Showing posts with label advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advice. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Come out the Gates Fast

In track and field competitors are coached to "come out the gates fast". What that means is to get an early lead or start strong. Writers need to do the same thing. There is nothing worse than having a really good book to share with the world and being unprepared to start strong on your launch date. There are a few things you can do to ensure a great start...


Start simple: We all know that you need to start with a well-written book that has been professionally edited and has a professional cover. You don't want to throw some art work together or have "your friend" who loves to read check it for editing mistakes. Invest early and reap benefits later.
Ask early: Any author with a plan will work on obtaining advanced reviews. You can do this in online groups, from friends and previous readers or request advanced reviews on social media sites, your mailing list or celebrities.
Budget: Every marketing plan has to have a well thought out budget. Here are just a few ideas of what you might want to include:
  • Budget for paperbacks ( giveaways increase exposure )
  • Marketing budget
  • Editing and/or design expenses (BC's/promo items/cover art)
Plan: Prepare a list of "to-do" items and a checklist to figure out what you need to complete

30-60 days prior to launching your book consider the following list:
  • CREATE BOOK TRAILER (make sure it is captivating)
  • SCHEDULE A BLOG TOUR  (organize your online presence)
  • SCHEDULE IN-PERSON EVENTS (at local bookstores or other locales)
  • SELECT ADVERTISEMENTS  (stick to your budget)
  • CONTACT MEDIA   (shoot for the stars)
  • REQUEST REVIEWS   (ebooks and paperback reviewers)
  • CONTACT BOOK CLUBS   (past contacts and potential book clubs)
Don't forget to have fun with it and start strong...Finish strong too!

RL Taylor is an award-winning fiction author with five novels released to date. His newest writing venture is a series of non-fiction books on style, etiquette and self-improvement for men and women who want to help the men in their life. 
Click here for a free copy of The Gentlemen's Code which Esquire.com featured as recommended reading.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Finding Time


Wouldn’t it be nice to have an entire day to yourself to work on your latest book? Imagine shuffling out of bed and remaining in your comfy pajamas as you pour a steaming cup of coffee into your favorite mug. Sounds good right? It gets even better as you sit down at your computer and begin typing away, uninterrupted (not even a phone call). This is a dream come true. Sadly for most of us, this scenario will never happen. We are all busy, busy, busy.

So how do you find the time to write? I mean, you have to work, cook, clean, actually communicate with family and friends and then, decide whether to write or plop in bed. 
Of course there has to be a way to maximize your time. Here are a few suggestions, although the scenario out the outset of this post seems more desirable.

The first thing you can do is schedule the time to write. This is a literal scheduling, where you sit down and map out your week and try to squeeze some valuable time to work on your craft. Maybe it means getting up early, or staying up late. Can you squeeze time in on lunch? Maybe on the weekend you can steal a few hours? Get creative and think outside the box.

Tune out from TV and movies. You have your own creating to do. No need in staring at the tube when you could be carving out your story or developing your awesome characters. Realize too that you may have to set down the “word games” and phone calls. If you are disciplined and focused you can do it. It’ll take some work and dedication but once you have your book in your hands it’ll be worth it.

It is a hectic world that we’re living in. It can become tough to juggle life as a person and life as an author. Here’s my final tip. It’s a simple one too. Just don’t give up! We want to read what you’re working on. You have a voice and it’s worth sharing.

Until next time….Happy writing!



RL Taylor is an award-winning fiction author with five novels released to date. His newest writing venture is a series of non-fiction books on style, etiquette and self-improvement for men and women who want to help the men in their life. 
Click here for a free copy of The Gentlemen's Code which Esquire.com featured as recommended reading.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Write on... don't give up the dream!


Do you dream of being a writer?

If you want to be a writer, the only thing required is to put your butt in a chair, place your hands on a keyboard, pen, pencil or whatever you use to write, and write, write, write.

Consider writing as your job. If your dream is to publish, remember writing is a business, and treat it as if you’re an entrepreneur, because you are.

It doesn’t make any difference if you are young, old, or in between.

Don’t let anyone; including yourself talk you out of your dream of writing. Just write what subject you want to write about.

It doesn’t make any difference who you are, what sex you are, or anything else. Determination and persistence is will make you a writer.

Every writer can come up with myriad excuses not to write. The writer doesn’t use them, but writes in spite of them.

One major excuse is not having the time. This is a cop-out  If you want to be a writer, you’ll make time by going to bed later, get up earlier, or turn the Television off instead of watching some inane program. If a movie or some show is important to you, record it for a later time.

For the novice writer, the internal editor is a major problem. Overcome this by just writing, and then edit it.
It’s simple, writers write and that’s it, period.

If you want to be a writer, sit down and write the darn book; it won’t write itself.

Now is the time to organize your thoughts, notes, research, or outline and begin telling your story as only you can.

Today is the day you become a writer.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, Reviewer, and Marketer
Find me on the Web http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

Monday, September 10, 2012

Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Writing Career: Be Grateful

I often receive emails from young writers asking for advice and help in various aspects of their writing, and I am always delighted to help in any way I can. To be a writer is to be a part of a community, and I am so grateful for all the writers who have offered me advice and encouragement over the years. Being a mentor and cheerleader for other writers is the best way I can think of to "pay it forward" to those people who have bettered my life with their generosity and support.

However, I am not always the quickest to respond to emails, especially when life gets busy. Like this summer: I am in graduate school working on my thesis, taking a summer literature class, and teaching a creative writing class to college students. I feel like I'm barely managing to keep my head above water by trying to write a little of my own work every day, reading and working on papers for the literature class I'm taking, and grading papers and responding to emails from my students!

Most writers I hear from are beyond patient and gracious. But occasionally, I'll receive an email from a young writer that startles me with its rude tone and unprofessionalism. Often the email will include capital "shouting" letters, strings of exclamation points and/or question marks, and phrases like, "are you ever going to get back to me????" or "hellooooo???"

I consider myself to be an advocate for writers, and young writers in particular. I love teaching writing camps and working with mentees through Write On! For Literacy. Publishing Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing is a great source of pride and good feelings for me. So when I get an email from a young writer that perpetuates the negative stereotypes that society foists upon teenagers, it makes my skin crawl.

I believe the very first and most important lesson in regards to being a writer and getting published is this: respect, gratitude and professionalism are a must.

If you send an email with a rude subject line to a publisher, editor or agent, I can guarantee you it would be deleted without even being read. When you send your work to a publisher, it may take six or eight months for them to get back to you about it. That's just the way publishing is -- editors are very busy and they receive hundreds of emails every single day. And if you ever do email them to ask if they have had a chance to read your work, you need to make sure you have a tone of gratitude, graciousness, and respect of their time and busy schedule.

Here's a great article with tips and examples on writing professional emails: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/e-text/email/.

But I think all you really need to remember is just to be respectful and to treat everyone with common decency. When you adopt a rude tone, you send the message that you feel entitled to the person's help, rather than that you are appreciative of any time and help they can give you.

I think it comes down to this, not just in writing but in all areas of life: people will be more eager to help you when you treat them well and are humble and appreciative of their time, knowledge, effort and support.

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Use Freewriting to Find Peace & Balance in Your Writing -- and in Your Life!

by Dallas Woodburn

Where did the summer go?? I just can’t believe it’s already August. The fall semester of teaching starts up for me again in just two weeks. It seems like I can close my eyes and it is the beginning of summer again, when the fireflies were just starting to appear and a long path of sunny days stretched out before me. What happened?? Where did it all go?

Do you ever get those same feelings? It floors me how quickly time passes! Sometimes it feels like time is a river rushing past me so fast and I’m sitting there in a little boat, struggling to get a grip on the oars, not even enjoying the beautiful scenery flowing past. It makes me feel overwhelmed and frustrated, like I’m wasting or not appreciating enough the most precious commodity we all are gifted with: time.

I am also guilty of something I’ve come to think of in myself as productivititus: trying to fit waaaaaay to much into my daily to-do list, and then feeling like a failure when I don’t accomplish everything I’ve set out to do. This is not a good habit because I don’t want my summer, or my life, to be nothing but a giant to-do list of tasks I’m checking off. As my idol John Wooden often said, the most important words in the English language are love and balance. Work is important, but so is time for play! Balance, balance, balance is so crucial.

Something that is helpful to me when I am feeling off-balance, especially by the incredibly fast-flowing river of time, is to go to a  quiet corner of the room and spend a few minutes freewriting.

I always use freewriting in the creative writing courses I teach to help students break through writer’s block. However, I think freewriting is something that can benefit everyone! It is such a great tool for not just writing, but also your mental health, sense of empowerment, and overall happiness.

Here’s how freewriting works: set a timer for a certain amount of time — I’ve found 8 minutes works well because it’s not too long or too short — and start writing. The only rule is that you cannot stop until the timer dings! It is a tool to keep you from self-editing or second-guessing or worrying that what you are writing is not “good” enough. Instead, just let the writing pour out of you. You will find yourself tapping into your subconscious, which can help you unlock all sorts of dreams and ideas and even solve problems that are nagging you. For me, freewriting is a way to re-find my center of balance. It unclutters my mind and makes me feel at peace.

You don’t need a fancy journal or expensive pen to freewrite. All you need is a blank piece of paper — even scrap paper works! Some people like to freewrite on the computer, which is certainly all right. I personally enjoy using a pen and paper because it makes the writing feel more open and less intimidating somehow — more unharnessed. Something that is just for me.

Here are some freewriting topics I’ve been using lately as jumping-off points:
- My favorite memory I made this summer was …
- Three things I am grateful for in this moment are …
- I will wring out every last drop of fun from my last couple weeks of summer by …

What are your plans for these final weeks of summer? Does anyone else use freewriting as a way to alleviate stress and find balance? Any other tips or suggestions for slowing down the pace of life and savoring the time we are blessed with?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Many Hats of Writers


With fewer traditional publishers willing to publish new authors and the overall publishing industry getting harder books published, today's writers must wear many hats by necessity.

Today’s writer has two options, DIY or outsource. Outsourcing can become expensive and some writers may not be able to afford outsourcing, so that leaves DIY.

The hats of DIY that writers must wear.

  1. Writer
  2. Editor
  3. Proofreader
  4. Publisher
  5. Promoter
  6. Marketer
  7. PR person
  8. Video Creator
  9. Retailer/Wholesaler
  10. Booking Agent
  11. Web Designer
  12. Content Creator
  13. Web Manager
  14. Content Manager
  15. Social Media Manager
  16. Networking Manager
  17. Shipping Manager
  18. Bookkeeper
  19. Entrepreneur
  20. Record Keeper
So much for time to write. If you want to be a writer, you’ll find the time to write. No one ever said the writing is easy in today’s writing market.

Writing take dedication and hard work to be successful, whatever that means to you. Only a few writers make it big, the rest work hard and with some luck and hard work can make some money writing.

Writing is a calling, not a way to get rich unless you come up with the next “Harry Potter”, which rarely happens. There is a good deal of luck in making it big. J. K. Rowling the author of the “Harry Potter” series, was rejected 12 times before a friend of her daughter read it and told to her father about how good it was. He took a chance on publishing it, we know how well that went.

If you are a writer that must DIY everything because you just don’t have the money for a literary agent, which can cost thousands of dollars, if you can find one to take a chance on your book, you will have to wear many hats and learn what you need to get your book in front of readers.


This article is to enlighten you about the uphill battle you face as you work toward publication, and getting your book into the reader’s hands.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Proofreader/Reviewer/Marketer



Friday, March 9, 2012

What I Learned From the Movie "Young Adult"


I recently saw the movie "Young Adult" starring Charlize Theron. The premise: a writer of young adult novels returns to her small hometown to woo her high-school ex-boyfriend. Only problem? He's married with a newborn baby. Not exactly the recipe for a fairy-tale romance. But the screenwriter is Diablo Cody, who wrote the smart and quirky movie "Juno," so I went to see "Young Adult" with pretty high hopes.

Well, suffice to say it didn't live up to my expectations. After the movie ended, a woman sitting in front of me turned around and addressed the theater: "What did y'all think? I was not impressed." Still, I believe there is something to learn from every experience, so here are some writing take-aways I got from "Young Adult" that might be helpful to your own writing, too:
  • Write anywhere and everywhere. In the movie, we see Charlize Theron's character working on her young-adult novel in coffeeshops, restaurants, in her bed and at her desk. When she checks into a hotel, the first thing she does is plug in her laptop. That said, I was annoyed by the portrayal of her getting incredibly drunk every night and waking up hungover, yet still magically being able to finish her book. I think the drunken artist/writer is one of my least favorite cliches. I also didn't agree with the way the movie depicted the YA genre as shallow, uncomplicated, and easy to write. If classic books like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird were published today, they would be considered YA.
  • Be mindful of your details. Charlize Theron's character constantly eats junk food throughout the movie, and a lot of it -- a family-sized meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken, pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, liters of Diet Coke. Yet she remains supermodel-thin and looks down on other characters from her hometown for being "fat." There is no way she could eat that way and look the way she does!
  • Avoid stereotypes. Charlize Theron's character returns to her small town, and her stereotypes about "small-town people" are reinforced. The comic-book lover is a "boring loser" who paints model action figures and lives with his sister. The women her age all got married at twenty and never left town. They wear tacky sweaters and have no idea who Marc Jacobs is. It would be one thing if this was just how Charlize Theron's character saw these people -- that would fit well with her character -- but that is not the sense we are given from the film. Case in point: a scene towards the very end, when one of the young women who lives in this small town asserts the stereotypes to be true: "People here are all fat and dumb." As someone who now lives in a small Midwest town, I personally know this is not only completely untrue, it is also offensive and, in terms of writing, sloppy. Push past stereotypes! Deepen your characters!
  • Have your characters grow. This is perhaps the biggest problem I had with the movie "Young Adult" -- Charlize Theron's character doesn't grow or change from beginning to end. She is immature, narcissistic, and self-centered when we meet her, and she is the same way when the credits roll. It's fine if you choose to write an unlikeable character, but even unlikeable characters should have likeable sides to them. The best characters, in my opinion, are nuanced people. What makes me care about and root for a character is seeing them grow and change, hopefully for the better. Charlize Theron's character certainly had plenty of room to grow, yet she didn't take any steps forward, not even baby steps. I left the theater thinking, What was the point of that?
Have any movies -- good or bad -- taught you something about writing? I'd love to hear your comments!

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Assistant Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Finding Time to Write Without Quitting Your Day Job


“Time stays long enough for those who use it.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Are you struggling to find time to write?  Most writers I know have a “day job”, family, friends and lots of commitments.  They write around the corners of their lives.  Without the luxury to write full time, it is easy to get off track and run out of steam on a project.  So how do we squeeze more writing time into our life?  It requires getting organized, establishing routines and a willingness to say no.

You can increase your productivity by getting organized.  If it takes you ten minutes to figure out which is your last draft, you’ve lost valuable writing time.  A great organizational tool if you are working on a novel is the program Scrivener.  I think Scrivener’s biggest advantage is its simplicity in moving and tracking text.  Scrivener costs about $40 and they offer a 30 day free trial, so you can check it out for yourself.

Find a set time each week to write.  Schedule it into your calendar and make sure to keep this personal appointment.   There is a direct relationship between keeping this date with yourself and how much you value your writing life.  Next, look for an additional place to squeeze in the work of writing, maybe you can read, write or people watch on your lunch hour.  Do you see your character in the man behind the counter at the pannini shop?  Just adding 15 minutes a day to your writing time can catapult your writing forward.

When you want more time for your writing, it’s time to work your “no muscle”. Before you agree to be on that committee or take on a new project, take a deep breath and think about it.  Is this something you need to do?  Is it taking you away from writing or your other priorities?  What would happen if you said no?   One way to strengthen you your “no muscle” is with your phone.  Do you answer it when writing?  Just think of the time you can add to your writing minutes if you ignore your phone.

If squeezing more writing time into your life feels overwhelming, try just one of the above strategies for 21 days and you’ll be amazed in the difference it can make.  Do you have a creative strategy for eeking out extra writing time?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist.  If you want to push your writing dream forward, join her 4 week Big Dream Challenge


For more information check out  www.donorth.biz
or folllow her at:
http://theadvantagepoint.wordpress.com
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Writers: Awards are Worth Pursuing

By Linda Wilson  @LinWilsonauthor Recently, as a self-published author I set two goals for myself: publish multiple books, and become an awa...