Jeanne and I connected on LinkedIn a few years ago and I did a social media audit for her. We have stayed in touch and I’ve been pleased to see her apply some of the suggestions from that audit.
What are your books about?
Ready Set Work! and Ready Set Supervise! are books about how to navigate successfully in today’s work environment. Specifically, Ready Set Work! is a guide for new workers for conquering job jitters and becoming the employee everyone wants to keep. It provides guidance on how to handle hundreds of the most common and most sensitive work situations effectively and confidently. It gives new workers a centralized source of information with a common sense approach that quickly deals with the issues and gets them back on track comfortably. It helps take the fear out of working so people can just concentrate on doing a good job and keep that job in today’s economy.
Ready Set Supervise! lays out the most common problems that supervisors run into at work, explains them in a way that makes sense, and enables supervisors to work more confidently all while projecting an air of maturity and dependability. It helps readers become the supervisor everyone wants to work for. Ready, Set, Supervise! goes a long way towards taking the fear out of supervising. Sane people are afraid of supervision. It can be scary stuff given the number of legal and policy issues supervisors have to deal with. And, once you throw in the need for gigantic heaps of common sense, enormous physical and mental stamina, and the fact that supervision means being responsible for the actions of other people, it’s a wonder anybody ever wants the job.
Quite honestly, I wrote the books because I was constantly hearing from employees and employers about a wide variety of issues that they were dealing with at work and there was nothing else out there that covered these same topics. I spent over thirty years working as a line-worker, a supervisor, a manager, or an executive, and these were the topics where I most often saw people having difficulty.My target populations include, but are not limited to, Millennials and Gen Ys and target markets include trade schools, tech schools, local work programs, government entities, immigrant service centers, and business colleges.
My overall goal was to produce books full of information that would help people be comfortable in their work environment and succeed in their careers. I wanted them to be a fun, light-hearted approach to real-life topics, easy to read and understand.
Anne and I have known each other for several years and she always has great tips about writing. She’s even written a guest post for me about BookBub Ads. I am sure you will find helpful information in her interview.
Tell us a little bit about your book and business.
I’m a nonfiction author and unabashed writing geek, on a mission to help people communicate more effectively through writing. I’ve written four books about writing itself, including The Writer’s Process and Writing to Be Understood. My most recent book is Get the Word Out: Write a Book That Makes a Difference.
When I’m not writing books or blog posts about writing, I can be found coaching business writers, doing developmental edits of nonfiction manuscripts, or helping business authors through the messy middle of their works.
Why did you write your books?
I write all of my writing-related books for the same general reason—to help people communicate and connect more effectively through writing. I keep coming at that challenge from different angles, and for slightly different audiences.
How did you publish your book? Traditional publisher, hybrid publisher, self-published?
I’m an indie author or author/publisher. By that, I mean that I self-publish, but hire professional designers and editors, and approach the work like a publisher as much as a writer. My books should be indistinguishable from those produced by traditional publishers. It’s been a learning adventure.
How did things change in 2020 and how did you weather the year through the pandemic?
As an indie author, I was able to adjust more easily to the restrictions of the pandemic than many traditionally published authors. I don’t rely on retail bookstores for my sales, and don’t plan for big, in-person events. I could adjust the prices and run discounts to reach people when times were tough. The flexibility and control helped.
The pandemic also opened a few doors, such as speaking at a couple “overseas” events that I otherwise would not have done because of the travel.
Oddly enough, the pandemic also created clarity around the messaging of my latest book, Get the Word Out. I had been working with chapters and ideas for months, but when the world shut down, I realized that the theme of the book was really about making a difference. And I was able to snag interviews with all sorts of interesting people because their travel schedules were shut down.
So I weathered the year by connecting with other authors and immersing myself in writing a book. Not a bad strategy, and a great distraction.
What is your favorite book marketing tip?
My book marketing mantra is this: be generous and strategic. If you are only generous, you will burn out. If you are only strategic, people will burn out on you. Find that balance—help those people who are your readers, or who otherwise speak to your readers. Build relationships. You can do this by writing book reviews, contributing guest blog posts, doing podcast interviews … the possibilities are nearly endless.
