Three Tips For Publishers to Keep Your Writers Happy

I know that I personally understand the frustration that comes on the writer’s end when it comes to getting your baby, getting your hard work, and getting that extension of yourself out into the world. You put a lot of work and hours of your life into that little masterpiece! Unfortunately sometimes it boils down to what people are looking for when purchasing a book. I have written several article in the series of “three tips” like the three tips for hiring overseas, three book ruining ways to interact with your publisher, and everyone’s favorite three shocking tips on hiring/ working with your artist. Today I present to you three tips on keeping your writers happy. Let’s just jump right into #1:

  1. Explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. A lot of writer’s are brand new and do not understand what is going on behind the scenes. Here’s a good example: Yes, I’ll admit your book title that you chose is awesome! There is no denying that. However there is competition for every word used in the title. I want your book to thrive and get out there to the people! With those chosen words, the poor little thing will not be able to keep it’s head above the water in the vast sea of those same words. There are reasons why we do what we do. That is just one example. Explain what’s up. Writer’s are a smart lot. He/ she will understand. 
  2. Let your writers in on some exclusive material if you are comfortable with it and trust them not to leak information. They love to see their baby come to life! Here’s an example of that: I got some concept art the other day and, since my writer was doing so well, sent some of it his way to look through for fun. He was pleasantly amused! He’s happy, I’m happy, ZHanny Publishing is happy. 
  3. Some books do well, and some flop. Be thankful either way. If the book the writer helped with does well enough, do not be stingy with your earned money! Send them a bonus for being part of the process! Not only does this say, “thank you!” to the team, but it helps keep those bridges open for future collaboration. 

Keeping your writer’s happy is a vital part of the publishing process. No, we can’t grant every request but I will certainly do what I can. I can tell you from personal experience that it pays off in the end. 

-ZHanny

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The Number One Rule For Longevity

You know what’s tough? Making sure that you take care of yourself first before anything else each day. I’ve read countless books and watched/ listened to hours of informational videos/ content about how to be the best person that you can be. There was consistency throughout all the content that I absorbed. Taking care of yourself first was the key from all the greats. I implemented this rule in my life. From experience, I can tell you that was the single greatest game changing life hack that I have ever done.

What do I mean by taking care of yourself first you ask? Well let me explain: In order to build a house, you need a solid foundation right? Your body and mind are most certainly the same way. Life is so much easier to win at when everything is working at an optimal level. When you make your mental and physical health a priority right away every day, your work, relationships, and happiness more easily falls into place. Let me lead you through what my mornings look like normally. I’ll wake up early. First I will go to the gym and focus on a different area of my body each day. When I come home I will have a healthy breakfast, followed by some light reading on a topic that I am trying to self improve on. Finally when, I feel that I have made adequate progress on those topics I will finally start on the blog. I make sure that I’m drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The party days are long gone now, and that certainly helps too. It is truly amazing what a healthy diet and lifestyle can do for oneself. 

I am not saying that you need to steal my morning routine, however it does work really good for me! I am a creature of habit. That being said, it was very difficulty to commit to a new routine as it might be for a lot of you out there. There are so many that start and stop new routines. My advice for you, before you start showing signs of burnout, is to slowly implement these new tactics into your life so that they stick better. I was so stuck in my habits that it took me multiple tries over years to get that whole gym thing to stick. All that hard work payed off over time though as did the rest of my new found habits. Start with some small changes and work your way up. That was the only way that I was able to do it. Take care of yourself my friends. Your body will reward you. 

-ZHanny

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Are You Writing In The Right Genre?

If there is one thing that I love about my full time job, it is the fact that I have the opportunity and privilege to sit down for different variations of time and talk with life experienced individuals. Everyone has a different story to tell. Different people are experienced in different areas of life. I hear stories about how people spent their life bull riding, traveling the world, raising families, managing huge companies, and an assortment of other random accomplishments. I was talking with this pleasant lady the other day who just had her 50th wedding anniversary. Now that’s a person I’d want relationship advice from as opposed to a honey-moon eyed couple who had been together for just a couple months. (I guarantee that she’d be good at writing a relationship book!) This brings us to the topic at hand:

These different life experiences bleed into our creative process whether we like to admit it or not. Different individuals have the edge on different genres if they harness what they already know and believe about the world. Successful romance writers and publishers understand their audience’s desires. Much of the time, those stories are based on real life/ experiences. Successful horror writers and publishers understand what people’s deepest rooted fears are and act on them. A good example of this is of course ZHanny Publishing. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love telling scary stories based on real experiences. I would be the one with the flashlight pointed up at his face around the camp fire waiting to jump scare you. When you read about how the protagonist peers into the darkness with his flashlight revealing a rocking chair rolling back and forth on squeaky wooden floorboard, it’s probably something the team has seen or experienced in real life. (That last example was actually from my full time job).

