Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Indie Authors: The Joy of Working with Artists

Page with No Words, by Illustrator Nancy Batra

Today we indie authors—an author who has published a book at personal expense—a self-published author—have some advantages over traditionally-published authors. We are our own boss, we can produce and publish our work in record time, and we can find many professional individuals and companies who help us turn out quality products. There is a downside, of course, but we won’t go there for now.

One of my greatest joys as an indie author is having the privilege of working with four artists: three illustrators and a voice actor. In each project I’ve had a say, and have had the enjoyment of considering the beginning sketches, and as in the case of my first book, Secret in the Stars, have been rewarded with the completion of the final product. The same is true for the audiobook. Here is the process as each project has evolved so far.

Secret in the Stars: Tiffany Tutti began by sending me sketches of her vision, which she created from notes I sent her. We sent the files back and forth for edits until they were completed. Tiffany created extra illustrations for my website as well. Due to the nature of the project, I own the files. This is key, as I have the freedom to use Tiffany’s illustrations in all my materials.

Secret in the Stars audiobook: I chose Findaway Voices for the company to produce my audiobook after watching “Is Findaway Voices Worth It?” by Dale L. Roberts on YouTube. Also, Draft2Digital, a self-publishing company, highly recommends Findaway Voices. I am glad I took their advice because Findaway Voices is a terrific company to work with. The price for producing an audiobook is reasonable and no payment is made until the finished product is approved by the author.

  • Findaway Voices begins by matching your project with comparable voice actors. I had a choice of 5-6 actors, learned about their backgrounds, and listened to a short excerpt of my book by each one. I chose the one whose “child’s voice” I liked best: Kae Marie Denino.
  • Kae narrated a larger section of my book for me to comment on. Once I gave my approval, she finished narrating the book.
  • She and I messaged back and forth, which helped solidify how she interpreted the various voices. 
  • The audiobook will be available soon on Amazon.

Secret in the Mist: Danika Corrall, the web designer who created my website, has agreed to illustrate Book 2 in the Abi Wunder Mystery series. Danika has designed the cover and will create the illustrations as soon as the manuscript is ready.


A Packrat Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift
: Last but not least is my work with illustrator Nancy Batra, who has agreed to illustrate my picture books. This packrat story sat in my “drawer” for years. I reworked it (many times), especially by cutting down the words and taking into account how the illustrations tell much of the story. I wound up with two pages in the book with no words, which was the most fun I had with the project.

I created quite a few book dummies for the packrat story before coming up with the one that worked best for me: simply 8 ½ x 11” paper folded in two, stapled together and numbering 32 pages. Nancy and I collaborated on the ideas for the illustrations by sending the sketches back and forth. She has agreed to illustrate more of my picture book stories, which are seeing the light of day for the first time in a long time.

There are too many joys of being a children’s author to name here, but working with these artists has allowed me to visualize my stories on paper, not just with words, but with an artist’s eye for things I haven’t even thought of. The experience has been one of the most rewarding of my journey into children’s literature.

Sources: 

Dale L. Roberts on Findaway Voices can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwUP7pJYWGI

Danika Corrall Design Studio: www.danikacorrall.com

Findaway Voices: https://www.findawayvoices.com  

Nancy Batra Design Studio: www.illustratornancy.com 

A note about last month's post, "Is an Indie Kirkus Review Worth It?" 

I talked to a salesperson at Kirkus Review about the possibility of placing an ad in one of Kirkus's publications, their website, magazine, or newsletter. She informed me that Secret in the Stars was earmarked as a Kirkus "recommended" book. Great news that I can include in my promo materials. I asked her why I hadn't been informed of this designation and she said Kirkus doesn't have an icon for this, such as the star for starred reviews, but that when there is room, Kirkus will recommend these books in their materials. The only way to learn about this designation is to call. I recommend any author who has received a Kirkus review to call to see if your book has received this designation.


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.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tips to Make Characters Real: Write Strong

 


Tips to Make Characters Real: Write Strong

Readers are looking for strong stories and narratives they can relate to; descriptive details are the driver. Readers want to meet our characters. It’s up to us to shape characters by describing the details of what they are doing, smelling, hearing, seeing, touching or tasting.

To make characters relatable and lively, choose the details that distinguish them. Ask, what makes that character catch attention? How can I give the reader more information that develops their impression of the character? Is he shy? How will I express his shyness, self-importance or anger?  Does she choose to wear a pantsuit or colorful huge flower beachwear? Describe how people react when they see or speak to him or her.

Bring the reader into the scene with emphasis. Does a fierce black dog charge him while rides his bike on the trail? Is a knock on the front door frightful and foreboding? How do people act when anywhere near his cigar smoke that chokes them? Oh, fresh baked bread at the coffee shop! Let’s go, s'il vous plaît!

Details will be brief if a character has a minor role in the story, but it may grow as the story unfolds.

I’ve heard about the fun practice of preparing a word basket (or jar) filled with scraps of paper—one word per scrap. The basket could become your go-to place for inspiring creative descriptions in a story or metaphor: paradox or poem. What words catch your attention? Grab it and add it to your basket. Consider sensory adjectives, strong verbs, and nouns. Here are some: flood, moon, glow, crack, sputter, knock, blossom, mirror, distort, dominate, negate, underpin, float, sink, water, precipice, or crag. Have fun; pull a random page from your dictionary to get started. My fav right now is s'il vous plaît.

Things easy to do— but best to avoid:
•    Beware of description dumps.
•    Traveling tangents—Stay on point.
•    Slowing down your story or narrative—Use whatever works for moving it forward.

Book suggestions for descriptive writing growth:
•    Understanding Show, Don’t Tell, by Janice Hardy
•    Make a Scene, by Jordan Rosenfeld
•    Word Painting, by Rebecca McClanahan

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Tips for Character Driven Description: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/09/tips-for-character-driven-description.html

Senses & POV Tips:  http://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/07/senses-pov-tips-descriptive-writing.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

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Published Writers Must Be Pitching


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The magazine business changes constantly—as other elements within publishing. Editors change. The focus of a publication changes. The types of articles that they take changes. Themes for a magazine develop over a period of time and even what an editor takes and rejects changes.  If the editors don’t know what they want to achieve or do with the magazine (occasionally true), imagine how it confuses the people who are trying to write for them. At times it feels like a pure shot in the dark—but you have to continue taking the shot if you want to be published.
 
There are several realities to mention here. Nothing gets published if it’s only in your head or in your computer or in a file folder. It’s only when you send it into the marketplace that you have an opportunity for something to transpire.
 
Many years ago I was writing query letters about a little article on Listening Through the Bible. I targeted the idea for January issues of the magazine (perfect because people make resolutions and are looking for a new idea, etc.).  I learned if you listen to the Bible 20 minutes a day, you can make it through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in four months. It’s an amazing—and true fact. The tape recording of the Bible simply keeps on going where you would get stalled—like in 2 Chronicles in the genealogy section.
My query letter on Listening Through the Bible was soundly rejected—all over the place. I crafted the query letter, targeted it to appropriate publications and received rejection after rejection. I didn’t think I was going to be able to write this particular article on assignment (which comes from writing the one-page query letter).
 
One day I received a phone call from a magazine editor. She was brand new at that magazine and had taken the helm of this publication (editor-in-chief type of role). Her initial words were apologetic about going through old query letters. (In fact, the publication had already rejected my idea and returned my SASE with the form rejection). This editor loved my Listening Through the Bible idea.  Then she asked, “Can you write 500 words on this topic by _____ a specific date a few weeks away?” Instantly I agreed. The article was published and reprinted numerous times. (In fact, I need to pull out that reprint and get it back into the market. As a former magazine editor, I know the editors are looking for content for their January 2021 issues).
 
Hope springs eternal for writers — who are in the marketplace of ideas. Jump in the water with excellent writing. The water is fine.
 
Are you pitching editors at magazines? What are some of your stumbling blocks as a writer? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to helping you.
 
Tweetable:

It's a simple truth: Published Writers Must Be Pitching. Get the details from this prolific writer and editor. (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).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One 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

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.

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Writing Tips from Story Genius

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Indie Authors: The Joy of Working with Artists

Page with No Words, by Illustrator Nancy Batra Today we indie authors—an author who has published a book at personal expense—a self-publishe...