local writers. Some have already been published. Some hope to be someday. The purpose of meeting is to support each other’s writing habit.

Lately, I have reviewed the progress I have made in the past 12 months toward completing my first murder mystery. I have made it to Chapter 13.

If I have learned anything, it’s that book writing is more than putting words on a page.  It’s learning from the experience of others who have already successfully sold a book. It is developing a support system to assist with hurdles like time management, writer’s block, procrastination. It is honing skills, not only in story telling, but also in public relations and finance.  It’s learning to use social media effectively. It’s finding the right professionals to edit, publish and groom your product. And more.

I was beating myself up for moving at the speed of an earthworm.

Upon reflection I realized I have:

  • attended a writers conference
  • executed the advice I received at the writers conference
  • blogged almost daily for a year
  • attended classes on writing by professional authors
  • started a local writers group and conducted meetings for more than six months
  • organized a Date to Write group that meets twice per month
  • completed twelve chapters (first draft) on a novel
  • dreamed up story lines for two more novels to work on when #1 is done

So when I look back, I pat myself on the back for productivity. I am on the beginning of a learning curve. My output will not be as fast as those with more knowledge and experience. I calculate that between blogging and book writing, I have averaged 250+ words per day for a period of twelve months.

I have earned the first level on Inkygirl Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Writer Challenge. For more information, look here:

http://inkygirl.com/250-words-a-day-project/

 

Helpful Hints Re: Videography


Love this guy’s stuff.  I was blog hopping and found the site of still photographer Phil Kneen. He tells about using two sick days productively: he taught himself to use filmmaking software and produced the embeded video below.

By Phil Kneen

People/1:01 from Phil Kneen on Vimeo.

Here’s his words about the process:

(Source: http://philkneen.wordpress.com/2012/03/ )

I’ve never really had the patience for filmmaking, it’s something I’ve always been interested in, I’ve dipped my toe into it over the years, but stills photography always wins my attention. I’ve constantly been unable to focus my creative interest into two things at once, I suppose it’s a good and a bad thing?

Over the past two or three weeks I’ve been a bit ‘static’ due to back problems, this has had the hidden bonus of allowing me the time to sit and play with Apple’s fantastic bit of software, Final Cut X. With the help of Youtube tutorials, Google and a bit of intuition I’ve managed to teach myself the basics of this professional video editing package in less than two days. The fundamentals of video are actually easier, for me personally, to get to grips with as there are only 3 colours, red, green and blue, to deal with, as opposed to 6 in digital stills. All the other nuts and bolts, such as contrast, saturation, hue , etc, are essentially the same.

The video below is just a short 2 minute thing that I put together using existing footage and some bits I’ve made over the last week or so. Final cut is amazingly easy to use – I edited this film together in just a couple of hours. I haven’t seen many friends over the last two weeks, but those I have seen are probably in this short…

While Waiting


 A few years ago, it was not uncommon for patients to wait for hours to see their doctor. The condition was chronic and getting worse. Finally, a patient, who was also a business man, billed his doctor for his time spent waiting. Lawsuits began popping up, asking for damages from physicians for failing to see the patient at the scheduled time. Others took their protest to the media. In the end, physicians got the message and began to operate more efficiently.

 Better practices aside, there is still an amount of wait time for patients and their families when visiting the office of a medical practitioner. My husband’s appointment today is a case in point. He needs physical therapy a couple of times a week.

I knew I would be sitting for half an hour while he was getting treated. I decided to take my laptop computer with me. While my husband met with his physical therapist, I worked on an action scene from my novel.

Granted, this technique will not work for everyone.

I sat in the corner of the waiting room farthest from the television. Even so, a family with an active toddler soon sat right next to me. Fortunately, I can tune out surrounding sound and focus on my writing when I know where the story is going. Describing the action scene kept me focused. If I were in a creating rather than telling mode, the distractions would have annoyed me. Then the noisy waiting room would  not have been conducive to storytelling.

Applying a bit of creativity to time management, I eked out 30 minutes from a fully scheduled day to write. In that oasis of “found” time, I produced 375 words.

A Date to Write — Update


In case anyone from the old Dream Station: I Want To Be a Writer blog has moved with me from Blogger.com to the WordPress world, then this is an update. If you are new to my raves, rants, and musings, then ignore the word “update” in the title.

To recap, I belong to a local writers’ group, which formed a few months ago to support the writing habit of its members. One benefit of membership is a semi-monthly date to write at the local library. Members gather in a quiet room for up to three hours of uninterrupted write time. It is an imposed discipline for those who find it hard to make time to write.

Since I am one of those persons, I love my dates to write. I have attended three sessions, averaging 750 words per session. That is good output for me.

Last Friday was the most recent  date. I produced 800 words. So my output is on the rise. I went to the session not sure where my scene was going. Nevertheless I made myself behave as a professional, ignored my doubts, and got to work. The result speaks for itself.

Since the industry standard is 80,000 words for a murder mystery, I need the equivalent of 100 dates to get the book finished. It’s a tactic that works for me.