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Writer Burn Out? Get Your Mojo Back!

As a writer-author,
how do you know
when you are
on complete
burn out mode?

Here are 10 signs
that tell you
it’s time
for a break!

  • Apathy lurks along with zero focus.
  • Inspiration lacks — no ‘ah-ha’ ideas are flowing freely.
  • Your mind wanders away to far off places seeking refuge.
  • Once purposeful writing, now becomes a laborious chore.
  • Your blank brain stares without seeing (the computer screen).
  • That passion to harness words is replaced with messy edits.
  • Disenchanted, and wishing words to fly out of the keyboard.
  • A stuck imagination; affectionately known as ‘writer’s block’.
  • Not wanting to jump out of bed to capture a brilliant phrase.
  • Procrastination.

I am sure all you writers have some fabulous burn outs to add to this list!

How to Get Your Mojo Back
First and foremost, do not ignore the signs of burn out. You cannot barge ahead and expect to write with inspiration and exuberance. That in itself is a time waster. Your time is precious and it should be spent enjoying whatever you do! While you may perform amazingly under pressure and with deadlines for the short term, for the long term it’s a recipe for sabotaging your creative mind…and possibly your mental health.

Here are simple ideas for rejuvenating your mind, body and soul.

Take a break. Get off and away from your computer. Stay away from the Internet, and all social media. Just plain unplug.

Schedule time off. Limit how many hours per day you are immersed in writing. Take one day a week off and stay away from the computer- and put your cell phone on airplane mode. Schedule time off and stick to it. Refreshing time away will rebuild your brain power.

Do something different. Get outside and go for a walk. Play with your pet. Plant veggies in your garden. Do something pleasurable away from your work space. Revisit an enjoyment that is almost lost to the forgotten past. Put on rock n’ roll and dance out all your anxiety. Or become adventuresome. Experience something you have never done before.

Change your environment. Refresh yourself by escaping to a new surrounding. That’s what is so great about a vacation. The newness is stimulating and awakens our senses. However, you do not need to travel elsewhere to find inspiration. Instead, discover or try a specialty that is unique. For instance, you may not pamper yourself enough, or at all. So go get a massage, a pedicure or manicure. By the way, you do not need to spend money to change your environment. You can take a hike to uncover a new trail. Even explore a park or a waterfall you have never visited. And while you are at it, take along paints with some brushes, and a canvas to see if this incentive motivates you!

It is easy to get caught up in what we think is important business. Yet, taking extended breaks will allow perspectives to emerge. Airing out helps us to re-balance our priorities. Step back and allow some freedom to elevate your consciousness.

If all else fails, pull weeds. That is what I do. No kidding!

Doing something mundane, lets my to-busy brain rest, all while being a bit productive.
And the funny thing is, as I extract weeds, inspirational ideas begin to pour into my mind. So, now I begin my days by pulling weeds. It must be the dirt. It grounds my soul to nature. And ignites my magic mojo once more.

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3 Guidebooks that Offer Writing Prompts…

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Permission ONLY Reprints from Patty

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Do Your Teacher Lesson Products Crossover to Mainstream Reading Markets?

Does Your Product Genre(s) Crossover to Other Markets?

Teachers who produce education curricula know their niche markets. Why? Because teacher lesson plans reflect their expertise. Fortunately, (TpT) is an awesome outlet that caters to hosting a variety of instructional curricula.

As a teacher seller you might wonder if some of your ebooks have a wider audience appeal; namely, if they can crossover successfully into the mainstream marketplace. This article will help you to determine whether your education products, and/or YOU, should sell through other vendors.

For example, I write communication skills ebooks. Slanted for education, most employ activities and worksheets. However, many of my communication ebooks have done well on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and other sites. On occasion changes to the content are made to adjust for generic readability. Take a look to see if you have products that can crossover to another venue. And if so, set up an account and try out a new sales opportunity!

If you are unsure about unleashing your product in another market—experiment! First and foremost, place your ebooks at compatible re-sellers. And, do select out teacher ebooks carefully. My noteworthy experience has proven mainstream readers are receptive to education books when they: 1) Address and solve a problem; 2) Fill a niche; or 3) Offer how-to-do-it info. Therefore, seek out ebook sites that support your genres.

My Self Publishing Journey is an Anomaly

It’s true! I write fiction and non-fiction stories. And, create teacher products. Plus, offer my-and others photography in collections. Quite a mixed bag. Initially, I didn’t research markets where my products might succeed. Curricula books simply flowed out of my brain with ease. An accrual from my years in education and corporate instructional environments. And, life experiences purged forth. The teacher in me loves to share. The process of creating is addicting. And the results rewarding. Consequently, my lineup reveals several distinct categories. The outcome is a variety now offered through a diverse range of ebook vendors.

My ebooks were selected for markets based on literary genre. To give an idea, as of this blog date, I have 111+/- individual ebook products. Approximately 87 are written specifically for education. And, 24 are aimed at mainstream readers. Yet, 32 of these are crossovers. Which means 32 can be placed at both teacher- and mainstream re-seller sites.

Cautions & Advice for Adding Vendors

If you are a teacher with successful sales on TpT, or another teacher vendor, be cautious about entering the generic reader markets. Admittedly, my author odyssey appears to have been arbitrary. As a writer I love to explore other composition styles. Yet while having fun doing so, I created an albatross to some extent.

So there are cautions to others embarking on this path. Namely, servicing different ebook stores creates lots more work for oneself. Every storefront is an additional site to maintain. Monitoring statistics, while revealing, is time demanding. When ebook content is changed, it needs modifying across all platforms. Catering to many sites is ambitious, one which can turn into an arduous task. Ongoing evaluation is vital to make a bookstore worth the time invested. There is no shame in closing an ebook store. It’s something I’ve done several times. Some reasons include:  1) If sales are minimal; 2) If genres do not fit a vendor’s market audience; 3) Vendor support is the FAQ’s page, very minimal response, or not at all; or  4) Effort to promote products does not merit your return on investment, aka ROI. 

Valuable Tidbits & Lessons Learned

 Do you ponder the option of expanding your market? Let my experience help you decide! 

1) First of all, test market a new vendor. Initially, only place a dozen of your top ebooks. It takes lots of time to upload products to new platforms. Of course you want your writing properly represented. So select from your best sellers and/or products that fit the vendor’s audience. Then, see how sales go for 6 months before making a decision whether to add more store products. You can also just sit tight and let your ebooks find their own natural sales and rankings for awhile. Then determine your next steps.

2) You may be approached and invited by start ups and lesser known hosting resellers to join their sites. I have participated in several. And with enthusiasm, went ahead and fully loaded up all ebooks that fit their genre. They never sold. Why? Because these sites, with good intention, did not have the resources behind them. Not every ebook reseller host is a success. This is why I advocate for #1 above. Only place a few books at a site until it proves its worth. 

3) Some well known resellers might not work in your best interest either. Who doesn’t love It’s a marketplace rich in creative diversity. I held an Etsy store for a few years. Sales were sporadic and slow. Many Etsy sellers do well because of their marketing efforts in- and outside of Etsy. I did not have the extra time to promote my books on Etsy. After three years I elected to close my Etsy ebook store. Truth was, at that time it was a relief not having to maintain another store site. Lesson here is: if you decide to open up an e-bookstore you must make the commitment to promote sales from that site if you want to see it succeed. Fact is, reseller sites only host your stores. It is up to store owners to peddle their own products. All this said, I may elect to open up my Etsy shop in the future. Why? Perhaps my creativity will spawn new products that would be more in line with Etsy artful themes. I always leave possibilities and options open!

Update! EAT MY WORDS! I decided to open up my Etsy shop again. Why? I created some artful items that I thought might fit into Etsy’s theme better. And, I figure one more place of exposure for my Pet Project does not hurt either. So check it out HERE!

4) Another item worth mentioning, is that all reseller communities are different. Some offer forums, some don’t. Support differs vastly between hosting websites. From support requests answered by a person, to being directed to a FAQs page. While ratings and feedback on one site can be generous, on others it may be sparse. Be prepared. Some sites have buyer reviews that can be rough in their ratings- and with their comments. If so, try not to be disenchanted.

Find Your Niche and Stick To IT

All this said, it really boils down to this advice: 1) What ebook market(s) you want to serve; 2) How much time you want to dedicate to each market and ebook store site; and 3) What reseller host do you prefer to be affiliated with. Of course, much is determined by the niche that fits your ebooks. 

My conclusion is that writing for education has been far more rewarding for me personally. Why? As a lifetime teacher it is easy to determine a target market precisely to a select audience based on my expertise. I have found that TeachersPayTeachers provide more support and acknowledgment on several levels. The assistance TpT support provides is on task and on target. They offer ongoing product and store promo opportunities for sellers. Teacher forums are chock full of help from peers; truly it’s a community of sharing. Weekly newsletters, periodic sales, plus more is offered to enable teacher-author-seller success. Additionally, buyer feedback and good ratings are commonplace on TpT, which is very unlike mainstream markets.

Nowadays my time is spent promoting my books on (TpT) along with my own website where my products are also sold. This choice evolved over time because of my niche markets- and for the amount of commission other resellers charge. While my ebooks are at other vendors such as Amazon and Smashwords (which acts as a porthole to other resellers), I don’t often promote my ebooks from these sites. Why? First, it comes down to time. Second, the amount of commissions charged. Particularly for Amazon with their policy of requiring author exclusivity; otherwise your ebooks are downgraded and commissions paltry. I leave my mainstream ebooks at other vendors to climb the ranks on their own merits. And, some have done surprisingly well without my promotional help.

There are many aspects and considerations involved when expanding your market. I hope these suggestions have provided you with some ideas and insight. Especially if you have- or are considering other ebook retail outlets. I would be glad to address any questions. Feel free to contact me!

Copyright 2018