New Look, New Services

(Lost part 4 will be up very soon, sorry for interrupting that flow)

Yes, I finally went and changed my website layout. For many of you I know this is a case of “oh thank toast” and for many of you it really doesn’t make a difference, but it’s something I’m really super proud of. It’s visual, it’s colorful. It’s very much me. Granted, it’s also very much a thing I’m improving and learning as I go, so if you run into something that doesn’t quite work, please let me know.

I’ve got three things I want to talk about today, they’re new, and I’ve been really eager to have them as part what I can offer beyond just blogposts. I’ve got 2 new services – 1st chapter diagnosis, and query/pitch meetings. And I’ve got a scheduler in place that lets you choose your time and even pay for coaching sessions or appointments so that it works best for you.

Let’s walk through all this stuff.

First Chapter Diagnosis

When you’re trying to get published, or you’re trying to grow your audience, where’s the first place people look in a manuscript when they seriously sit down to give it a shot? The beginning. This puts some pressure on those first pages, and means that the character-, plot-, and world- development you do sets a tone and helps encourage and educate the audience on your story and how you’ll present it, hopefully in a way that make people want to keep reading past those first few pages.

I’ve looked at a lot of other coaches, I’ve talked to a lot of editors and agents, and I’m pretty confident that there’s not of a lot of people who will dive deep on the first chapter. It’s an important chapter, and a good first chapter is a great start to a story or even a draft of one. The First Chapter Diagnosis looks at what works and what doesn’t, gives you my professional view and notes on what’s on the page, just as if you submitted it to me at Parvus.

It costs $80, it takes an hour. You can schedule your appointment for one here.

Pitch & Query Session

In addition to a strong manuscript start, the pitch and/or query you use is that first move you make in looking to get published or gain a reader. Their brevity, construction and potential for success or failure seem to collude into something that can confuse or frustrate someone trying to create a good and effective one, so that’s why I’m offering to help build a pitch or query that is more effective, more cohesive, and is a better reflection of the story waiting to be read.

I have a personal preference here. I love helping create pitches. I do it on the fly on Twitter sometimes, and I love looking at a query, asking a few questions, and then having a lightbulb turn on for an author and suddenly they’re excited and producing this totally new material and they can’t wait to share it. That really makes me happy. And like with the First Chapter Diagnosis, I treat the pitch or query like it’s come to my desk at Parvus – I look for what works and what doesn’t, and you get notes and help giving the idea what it needs to get to that next level where it can be more effective and more alluring to the reader.

It costs $60, it takes an hour. You can schedule your appointment right here.

The Scheduler

For a long time all my appointments in a given week were written on a single note I kept to the left of the keyboard. And if I lost that note in a pile of other notes, or if I didn’t remember to carry that handwritten info into a digital calendar, I could very easily lose track of who I was supposed to talk to at what time about what thing. This used to be a really big embarrassing thing that I’m sure didn’t help promote the idea that I knew what I was doing. I knew scheduling software and services existed, but they were always astronomically priced and required way more users and business than I had, so I could never justify the expense.

Out of frustration one day, I gave one more schedule a look, and found that it was about the same cost as what I’m paying for streaming video, so justifying the regular cost wasn’t hard. And in learning how to use it, it was in line with the sort of DIY vibe I’ve been fostering with learning how to get this new website going and what I’ve been advocating on social media – you do the work, you get the results. And that’s how this scheduler became an immediately very cool thing that I can’t believe I wasn’t using earlier.

I didn’t want to use something that was all flash where the real tools for my business were hidden by DLC and individual paywalls. And I wanted to use something that someone internet-averse (like my mom) could use without losing her place or feeling overwhelmed. This scheduler has you click very clear things and progress from one to the next.

Like this:

It starts with the Scheduler’s first item – What do you want to do?

You choose the kind of appointment you want

You click on that, and then choose when you want to have it.


Choose your timezone, and pick the time of your appointment.

Now when you choose that time, you choose ‘Continue’ if you want a one-time appointment or ‘Recurring’ if you want to make a standing appointment every week or two weeks or every X number of days. Note: I am bringing back packages of appointments in mid-February. For our example, let’s say you just want the one appointment one time.

Choose whether the appointment is one-off or if it recurs

Once you click that, you enter in some information – your name, an email address, a phone number (which is entirely so that if for some reason I need to leave you a message urgently – like if I’m stuck in traffic – I can do that) and depending on the appointment you’ll have a place to attach a file like a sample query or the first chapter or whatever you want to work on.

Some quick info and you’re almost done

You’ll also notice that you can pay in advance. You can use Paypal, Stripe, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and Diners Club. If you want to use Google Wallet, click ‘Pay Later’ and let me know you’re using it – the scheduler does not play well with Google Wallet.

You don’t have to pay up front. You can, it’s easier, but it’s not critical. Choose what’s comfortable for you.

Once you make any payment choice and get the information in place, you should get a reminder that looks like this …

Once you get this screen, you’re all set.

The confirmation will also get emailed to you at whatever email address you used in Step 2, and if the appointment is a few days away, you’ll get a second reminder on the day of the appointment. In the reminder and confirmation you’ll have the option to copy down your appointment into iCal or Outlook or Google Calendar. No I don’t know why it’s cool with Google Calendar but Google Wallet makes it freak out.

And if you want to avoid doing a lot of this stuff for future appointments you can click ‘Register for an Account’ and your info will get saved so that you can just login (there’s a little note for it at the top of the scheduler) and be on your way.

I’m really proud to offer you more help in addition to coaching and the free consultation. This is more in line with what I’ve wanted to do and how I’ve wanted to do business for a while. I look forward to helping you, and hearing from you, and I’m excited to help you tell your story.

Posted by johnadamus

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