Monday, July 27, 2015

Encouragement for Writers

We are mothers, sisters, and daughters.

We are wives, friends, and co-workers.

And we are writers. Writers with personal lives. All the roles we have in life can keep us busy, distracted, disappointed, or discouraged. It can even pull us away from writing if we are overwhelmed.

Here are some inspirational quotes I hope will encourage you!

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Problems are not stop signs. They are guidelines. - Robert Schuller

If you have other things in your life-family, friends, good productive day work-these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer. - David Brin

A wounded deer leaps the highest. - Emily Dickinson

One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time. - John Wanamaker


Photo credit: s-a-m / Foter / CC BY
Feel a bit better? I hope so.

Next month: ways to balance your personal life with the business of writing. 

~~~~

After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts http://kathleenmoulton.com

Friday, July 24, 2015

Writing Bonuses

image by jesadaphorn.at www.freedigitalphotos.net
We all have months when our energy is at a low ebb. Mine is traditionally July--the end of the school year and that means paperwork and more paperwork rather than holiday.

But this year, getting away from students and from the computer for the full week of my publishing house summer shut down helped me realize how many networking bonuses we benefit from as writers.

All round us we have experts generous in sharing their expertise and always willing to lend a helping hand.


Writing for Wealth

Freelance writing is an exhausting way to make a living. Yes, we set our own deadlines, choose our own work--how hard can it be? Very.

Juggling submissions, thinking up new ideas, finding oneself "interviewing" rather than talking to friends--it all becomes stressful.

Consider taking advantage of PLR material. Search engines are full of sites offering pre-written content free or at low prices. Never use it as is but it can give you a skeleton framework on which to build your own writing and it is another way of researching the niche markets that are popular in which to make sales.

If nothing else, it may inspire you to say, "I can do better than that. " :-)

Study what is on the market. See what works. One plr report costed at $2.50 sold 100 times means $250. Think about it. 

It is all too easy to stick to the tried and true formula of what works: querying a favorite editor, writing for the same magazine, sticking to lower paid markets rather than trying something new.

 Writing for Health

Health is one of the most popular and profitable markets for writers though ironically most writers suffer from some health problem through their sedentary lifestyle.

My week off gave me the chance to research the reason for an almost crippling sciatic pain that baffled my doctors. If you ever find yourself too sore to sit and almost as sore to stand, look into piriformis syndrome.

I have been doing the exercises for almost three weeks now and they work for me. And of course, when I get round to producing my own mini report, then that will also work for me--either as an opt-in bonus for my newsletter or as a PLR pack.

Writing for Happiness

Australian writer Ruth Barringham has discontinued sales of her Online Complete Course and is offering it free. It is a huge course which covers everything from getting the initial idea through learning html code to web design and putting your site online.

Best of all, she is relinquishing her copyright so it seems you could update it where necessary and do whatever you want with it. A tempting offer.

The Complete Online Course is only one of the marvellous resources Ruth has on her site. Try the free stuff link on her blog and look at her free resources page too. 

As a beta reader for Beth Barany's new  mini course on novel writing, I can happily recommend it. Written for first time authors, it still holds lots of useful tips for those of us on the second time around. And it's another irresistible no cost offer for those of us whose income is limited.

Her older site has several interesting creativity articles available for download and I shall post the link to her new novel writing course as soon as it goes live.

Until then, take a look at her resources page at BethBarany.com

Let me know what you find useful in any of these ideas and please add your own thoughts on writing bonuses in the comments below




Anne Duguid
Anne Duguid Knol


A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at her very new Author Support blog: http://www.authorsupport.net
Her novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press.

Monday, July 20, 2015

26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 4



We often here people speak of a "learning curve". 

By that we usually mean we take on a challenge which teaches us new things. 

So do writers learn anything from blogging? Once again, the answer is

 Yes!


Today we're going to take a look at some of the things we can learn when we blog and how they benefit us in other ways.

11.    L is for Learning.
  • You learn about your topic. During the month of April, I wrote almost every day on the topic of Africa. I have lived on this continent since the age of four, and yet I learned so much about the countries of Africa, their cultures, flora and fauna. I compiled a “Blogging Bucket List” of places I want to visit, or revisit, over the next year or two. Many people who read my blog during the April, mentioned how much they too learned about this amazing land.
  • You learn by doing research. I had to do quite a bit of research into Africa. For example, my brother and sister-in-law are currently on an epic overland adventure from Johannesburg in South Africa, up to the magical Serengeti Plains in distant Tanzania. I realized I knew nothing about Serengeti, so guess what? S is for Serengeti! And I now just wish I could have tagged along with them. 
  • You learn from what you don't know. I am currently doing this series of why writers should blog. I can think of reasons why I blog, but why do other writers blog? As I ask the question and read other writers' blogs, I learn more about the technique of blogging. 
  • You learn from other writers and make cyber friends. As you write about subjects that intrigue them, so they start visiting your blog, and if they leave comments this encourages you to pay them a return visit. In the process I learn about their passions, their home-towns, their hobbies, and many other fascinating information.

12.     M is for Multitasking. 
  • Most blog posts lend themselves to multitasking. I make a point of thinking through any post or series of posts I want to write. Does it have any purpose apart from filling a space for the day? I've already discussed how often my blog posts end up as devotional articles either on another site, or in my weekly devotional messages, Closer Walk. (Sign up via the link at the bottom of the page if you are interested.) 
  • You can share your experiences in a series format, then use it on another blog with modifications, or use them to form the skeleton of an e-book in the future. 
  • Blog posts can form a good basis for teaching topics. I intend to teach my online group for South African Christian Writers about blogging. We work on a Topic of the Week, and what more relevant than to tackle blogging for writers over a period of weeks?

13.    N is for Newsletters. 
  • Blogging opens an opportunity to start a newsletter. I had been blogging intermittently for years before I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Within the first few days, I realized I needed a way for people to sign up to follow my blog. Oh, they could follow my website through RSS, and a few did. They could sign up for my Closer Walk weekly devotions, and some did. But to actually follow my blog every time I posted? 
    • I started a simple newsletter geared only to update readers who want to know when I update the blog, and I created a sign-up form. The list started with just three names; me and two writing friends who were also doing the challenge, but it’s slowly growing. This means I have more contacts with whom to share my news in the future.
  • Newsletters are fun to produce, but they can become cumbersome and difficult to keep up with. If you are simply doing one to notify your readers of a new post, it doesn't need to be long, in fact you must honour your commitment to let them know about the latest post, and not write a full-on newsletter. You soon learn the technique of producing an attractive but simple newsletter that relates to your readers.

14.   O is for Opportunity.


  • Blogging gives you the opportunity to find out how much material you have on a topic. Periodically, I have an Ah-Hah! moment. “I could write a book about that!” But could I? Blogging gives me the opportunity to find out. How much do I actually know about the topic? How much information is available on Google or in books that I own? Will I need personal illustrations and anecdotes? Do I have enough?
  • Blogging offers the opportunity to gather information for a forthcoming project. By asking questions of my readers, I can gain further insight into the subject. So a good way to end a blog post is to ask a question. See if you can encourage interaction. I once wrote a series of articles on International English. In my final post, I asked my readers if any of them had funny stories to share. The result was another post.
  • Blogging can attract attention to your work. I have heard of writers gaining the attention of an agent or a publisher who has read their blog material and offered them the opportunity to write it up as a book or as an article.

 Do you have a topic you feel would make a book? Is there a way you could explore it through some blog articles? Does the idea excite you? Or does it make you nervous? Why? Share with us in a comment below.  

MORE ON THIS TOPIC: 

26 Reasons to blog - part 1: A - C
26 Reasons to blog - part 2: D - G
26 Reasons to blog - part 3: H - K

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, has brought encouragement and inspiration to a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

Visit Shirley at her writing home, ShirleyCorder.com where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or Facebook.


Sign up to receive a short devotional message (bottom right) from Shirley in your inbox once a week. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Midsummer's Nightmare



Yes, you heard me right - write! As I'm putting together this post I'm realizing that the summer is at a midpoint, and my writing goals for the year are not.

While under the best of circumstances summer is a distraction - vacations, visitors and all, this summer has undermined me in an unexpected way. I rise each morning, eager to begin the day, only to find the minutes and hours creeping by without me sitting my behind in the chair - which we all know is the secret to getting the job done. So what to do when this occurs?

1. Join an accountability or critique group: Becoming accountable to others can help with keeping you on track with your goals. In the past I've belonged to critique groups who have encouraged me to submit pages weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. An accountability group may be more diverse in its makeup - some will be attending hoping to improve their home business, while others may be looking to just improve their marketing skills. Either type of group can be beneficial depending upon where you are finding the challenge currently.

2. Set strick limits with family & friends: Writing time may need to be scheduled and committed to by not only you, but by those you love as well. Schedule yourself "out" as you would if you had an important commitment, because it is important.

3. Turn off the phone, don't check Facebook or your email: Internet distractions can undermine your ability to be creative and productive. Telephone calls are really only an excuse to not do the job needing to be done.