What are your goals for 2021?
I hope to keep encouraging and supporting authors who want to step up to writing meaningful books. We’ll see what that looks like in 2021: more coaching or editing, perhaps a few small-group online courses, more podcasts and blog posts. And much more reading!
Where can readers find your book?
The best place to find out more is on my website: annejanzer.com. From there you can sign up for my every-other-week emails about writing practices.
For all of those authors who worry about, dread, or resent book marketing, consider reframing the way you think about it. Your book is like a beacon for the people you serve. Marketing is how you light that beacon and fulfil the purpose of your book.
Anne Janzer is an award-winning author, armchair cognitive science geek, nonfiction author coach, marketing practitioner, and blogger. She’s on a mission to help people spread important ideas through writing.
Her books have won numerous awards, including the Independent Book Publishers IPPY award, the Foreword Indies Book of the Year, Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal, and the IndieReader Discovery Award. They have been translated into Japanese, Korean, and Russian language editions.
Anne also regularly speaks or hosts online webinars for writing conferences, writer’s groups, and corporate marketing teams and writing groups.
This is the first in my 2021 series of book industry experts that will include editors, ghostwriters, book coaches, and other experts in the book industry. Cristen and I first connected a few years back when we both worked with the Nonfiction Authors Association.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
I’m a developmental and substantive editor and book proposal consult who loves developing long-term professional relationships with my clients and other publishing industry pros. I predominately work on nonfiction projects written by experts but am keen to work on well-crafted fiction with a literary bend.
Memoir with its nonfiction base and fiction-like narrative style is one of my favorite things to work on, but I jump at the opportunity to work on anything even remotely related to medical anthropology, sociology, sports, entertainment, or business.
My clients include a New York Times bestselling debut novelist, a GRAMMY Award ® winner, attorneys, researchers and medical doctors, competitive athletes, advocates and activists, and an international entertainment entrepreneur. I’m delighted to have worked with Linda K. Olson (triple-amputee, retired MD, and Parkinson’s advocate) on her recently released memoir, Gone: A Memoir of Love, Body, and Taking Back My Life, listed by Parade Magazine as one of the 24 best memoirs to read in 2020.
I love helping clients develop their writing craft and market acumen, so they can share important information and tell meaningful stories that attract the attention of literary agents, publishers, and readers. What I love most about what I do is the ability to partner with others to do work that has the potential to change lives and shape culture.
How would you describe your ideal client?
My favorite clients are Type As with a sense of humor, the type that are serious about the work but don’t take themselves too seriously. I also prefer working with clients who are multi-book authors and aspire to be traditionally published or published by a publisher that exercises editorial discretion. I also like working with authors who choose to indie-publish for strategic reasons.
Authors who are looking for a one-time, do-this-and-I’ll-pay-you-and-leave aren’t a good fit. The most fulfilling relationships for me are dynamic, collaborative, and strategic because they’re the most fun and get the best results.
How did things change for you in 2020 and how did you manage to weather through the year during the pandemic?
My pandemic year started the first week of January with the sudden death of my 42-year-old friend and brother-in-law. Another relative died suddenly in February, and in March, another one of my young relatives was hospitalized with COVID-19 and according to his doctor, “could have gone either way.”
By April, clients who’d booked large, multi-month projects had put their projects on hold or were moving at a snail’s pace due to interruptions in their lives and concerns about cash flow. The dip was brief. Within a few weeks, emails started flowing in. Lockdowns and layoffs allowed many aspiring authors to focus on their books. I haven’t done the math, but I’m sure I’ve done more projects this year than any other. Having said that, my income compared to last year is down because pricing and timelines got all out of whack early on, and I’ve done more lower-fee projects than high-dollar ones.
On the business side, I have to say that it’s been a great year. The pandemic exacerbated a project management and cash flow frustration I’ve had for several years and was the push I needed to eliminate the service related to it and start offering an hourly consulting rate service that’s been a surprising hit.
If I had to boil the change and the benefits that followed down into two words they would be “focus” and “efficiency.”
