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However, having that view at your fingertips helps you to make smart decisions about where your money goes. It allowed me to plug spending leaks and pay off my debt faster. Just the simple act of checking my Mint account every day was a reminder that I had to get in shape — like being naked in front of a mirror while standing on a scale.

Start using Mint, I urge you! In fact, we just launched our book Mastering Mint which is all about using Mint effectively. I was an impulse buyer. I never saved for anything in my life.

This is Why I’m Broke: 18 Lessons I Learned From Having No Money

I would just slap it on a credit card and pay it off later — or so I thought. I slept alone in my bed. Take stock in the things you already have. You probably have enough right now to be happy. If not, find out the things that truly make you happy. I bought a very expensive condo, so I thought, I better use it. I stayed home a lot, and you know what?

I saved a ton of money by staying home and chilling out with my dog, Reggie. If I was lucky, I had someone to eat it with. Both of these books and this blog have seriously changed my life for the better. All you need is willpower. No one will be offended if you ask for money after doing something for it. You have to ASK, and ask often.

A War and Peace for our time

I need to get this tidbit out of the way: I have a small hatred for teachers. There were only one or two teachers I can recall that really helped me in a significant way. And even if you are the greatest employee the company has ever seen, a small budget cut can send you packing, and last in line at the unemployment office — I should know.

Therefore, you need to think about your life as a whole and where you want to be. Otherwise, owning a home might not be the best move for you. These might not seem like bad things, but for me, they were, so just be cautious of them. There is nothing wrong with renting. Right now, I rent and I love it. Very little responsibility and I can move whenever I want without having to deal with the devil banks. I followed the philosophy of I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so what do I need to save for? What a bad philosophy. I spent 30 years without a backup or cushion to help get me out of a jam.

Car breaks put it on the credit card. Went over on my cell phone minutes, put it on the credit card. Having it will relieve stress in your life, even if you never have to use it.

1. Investing Is Why People Are Rich

I would subscribe and signup for every offer that came in the mail. All of these things are worthless! You should do your research and find the card that will work best for your situation and provides the best rewards. The best advice would be to continually cancel junk mail like I did. I used to be a smoker and a heavy drinker. There are plenty of other habits that are killing you. I wrote a whole post on this very topic.

You need to make a list of your friends and put them into two categories: Perhaps all your friends do is spend money on frivolous crap, and now you find yourself doing the same things. Not a mental list, but an actual list with a pen and a piece of paper. For instance, you could write: Hobbies not only help your mind, but they will make you happy, and perhaps, save you money at the same time. Exercising, snowboarding, homebrewing, writing, or any activity that engages your mind is a better use of your time.

Dig deep into yourself and choose a hobby that you think will benefit to you and make you smarter. I started brewing beer, and it provides me cheap great-tasting beer and wealth of math knowledge. You need to quit blaming others I know I have. You Need to Look at the Big Picture 3. Credit Cards Are a Godsend 3. Debt is The Devil 4. Mint Is Mint 6. Excellent preparation will make or break your book. On the fiction side, the definition of an outliner is obvious.

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You plan everything beforehand. Neither is better or worse. But most writers are one or the other a few are hybrids, largely one over the other but doing a little of both. All great stories are rooted in solid research. If your research stinks, your story sinks. And you thought I was joking about sinking. To avoid such embarrassing errors, do your research. Immerse yourself in the details of your setting. Two online research tools that will help you avoid mistakes:. I had been advised by a veteran author that my freelance income ought to be around three times what I made at my job before I considered going solo.

He started listing everything I would have to pay for on my own. Insurance, retirement, all my benefits. I had always been careful to separate my writing and my office work, but during my off hours on business trips I might do some research. You might not like this, but I recommend you keep it and spend your after-hours time writing your book.

So, yes, you can have your cake and eat it too—without sacrificing time with family. You lose three hours per night for what, TV? How big a sacrifice is that for your writing dream? How badly do you want to become an author? Editors know from the first page whether your manuscript is publishable. First, the good stuff ought to be in the first two paragraphs.

And if they see 15 adjustments they need to make on the first two pages, they know the cost of editing three or four hundred pages of the same would eat whatever profits they could hope for before even printing the book. This section will show you how to become an author by revealing the options available.

These best practices can vastly increase your likelihood of getting published. Your first step in trying to land a traditional publishing deal should be to land an agent—which can be just as difficult, as it should be. There will seem a dichotomy here, because you are likely writing for altruistic reasons—you have a mission, a passion, a message, something burning inside that you must share with the world. Yet agents or publishers will appear to base their decisions solely on the bottom line. It simply means they must make a profit to stay in business—even faith-based publishers who are all about ministry.

Most will not consider unsolicited manuscripts, though some will. Some will allow you to submit at writers conferences or through other clients of theirs. Obviously, there are good agents and bad agents. How do you know whom you can trust? The credible agent welcomes scrutiny. Check with other clients.

This is Why I'm Broke: 18 Lessons I Learned From Having No Money

Once you compile a list of agents who seem to be a good fit, follow their submission guidelines. If any ask for any sort of reading fee or other payment up front, eliminate them as candidates and do not respond. Most agents prefer submissions of any kind to be electronically submitted as an attachment, not as part of the body of your message. Make your query letter crisp and short.

The shorter while saying what you need to say the better. A query letter is just what its name implies—it queries the interest of the agent in your book idea. So make it stimulating and intriguing. So it has to be fast and convincing. In a paragraph, tell what your nonfiction book is about and what you hope to accomplish with it. Or tell the basic premise of the plot of your novel.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The synopsis would naturally go beyond the elevator pitch and tell what happens and how things turn out. Almost any plot, when reduced to a one- or two-paragraph synopsis, sounds ridiculous. Help them envision how to pitch it to publishers, but be careful not to oversell. You can say that your audiences have been enthusiastic or that beta readers have expressed excitement. Sell the agent on yourself. What qualifies you to write this book? What else have you published?

What kind of tribe have you built? Where can they read your blog? Some want only this. For fiction, rough out the entire plot in a few pages. Three trusted colleagues have produced masterful works on how to write book proposals, so check out what they have to offer:. Writing a Winning Book Proposal. How to Write a Book Proposal. Book Proposals That Sell.

The competition is so fierce these days, I would lean toward a full proposal almost every time. The only instances when I might fire off a query would be if an incredible opportunity fell in my lap and I thought an agent could help me jump on it before I had time to craft a proposal. For instance, if a major celebrity wanted help with a book and chose you to write it, a fast letter to an agent might get a quick response. Otherwise, take the time to put together a professional proposal that shows an agent you know how to work and can be thorough.

Keep that in mind and be ready to get busy. But few can see their way through to the end. Use these submission guidelines:. Remember, the editor is on your side. Throw a private temper tantrum if you must, but then cool down and listen. Let them to do their job. Exhaust your efforts to traditionally publish before resorting to self-publishing. Even honest self-publishing executives will give you this advice. So nothing comes out of your pocket. With self-publishing, however, you pay for everything from design to editing.

Too much copy on the front and back covers. Poor typeface and interior design. Lousy writing, editing, and proofreading—sometimes clearly nonexistent. Publishing your own book is vastly different than it used to be.

Your end product can now look much more professional, and your price per book is much more reasonable. Print-on-demand technology now allows for low-cost printing, so you can order as few as two or three books at a time for the same cost per book as you would pay if you were buying hundreds. So, you no longer need to store countless copies in your garage or basement.

And self-published books look nicer these days too, because writers have demanded it. If you resort to this route, realize that you are the publisher now. You have to advertise, promote, and market your own book. Admittedly, selling enough self-published copies to actually net you more money than you would make selling more traditionally at a lower royalty rate is rare, but it happens. Experts say as few as one percent of all published books can be accommodated by bookstores and that the rest must be sold through other channels like the Internet, direct mail, and by hand. Each of these elements will dramatically increase the professional look of your final product and, thus, your hope of selling more books.

Do NOT skimp on them. More than , books are self-published every year in the United States alone. So there are many companies to choose from. They might even give examples of a few titles of theirs that have sold into some stores or even made some bestseller list. That means your book will get no personal attention from a salesperson and no more emphasis than any of the tens of thousands of other titles on the list.

That said, when you do need to self-publish, legitimate companies with proven track records are ready to assist you. Do your homework and go beyond an Internet search, which will likely turn up beautiful websites for countless companies putting their best foot forward. So find previous customers and ask about their experience. You want a company who will answer every question straightforwardly and without hesitation.

If you feel hard-sold, run. A litmus test question for the publisher: Ask if they would advise you to exhaust your efforts to traditionally publish first. When writers run out of money to invest in their book, too often the first place that suffers is the content itself. Writers may understand that they are not experts in cover design, layout and typesetting, marketing and promotion, warehousing, distribution, and sales.

But they overrate their writing and editing and proofreading abilities.

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What they wind up with is a handsome product that looks like a real book but reads like the manuscript that made the rounds of the traditional houses and was rejected. Having been in the writing game for 50 years and the book business for 40, that is something I am able to tell you. To use an ancient adage, cream rises. That may sound like something scratched on a cave wall.

But it simply means that readers recognize quality.

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You or your agent may be looking for a deal from a traditional publisher. Or you may have chosen to self-publish online, in print, or both. Want your own copy of this guide? If you really want to become an author, it can be done. How to Write a Memoir: Before you go, be sure to grab my FREE guide: How to Maximize Your Writing Time. Just tell me where to send it: How to Become an Author: The bad news first: Click here to get a free PDF version you can read anytime. How else would they deal with things like: