Friday, July 10, 2020

5 Steps for Creating Virtual Events

Creating Virtual Events
Even before COVID-19 kept us "safer at home," virtual events were an important part of your business' networking strategy. You could meet new people, learn new things, and develop relationships with others from anywhere in the world.

Now more than ever, virtual events are essential for staying connected, generating business, and having some semblance of a social life. While it's fun and often educational to attend events, organizing virtual gatherings is an even better way to up your visibility, showcase your authority in your industry or niche, and make new friends.   

Here are the basics of producing a successful virtual event:

1. Determine the Purpose. Before you jump ahead to planning the event itself, decide your reason for having it. Is it a mixer to reconnect with friends, family, or colleagues? Do you want to host a webinar to share your expertise and promote your product or  service? Is it a party to celebrate your book's release, a holiday, or other significant event?

2. Decide the Details. Once you know the "why," the rest of the details will fall into place. Choose a date, time, and platform. The top choices are Zoom (for activity and interaction), a webinar solution (like WebEx), or Facebook, where you broadcast a livestream to a group or business page. Another option is to do a virtual party on Facebook and mix up short videos with conversation-starter posts and interactive activities.

You may want to create a panel or conference, and invite other speakers. Or start an ongoing podcast or video show. I will go into that in a later post.

3. Plan and Invite. Once you have your concept, plan it out. Make a short outline of what will happen and when. If you need a script for your event itself, that's fine, but remember to stick with bullet points. When presenting, casual is much more effective. 

Create a Facebook event, a meeting in Zoom, and/or an Eventbrite invite, whatever is appropriate. Then, write up your event and post it on your blog, which you - and others - can share via social media. Invite your friends, community, etc., via Facebook, through email, and in social media posts. 

4. Produce. If you've done all the planning, your event itself should be a snap.  Show up a little early. Greet your guests. And - especially in those mixer situations - keep the conversation going. And remember to have fun!

5. Follow Up. After your event, send a follow-up email to all of your attendees. Thank them for joining you, and also share a little more about who you are, what you do, and how they can connect with you to follow up and/or be notified for future events.

One more thing: After your event, take some time to review what went right and what could have been done better. That way, you can make changes accordingly and plan an even better event in the future.

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Are virtual events one of your 2020 goals? Have you already planned virtual events? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.

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Join  my virtual half-birthday party for Your Goal Guide on July 14 on Facebook. Details are here.

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.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Authors Can Get Reviews Without Paying for Them!

Are you going to plunk down your $ for something tainted?  Carolyn Berates the Skunk-Like Odor Emanating from Paid-For Reviews

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of The Frugal Book Promoter, now in its third edition
from Modern History Press

There is an old saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’m revising the adage to: “An old dog can go terribly awry when it tries a new trick.”

Furthermore, by the time a dog is old, he should know better than to take on something that smacks of the word ‘trick’ and he should sure as heck know when to turn up his nose at something that smells like skunk!

No, I’m not losing my mind. And, you may have guessed, I’m not talking about dogs here. I’m talking about the venerable Kirkus Reviews that has been respected by authors and librarians everywhere since 1933 and dozens or others with respectable names among publishers and authors. It is published in print 24 times a year, and has an online branch as well. It critiques some 5,000 titles--books of all kinds--in that period of time. It wields enormous power. A Kirkus review (or lack of one) can make or break a book by influencing the major book buyers in the country--both bookstores and libraries.

Back when I started writing, I wrote to their editors taking them to task for not attaching the names of the reviewer to each of their reviews. Kirkus’ own site says “The reviews are reliable and authoritative, written by specialists selected for their knowledge and expertise in a particular field.” It doesn’t say that these reviews are often (always?) unsigned. It seems to me that anyone with the kind of influence these critics wield over the welfare of a book should be willing--nay, required-- to attach her name to whatever praise or vitriol she dishes out and I told them so. It was my journalism ethics class that made me do it.

That was nearly two decades ago and and it wasn’t long before they upped their game. They violated my sense of ethics by taking paid-for reviews.

Here is what has ticked me off: Kirkus still offers a service to self-publishers and POD authors (and, it has come to light more recently) big publishers who feel their books were passed over unjustly. This isn’t a new ploy.  Fly-by-night reviewers have been preying on desperate authors in this way for some time but Kirkus should know better.

Such Pay-for-Review works against authors two ways. First an entity like Kirkus knows that books it chooses not to review will be their most likely paying customers; this is not a situation that encourages a just, even-handed selection process. Not that the method has ever been something that assured all worthy authors of consideration, but at least there was no reason for this journal--or any other-- not to attempt to choose the crème de la crème of submitted books, or at least the books that best fit their editorial needs.

Second: There is no way that a reviewer who is being paid by the author or publisher of the same work under consideration can offer a fair review to her readers. After all, if the journal bashed 9 of 10 of these books, pretty soon no one would be paying them for a reviewing service! Further, no matter how fair the critique, it cannot be trusted any more than one trusts the press secretaries and spin doctors who work for this or any other president’s administration; when one is in the employ of another, one’s attitude is forever changed, for better or worse.

One of our industry’s promotion gurus recently informed his newsletter subscribers of this new “perk” offered by Kirkus. It would naturally appeal to his readers, many of whom are independent or small publishers or emerging authors. He said, “Do I think this is a good deal? No, probably not.” He feels that because of Kirkus’ fine reputation, it might be worth the fee (several hundred dollars!) for the value of being able to quote something positive from Kirkus.

He isn’t exactly wrong. He’s looking at this like the great promoter he is--something I, with a book out like The Frugal Book Promoter am in total sympathy with. But he isn’t exactly right either. The “assets”  that a publisher or author might reap from plunking down their hard-earned cash is going to be tainted--if not right now then later when people figure out that something here, truly stinks.

I’m dating myself with this story, but in the old days, journalism schools had ethics classes and they still do. We were told not to take out-and-out bribes or to accept gifts and to be very careful to write careful, clean, unbiased copy. TV reared its inexperienced head and producers hadn’t any training in journalism--or, obviously, ethics. The payola scandals emerged from the lush, rich land of TVland and everyone got squeaky clean because now (gasp!) the public had their number.

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is akin to the payola scandals. We have here another cycle. This kind of thing undermines the public trust and that public includes book buyers and the wholesale level and book readers at the retail level.  Thanks to a higher power who loves books we still have Library Journal and a few good newspapers but I worry. So far, Kirkus leads, makes a lot of money and others follow. And if so, our only hope will be to quit using their d--- products so they’ll die a well-deserved death! Let’s hear it from the public.  “Do not foul our free press! Leave our opinion pages and criticism unpolluted.”

If you think I am over-reacting, consider: Our Democratic system is based on free speech and our free press is its watchdog. Speaking of dogs again, they tend to have good noses. Mine is lots less astute and even I can smell something rotten in the publishing world.

More About Today’s Guest:

Carolyn, author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, has given up trying to convince periodicals who suffer from a very thin profit margin from backtracking and has instead turned to a book telling authors and publishers hoe to avoid the pay-for review scam and do it effectively. Find her  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career at

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Children's Books and Back Matter

Are you thinking of writing a children’s book? Or, maybe you’ve written one already.

The majority of my clients hire me for picture books, although I’m getting more and more chapter and simple middle grade clients now. As authors having a book that will be published, it’s important  to know a bit about what should go in the back of your book.

Keep in mind that this may vary, depending on the purpose of your book and the topic. And if you have a picture book, it depends whether you want any information at the back or if you’d prefer having more pages for story and illustrations.

Below are 7 pages you might consider for your book’s back matter, if space allows and the story warrants it.

1. About the Author

This is a page that most authors want in their book. It’s the page where the author can let the reader know a bit about him or her. And, it might be the page you use, if you’re a professional, to show your credentials for writing the book.

This is an important element if say you’re in the healthcare profession. You’ll want the reader to know that you are qualified to give the information in the book.

This page can be used in any children’s genre you’re writing in, including a picture book. 

2. Afterword / Author Notes

On this page, you’ll be able to explain why you wrote the book, how you came up with the idea, and/or what inspired you to write it.

If you have a picture book and have the room on the Author page, add the Afterword there. Every page counts in picture books.

This is another page that’s appropriate for any genre, if page count allows.

3. Additional Information

Depending on the topic of your book, you may want to offer additional information that is fact based.

For example, I’ve worked with a number of mental health professionals and they usually want to give the reader, parent, or other mental health professional helpful tips relating to the topic of the story.

Or, it could be you’ve written a wonderful fiction story about a dinosaur and want to give some facts about dinosaurs in the back of the book.

Another example is a three-book fiction picture book series I have, The Adventures of Planetman. The books are about protecting our environment. The back of these books each have fact-based information that shows children how they can be a super-hero for our planet. 

Whatever the reason or purpose for additional information, you need to be sure you have the room for it. Standard picture books usually don’t.

Additional information pages are an excellent idea for chapter books and middle grade books.

An example of this is my middle grade fantasy set in ancient China, Walking Through Walls. I provided the reader with information on the Ming Dynasty period and also interesting information on Chinese dragons as a dragon was mentioned in the story.

This type of information allows the reader to become more involved with the story. It also gives the parent and teacher more room for conversation with the young reader. And, if you need to add more pages to your book, it’s the perfect filler.

4. Reading Comprehension

Most standard children’s picture books don’t include a reading comprehension page(s). They just don’t have the space.

But if you’re writing a chapter or middle grade book and would like to boost its chances of being picked up for school classrooms and libraries, then definitely include this in your book’s back matter.

Reading comprehension pages help children understand what they just read. These pages ask questions that make the child think about the story and how it can relate to them.

5. Activities

To further engage the young reader and teacher, you can offer activities related to the story.

In “Walking Through Walls,” one of the activities was for the reader to draw a picture of a dragon.

Most picture books don’t include an activities page. Again, there’s not enough room.

6. Glossary

Depending on the topic of your chapter book or middle grade book, you may want to or even need to include a glossary in the back matter of your book.

The glossary lists words that the child may not be familiar with and gives the definition. 

Glossaries are most often used in nonfiction children’s books rather than fiction ones. Although I can see its purpose if you’re writing a fantasy world and created words specific to that world. A glossary would come in handy.

7. Promotional Page

This page is a must for every book, although the picture book may not have room for it. But if at all possible, include this page if you have other genre related books for sale.

You can include excerpts of forthcoming titles and/or titles already available for sale. You can also include a call-to-action (CTA) to sign up for your newsletter or to visit your website.

As an author, you also need to be a book marketer. You need to take every advantage you can to promote your books. And, what better place to sell your other books than to a person reading one of your books.

There are also pages such as an Index, an Appendix, a Resource List, and a Bibliography, but again it depends on the type of book you’re writing and the topic. These pages would not pertain to a picture book.

A Word About Picture Books

The industry standard picture book is 32 pages. There are though also 24 pages, 40 pages, and 48 pages. There are even picture books that are 64 pages. I’ve seen these in children’s fiction and nonfiction self-help books.

The reason 32 pages is the standard is because it’s the best number for cost-effective printing. And, it creates a neatly bound book. It just works out all around to be the best fit physically.

Why I mention this is because while you think you have 32 pages, you really don’t.

The first page (Page 1) and the last page (Page 32) are used to glue the front and back book covers onto the book in many cases.

This brings you down to 30 usable pages.

Well, not quite.

Figure on a minimum of another 4 pages for front matter and back matter. This brings you to 26 pages of text and illustrations – 13 spreads.

A spread is the left page and right page when you have the book open.

If you forego the back matter, and keep all your front matter on two pages, you may have 28 pages for story and illustrations.

But, another factor to consider if you’re self-publishing is that the publishing service may have their own formatting requirements.

I’m working with a series client who was told by the publishing service that she couldn’t use Pages 1, 2, 31, or 32. That left her with only 28 pages for front matter, the body of the book (the actual pages for story and illustrations), and the back matter.

This became a big problem as I wrote the story thinking we had 26-pages for content and illustrations, along with the client's back matter. My client ended up having to go with a 40-page book for the series.

Keep in mind that if you’re a professional, such as in healthcare, and want to include additional information on the story topic, you’ll need more pages. I would strongly recommend a 40-page or 48-page picture book if this is the case. You wouldn’t want to short-change the story or illustrations for lack of space.

This article was originally published at:

You might also like last month's post about your book's front matter:
 Before the Story Begins - The Front Matter

About the Author

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 Karen's new picture book: The Case of the Plastic Rings – The Adventures of Planetman.


A Story is More Than a Good Idea

Writing Fiction for Children - 4 Simple Tips

Getting Press

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Felany Melanie: Prequel to the movie Sweet Home Alabama

The many hats of Author/editor Chris Eboch 
Author/editor Chris Eboch has her foot in two worlds: children’s literature, as Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch, and as Kris Bock, in adult literature. Chris has written over sixty books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Chris’s books on writing, You Can Write for Children, and Advanced Plotting, and posts on her blogspot, Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop, are chock full of down-to-earth advice for authors interested in honing their craft. Chris has been a member of SCBWI-NM for many years, has served as Regional Advisor, and currently serves in a new capacity as Published Authors Coordinator. Chris takes an active part in helping fellow authors succeed. We are very fortunate to have her. Read more about Chris in my WOTM February 2019 post: "Writing Tips from Author Chris Eboch".

As Kris Bock, Chris writes novels of romance, mystery, and suspense. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. And novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes include The Mad Monk’s Treasure, The Dead Man’s Treasure, and The Skeleton Treasure.

And now Chris has embarked on a new young adult romantic comedy series with her brother, author and educator, Doug Eboch. The new series features “Felony Melanie,” Jake, and their friends seven years before the events of the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Doug wrote the original screenplay for Sweet Home Alabama as his master’s degree thesis script at the University of Southern California (USC). The box office hit, which came out in 2002 and stars Reese Witherspoon, is still a popular romantic comedy frequently found on TV. Chris and Doug’s new series is a natural extension of the movie.

In the first novel, Felony Melanie in Pageant Pandemonium, Melanie qualifies for the Miss Alabama Princess Pageant. The prize could be her ticket out of Pigeon Creek. But can a “trailer trash” girl outshine the snooty debutantes? Meanwhile, Jake and his buddies suspect someone is sabotaging the pageant. In order to save the pageant and Melanie’s chance to win, the gang must show they’re more than what people see on the surface.

The authors held an online video book launch in May. The actors who played Clinton and Wade in the movie answered questions from the audience in a lively chat. The launch recording is on YouTube at "Felany Melanie" on YouTube.

Doug currently teaches screenwriting at Art Center College of Design and at Loyola Marymount University, both in California. He has published books on script writing as well as novels and short stories as Jacob Love. The Hollywood Pitching Bible: A Practical Guide to Pitching Movies and Television, by Doug Eboch and Ken Aguado, “a book that tells the truth about the art of pitching in Hollywood,” is now in its 3rd edition and is available on Amazon.

Have you ever thought about writing a screenplay? Several members of SCBWI-NM have done just that. Consider it. If you're an author, you already have what it takes in abundance: tenacity and determination.

Visit Chris at:;; and her Amazon page: .
My writing partners and me
enjoying The Ghost on the Stairs,
one of Chris's ghost stories

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, will be out soon. Follow Linda on

Thursday, June 25, 2020

More Research Tips

More Research Tips for Descriptive Writing Projects

We strengthen our writing by using descriptive details that match and develop the topic.
Today let’s talk more about research for descriptive writing.

