Showing posts with label writing books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing books. Show all posts

A Writer's Bucket and Mop List

Do you have all the time you want to write?

I don't. The first thing I want to do when I get up in the morning is write. But there are so many other things to do. Often, I don't sit down to do it until nighttime when the dishes are done and the house is quiet.

Throughout my day I dream of having (in order of preference):

·                     a nanny (if I still had kids at home)

·                     a maid

·                     a cook

·                     a secretary

·                     a research assistant

·                     a dedicated media specialist

·                     an errand runner

·                     a personal trainer

·                     a gardener

·                     a dog walker

 In other words, I wish I had a wife. Wait, I am a wife!

Make Your Life Your Inspiration

An excellent humorist writer friend of mine once told me about challenges her husband faced at his job. About what was going on with each of her three sons. About her own life and lack of time to get everything done.

But, she said, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. If it weren't for the angst in my family, I wouldn't have anything to write about.

I've never forgotten her insight. It's a lesson I cherish every day. If I had too much time to write, my need wouldn't be as urgent. I may not be as motivated. I may not have those few hours of pure bliss to look forward to each day.

Once I did nothing but write. My life became so narrow, it sapped any energy I had once had for my writing projects and soon I ran out of ideas. My page was as blank as my life. Create a proper balance in your life and this effort will take care of everything. What if balance isn't possible? Lopsided is good. As long as you take time out each week to work on your writing projects. Though it sometimes seems impossible, eventually you will finish and go after publishing your work.

Gains and Losses

Since recently finishing my first book, I realize I am teetering on the brink of publishing and marketing it and jumping into my next writing project(s) with both feet. Here is the short version of what has happened to my time while writing the book and a scenario that is sure to continue as I endeavor to reach my future writing goals.


·                     The many friends and acquaintances I've made that will surely remain a part of my future.

·                     The sharpening of my skills.

·                     Learning many new things every day.

·                     Staying up late and still getting up early.

·                     Enjoying the feeling of joy inside at all that writing has given me.

·                     The fun it is to share with others.

·                     The feeling of accomplishment at completing such a challenging task as writing a book.

·                     Looking forward to writing more books, articles and stories.   

·                     Keeping other interests alive to strive for less lopsidedness and more balance, especially spending time with my family.

·                     How much I've grown from reading and learning about different people and subjects, and then the growth that has taken place from writing about them.

·                     Emotionally I feel I've grown, too, for it seems that understanding our own emotions and others' emotions is part of writing.

·                     Being an entertainer.

·                     The sheer fun of having an audience!


·                     Little time for other hobbies, though I squeeze them in when possible.

·                     Little time for socializing; having to say no to invitations to join clubs, play bridge, loll around the pool . . .

·                     Miniscule free time to simply curl up with a good book or watch TV, or do nothing.

·                     Everything I do has to have a purpose in order to squeak out time to write.

Live a Life of Gratitude

The list of gains is long, losses is short. Good! Like my humorist friend, I wouldn't trade this life for anything. Let us be grateful for the lives we've been given, which have brought us so willingly to the page over and over again. 

Illustration: Courtesy of                                                                            

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter. 

Find Linda’s books at  Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram  

Secret in the Mist: An Abi Wunder Mystery,
Book Two in the series, is coming soon!

The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips


By Karen Cioffi

Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed writing. I wrote poems, short stories, even songs. And although I enjoyed writing, I never thought of publishing my work or making it a career until around 2007. As a novice, I figured it'd be a breeze – easy-peasy. I mean how difficult could it be to write simple children's stories? 

Since I always felt comfortable writing, I thought it be a natural transition. Writing was something I always went to when in awe, when being inspired, or during struggles. And, I was always able to think of things to write about. So, I began the process of actually writing children's books with the intent of having them published. 

 My eyes were quickly opened. Another world sat before me, one filled with a lot of hard work, time, road blocks, and rejection letters. 

While I minored in English Lit in college, it had been many years ago. Along with this, it's not really the background specifically needed in writing for children or writing to get published in the market at the time … or now. 

To write for children … 

- You need to know what the current market wants. 

 - You need to know techniques such as the Core of Threes and having the protagonist solve the problem, not the parent or grandparent. 

 - You need to know showing is a must, and telling should be limited. 

 - You need to have the right sentence structure along with proper grammar and punctuation. 

- Your words and dialogue must be age appropriate. 

- You need to have an age-appropriate plot. 

- There should be only ONE point of view, one main character. 

- Your main character needs to grow in some way as a result of his journey. 

 - You need to watch out for blind spots in your writing. Spots where you know what you intended to be conveyed, but the reader won't. 

 - You need to understand and utilize words such as tighten, good voice, focus, point of view, hook, and lots of other writing elements. It goes on and on and on. 

Well then, just how do you learn all the information needed to write for children, especially if you don’t want to get a degree in children’s literature or are unable to enroll in a school specifically geared toward this subject? 

The answer is the internet. Sounds easy, right? 

Well, think again. Since I've gotten my Bachelor's degree, I've taken a few college courses and other courses long distance and online and I can tell you that learning a subject in a classroom is much easier than learning through other means. 

And, learning on your own with the internet is even more difficult and very time consuming. 

Why is it so hard? 

The reason for the difficulty is there are thousands and thousands of websites and blogs that offer children's writing information. 

You'd think this is a good thing, but not everyone online knows what they're talking about. For this reason, it's important to use common sense when searching for information. 

Make sure the site is current and posts content regularly. Another must is to research the blog owner. Does she have published books? Traditionally published? 

 Is she in the business of writing or a hobby writer? 