On the personal side, I’ve become more aware of how important my husband, sister, and children are to me. That’s given me perspective and a sense of belonging that I haven’t experienced in a while.
What is your favorite tip for using social media?
Well, first I want to encourage you to consider any tips I offer with a degree of skepticism because unless you’re an editor who works with clients like mine and share my goals, this is likely bad advice. But if you see yourself in anything I’ve said about myself, my tip regarding social media is to get off it as soon as possible.
Perhaps a better tip is to consider whether your ideal clients are hanging out on your favorite social media platform and if they go to that platform when looking to hire someone like you. Social media is a time suck. Each of us only have 24 hours in the day. If we want to succeed, we must keep customer conversion expenses low. Time and energy, like money, is limited.
I’m also an introvert (not shy, an introvert). Social media wears me out. My energy is best applied elsewhere. But when I started my business, I spent a lot of time on social media because that’s where authors who were willing to take a chance on a new editor hung out.
So, my tip is to remember that marketing isn’t a one-size-fits all deal. Marketing fiction requires a different approach than nonfiction and both require strategies that keep the ideal reader’s needs and habits top of mind. If you can afford to, hire an experienced consultant who knows your genre and understands your personality and goals and can help you develop a customized social media strategy that gets results. Sue has been doing this a long time and as an author herself can speak directly to what works and doesn’t. I’d start by talking to her.
What are your goals for 2021?
My goals for 2021 are the same as they are every year and are more strategic than specific, which allows me to take advantages of changes in the market and opportunities that always surprise me. In general, they are:
develop more high-value industry relationships;
stay connected to clients by celebrating their wins and promoting them whenever possible;
submit more of my own writing to literary magazines;
become even more effective and efficient, so I can serve more clients;
and get more outdoor time by taking walking breaks each weekday and hiking, biking, paddle boarding, and snowshoeing with family and friends on weekends.
I’d just like to encourage anyone who feels beaten down, inept, and bone tired. I feel that way most days, especially when I feel forced to choose between answering emails that keep piling up and doing the actual work.
Running a sustainable and growing business is hard. We must keep all the plates spinning at least fast enough to keep them balanced on the pointy sticks they sit on.
It’s o’dark thirty, and I’m sitting in my bathrobe looking like a two-year-old that nobody’s bothered to hose down lately. It’s easy to feel like we’re doing something wrong, like we have little in common with those real professionals we admire.
But never mind Instagram, photoshopped headshots, and holiday everything-is-wonderful newsletters. That’s all fluff. The meaningful work is ugly work, but it’s the only work worth doing and the stuff that produces results that prove to ourselves and others that we’re competent and resilient.
May your 2020 failures and triumphs propel you into 2021 and may it be your best year yet!
Cristen Iris is a craft-focused, results-oriented developmental and substantive editor and book proposal consultant. Her clients include a New York Times bestselling debut novelist, a GRAMMY Award ® winner, attorneys, researchers and medical doctors, competitive athletes, advocates and activists, and an international entertainment entrepreneur. Recently, Parade Magazine listed client and triple-amputee Linda K. Olson’s book as one of the 24 best memoirs to read in 2020. Cristen’s personal essays and business columns have been published by, among others, IDAHO magazine, Idaho Business Review, Unbound Northwest, and on the Nonfiction Authors Association blog. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book or her fingers glued to a keyboard, Cristen and her feet can be found anywhere there’s dirt, trees, or water.
The end of each year is a good time to update your author bio. Your author bio helps potential readers learn more about you and why they should read your book(s). If you’ve written a new book this past year or received a book award, update your author bio with that information.
Here are some things you might include in an author bio:
Titles of your books
Book awards received
Work experience relevant to your book’s topic. (As an example, a client writing a book about coping with grief would include in her bio that she is a psychotherapist with 30+ years of experience in grief counseling.)
Something personal so your reader can get to know you better – perhaps where you live, that you’re a mother of three beautiful daughters, hobbies, or the inspiration for why you wrote your book.
Links to your website and/or social media platforms
It is a good idea to write a list of all the places you need to update your bio so you don’t forget. They might include your: