The Path to Writing Success - Focus, Determination, and Perseverance

By Karen Cioffi

Focus, determination, and perseverance are essential to just about every aspect of your life. Each characteristic is unique and together create a synergy. This is applicable to your writing for children career also.

So, what are these three elements that lead to success?

Focus is one’s ability to concentrate exclusively on a particular thing through effort or attention.

Determination is an unchanging intention to achieve a goal or desired end.

Perseverance takes determination a step beyond by using steady and ongoing actions over a long period of time to ensure its intention is accomplished. It continues on through ups and downs.

These elements combined with positive thinking and projection can be an unstoppable force.

I’m a huge fan of positive thinking and projection. I believe our mind has a great influence over our well being and the direction our life can take. Granted, it’s not always easy to harness that influence, but there is enough content out there, including The Secret, to at least strive to think positive and project.

For example, Jack Canfield and co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup for the Soul, were rejected 144 times from publishers. Finally, in 1993, their book was accepted. Since they were in debt and couldn’t afford a publicist, they did their own promotion. In 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

In a teleconference I attended with Jack Canfield as the speaker, he said he and his co-author created vision boards of what they wanted. They even took a copy of the New York Times Best Selling Page, whited out the #1 spot, and replaced it with Chicken Soup for the Soul. They put copies of it everywhere, even in the toilet. They had focus, determination, perseverance, and they envisioned and projected success. The rest is history.

On a much smaller scale, my daughter Robyn, practices the philosophy of The Secret. For ten years she had dreamed of being in the audience of the Oprah show. She actually got tickets twice, but for one reason or another she was unable to attend. It didn’t stop her though; she persevered and kept trying. She knew one day she’d accomplish her goal and she did. She attended O’s 10 Anniversary celebration in New York City.

She even got her picture taken. You can check it out at (she’s on the right):
http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Photos-from-O-Magazines-Live-Your-Best-Life-Weekend/5#slide

So, what has this to do with you as a children’s writer? Plenty.

The elements for obtaining your goals are the same whether for business, marketing, life, or writing. Just about every writer has heard the adage: it’s not necessarily the best writers who succeed, it’s the writers who persevere.

Be focused and determined on your writing goals. Have a ‘success’ mindset. This means to project success, along with taking all the necessary steps to becoming a successful and effective children’s writer. And, don’t let rejection stop you – persevere.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, children’s ghostwriter, and author/writer online marketing instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with a project, visit: Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

And, you can follow Karen at:
Twitter
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Goolge+
 
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Feedback: Friend or Foe

When I took my first screenwriting course, I received a piece of advice I always keep at the forefront. Be careful of when and where you seek feedback. 

This is especially true at the early stages of any project. Share your ideas before they're developed, and you may be steered off the right path or encouraged to go in the wrong direction. Plus, when you receive too many ideas on your work from others, you run the risk of getting stalled by information-overload. This is neither good for you or your project.

For these - and other reasons - always be mindful of where and when you seek advice. I'm not saying never get input. (Sorry for the double-negative.) There are perils in going to the other extreme. Constructive feedback - and of course editing - are imperative for those who want to put out a professional project, which, by the way, should be everyone. 

Here are some rules to keep in mind where feedback is concerned.

1. Know your Work Before you Share It. You must have a sense of your project before you can be objective about any recommendations, and know whether you should keep or disregard them. Having trouble finding a path for your characters or the outline for your non-fiction book? Try writing things a few different ways, and give yourself the opportunity to decide on direction.

2. Choose a Few Trusted Advisors. Especially for longer work, at some point you will need feedback, editing, and maybe even some help with development. That's fine. Just keep your circle small and be selective. Reach out to no more than three or four people to be a part of this tribe. Make sure you have vetted any paid advisors before you bring them on board, and that the friends and peers you choose have your best interest in mind.

3.Share Work in Pieces. If you are having trouble with something specific and desperately need feedback, especially at the early stages, ask only about that bit. Keep your project as vague as possible, but share a scene, a character description, or an idea for something you might include. Compartmentalizing in this way will keep the conversation focused and unwarranted feedback at bay.   

I have a vivid memory of attending a critique group as a guest many years ago. A women read the first chapter in her romance novel, and people were offering her suggestions right and left. They ranged from changing the characters' traits and adding new ones to altering the plot entirely.

Afterwards, I sought out the author. It was my first meeting and I was not allowed to offer feedback in the group setting - don't get me started on that one. I told her to keep going in her direction, to follow her gut. There'd be plenty of time for input once she had a better sense of her novel, and could be objective about any recommendations.

What are your thoughts on getting feedback on your work? With whom do you share your work? Please share in the comments.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group

She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the Guided Goals Podcast.

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

By Karen Cioffi

Writers need to be tough. It’s not an easy arena to be in. Did you know that writers get so many rejections there have actually been studies done on it? And, the statistics aren’t good. Most (well over 90%) of authors who seek representation by agents are rejected. (1)

That’s pretty severe.

Those in the industry, say not to contemplate ‘throwing in the towel’ until you’ve queried a minimum of 100 agents.

Another article at Writer’s Digest says, “don’t even think about giving up until you’ve queried at least one hundred agents.” (2).

But, what if Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen gave up after 100 rejections. They were rejected 144 times before landing a publishing contract.

So, how does a writer become successful?

Well, there are at least 3 characteristics that go a long way in giving a writer a fighting chance.

1. Perseverance.

Perseverance is probably the single most important factor.  You can learn to write. You can improve your writing. You can submit you work more often. But, if you get discouraged when successes don’t come as fast as you’d like or expected, you may start writing less, you may give up.

This is where you need to persevere. Know that it’s not the best writers who succeed, it’ those who persevere.

From personal experience I can attest to this. I work in two niches. I did it for years with not much success. Then suddenly, clients began finding me and hiring me in one of those niches.

More often than not, success is just around the corner. You’ve got to persevere.

2. You MUST set goals.

While perseverance is an essential factor in writing success, without setting goals, what are you persevering toward? You need to be a goal setter.

Your goals need to be specific. What do you really want to succeed at?

- Getting ongoing publishing contracts.
- Getting freelance writing projects on a regular basis.
- Supplementing your income.
- Earning $50,000 per year. Earning $100,000 per year. Earning $500,000 per year. Being a millionaire.
- Becoming a New York Times Best Seller.
- Becoming famous.

I found it more tangible to create monthly income goals rather than yearly ones.

You need to find what your goals are and what strategy to use to obtain them. And, you need to make those goals visible. Create a vision board or write them down and read them every day.

3. Focus

One big pitfall in writing is not having focus.

I mentioned earlier that after years of struggling along, I began to get clients on a regular basis. And, I’ve gotten lots of return and series clients.

One important factor how this came about is I began to focus on one writing niche. I devoted the majority of my time and energy in that area and it paid off.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one writing niche, but if you want to succeed in something, you need to prioritize. You need to focus.

As my writing coach would say, focus on what’s making you money.

Get to work building these three characteristics and see if it doesn’t make a difference. And, let us know how you make out.

References:
(1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-hummel/why-agents-reject-96-of-a_b_4247045.html
(2) http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/dont-give-up-until-youve-queried-80-agents-or-more


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and children's ghostwriter.

You can connect with Karen at:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://facebook.com/writingforchildrenwithkarecioffi
GoolgePlus: https://plus.google.com/+KarenCioffiVentrice/about
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/KarenCioffi/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice

This article was originally published at:
http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2016/04/17/how-do-you-build-a-successful-writing-career-3-tips/

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Literary Magazines with Themes--Fall 2017 Edition

It's time for another of my roundups of literary magazines with themes. Due dates range from the end of this month to January 2018

As always, read website guidelines carefully and have fun!  Entry is free to all the magazines listed below, and all are paying markets.

On the Premises
Theme:  Community
Genres:  Fiction
Deadline:  September 1, 2017
Word Count:  up to 5000
Pay:  $60-220
Guidelines: http://onthepremises.com/contest-rules/


Timeless Tales
Theme:  Rumpelstiltskin
Genres:  Fairy Tales--Fiction, Poetry
Reading dates:  August 18-Sept 1
Word Count:  up to 2000, 1500 preferred
Pay:  $20
REPRINTS ACCEPTED
Guidelines: http://www.timelesstalesmagazine.com/submissions


Ladybug
Theme:  Spaceships and Superheroes
Genres:  Fiction, activities, crafts, activities, recipes for kids age 6-9
Deadline:  August 31, 2017
Word Count:  varies depending on type of work, but very short
Pay:  varies by type--professional rates
Guidelines: https://cricketmag.submittable.com/submit/17817/spider-magazine-for-ages-6-9

Enchanted Conversation
Themes:  Godfather death (reading period Sept 1-Sept 30)
      Elves and the Shoemaker (reading Period Nov 1-Nov 30)
Genre:  Fairy Tale, fiction and poetry
Reading Period:  Sept and Nov 2017
Word Count:  700-3000 stories, poems of any length

The First Line
First line must be: "I'm tired of trying to see the good in people."
Genres:  Fiction
Deadline: November 1, 2017
Word Count:  up to 5000
Pay:  $25-50
Guidelines:  http://www.thefirstline.com/submission.htm

THEMA Literary Journal
Theme:  Dancing in the Wind
Genres:  Fiction
Deadline: November 1, 2017
  
Shooter
Theme:  New Life
Genres:  Stories, Poetry, Non-fiction
Deadline:  November 5, 2017
Word Count:  2000-7500
Pay:  Up to 25 GBP
Guidelines: https://shooterlitmag.com/submissions/

Ouen Press
Theme:  Taste
Genres:  Fiction
Deadline:  Dec 31, 2017
Word Count:  3000-10000
Pay:  Contest winners:  100-300 GBP
Guidelines: http://www.ouenpress.com/19.html

Pantheon:
Theme:  Gorgon; Stories of Emergence
Genres:  Flash fiction issue--dark, weird, speculative, horror
Reading Period:  Opens January 1, 2018
Word Count:  Around 1000 words preferred
Pay:  $.06/wd
REPRINTS ACCEPTED ($.03/wd)
Guidelines:   https://pantheonmag.com/submission-guidelines/


Melinda Brasher's fiction appears in Nous Electric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and other magazines. One of her first sales was to THEMA above.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  

Her newest book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide helps budget travelers plan a trip to majestic Alaska.  Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.

Why Purchase Your Own ISBN?

First of all, what is an ISBN and why do you need it?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. An ISBN is a 13 digit number that identifies your book and publisher. You have to have one in order to sell your book.

Now that we have that out of the way, why is it important to own your own ISBN?

For the first book I ever self-published, The Lilac Princess, I went through an agency. They provided the ISBN. This means their publishing company was identified with that title. For my second book, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, I used the free one on CreateSpace. This means CreateSpace is identified with that title. Then, for my third book, Little Birdie Grows Up, I purchased my own ISBN because the person doing the formatting for me used IngramSpark and IngramSpark requires you to have your own ISBN. This means I am identified with that title as the publishing company. At first, I was unhappy about having to purchase my own ISBN for IngramSpark because it costs $125 for one ISBN. But, then I did a little research and found out the importance of having my own ISBN. The good news is there are sales where you can buy 10 ISBN’s for $250 and sometimes even cheaper than that.

What I have come to realize is that in order for me to control the price of my first book, I had to take it back from the agency which fortunately was okay and in accordance with my contract. I used my own ISBN and I did change the cover and added some pictures to the inside but I didn’t have to. However, with my second book, I cannot take it back from CreateSpace. Well, not easily anyway, I would need to change the title, possibly cover, and then provide my own ISBN.

What’s interesting and also disconcerting is that when using CreateSpace and providing my own ISBN, my book isn’t available for wider distribution.

So, you have to think about what you want to do with your books. If you’d like to be able to take them somewhere else and have them printed through other printing companies say Smashwords, LuLu, etc. then you’ll need your own ISBN. If you want to be able to market to libraries and stores, then you’ll need to use IngramSpark who is fine with you using your own ISBN or if you use CreateSpace, you’ll need to use the free one they provide.

All in all, for maximum freedom, it’s best to have your own ISBN so you can take your book wherever you want to and also use IngramSpark so you can use your own ISBN and have wider distribution.

This is all a learning curve for those of us new to self-publishing. Hope this tidbit helps you a little. Please feel free to comment and share your experiences and expertise.



Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie Grows Up). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.

The Fine art of Asking for Reviews

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Excerpted from the newest in Carolyn's multi award-winning 
HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

To find even more reviewers, you can put your reporter’s hat on and ask—tactfully—for what you need. Make the point that a review is a gift to you, a gift that authors treasure above all others—whether it comes from a reviewer or a reader. Try some of these possibilities:
  • Ask fellow attendees at writers’ conferences.
  • Ask directors of writers’ conferences if they offer a review exchange or have other suggestions for you.
  • Ask writing instructors if they have a list of reviewers or know where you can find one.
  • When you’re on the Web, look at the resource pages of the Web sites owned by how-to authors of books for writers and of online book review sites.
  • Think about classes you have taken. The instructors may have a policy against reviewing students’ work, but your fellow students may review yours. (I hope you would try to do the same for them!)
  • Ask members of your critique group.
  • Ask members of the organizations you belong to. Writing organizations come to mind, but members of other organizations may be even more open to your suggestion. It may be something they’ve never done, may never have thought about doing, and they may find it is lots of fun.
  • When you read, make a note of reviews and the names of those who wrote them that you find in some issues of magazines like Time and newspapers around the world.
  • Learn to write great query letters that won't tick off agents (or reviewers!) from my The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor).  I interviews dozens of agents to learn about their pet peeves and most of them didn't mention typos! You'll want to know what they did mention! 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This little how-to article was extracted from my giant (415 pages) of How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews) third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It was released a few months ago. There is just so much to know about putting reviews to work for your book!  I am still celebrating its release because authors are still benefitting from it. Learn more about my books for writers and visit my free Writers’ Resources pages at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. It’s also easy to use my review blog. Just follow the submission guidelines in the left column at http://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com

Where Do You Find Ideas?






When looking for a subject to write about, ideas are everywhere. Sitting on a bench in the park you have sights and sounds. Take a notebook with you wherever you go and use all your senses to capture the world around you. See the child sliding down the slide: capture the dialog and jot it down. What are people doing and saying around you? What about their mannerisms? How they walk, talk, look?

There are many things to look for when trying to find a subject matter. Look in the newspapers. Is there something that jumps out at you and captures your attention? Possibly a murder, or someone missing. Write about the search party; someone in the search party. Make the person interesting. Does he/she have anything to do with the missing person? Do they know this person? Just read the newspaper and see what you can come up with. Change the story to meet your needs.

Watch the evening news. Watch online news and events. What’s going on in the world that disturbs you makes you want to write about it?

There are thousands of writing prompts online (google). Something might jump out at you and beg to be written.

I’ve always been interested in women’s issues, especially in other countries. For instance: kidnapping, female genital mutilation, child labor, unequal pay, the beating of women, child and women abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse. I could go on, but you get the idea. There is so much going on in the world we could write about passionately.

Read and study about things you are interested in and start writing in your own words.

There’s a saying to not mix politics and religion together. Why? Because they are controversial issues. So, I say, write about it. How do you feel about how America has changed since you were a child? Is it better or worse? What changes have you seen? What improvements would you want to see happen? And religion. Why do you think there are so many? What’s the purpose of so many? What is the right one? How would you go about changing the views of those around you?

There are a plethora of things to write about, whether right or wrong. Someone will have a negative opinion about it anyway. But you will stir up interest. That’s what makes a good writer into a great writer.

Have you watched any good movies lately? How about an old movie…can you see a better ending? How about changing the protagonist to the opposite sex? Maybe change the storyline. Bring it up to date for today’s time.

Watch movies and read books you’re interested in. Can you see something entirely different than what the author wrote? Does your imagination take you on a diverse journey? Good! Go for it.

What about dreams. I know everyone has dreams that are dark or silly. Why not weave them into a story? Better yet, write an entire story and fill in the part of the dream that wasn’t there. Complete the dream. I’ve had some wild dreams about planes crashing around me or bombing me. They were quite vivid and still remember them years later.

I don’t mind buying books that might help me with prompts. I bought one called, The Writer’s Book of Matches by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts. There are over 1001 prompts to start your imagination flowing. I used to run a writing group from 2001 to 2012. I used prompts in this group of writers to come up with a story each month and then we would critique: grammar, story, use of the senses, conflict, and resolution and more. This book helped in keeping our creative juices flowing.

So, wherever you are, you can be sure to find something interesting to write about. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Your senses will pick up something interesting for your next story.

Let the journey begin, and have fun.





Linda Barnett-Johnson is a Virtual Assistant for authors and enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and making up quotes. You can locate her website here: www.lindabarnett-johnson.com She also posts new books, writing articles and author interviews on her blog:  http://lindabarnett-johnson.blogspot.com/

4 Realities Writers Need to Face

By Karen Cioffi

Writing can be a tough field to be in. Some authors seem to make it overnight, while others struggle on for years with not much success.

There are at least four must-know tips that every writer should be aware of to help get over the bumps in the road.

1. It’s going to take time to write your story.

It’s important for new writers to know writing a story can take a while – if you want to get it as ‘right’ as possible.

One reason for this is you should occasionally take a break from your story to look at it again with fresh eyes. Maybe in a week or so.

Another reason is as you’re going along then reread your story, you’ll no doubt find things here and there that you want to change or that doesn’t read right. 

And, often, writers don’t know when enough is enough. You keep trying to tweak the story until it’s ready to go,’ at least in your eyes.

While there are events like ‘Novel in a Month,” most of those who participate create a draft in 30 days, not a ready to submit manuscript.

So, expect it to take a while to write a story you will be proud of. And, don’t try to rush the process. If you get done sooner than expected, it’s icing on the cake.

2. Don’t expect your first story to make it.

Your very first attempt at writing a book may not be the one that actually gets published. In fact, chances are it won’t be.

It may be that the story just sits in your computer, in a file somewhere. Or, you may occasionally work on it, never being quite satisfied with it. Or, you may keep submitting it, but it never finds a home.

What do you do in the meantime? Keep writing. Get another story started and keep honing your craft. Don’t be discouraged.

3. You need a critique group or a critique partner.

New and seasoned writers can benefit from critique groups or having a critique partner. It’s almost impossible for a writer to see her own work with fresh eyes. You know what you intended to say, so even if it’s not really there, you will see it. You won’t know if you’re missing clarity or possibly a blatant grammatical error.

And, there are all the other writing pitfalls, like character development, plot, story arc, and so on, that you may glaze over.

Another writer, particularly one who writes in your genre, will be able to spot what you may be missing. Or, at the very least, give you some insights.

4. Don’t compare yourself to other writers (at least try not to).

Writers can feel insecure in their abilities, their progress, and their successes. This one goes for authors and freelance writers.

You may feel other writers you know are getting publishing contracts while you’re not. Maybe you’re a freelance writer and don’t feel you have enough credits. You may feel you’re not as good a writer as others.

It may be hard to do, but DON’T go there.

If you think you need to hone your writing skills, take classes and hire a writing coach. Instead of feeling unworthy or discouraged, take steps to move forward.

Keep honing your craft and persevere your way to success.

5. If you don’t go for it, it’ll never happen.

Okay, this is a bonus reality, but super-important. If you don’t submit your manuscript, it’ll never find a home.

If you don’t query magazines to get a foot in the article writing arena, you’ll never get an article in a magazine.

Don’t procrastinate and don’t think you’re not good enough. Just go for it. Do the work and SUBMIT. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Source:
6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and children's ghostwriter.

You can connect with Karen at:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://facebook.com/writingforchildrenwithkarecioffi
GoolgePlus: https://plus.google.com/+KarenCioffiVentrice/about

This article was originally published at:
http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2016/05/15/4-realities-new-writers-need-to-face/

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