Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Five Tips for Writing a Group Anthology


By Carolyn Wilhelm

Are you in a writing group or collecting stories for possible inclusion in an anthology? I have assembled collections from writing groups and have a few tips for such a process. This information is intended for self-publishing and sole owner of small publishers.
 
1.    First, I suggest the group or contest organizers decide whether or not to have a theme before any stories are considered. One group I worked with entitled their anthology “bits and pieces” and accepted a wide variety of writing pieces. The result was an eclectic collection of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Another group decided to use the theme of adoption, and all the pieces were centered around the theme. Think to yourself which title might attract more readers, and why you think so.

2.    Decide on a single word processing program such as Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener for everyone to use. Unfortunately, when I said yes to one of these projects, I received stories in all three formats, which led to difficulties. Think about the fact most of the people will have different types of computers and different ages of software. There will be some challenges, even if everyone uses the same word processor. Try to minimize the problems in this area.

3.    Think about the format of the writing piece. Will both stories and poems be accepted? What are the guidelines? One well-known annual anthology contest held by Tales2Inspire®  requires submissions using a Word template. That way, stories have consistency throughout the book. What word count is suggested? Will pictures be needed or not?

4.    It is critical writers do not “help” by adding formatting to their submissions. I have spent hours removing tabs, page breaks, and other things authors thought was wanted. Be clear you want plain text with nothing more than a single space between words and a single line between paragraphs. The person who assembles the manuscript will create the styles, page numbering, margins, running headers, and final details.

5.    At the time of submission, it is best if authors send their bios and a headshot along with the writing piece. Gathering everything several times is difficult when working with a group of people. Final polished submissions only should be accepted.

The US Government Online Copyright Office is limiting claims to ten authors. A group may decide to include more, but be aware of these new copyright limitations. Amazon only lists ten authors. When groups set up a separate email for the book, it often gets overlooked once the book is published. Just keep using the Amazon and other online book sales accounts of the person who uploads the book. That person will be sure to follow up as they are using the online store anyway. Only one person or small publisher can “publish” and therefore needs to provide a bank account to receive payments, as well as a social security number. Group email may be used for communication regarding the book but is not recommended for financial information. If the person in charge needs help, perhaps that person is not the best one for such a position.

Probably the self-publisher or small publisher will be creating the front and back matter for the anthology. The title page may be extracted and sent to the Library of Congress (LOC) Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program. This should be done prior to the book release. The LOC does not need the entire manuscript, as they do not give copyrights.

Much satisfaction may be found in working on anthology projects. The final book will be a joy for many authors and their family members. Take care to be proactive and prevent issues by thinking carefully and planning. 


Carolyn Wilhelm is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY. 

 

MORE ON WRITING AND BOOK MARKETING

Three Ways to Stand Out to Editors

Create Believable Characters and Conflict in Your Children's Story

Writing Book Reviews Can be a Great Marketing Tool

Tips for a Better Zoom Experience

 


 


Saturday, October 10, 2020

November Writing Challenges



I love writing challenges. These events, focusing on completing a writing project within a month, take place throughout the year, and usually focus on a specific genre or audience. When you have to complete something in a certain amount of time, there's no overthinking and no procrastinating. Just you and your words.... and forced productivity!  

One of the best things about November is ... you don't have to look very far to find a writing challenge.

Here are four writing challenges to try in November:
 
1. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo (established in 1999) is what many people usually think of when you say "writing challenge." You commit to completing a 50,000-word novel in a month (about 1667 words a day), along with a community of like-minds. The website has lots of support, inspiration, and information, as well as a way to track and share your progress. And, while the idea is to write a novel, there are NaNo Rebels who write other works during November. Sign up. 

2. National NonFiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo). Created by writing coach and author Nina Amir, the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge is more informal undertaking. The only rule is you have to commit to starting and finishing a work of nonfiction during the month. Learn more.

3. National Podcast Post Month (NaPodPoMo). Are you more of an audio or video person? Than this November challenge is for you. Jennifer Navarrete created NaPodPoMo in 2007, NaPodPoMo as a month-long audio challenge. The goal is to release and/or record a podcast episode every day. Use any platform, format, or production level. It's an excellent way to kick-start your podcast. Get details.  

4. National Blog Posting Month. This challenge is simple. Write and publish a blog post every day in November. It's a great way to kickstart or re-energize your blog. While there is no longer an official site for #NaBloPoMo, many bloggers participate each year. Just use the hashtag when you post, and search the hashtag to find your kindred spirits.

You have your choices. Now all you have to do is explore your options,  commit, and go for it. 

Remember, you can do it.

* * *

Overwhelmed by the idea of a November challenge? Wondering how to fit it into your schedule? Read my article on Time Swapping. And then join my Write On Online Facebook group for bonus support throughout the month! 

* * *

So, are you taking part in a November challenge? Which one? Please share in the comments.

