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Yvonne Perry Interview

Tell us a bit about WITS.
WITS is an acronym for Writers in the Sky—my writing and editing company based in Nashville, Tennessee. My team and I offer ghostwriting and editing for fiction and nonfiction books, biographies and memoirs, résumés, media releases, press kits, marketing copy, Web site text, and articles. We also assist authors with online book promotion and help them take the next step toward publishing.

When people sign up for the WITS newsletter about writing, publishing, and book marketing they get a copy of your eBook Tips for Freelance Writing. What is the number one tip you'd give people starting out?
Have a plan, build a strong portfolio, and learn everything you can about the business and craft of writing and the publishing industry. This is so important and yet few people know how to do this. That is why I am starting a mentoring program designed to bring new writers into the freelance writing business. The three levels will teach the bare-bones basics for starting out as a new writer and develop the student into someone who could become part of the WITS team. I spend a lot of time grooming the team of writers and editors I have now and teaching them everything I know. It takes quite an investment to believe in a writer enough to warrant the time and effort to train them, but it’s what I enjoy doing. This is another reason why I wrote an eBook Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy.

You also do a WITS Podcast. How valuable do you think it is to use other forms of media as marketing tools?
I encourage authors and writers to take advantage of everything available on the Internet to market their books and businesses. I network online and have multiple strategic alliances with authors and business people. I use social networking sites such as Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn, Squiddo, and MySpace; I bookmark my posts for news services, I post media releases online at least once per month; I use keyword article marketing to increase my online presence and bring traffic to my sites; I publish free a monthly newsletter and accept speaking engagements in person and online; I have a video on YouTube and on my business Web site and blog, and I offer RSS feed syndication to listeners of my podcast and readers of my five blogs.

I started my podcast, not as a marketing tool, but because of my desire to teach and to help other writers find their way to success. I am frequently asked questions about online marketing and publishing and the podcast is a way for me to distribute this type of information. There were times when I wanted to stop the podcast because it takes so much time to produce and promote a quality show, but whenever I start thinking of bringing it to a close, someone will tell me how much they enjoy the show and how helpful it is to them. It keeps me going!

You've written quite a variety of books, ranging from a series of children’s books to taking on difficult topics such as suicide. How does your writing process change depending on the type of book you’re writing?
Every book is different and must be treated with the end user (the reader) in mind. I ask myself: What do people need to know or what should they learn from this book? What format should I use to best get this message to the reader? The process itself doesn’t change from one non-fiction book to another. I research and gather my material, create a working outline that helps me organize the material, write and develop the chapters, edit the entire book, and proofread it. Then, I have someone else edit and proofread it before it is published.

My books typically stream from whatever is going on in my life. For example, my children’s books were written for and about my grandson when he was three years old. My book on death, dying, and afterlife was written shortly after my uncle passed away. My book on stem cell research was a product of my curiosity on the topic when President Bush vetoed HR 810 and I had contact with a friend who is certain his son can be helped by stem cell treatment.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Never see a piece you have written as your “baby” or as an extension of yourself. Doing so creates an attachment that will not allow you to receive critique that will help you develop or hone your skills. I see my writing as a product or tool to help me reach my next goal.

To writers who want to build a portfolio, I suggest they find multiple purposes for each piece they write. Articles can be converted to media releases, media releases can be excerpted for marketing pieces, which can be used in a newsletter. This interview will probably be whittled into posts for my blog or a writing sample for my Web site.

Remember, there are no limits to how successful a writer can be!

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