Midsummer, mid year 2015 - now is the time to review your yearly goals and gain control over your writing.


____________________________________
D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Serieswas written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception.The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A few Fast & Easy Ways to Get the Publication Credits & Clips You Need to Move Ahead with Your Writing Career

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach


One of the challenges many beginning freelance writers face is getting some publication credits so they'll have clips to include with their resume when applying for writing assignments. It seems to be a Catch-22 situation. They need clips to get new assignments, yet they need assignments to get clips.

Actually, it isn't that difficult to get publication credits and clips rather quickly. Here are a few fast and easy ways to do it:

1. Try Article Directories.

Write a couple of articles aimed at your target market and post these articles in online article directories. Make sure these are high quality articles with great information for your target market. The articles should also be based on keyword research, so they contain the exact words and phrases people are using to search online for the kind of information contained in your articles.

Once you've posted your articles at online article directories, set up a google alert to track your articles. A google alert will let you know when and where your articles appear online. To set up a google alert, just go to www.google.com/alerts and follow the directions. You can type in the title of each of your articles in separate alerts if the titles are unique. Then, each time one of your article titles appears somewhere online, you will be alerted about it by google in an email.

When you receive google alerts for your articles, visit the websites and blogs where your articles have been posted. If any of these sites is impressive, make a screenshot of your article there and use that screenshot as a clip. If you don't know how to make a screenshot, go to google and type in "how to make a screenshot" and you'll find directions for making screenshots on a MAC or a PC.

2. Guest blog.

Instead of waiting and hoping your articles will be picked up at article directories and posted on some impressive sites, find great sites you can offer to guest blog for. You'll find sites that want guest bloggers at www.bloggerlinkup.com or myblogguest.com.

When you find sites to guest blog for, again be sure you create quality articles/posts for these sites. Choose sites to guest blog for that have the same (or at least a similar) target market as you do to make the most of your guest blog posts.

3. Write for small, local print publications.

These publications will usually pay little, if anything, but they are generally easier to break into. Check your library and local bookstores for racks of free, local publications. Follow the submissions guidelines for each publication you wish to write for.

4. Start with fillers.

Create and submit a dozen or so fillers to a dozen or so of the larger print publications. Fillers are shorter pieces that are usually found at the front of a magazine. For that reason they are often called FOB pieces. They range from just a few sentences to a few hundred words and pay anywhere from nothing to $75.00. Fillers are a great way to break in at these markets and get clips from impressive publications.

Don't let a lack of clips and credits keep you from moving forward in your writing career or writing business. Follow these steps today to start building your clips files and your resume.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 30 published books. For more tips, resources, and other helpful information about writing and the business of writing, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.

Friday, July 10, 2015

July Blogging Prompts

The 4th holiday may have come and gone, but there's still a lot to blog about during the month of July.

Here are some topics to write about in July.

Summer Fun: It's summertime. Share with your audience unique ways to have some summer fun, that reflect your specialty or relate to your business.

Summer Productivity: On the other end of the spectrum, share productivity tips to will help your audience get more done (expand their audience, build their expertise, or do more networking in the summer months) when they really just want to chill out or get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. 

Plus:

July Holidays: July is National Anti-Boredom Month! July 13 is Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, Embrace Your Geekness Day, and Fool's Paradise Day. Plus, July 26 All or Nothing Day (go for the extremes), July 27 is Take Your Pants for a Walk Day (promote exercise), and July 30 is the International Day of Friendship (show support - promote the website, blog, or business of your friends).

July Food Holidays: There are lots of food holidays in July. It's National Grilling Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Culinary Arts Month, and more. Sundae Sunday on the third Sunday. Also, July 13 National French Fries Day, July 21 is National Junk Food Day, and July 31 is Cotton Candy Day and Jump for Jelly Beans Day.

Bonus: Fiction writers, in June your characters headed to the beach. This month, invite them to a barbecue. Have a main character, love interest or supporting character host a barbecue for their fictional family, friends and/or coworkers. 

What is the host making? Who is coming? Which guest is bringing what side dishes and desserts? How does what they prepare reflect their interests and personality? For example, one character buys something at the store and transfers it to his or her own cookware, while another spends hours perfecting a scrumptious dessert.