Research like it’s a treasure hunt to find your perfect topic, or gathering information to expand an interest area. When you land on that topic, consider these points for fresh, active, and believable descriptions:

•    Pursue topics that resonate with you, and inspire you to write

•    Search out topical details, then write them in an organized way to provide the reader a visual pattern they can imagine

•    Be specific with factual details, always fact check to confirm the accuracy

•    Choose details that play a role in your piece, building its credibility

•    When working with a stationary subject—stay with the focus; its texture or its inherent qualities

•    Write to make the subject realistic & relatable

•    Use verbs that don’t need assistance from an adjective to convey action

•    Strong verbs can depict movement: storms, slings, rising, burst, sprawled, staggered, creak, squawk, crackle, shriek, clatter, tinkle, jingle, thud

•    Linking verbs do not convey action. They express a state of being and require an adjective to make sense. If not necessary, linking verbs cause clutter—avoid them

•    State of being—no action—linking verbs include: would, should, can, must, might, may

•    Consider using the narrative, first person point of view, as yourself—write what you see, hear, taste or smell. And, write those details in the same order you notice them.

Idea Categories to investigate and expand:
•    Transportation, information technology, art history
•    Social issues to champion: eldercare, childcare, education
•    Hero’s caring for others
•    Setting up a Website, a Business Platform and Branding
•    Social Media: evaluating and choosing the best platform for your industry, groups, & reaching readers often

Elevate your descriptive writing:
•    Use metaphors, similes, and comparisons
•    Sight, Sound, Taste, and Texture words to add dimension
•    Details that differentiate
•    Stay on point and write with clarity and economy

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Make it with Specificity:
Write it with Research I:

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:  
Visit her caregiver’s website and read the Mom & Me memoir at:
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Ideas For Handling Change

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We can easily mark 2020 as a year of incredible change. A year ago, I would not have imagined our world would face a worldwide pandemic and a lock down of our country—and other countries around the world. Businesses including bookstores have come to a screeching halt.

Some of my writer friends tell me they have stopped writing and can't sit at their computer. I understand the distraction but I also have some ideas for you about how to handle change. Pandemic or not, the world of publishing is always shifting and changing. Publications start and publications close. Publishers open and then some publishers close their doors. Editors come and editors go. Yet books and magazines continue to be made and sold. With the pandemic, a number of conferences cancelled. Other events moved to become virtual online.

I've learned to use several new tools or services lately. Instead of standing in line at the post office (which I have done for hours over the years to mail my books), I've signed up at and I'm printing my own postage (media mail for books), then taking them to the post office and dropping off my packages. If you sign up at for their free trial and getting $100 value--using the promo code, when it is completed, behind the scenes, they will give me $20 in free postage. Here's the promo code: C-HDZ9–YNV.

For years I've been using a cassette tape recorder for interviews—either in person or on the phone (using a simple recording device). Last week my old tape recorder broke. I've ordered a new one but the change forced me to look for alternative ways to handle my interviews. I belong to several online groups and ask them for recommendations. Several journalists recommended TapeACall. This phone app will not only record the call but transcribe it. Now the transcription isn't perfect but it's way better than transcribing the tape—especially if you take notes and correct the transcription right shortly after recording. From learning about this app and making this change, it is going to save me a lot of time.

One of the big recent changes that I've made started before the pandemic. In February, I took an intense book funnel boot camp to learn some new techniques for selling my 10 Publishing Myths (follow this link to check out the offer). The training involved using a number of different websites and tools. Some of the most successful Morgan James authors (bestselling year after year) are using these techniques. Will my new book become bestselling? I don't know but I'm trying it.

These ways are just a few of the changes I've made. How are you handling the various changes in our world? I have several recommendations:

1. Move to online events and virtual promotion. I have been promoting online for years but if you haven't been, now is a great time to jump into this process.

2. Be willing to try new services and new techniques. If something breaks or gets interrupted, look for new tools. Ask colleagues for recommendations, pick one and get started.

3. Keep writing and trying new publications and new opportunities. Even if you only write 20–30 minutes a day, that time at your keyboard is much better than doing nothing. Can you write a page a day? As you do, gradually increase your number of pages.

4. Continue pitching and knocking on doors—the opportunities are there. They may be harder to find but they are certainly there. Our book sales at Morgan James are up five percent. Magazines continue to be published and need your writing. Whether you are beginning or have been writing for years, every writer (including me) needs to pitch to get the opportunity.

How are you handling change? What tools or methods are you using? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to learning from you.


When our world is changing, how to you handle it? Get ideas here from this prolific editor and author. (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

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Writing a Memoir - 5 Rules

By Karen Coiffi

Writing a memoir is different things to different people. Some people are looking for closure, or a cathartic release from a traumatic event in their lives, others simply want to share their experiences with readers. Or possibly, the author wants to impart some wisdom or insight to the reader.

Whatever the reason behind writing a memoir, there are a few rules that should be adhered to.

5 Rules to Writing a Memoir:

1. Know what you want to convey to the reader. Know why you’re writing a memoir and let the reader in on what to expect. This will help give your story direction and focus – it will provide a basis for it to move forward.

2. Decide on what format you will write your memoir, but keep in mind that trying to stick to a purely chronological order can cause a problem with the flow of the story. One possible alternative is to divide the story into specific topics within the overall subject (your life), possibly childhood, education, marriage, family, or other topics important to the story.

The idea is to realize you have options. You might try brainstorming some alternative memoir formats. You can also do some research by reading memoirs by traditional publishers; go to your library and ask the librarian to offer some suggestions. Finding ones that are recently published will be helpful; you need to know what the current market is looking for.

Another aspect of structure that needs to be addressed is how you speak to the reader. In a Writer’s Digest article, “5 Ways to Start Your Memoir on the Right Foot” by Steve Zousmer, it says, “Is the conversation external or internal? That is, is writing your book the equivalent of sitting down in your living room and telling a small group of people the story of your life (external), or are you having an internal conversation with yourself while allowing readers to listen in?"

3. Whether you’re writing a mystery, a romance, or a memoir, you need to hook the reader. Again, read other memoirs for some examples and ideas.

As a former accountant who now writes, if writing my memoir, a possible beginning might be, “From the pencil to the pen.” This possibly has the potential to arouse enough curiosity to hook the reader.

Your experience and story is unique, try to come up with something that reflects that.

4. Don’t let your memoir be a platform to get even with those who you perceive have harmed you in the past. You may feel good about venting, but your readers won’t. This will turn off agents, publishers, and readers. Remember, your memoir should be to entertain, enlighten, help, instruct, uplift, motivate, inform, or encourage your readers; it shouldn’t be all about you and your vendetta.

5. As with any form of writing, the bare bottom basic is to have a proofread and edited manuscript. Even if you intend to have your manuscript professionally edited, you need to know the basics of writing. This aspect of writing entails effort – effort to learn the craft of writing, including revisions, proofing, and editing.

If you are having your manuscript professionally edited, the editor will expect to be given a relatively polished manuscript to work on. Unless of course, you’re having the memoir ghostwritten, in which case you and the ghostwriter will determine what shape, if any, your manuscript needs to be in.

But, assuming you’re doing it on your own, at the very least you need to be part of a critique group, a non-fiction writing group, or one specifically for memoirs. A critique group will help you hone your craft and will spot a number of problems within your manuscript that you will not be able to find on your own. And, be sure the critique group you choose has experienced and published authors, along with new writers.

So many new writers don’t think this aspect of writing a memoir applies to them. Or, they just don’t want to put the time and effort into learning the craft of writing. But, if you intend to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers, or if you are self-publishing, having a polished manuscript is a must. It’s a reflection of you and your writing ability, and it will be a factor in how readers view your book.

The Possibilities

If all the elements and rules of writing a memoir are applied, and your particular story offers unique insights, has a universal theme, has a one or two sentence WOW elevator pitch, is memorable or provocative, it may have the potential to soar.

Memoirs that have gone above and beyond include:

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell
“Marley and Me” by John Grogan

This article was originally published at: 


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.

You might want to check out Karen's new book, How to Write a Children's Fiction Book. It's 250+ pages of ALL content: instruction, advice, examples, resources, assignments, and more!


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