Now my question to you. What are you more experienced in compared to others? Do you have any passions? Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask yourself what is working and what is not. I actually wrote an article not too long ago about learning from success and failure. You should check it out! A lot of the time, the changes will only need to be small adjustments so you do more concentrating on your strengths. I talk a lot about that in the link above. Harness that inner power and experience you have and release it in your work. Trust me, it will pay off in the end.

-ZHanny

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Six Shocking Tips on Hiring and Working With An Artist

Today we are expanding on a topic that we have covered in the past. Huzzah! The article went over so well last time, how could I not give you more information to keep afloat in the vast sea of content out there. If I were you I would soak up these first three tips, then immediately come back here for the other half (trust me, those first three are life and time savers). If you are in the publishing world like I am, you know how important it is to hire and work with quality artists. Between the advertising images, cover, back, and spine, there is a lot that needs to be accomplished. Let’s get started:

  1. Time frame, time frame, time frame. What I mean by that is have a set and reasonable schedule in which the artist will submit due content to you. This needs to be clear as day in the terms by which someone is hired. I actually touched upon this subject in the past when talking about tips for hiring writers. When starting out in this field I made the mistake once of letting a hired artist take his time creating images. I did not know any better and neither did he. Needless to say, we all missed the deadline on that project. Calm down now. I am not saying that all artists are like that. Quite the contrary my friend. That was my fault due to a poor understanding on how the system is supposed to work. This tip provides some protection for yourself and saves some time. Always have a schedule in which things need to be done.
  2. Be very direct and clear on your vision of what needs to be in the image. In the link I provided at the beginning of this article, tip #2 talks about a great way to accomplish this. Check it out! However, if we are being very honest with ourselves, rarely will an artist read the entire book in order to create the art. Ultimately it is your job to understand the story. It will be difficult for them to fully grasp the tone, images, and characters. Protect yourself and the project. Make sure you get all your “W’s” covered. Who, what, when, where, and why. What color does the evil suit of armor need to be? What is the protagonist wearing? What time of day is it? You think of it, you provide it. The less renditions, the more happy everyone will be (trust me).
  3. Be honest with your artist about what changes need to be made. It is the artist’s job to make sure that you are provided with the content needed per the agreement made. Always start by telling the artist what you like and appreciate in the images. They are trying their best to keep you happy, really they are. After you do that, nicely explain the changes that need to be made and ideas on how to fix the problem. Patience is crucial both ways here. Nothing happens immediately. Follow the steps talked about in the above paragraph. Be very clear in what you want. But, don’t be a brat! Their interpretation may be different than yours.

So what do you all think? Do you feel there are more tips and tricks that should be added in the next post? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media.

-ZHanny

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How to Learn From Blog Success and Failure

Oh boy, I could talk about this topic all day long. Learning from success and failure is habit that all successful people are refining throughout life and is something that people like you and I need to strive for. I already have thought of a good example of this topic. Lucky you! Over the course of this blog I have been adjusting everything from the pictures used to the way that the titles are phrased. Everything is purposeful, I can assure you. I am beginning to see trends thanks to Google Analytics and Adsense.  I invite you to look back through my posts and see how they evolved over time if you are interested in how to evolve your blog in the right direction. This is truly an example of changing criteria over time in order to find out what people enjoy reading about. I certainly have had some wins and losses.

Just the other day I put a white board up in my office so that I could write and graph out what posts did well and what posts did not. Some of the data is a little screwed since my Twitter audience is mostly made up of writers, publishers, bloggers, and artists. However, doing this gave me a good idea of what interests my current audience.

Now to turn the focus on you. Have you been experimenting with what works and what does not? It’s important to try something new each day. I invite you to start switching things up a little. You’ll be surprised at how drastically changes can be made. Try changing what is shown in your images. Entice your audience with different words used in the title. Change up the length of your posts. I have found that individuals do not like reading super long articles despite how much I like to write. Big surprise, huh? There is certainly a sweet spot in between all the previously listed extremes. It’s all about learning something new every day and acting to change or adjust what does not work.

What have you found that works and does not work for your web pages? I would love to swap experiences and knowledge with you! Hit me up on the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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The One Misunderstood Aspect of Horror Fiction

Throughout my articles you will find that I praise authors for the job and artistry they perform. Here is what I see as a publisher and enthusiast when an individual submits parts of a horror manuscript to me: A mirror that reflects that person’s past experiences and emotions and the boldness to overcome fear and judgement. Nothing reflects this, in my experience so far, better than horror fiction.