* * *


Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Fraught with Dangers, Writing Reviews Can Also Be Great Marketing Tools

What Writers Should Know Before They Take on

Reviewing as a Marketing Tool or an Income Stream

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author 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

Reputable reviewers have been writing (and being paid for) their reviews for decades—at least back to the 1920s.  The ones that get paid collect their checks from literary journals and other media industry including journalists who have steady jobs or freelance for newspapers. They do not get paid by authors or publishers. This model works well primarily because 1. The reviewer gets paid and 2. The reviewer will not feel obligated to be positive about a book when they otherwise would choose to be more critical.

This is an ideal setup because the reviewer does not “owe” the author of publisher anything but an honest and fair review and, in return, readers and audiences of this kind of media can trust the reviews they read. The model has worked for a long time, but the Internet has changed things. Yelp. Rotten Tomatoes. How do we know which reviewers can be trusted, which have an agenda other than telling it like it is. Which have the kind of knowledge to judge a work of art including books beyond, “I just liked it,”  or “I just hate…” You get the idea.

As authors or other writing professionals, our reputations are at stake when we write reviews, even when we weigh in on what Amazon calls “reader reviews.” The readers of our reviews should feel confident that we are abiding by journalistic and publishing standards. We should feel completely free to get paid by a third party or to review at no charge, but we need to be cautious about writing fair and honest reviews. That means we should avoid trolling (or accepting) writers and publishers as our clients. Reputable review sites exist and we should protect our reputations by reviewing only for those that have ethical guidelines and was should maintain those same standards when we review free or as unprofessional readers online.

There is a debate going on right now about how college athletes have been denied access to honest opportunities to earn money by endorsing products while they are still in college. People are finally seeing that this is a different thing—that by denying them their right to use their talents when they are in their prime, they are also denying them lessons learned in a capitalist society where entrepreneurship is encouraged and sometimes denying them a lucrative adult life because of it.  I see quite a few parallels here for new reviewers, too.  Would we want to deny a child one of the pleasures of reading—and or learning early on that writing is a worthy talent.

Most fourth-grade teachers use writing reviews as a valid learning tool.  I’m sure a standards board would say it is fine line. Here are the advantages of writing reviews and using them as a teaching tool.  

1.    Reviews encourage young people to read.

2.    Instructors can use reviews to teach analytical skills.

3.    Instructors can use reviews to teach ethics.

4.    Reviews can give writers a sense that their skills are valued in monetary ways, even by the culture at large.


When choosing a media to write reviews for a writer should check to be sure . . .

1.    That there is a third party who stands between the publisher and the author. That keeps the professional reviewer (anyone who get paid for a review is a professional) ethical just as there is an editor at fine Literary Journals or reputable newsletters who acts as a “dividers” or “protectors.” They see to it that their magazine’s style choices are adhered to and enforce that the reviewer is doing a professional / ethical job.

2.    That the medium they have choses—online or print—has a reputation. Perhaps by doing a Google church or asking other professionals about their reputation.

Parents have also been known to use reviews as a teaching tool. I had a friend who, ahem!...bribed . . . her kids to read books. It was a pay-per-book book approach to encourage reading. I was not crazy about this kind of child rearing, but I became more accepting when I discovered that the paid-activity often encourages children to go on to become writers or editors. Obviously, such a plan works as an opportunity for teaching ethics and for carefully selecting suitable reading material. This kind of bribe isn’t very different from the idea that kids have earn their grades by reading books for eons, right?

All reviewers—the ones who write for ethics-minded entities either for-pay or on Amazon or other entities for free, often receive a free review copy of the book. There is a new ethical standard that asks them to add a disclaimer in their reviews to that effect. All reviews have a commercial aspect about them (remember the grades the fourth-grader is earning), but they are also about encouraging reading, building an informative Amazon buy page, networking, sharing.  In other words, they are great marketing tools when used appropriately. They should influence the sales statistics only in ways that true professional reviews have for years. No agendas. No slash and burn. Did I say, honest and fair? Throw “balanced” into that equation!

Artists of all kinds may use the magic of “free” to boost their careers.  It is a way to get exposure.  It is a feel-good activity.  Those of us who do it make it easier to eventually get paid for what we do, but we may also make it harder for professionals to charge for similar work.

Look at accomplished writers and speakers who are often expected to offer those services free to writers’ conferences, podcasts, TV, radio, etc.  Those media could pay, but they don’t because they don’t have to.  That makes it harder for people in the arts to make a decent living. So when I do it, I am aware that I am depriving my fellow writers an opportunity to use these services as an income source.  But I also know that my refusal alone wouldn’t help them one iota. It is a hard decision to make.  After careful consideration, we must always decide for ourselves.  

If you are considering writing reviews, learn more about the plusses, the dangers, and the how-tos from my very fat volume on the subject, the third in my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers
How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career .

Whether you are writing reviews or trying to find reviewers to assess your book—fairly and ethically—you may be surprised at how much more there is to know about reviews, including dozens of ways to let reviews make your book a classic or boost its sales.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. The flagship book, #TheFrugalBookPromoter, was recently released by Modern History Press in its third edition. Bookbaby.com calls it “a classic.” Tweet with her @frugalbookpromo.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Children’s Writing and Publishing Process - The Traditional Path



Children’s books fall into one of three categories: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. There are genres, like board books and easy-readers, but I'm sticking to the first three I mentioned.

Along with this, children's writers need to take the necessary steps to achieve success whether aiming at traditional publishing or self-publishing.

In regard to traditional publishing, there are four steps in a writing career: writing, submissions to agents and publishers, book sales, and a writing career.

1. Writing

Actually writing, and all that it entails, is the basis of a career in writing, whether writing books, articles, becoming a ghostwriter, or copywriter. And, each of these career goals takes a number of steps that involve time and effort. But, we’re focusing on writing for children.

A. The first step is to write, but in addition to writing, the new writer will need to learn the craft of writing, along with the particular tricks of writing for children. Children’s writing is more complicated than other forms of writing. The reason is because you’re dealing with children.

Rules, such as age-appropriate words, age-appropriate topics, age-appropriate comprehension, storylines and formatting are all features that need to be tackled when writing for children.

Within the first step rung, you will also need to read, read, and read in the genre you want to write. Pay special attention to recently published books and their publishers. What works in these books? What type of style is the author using? What topics/storylines are publisher’s publishing?

Dissect these books, and you might even write or type them word-for-word to get a feel for writing that works. This is a trick that writers new to copywriting use – you can trick your brain into knowing the right way to write for a particular genre or field. Well, not so much trick your brain as teach it by copying effective writing. Just remember, this is for the learning process only – you cannot use someone else’s work, that’s plagiarism.

If you need extra help writing your story, check out my book on writing for children: How to Write a Children's Fiction Book.

B. The next step, number two, is to become part of a critique group and have your work critiqued. Critiquing is a two-way street; you will critique the work of other member of the critique group and they will critique yours. But, there are advantages to critiquing other writers’ works – you begin to see errors quickly and notice what’s being done right. This all helps you hone your craft.

C. Step three on the writing rung is to revise your manuscript according to your own self-editing and critiques from others. It’s also recommended to put the story away for a couple of weeks and then revisit it. You’ll see a number of areas that may need revising that you hadn’t noticed before.

D. It would also be advisable if you budget for a professional editing of your manuscript before you begin submissions. No matter how careful you and your critique partners are, a working editor will pick up things you missed.

2. Submissions

Before you think about submitting your work anywhere, be sure you’ve completed the necessary steps in number one. You’re manuscript needs to be as polished as you can possibly get it.

Submissions can fall into two categories: those to publishers and those to agents. In regard to submitting to agents, in a Spring 2011 webinar presented by Writer’s Digest, agent Mary Kole advised to “research agents.” This means to find out what type of agent they are in regard to the genre they work with and the agent platform they provide: do they coddle their authors, do they crack the whip, are they aggressive, passive, involved, or complacent. Know what you’re getting into before querying an agent, and especially before signing a contract.

Here are a couple of sites you can visit to learn about agents:

http://agentquery.com
http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/

The same advice works for submitting to publishers also. Research publishers before submitting to them. Know which genres of children’s books they handle and the type of storylines they’re looking for.

Whether submitting to a publisher or an agent, always follow the guidelines and always personalize the query. There may be times the guidelines do not provide the name of the editor to send the query to, but if you can find that information, use it.

According to Mary Kole, it’s also important to know how to pitch your story. This entails finding the story’s hook. Agents and publishers also want to know what the book’s selling points will be and what successful books it’s similar to. In addition, they will expect to be told what your marketing strategy will be. It’s a good idea to create an online presence and platform before you begin submissions; let the agents and publishers know you will actively market your book.

Along with the story’s hook, you need to convey: who your main character is and what he/she is about; the action that drives the story; the main character’s obstacle, and if the main character doesn’t overcome the obstacle, what’s at stake.

Kole recommends reading “the back of published books” to see how they briefly and effectively convey the essence of the story. This will give you an idea of how to create your own synopsis.

When querying, keep your pitch short and professional, and keep your bio brief and relevant. You will need to grab the editor or agent and make them want to read your manuscript.


3. A Contract and Book Sales

If you do your homework, your manuscript will eventually find a home. Don’t let initial rejections, if you receive them, deter you. A published writer may not be the best writer, but she is definitely a writer who perseveres.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue’ and at some point begin editing with the publisher’s editor. From start to actual release, the publishing process can take one to two years.

A couple of months prior to your book’s release, you should begin promotion to help with book sales. After its release, you will want to take part in virtual book tours, do blogtalk radio guest spots, school visits (if available), and all the other standard book promotion strategies.

Be sure to also create your Amazon Author page and fill in everything you can to make readers aware of you and your books.

And, don't forget to get reviews. Book reviews help sell books. You can find out more about getting and using book reviews effectively with  How to Get Great Book Reviews by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

4. A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your book and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). The next and final step is to repeat the process. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, so hopefully you’ve been writing other stories. If not, get started now. On average, an author writes a book every one to two years.

Along with keeping up with writing your books, having published books opens other writing opportunities, such as speaking engagements, conducting workshops and/or webinars, and coaching.

There are a number of marketers who say your ‘book’ is your business card; it conveys what you’re capable of and establishes you as an expert in your field or niche. Take advantage of these additional avenues of income.

 Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

You can follow Karen at:
LinkedIn 
Twitter 

Check out Karen's newly revised How to Write a Children's Fiction Book.

MORE ON WRITING

Are You Too Busy?

Writing Tips from Story Genius

Overcoming Writing Distractions


 


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Is an Indie Kirkus Review Worth It?

Part of the service of the “vanity” publisher I once worked with was a the inclusion of a Kirkus Review. I call the publisher “vanity” because I paid for a package that included editing, some promotion, promo materials, etc. Due to unscrupulous practices by this publisher, I canceled my account. I was able to retain the Kirkus review, which was received in 2018, and the files for the manuscript and exterior and interior illustrations, and eventually self-published my book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery.

But a dilemma soon surfaced. The Kirkus Review was not an entirely positive one. In that case, I had to make a choice. I could quote the positive comments in my promo materials, including the book cover, but Kirkus reserves the right to publish the entire, unabridged review on their website. Or, I could keep the review private. In that case, I wouldn’t be permitted to use any part of the review in my book’s promotional efforts. Instead, I could use the reviewer’s comments to help improve the book. I chose the latter, and continued revisions up until July 2020 when I self-published the book with Amazon. Once the book was out, in my search for reviews, I revisited Kirkus to see if a second review would be possible. Here’s what happened.

The Pros and Cons of a Kirkus Review

A traditional review starts at $425 and is promised within 7-9 weeks. I received a $50 reduction from an ad I found on Facebook for this type of reivew. An expanded review can be had for $575, and a picture book review starts at $350. 

According to authors surveyed for the Alliance of Independent Authors article, “Watchdog: Is a Kirkus Review Worth the Price?” by Giacomo Giammatteo, the benefits of purchasing a Kirkus Review are mainly:

  • A Kirkus Review lends credibility throughout the industry and by media and libraries.
  • Blurbs from the review can be used in marketing.
  • You can publish your review in Kirkus.com; it will be considered for publication in Kirkus Reviews and in Kirkus’s email newsletter, which is distributed to more than 50,000 consumers and industry professionals.

However, Giammatteo’s article points out drawbacks. The majority of authors surveyed for the article (16 out of 21) felt that the reviews were “not worth the money.” Why?

  • “The review didn’t produce sales.” Giammatteo points out that the review is not intended to produce sales.
  • A positive review is not promised, as stated in the Kirkus email I received, "there are no guarantees that the second review would come back more positive than the first."
  • Many authors Giammatteo spoke with felt that the reviews were not well written and weren't inspiring enough for readers to want to buy the book.
  • Much of the reviews are spent in rehashing the plot, which seemed unnecessary to the authors consulted for the Giammatteo article.

An Added Challenge in Applying for a Second Review on the Same Book

I bit the bullet and decided that my book needed credibility. So, I applied for a second review and hit a brick wall. I received a rather curt response indicating that “we cannot review the same book twice, but if you make changes significant enough to render the previous review obsolete, we will consider conducting a new review . . . we ask that you include a letter to our editor outlining the changes with examples and page numbers cited. Our editor will ultimately decide if the changes are significant enough to warrant a second review.”

Give me a challenge like that and I can’t pass it up. The review back in 2018 found five flaws that I admit were significant. I took the flaws seriously, and went through each one, editing them throughout the book. Much later after I had left my publisher, I decided it was an opportunity to do more work on the book. I had the book reviewed by professional editor and revised it even more, until finally publishing it in July.  Here is a condensed version of what the original reviewer found:

  • Author fails to fully explore Abi’s various supernatural abilities and their causes or connections.
  • Secondary characters pop up throughout for no apparent reason.
  • The villain is one-dimensional who does bad things without much explanation or repercussion.
  • Book has an overly complicated plot and undeveloped characters.

In my application for a second review, I listed each of the flaws in large, bold, letters, and then went about looking up the passages in the original manuscript and how I had changed them in the published version. In a nutshell, it was a tedious exercise at best, which took three days to complete. The deeper I dove, the more determined I got. The last comment is what made my blood boil over:

  • Accompany illustrations are simple and charming, reminiscent of the old Nancy Drew novels. They’re just not nearly frequent enough.

GRRR! This was supposed to be an indie reviewer. The maddening part was that an indie author pays for illustrations out-of-pocket. The number of interior illustrations and the cover illustrations were created with what I could afford at the time. Also I found insulting was the reviewer calling Nancy Drew novels “old.” As far as I know, Nancy Drew novels are still enjoyed to this day. I call that enduring, not old.

Many of the authors interviewed felt that their $500 would be better spent elsewhere. One comment suggested Chanticleer Reviews and Matt McAvoy's Book Reviews. Pubby also offers reviews. I tried Pubby's trial offer but declined to continue as I felt I don't have the time to devote to it. The best advice can be found in Carolyn Howard-Johnson's book, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, which I keep on my desk along with her other terrific books, such as The Frugal Book Promoter, and her other books.

My new Kirkus Review is promised by mid-October. I'm hoping it will be positive. No matter. This time around, I am going to use the positive parts--hoping there will be some--in my promotional material. Then I will have come full-circle with Kirkus. I hope my gamble pays off.

"You are now part of my world . . . forever."

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda: https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com



Friday, September 25, 2020

Tips for Character Driven Description

 

 

Tips for Character Driven Description: Fiction and Non-fiction

Our stories or narratives include characters, and are stronger by using descriptive details that drive and support the topic.

When we first meet a person, we get a sense of who they are and perhaps their occupation. That happens through details we notice; how they dress, how they talk, the way they move or how they treat others. My hubby and I walk each morning. Several other neighbors walk daily about the same time. I can often recognize a neighbor before I can see them clearly, because I recognize the way they walk. I bet you have this experience too.

Our readers need to meet our characters in the same way. It’s up to us to shape characters in our stories by describing the details of how our character talks, moves and dresses. Does she speak with an accent? Does he limp as he walks? Is she a casual runner or one training for an event? Does she wear a big floppy hat as she bikes with her fluffy puppy in her flowered basket? Our characters further develop the scenes we paint for our readers.

Choose details that distinguish your character. What makes that character catch your attention? What gives the reader more information about that character? Does he have body language that expresses shyness, self-importance or condescension?  What is she wearing, a business suit or sweats? You get the idea.

Now pull from the sense words we’ve talked about for: sight, sound, smell, taste, and texture enhanced descriptions.

If the character you are describing has a minor role in the story, the details would be brief. The waitress serving a cup of hot chocolate might be a sweet young college student with bouncy blonde hair. And, that’s all you mention initially because, you’ll weave in more description as the story or narrative builds.

We give more clues to the reader through:
1)    Describing the environment around a character’s occupation and living situation,
2)    Noting the way people react to him or her,
3)    Plus, everyone has an inner layer of history; the details we readily see are clues to a person’s life. Consider which outward signs history might create, and describe those clues as you build aspects of your character’s life.


Book suggestions for writers:
Keys To Great Writing, Revised and Expanded, by Stephen Wilbers
Word Painting, by Rebecca McClanahan

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Write it with Senses and POV Tips: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/07/senses-pov-tips-descriptive-writing.html
Tips for Figurative Speech: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/08/tips-for-figurative-speech.html 
 
Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her writer’s website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/ 
Available on Amazon --- Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love
https://www.amazon.com/author/deborahlynstanley
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer    https://www.facebook.com/deborahlynwriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour 

 

 

 


Share on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/
And more via the icon bar below:




Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Work-Made-For-Hire Writing: Five Reasons Writers Should Do It


 

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

 
Over the years I've written several articles about Work Made for Hire contracts (follow this link to see some of them). Many writers run away from such work and refuse it. These people believe they are protecting their rights and want to publish royalty projects instead of selling all their rights to someone else.
 
My literary attorney has told me that I've signed more Work Made for Hire agreements than anyone she knows. I've also been a working writer in the publishing community for decades. The truth is sometimes it is better to earn the money upfront from a publisher rather than hope for royalties (which may or may not happen).
 
In this article, I want to give five reasons to write Work Made For Hire projects. I call them projects because they are not always books. Sometimes they are articles or white papers or any number of other types of writing. 
 
1. You Get Immediate Work. Often in the publishing world, you have to write your article or book with the hope that you will find someone to publish it. With Work Made For Hire, you have found paying writing work which you can do right away—and get payment.
 
2. You Get Paid for Your Work. Depending on what you negotiate in a Work Made For Hire agreement, often you get half of the money upfront. This fact helps your cash flow as a writer—especially those of us who write full-time.
 
3. You Can Build Your Reputation and Get a Writing Credit. Some Work Made For Hire is ghostwriting (no credit). On other occasions, my writing is credited. Sometimes this work appears in the tiny print on the copyright page. Other times my name appears on the title page of the book and not the cover. On other books where I've co-authored the book for someone else, my name appears on the cover as “with W. Terry Whalin.” To the publishing world, this “with” credit indicates I wrote the book. If you are new in the publishing world, this credit can be an important part of building your reputation in the publishing world.
 
Several of the children's books that I have published were Work Made For Hire. The finished children's books had high quality illustrations and were a beautiful finished product. In some cases my name only appears on the copyright line (small print) but in other cases, my name appears on the cover. How it turns out for you is all about watching the details of the agreement. Several of my devotional books which I wrote as a Work Made For Hire have sold over 60,000 copies (which is a great credit for any writer—and something I use from time to time). 
 
4. Provides A Way to Work for a Publisher. For many new writers, it's a challenge to publish with traditional publishers for your own work. Sometimes publishers need a writer to complete a manuscript in a short amount of time. Years ago I wrote a book for a publisher in a short amount of time and exceeded their deadline. My name is in the small print on the cover of this book and it continues to sell. When I checked a few years ago, this book had sold over 100,000 copies. As the other examples in this article, I wrote this book as a work made for hire and haven't been paid anything additional but it is a great credit for a writer.
 
5. In a hard environment, provides a way to seize an opportunity. I know some publishers are making cautious decisions about what to publish (for a number of reasons including the pandemic). This caution has made it hard for writers. Work Made For Hire is writing that will always be needed and is a way for you to seize the opportunity, get published and get paid. If you find it, my encouragement is for you to seize the opportunity.
 
Do you write Work Made For Hire or have you avoided it? Let me know in the comments below.
 
Tweetable:

This prolific editor and author gives five reasons to write Work Made For Hire. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Time Swapping


Does this sound familiar?

"Some day, I am going to write my memoir ..."

"Oooh, next week, I am finally going to start that blog. Maybe ... "

"I really want to launch a podcast to promote my writing, but who has the time?"

The answer to that last question is, "Everyone!" With COVID rules, most people are working from home these days, which enables them to use time-swapping to increase their productivity!

Time-Swapping


Tell me, how long was your commute to work? Was it 20 minutes? An hour? And what are you doing with the time you used to spend walking, riding the bus, or driving to work? 

Use only a fraction of your weekly commute time for a passion project, side hustle, or even networking, and you will still make a dent in those often ignored back-burner goals. 
 
Here are 4 more ways to find time to work on your great American novel, screenplay, or passion project:

1. Driving Time. Even if you worked from home pre-COVID, you still had plenty of places to go each week from lunch meetings to the gym. Thanks to Zoom calls and video workouts, a lot of in-person events are now virtual. No more driving ... or even parking. With the time you save you can actually attend twice as many events each week.

2. Netflix Time. We all love our Netflix ... or Hulu ... or whatever our preferred platform for binge-watching after a long day. I'm not saying to get rid of binge-time, just shorten it. Binge one less episode a night, a few times a week, and see what you can accomplish during that found time. 

3. Your Prime Time. When is your prime writing-time? In the morning? Late at night? With family at home, you may be struggling for personal time. By extending your day - getting up 15 to 30-minutes earlier or staying up a little later - you can sneak in some productivity. Not sure which is your prime time? Try them both, and see what works best for you. 

4. Cooking Time. Whether you are a natural-cook or someone who took up cooking as a COVID-hobby, chances are you are eating out a lot less. One of the best ways to do food prep is to batch your cooking time. Pick one day a week to make multiple meals. You can easily freeze things like soup, spaghetti sauce, and casseroles, and pull them out later. I also love the Instant Pot as a productivity hack

To find time for those back-burner projects, you don't have to make sacrifices. You just need to be creative with how you spend and/or swap your time.


* * *

So, where do you find found time? And how do you use it? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.



Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares Frugal Book Promoter Tips and Myths

Editing IS Marketing:

Boning Up on First Impressions


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat's nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, too. Whether we authors are trying to get an interview or a TV appearance or marketing our books using e-mail or social networks, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort. Generally that first effort is a query letter or proposal. Thus editing equals great first impression. That makes it an integral part of a marketing campaign.


Here are a scattering of helps gleaned from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books (https://howtodoitfrugally.com) but especially my Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor) and the fun little booklet, Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (http://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII), just released in its second edition by Modern History Press,  
 
Five Editing Myths Waiting to Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work
•    If your English teacher told you something is OK, it is.
(Nope. Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore.)
•    If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you'll make a great first impression.
(No! Lots of things that are grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents, and other gatekeepers like feature editors.)
•    Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker.
(Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don't use it at all, but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.)
•    Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor so you don't need to worry about your manuscript.
(Maybe, but don't count on it. Besides you can be a better partner for an editor—whether she is assigned to you by your editor or you hire one for yourself-- if you know something about the process; you'll know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your manuscript and you’ll love my Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips (bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) for building the confidence you need to say no an editor no matter how professional she is.
•    Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses, and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching because they didn't know how to use them either.

(Chances are, you'll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!)


Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter
 
We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper, an editor, an agent, a contest judge. Here are five little things to avoid so you'll look like the professional you are.
 
    Don't tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
    Don't use the verb "quote" when you want the noun "quotation." Some stylebooks will tell you that it's OK, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
    Don't pitch more than one book at time. You want to give just one your best shot.
    Don't call your novel a "fictional novel." By definition, a novel is fiction.
    Don't overdo exclamation marks, question marks, or the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they're used for a good reason.).
 
Here's one last suggestion for fiction writers 'cause they're so often neglected when it comes to marketing. Avoid using italics for internal thought in the synopses sections of your marketing tools or in the sample chapters you must include. Italics are being used more and more these days, but using them often becomes a crutch that enables writers to avoid writing great transitions and point-of-view. The best agents and publishers will recognize it as such.

 

----


MORE ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER


Carolyn Howard-Johnson, an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and was an instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program for nearly a decade. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers, and her own poetry and fiction. Learn more about the author at  https://howtodoitfrugally.com. Her The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't won USA Book News' best professional book award and the Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success TheFrugalEditor is top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award. The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 30 Minutes or Less is a helpful little booklet available at at the link above and is now in its second edition from Modern History Press.  . And don’t miss another booklet Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copyhttp://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII, also from Modern History Press. You can get all Carolyn's books at the How to Do It Frugally link above.

 





Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Learn to Write for Children - 4 Basic Tools



We all know how difficult it is to break into the business of writing for children. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, it is a tough business and can be overwhelming for those just starting out. While all writing must adhere to certain guidelines, writing for children has additional principles unique to its genre.

To start, the words used in children’s writing must be age appropriate.

This may sound easy to do, but it can be a difficult task. There are also certain techniques and rules used specifically in writing for children, such as the Core of Three, sentence structure, and the time frame in which the story should occur when writing for young children. In addition, it’s essential to make sure your conflicts, storyline, and point of view are appropriate for the age group you’re writing for.

Along with this, there are general techniques for writing, such as adding sensory details, showing instead of telling, and creating an engaging story that hooks the reader right away, along with writing great dialogue and using correct punctuation.

This is just the beginning though, there is also the business of editing your work, writing a winning query, and following submission guidelines; the list goes on and on.

But, don’t get discouraged, there is help.

Here are four basic tools to get you started and guide you down the children’s writing path:

1. Children’s Writer’s WORD BOOK by Alijandra Mogilner is a great resource that provides word lists grouped by grades along with a thesaurus of listed words. This allows you to check a word in question to make sure it is appropriate for the age group you’re writing for. It also provides reading levels for synonyms. It’s a very useful tool and one that I use over and over.

2. The Institute of Children's Literature.

Read and learn about how to write for children. There are plenty of books and courses you can find online that will help you become a 'good' children's writer. The Institute of Children's Literature has an excellent reputation. 

3. The Frugal Editor by award winning author and editor, Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

This is a useful book for any writing genre, including children’s. It will guide you through basic editing, to getting the most out of your Word program’s features, to providing samples of queries. The author provides great tips and advice that will have you saying, “Ah, so that’s how it’s done.”

4. How to Write a Children's Fiction Book by award-winning author and successful children's ghostwriter Karen Cioffi.

Yes, it's my book, but it really is jammed packed with tips, advice, examples, and much more on writing for children. It also includes DIY assignments and touches on submitting your manuscript and book marketing.

I’ve invested in a number of books, courses and programs in writing and marketing, and know value when I see it. The products above have a great deal of value for you as a children's writer, and they are definitely worth the cost.

Remember though, the most important aspect of creating a writing career is to actually begin. You can’t succeed if you don’t try. It takes that first step to start your journey, and that first step seems to be a huge stumbling block for many.

Don’t let procrastination or fear stop you from moving forward - start today!


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and a working children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children. Check out the DIY Page!

And, check out my middle grade fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls, and my new picture book: The Case of the Plastic Rings – The Adventures of Planetman (the first in a three-book series):
http://4rv-publishing-llc.mypreview.site/karen-cioffi.html


MORE ON WRITING AND BOOK MARKETING

Traditional Publishing and the Author Platform - Be Realistic

Writing Tips from Author Chris Ebock

How and Why to Get Clear About Your Writing Goals











Thursday, August 27, 2020

Author Swag: Make it Meaningful

Make your Swag Meaningful
Have Fun Creating your Swag
One of the activities I've enjoyed most while publishing my first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, has been to create “swag”—little giveaway items to remind readers of my book. Author swag can come in many forms, from bookmarks, keychains, bags, to stickers, and more. The key is to think up items that you’re comfortable with, that are affordable, and most important, that reflect YOU and the subject matter of your books.

Get Started: Check Out What Fellow Authors Do
Let’s face it, we writers are voyeurs. We study people, events, situations, many times without even realizing it. So, attending book signings is a golden opportunity to study how authors conduct them and also, who their readers are. The two most recent book launches I attended, prior to covid-19 of course, took place in book stores, by successful, traditionally-published children’s authors. One had no hoopla. No poster, no candy, no business cards, no slides or polished presentation, and not enough books (much to her chagrin). But, being well-known in our community and also  across the U.S., she attracted a good crowd; she told us the history behind her latest book, her fifth, with vast knowledge and terrific wit. At the end, while attendees stood in line waiting for her to sign our books, I was impressed with how personable she was with each person. We left having had a fun, satisfying experience. I decided that most likely she had enough experience to know that much of what a new author might think you need at a book signing is just fluff, and what counts is that readers get to meet the author and obtain her signature in their books.

The other book signing was when YA author Ransom Riggs blew into town to promote his latest book, The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children). No one could miss his visit--his van with art for this book displayed all over it, was parked in front of Barnes & Noble. The crowd was large, full of excited young adults, and only one not-so-young woman dressed in costume, I presumed, as Miss Peregrine, which I enjoyed seeing immensely. There was the Ransom Riggs Tour Sweepstakes that many participated in and got to go to a private room, which stirred up excitement in the crowd. There were tattoos you could have pressed on your cheek, your arm; there was a giant cardboard faรงade decorated with “peculiar” Riggs' lore that you could stand behind for photos. Ransom Riggs presented himself with little fanfare and spent time telling us about himself, his family, and answering questions. I enjoyed myself and learned a lot about the presentation of a book signing.

But What Do Book Signings have to do with Author Swag?
After studying articles about swag and giving some thought about how to present my platform, I came up with some ideas, buoyed by what I had learned from the book signings, and observing other authors. As I researched the feasibility of each type of swag, I decided against bookmarks and stickers almost immediately. I have bookmarks and stickers from other authors. They live in a place I pass by every day on my bulletin board, and which I haven’t noticed since I first got them. That gave me the idea that I wanted my swag to have more meaning. To be noticed. To be useful. And most important, for children to have fun with at my personal appearances. Children can stamp stamps, stick stickers, and wear tattoos. Here is what I came up with:

  • Business cards: I ordered 500 to begin, at Staples, and used the logo, “Linda Wilson: Children’s Mystery Writer,” and symbol of a dragonfly from Secret in the Stars, created by Danika Corrall, designer of my website and illustrator for my second book, Secret in the Mist.
  • Post cards: I had two types of post cards, twenty-five each, made at Staples; one of the book cover, and the other titled, “Bee’s Needs: 7 Ways You Can Help;” which is related to honey and beehives, which are part of the Secret in the Stars story.
  • Stickers: Stickers displaying the logo turned out to be expensive, especially custom cutout stickers. Instead, I purchased Mrs. Grossman’s stickers, mainly of animals that appear in my stories: dog paws, galloping horses, hummingbirds, dragonflies, crafty cats and bees, to name a few. Purchased from https://mrsgdemo.myshopify.com.
  • Stamps: Stamps for my use in my promo materials and also for children to have fun with at my book signings. I purchased one 3”x3” stamp, which is the image for this post, a large stamp pad, and two smaller stamps and stamp pads for the fridge pads, which I put together myself. RubberStamps.net
  • Fridge pads: On my fridge are two fridge pads from two different companies, that consist of the companies’ business cards and “To Do” pads, stuck on the fridge with a magnetic. Purchasing these pads ready-made was out of the question—too cost prohibitive. So, I purchased a 50-pack of self-adhesive magnetic business cards from Amazon, and a pack of 3x3” post-its. I glue a business card to the magnetic card (using the self-adhesive side), split the post-it block in half, and attach the half post-it block to the magnetic business card with cross-weave or any kind of strong tape. I stamped the first post-it page with my special stamp, shown above.

    Please note: As another reflection of Abi, the main character in my story, I had the words, “You are part of my world . . . forever,” the last words in the book, written below Abi’s image on the large stamp, to send the message to each of my readers that they are now part of Abi's world and she'll never forget them.

  • Tattoos: I plan to buy play tattoos so my readers can have fun putting them on.


Last and Most Fun of all: Giving Away Your Swag
I’ve had a lot of fun with my swag. When my book first came out, I knew everyone who bought it: my friends and family! I had an assembly line going. Each person who purchased my book received a fridge pad, a postage-stamped postcard, a thank you note, and the envelope decorated with a sticker or two. I’m looking forward to the day when I can have in-person book signings and make school visits, so my readers can have fun with my swag.

My main resource for learning about author swag: https://www.janefriedman.com/book-swag/

 

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com



Five Tips for Writing a Group Anthology

By Carolyn Wilhelm Are you in a writing group or collecting stories for possible inclusion in an anthology? I have assembled collections fro...