There's lots of fun to be had when you put characters in a social situation and see what comes out of their dynamic. This kind of exercise can lead to all sorts of awesome material.

Double Bonus: Extra gold stars to anyone who hosts a barbecue for inspiration

***


Debra Eckerling is the author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She's a writer, editor and project manager/goal coach, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. She is an editor at Social Media Examiner. Debra is also a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting and social media.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

So Why Shouldn't Authors Profit from Advertising When It Benefits Their Audience!


Memories, Marketing and Sponsorships and Sales

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning
books fir writers, The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor,
both in their second editions

About a year ago I was answering questions for an online interview to promote the Southern Utah Book Expo I would soon be presenting at.  Because I am from Utah, my high school newspaper and yearbook became a topic of discussion and mentioned that getting sponsorship ads for those things was as vital to their being as the photos, writing, and layout of those parts of high school life we all value.

Authors  do the same kind thing with their Web sites. Carefully vetted ads can add value to their contents. I am a sometime actor and occasionally I notice how carefully a director places a picture on a wall or a can of Coke on the table in the shot he's taking. That's placement advertising and we—as consumers of both the Coke and the ad itself—hardly notice. It's subliminal. It's natural to see them there. And besides, this country lauds capitalism and monetary independence. In fact, many metaphorically wave the flags of commerce in our politics (though some suddenly become shy about doing so for their own books! But more on that later!)

Just as I'm thinking about that, I ran across a related article in the business section of the LA Times. Of course! It's about product placement in videos and how it's growing. And how it's making some smart video companies and producers some really big dollars. Why am I not surprised? Here's why. The Love Boat, the TV series from several decades ago, was one giant product placement sitcom! This kind of marketing is not new—nor is it unacceptable. And I’m used to sponsorships (a soft word for advertisements) appearing in the front- and backmatter of fine literary journals.

Now, back to the idea of authors using the same techniques to upping the value of their content and for fattening their pocketbooks. I hope I’ve convinced you that if it’s OK for everyone else, it’s OK for those who write books.

For any author to sell product placement or advertising and make large quantities of money requires an audience (we authors call it a platform). But it can be done on a small scale—perhaps out of the goodness of your heart or perhaps in trade with other authors who are out there making videos and otherwise promoting and building their platforms like crazy.
The video entrepreneurs in that article remind others that audience is "more important than any brand deal." They say that if they love a product, it feels good to do something with it commercially. But it’s even more than “love.” The bigger question is, “Does this product benefit (elucidate) the work itself?” Another is, “Is the product something that might benefit the author’s intended audience?”

If you’ve decided something like this is worth exploring, here are a few guidelines for you to consider:

  1. Don't interrupt the story (the arc or thread) with an "unrelated product message." I'd extend that and say at its best it should never feel like an interruption at all.
  2. A product or its logo might work best if it doesn't appear until half way through the video. If you should decide to use an actual ad, put it at the end of the video or book because if a person has hung in long enough to see that final frame--read that final page—they probably will be more receptive to a product than if it's flashed up front where it might discourage a person from watching at all.
  3. Try a title card. Entrepreneurs McLaughlin and Link Neal use product placement well into their cat video and then a brand name "title card" at the end. I'm thinking even the title card could add something more than just an ad. Perhaps it could look like a cross-stitched "Kitty Snoozing" sign hanging from a doorknob. It could be designed with Friskies colors, a logo, and little kitty-food-can tassels hanging from the corners. The question now is, what would the title card on your video look like—beyond just your bookcover image and a Web site address. In The Frugal Book Promoter, a couple of my ads offer a discount on products that writers can use by means of promo codes.

So what are the guidelines for success—whether it is a paid-for project, a bartered one, or the goodness of your heart?
  1. Passion
  2. Appropriateness
  3. Perceived Benefit
  4. A Promotion Partner so you can share both real expenses and the time it takes to promote it.

On that latter point, one of my subscribers, Reno Lovison, once made a slide-show video for me without even asking. He sent it to me as a gift with suggestions of how I might promote it. It was an interesting turn around because his own promotional materials and video business were the product placements within the ad he made for me. Talk about partnerships! His Web site is http://authorsbroadcast.com/ and if you look at the books on his Web site, you'll also see the cover of one of my retail books for which he made a more traditional sales video several years ago (and which I still use in multiple spots on my Web site).

If you'd like to read more check the LA Times story by Madeline O'Leary, Tuesday, July 29, Business Section (B3).

-----
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter published in 2003. Her The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.