Everyone has been scared of something in their life. We can all relate to this concept as human beings. Reading horror fictions give people the privilege and opportunity to learn from what the authors have already perceived or experienced in life in regards to this genre. This perspective makes this concept a rare opportunity to learn how other’s think or how others think others think (this is becoming a strange sentence) in those little talked about human moments of fight or flight. Yes that last excerpt is carefully thought out and correct. One of the most important skills you can learn in life is to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When one writes a book, this concept is brought to the next level. They’re not just putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, they’re putting themselves in the individual shoes of sometimes a town full of people. This concept is important to understand when moving on. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a gift not many utilize. The world would be a much different place if that was to happen. A lot can be learned from those with that ability.

The different genres of books each have something unique to offer beyond what the upfront story tells. For me, it’s important to find the meaning behind the meaning. Sometimes that is exactly what the author wants. Whether it be the comparison between Peter Pan and the analogy of never growing up, The Exorcist and battling one’s inner demons, or Pinocchio and cutting your own puppet strings, there are even better lessons that one can learn from deriving abstract thoughts from different stories.

Next time you read a horror book realize that you a receiving not just one story, but multiple stories. Always be open to new things and ideas. I find myself deep in thought sometimes thinking about the concepts behind the concepts after finishing a book. What experiences or thought processes the author had to have been put through in order to reflect to the world different scary situations, analogies, and scenarios. I invite you to go back through books that you have read in the past with this new perspective. You never know. You could just experience a completely different story all together!

-ZHanny

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How To Survive When Your Pen Name is Discovered

Red alert! You have been found out! It was nice knowing you. You did good work while it lasted. Little did you know that you signed up for a lifetime of misery and ridicule. Are you sensing the sarcasm yet? No, your life is not over. Take a deep breath in. It’s going to be just fine. Heck, look at me. Word is starting to get around about my little side adventure here and it is providing me great content to write about! Situations like this are all about how you approach and perceive them. A couple weeks ago, someone looked over my shoulder and saw me managing my ZHanny twitter page. One thing led to another, word got around, and now I am becoming more and more discovered by friends, coworkers, and family. (Hi everyone!) Do not get me wrong, this is absolutely a great thing for me as it could be for you if you planned on this happening from the very beginning.  I’m just impressed at how fast rumor spreads around these parts. Here is three tips that you need to know in order to survive.

  1. A lot of people forget when writing blogs, creating content, or books that real people read this stuff. Don’t say anything in your content that you would not say to people in person. Not just random people but your boss, coworkers, parents, friends, Grandma, you get the idea. You better be following this step from the very beginning. There will be a day in the future where someone will know you from the content that you push out. Take a step out of your own shoes and look at your situation. How would someone else perceive you? I’m lucky in the regards that I am pretty much an open book (ha, publisher reference) with all that I do. If there was something that you didn’t know about me, it’s probably because you did not ask. The content you read here is just ZHanny being ZHanny.
  2. My second tip is to just keep on keeping on. In order to achieve your goals and my goals, there is a lot that needs to get done behind the scenes. There is literally no time to worry or be embarrassed. Part of the creative process is to quiet the world around you in order to hear your own thoughts. Any other noise is going to decrease the concentration of your personality and uniqueness. If you planned out your business model, there is an ultimate design and route that needs to be followed to achieve your goal. I know and you know that there is a reason for everything we do. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  3. Here’s my third and final tip. Own your content. Keep yourself in the right mindset. Nobody else made it, you did. I am so proud of what my team has accomplished thus far. Money was being made before a book was even published! That’s amazing to me! Be proud of your accomplishments. It’s tough to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s tough to learn about and become an expert in topics that are foreign to most individuals. You are accomplishing steps in a direction that most people do not walk. Keep up the good work!

Do you have any tips on how to handle when people find out your pen name or side business? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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The Passive Income Lie Everyone Believes

So I have been doing this passive income thing for awhile now and there is one major thing that I learned regarding the subject matter. Do a quick search on the internet for passive income ideas. Go ahead now, don’t be shy. What did you find? I’ll tell you what I found all that time ago now. Everyone holds “passive income” on a pedestal saying how easy it was to set up and how nice it is to do basically no work. The life of getting that sweet sweet paycheck day after day. They like to play off the mentality of instant gratification. (You should check out that last link. It’s great!)

What’s the honest truth about passive income though? Are you ready for the answer? As someone who works a full time job on top of my passive income streams I can tell you from experience that you’ll never be a busier person setting it all up. Not to mention, it’s for an unknown amount of time until it starts to generate some real revenue. I always have a lengthy to-do list every day. That’s even on the days that I work all the jobs. There is always something to think about and always problem solving going on.

Here’s the kicker though. It’s not all bad though. Here me out on this: If you pick something that you enjoy to do, it does not feel like work. I find that I will start at the top of my to do list early in the morning while the sun rises. All of a sudden, the day is gone! It’s easy to lose track of time, which is a good sign that you are doing something that you love. Last night I was reading through a submission from one of my ghost writers. I looked back up at the clock and found that hours had passed!

So what is the take away from all of this? When stepping into the world of your “passive income” idea, be ready for more work than you’ve ever had before in your life. This stuff is challenging. You’ll encounter problems that you have never had before. You’ll have those ups and those downs. You will be learning new skills and ideas not just every day, but more like every hour. It is so important that you actually enjoy the work that you are doing. This changes the monotonous into passion.

Not everyone knows exactly what they are passionate about. I tried so many things before publishing and blogging that just did not turn out. Here’s more advice for you if you feel like you are in those shoes. A bonus tip if you will. Try to do something new every day that pushes you out of the comfort zone. This mentality is certainly attributable to the last paragraph in this article: The One Skill To Achieve Anything The more things you try, the more opportunity there will be for more passions to stick or be discovered. I have found that there are so many wonderful things out there in the world that I would have never otherwise found if I was not constantly dappling out of my comfort zone. Try it! You’ll be surprised what you enjoy.

-ZHanny

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You Can Have Anything You Want With This One Skill

I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of excited to work on a brand mascot. From the look of the vote, it appears that I will be putting together a possessed doll. Maybe the vote will change! Not sure what I am talking about? There is only a couple hours left of a Twitter poll here: Feel free to vote if the poll is still open!

Maybe right now you are asking yourself the question, “why in the world would a person want a brand mascot in the first place?” No worries my friend, I covered this when the poll was started! You can check out that article here.

In my head I have been assembling the mechanics of what a possessed doll would do. Rotating head, moving eyes, moving mouth, creepy head, possessed by an actual spirit. Well, maybe not that last one. That’d be too easy to make it move then! You know the drill. A quick search online reveals that if I was to buy something like this, it would cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars. To be honest, I am not worried about that at all and here’s why. Remember that little article about being creative with your money? Here’s a reference to it: The Responsible Place to Get Money. Specifically the last tip in that article. All the mechanics of a complicated puppet like this should be available for pennies on the dollar at second hand shops and thrift stores everywhere (this sentence is humorous to me since it is very similar situation to my next book that gets published). Watch me as I put my money where my mouth is over the next couple weeks. It will be fun!

This leads to the point of the article. What’s one thing that you want or need? What would it take to learn the skill in order to create that item or idea? Would it be financially beneficial to you make it in the first place? These are all questions that one needs to ask themselves when looking at the world. I am becoming convinced that with the right mindset you can build, fix, or achieve almost anything. You’ll find that the more you learn, the more those skills bleed into other skills very much like the snowball effect. Business, finances, personal growth, engineering, needs, wants, you name it. Always be open to and learning new things. This is the skill you need. You might just be surprised at how it impacts other areas of your life as well.

-ZHanny

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Do You Know This Secret Business Tactic?

Happy Cyber Monday everybody! For those not from this part of the world, Cyber Monday is a glorified online shopping day where consumers are able to find discounted merchandise from participating retailers/ businesses. I’ll admit, sometimes you do find some interesting price points on items or services. You know what else I see? A perfect opportunity for businesses to promote themselves. Allow me to explain.

We can all agree on several things right now. Number one is that today is a day where consumers are out looking to make purchases. A lot of Christmas gifts, personal items, and service deals get bought today. That’s a fact. Another fact is that a lot of those “deals” that you find online do not actually make the participating businesses any money. Truly this is the case. I will explain this later. One more fact just to humor you. Many businesses become significantly more widely know on days like today. Those little known brands all of a sudden get a shot of adrenaline if their cards are played right.

Are those three things adding up to you? There is this little thing called brand awareness. Companies pay millions of dollars each year (if not more) to get their brand out to the consumers. The more people recognize you brand, the more potential there will be to purchase your item compared to others. Cyber Monday is one of those days where a business can market an item that is in demand for a low enough price in order to lure you to their website, brick and motor business, or goods with the expectation that a percentile of the customers will come back later in the future. Take a look at the items you purchase this year when they come in the mail and look for the big branding all over the container. Do not think that you are off the hook for buying a subscription to an internet service for a year on the cheap. That’s just another great opportunity to flash branding and advertising your way.

Now don’t be upset by this, learn from it! You do not have to be a big business to use this strategy to promote your business. There are so many ways for people like you and I to utilize “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and other promotional holidays. Throw in a free item with your book! Buy one get one free! The list goes on and on. Get your brand or logo out there. Eventually people will start to recognize it and gravitate in your direction.

-ZHanny

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