Another difficulty is that finding good sites can be time consuming. 

If possible, get recommendations from other authors or writers in your writing groups. 

So, what can you do to ease into this? 

 1. Writing Groups 

Your first order of business is to join a children's writing group. One of the best is SCBWI Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). There are new and seasoned people in the business of writing there who are willing and able to help. This is also a good place to network. 

 2. Critique Groups 

 Next on your plan should be to join a children’s writing critique group. You'll be able to find one in SCBWI.  

3. Writer Conferences 

If you're able, it'd be a good idea to make it a priority to attend a writer’s conference. 

Some of the bigger ones are: 

SCBWI Annual Conferences 

The Highlights Foundation Workshop Retreats 

Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference 

Northwestern Christian Writers Conference 

You can also do a search for others. Just be sure to look at dates. I've found a number of sites that list events that are outdated – by years.  

4. Writing Workshops and Webinars 

There are also a number of sites that offer online writing whether workshops, zoom meetings, or others. 



WOW! Women on Writing 

Gotham Writing Workshop 

The workshops and sites mentioned in this article may not all focus directly on writing for children, but they will offer great writing information.  

5. Blogs 

Another source of advice is children's writing tips from children's editors, publishers and agents' blogs. Often, you'll get super-useful tips and information. Find reliable and well-established sites. An excellent one is and with Mary Kole. 

Here are a few others: 

Steve Laube Agency 

Caitlin Derve Truby's Writing Studio 

Children's Book Insider  

Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi 

The Write Practice 

Writer's Digest 

Writers Helping  

6. Books on Writing for Children  

Below are a few:  

How to Write a Children's Fiction Book by Karen Cioffi 

The Magic Words by Cheryl Klein 

The Business of Writing for Children by Aaron Shepard 

How to Write a Children's Book by Katie Davis and Jan Fields 

Yes! You Can Learn to Write Children's Books by Nancy I. Sanders  

7. Read, Read, Read  

Read writing books and books in the genre you want to write. 

 As you read, pay close attention to the books in your genre. 

What do you like about the book? How did the author convey emotion? How did the author hook you? How were the sentence, paragraphs, and chapters written? How was the dialogue written? How did the story flow? Who was the protagonist? How did s/he grow through the journey? 

Pick up on everything you can.

 8. Industry Standards Matter 

Keep up with the industry standards. What are traditional children's publishers and literary agents looking for? What's being published? What are the standard word counts for the different genres? What books are winning valid awards? 

This matters whether you're traditionally publishing or self-publishing. You want a professional book. One that screams that the author knows what she's doing. 

While the world of writing for children can feel overwhelming, it can also be very rewarding. Take the time to learn the ropes so you can create a publishable book. And, create a time management plan. 

Keep on learning; keep adding tools to your writing toolbox. 

With hard work and perseverance, you can write a children's book that you'll be proud to be the author of and one that will be publishable as well as marketable. 

This article was first published at:


Karen Cioffi
is an award-winning children’s author, a successful children’s ghostwriter with 300+ satisfied clients worldwide, and an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. For children’s writing tips, or if you need help with your children’s story, visit:

You can check out Karen’s books at:



Characters or Story Which Comes First?

Good Things Come in Fives

Think Beyond Bookstore Sales



Writing Books - Is There Money in it?

In the marketing arena, one of the messages conveyed is that unless you're a major author with a tremendous amount of sales, you will not get rich from writing books. You may not even be able to make a living.

But, you should still strive to get published because it does open some doors and allows for alternative means of income.

How does an author create a living out of writing?

Well, whether you're in the process of writing a book, in the process of having a book published, or your book is already available for sale, there are a few strategies writers can use to supplement their income, or create a living from writing:

1. Create e-books and offer them for sale.

If you're a fiction writer, write about elements of writing, the process, the writing elements, the pit falls, the publishing process, your marketing strategies, and so on.

Write what you know, if you want to take the easy path. Or, you can research topics you're interested in, or that are known to be money-makers, or other.

2. If you have interests other than the fiction you write, capitalize on them also.

Maybe, you're a great cook, write about cooking. If you have an interest in health, do the research and write about it

For steps 1 and 2, it's easy to create a PDF with images and a cover. You can offer them on your site, or through services such as Kindle, and

If you're willing to invest in a Clickbank or JVZoo account, or another of these types of services, you can find affiliates to help you sell your e-books and/or spin off products.

3. Don't forget this ONE essential strategy that all writers/authors should utilize: Magazine articles.

Write articles, research appropriate magazines, and submit, submit, submit. If you don't submit your work, you will not get published. Writing credits create credibility and authority. This helps you sell what you’re offering.

And, as stated above, being published does matter; it opens up doors and opportunities that may not otherwise be open.

4. If you're writing nonfiction, think spin-offs. You can create podcasts, videos, and other formats of your work and sell them right off your website.

5. Look into selling through catalogues and stores.
You’ll have to do your research and possible contact some companies, but it's a viable option for selling your books.

To start, you can check out these sites:

You can also contact the managers or purchasing agents for stores like Target, Cosco, and Walmart.

6. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, seek out corporations or businesses that may be interested in your topic.

For example: I wrote a bed time story - I could look into children's stores (furniture, clothing, toys, etc.) to see if they'd be interested in buying in bulk to offer the book to their clients for sale or as giveaways.

7. If you're published, offer teleclasses, online classes, DIY courses, or coaching. This is one of those opportunities that will work better if you're published.

8. Promote, Promote, Promote!

Writing isn’t enough, you’ve got to do the marketing to generate visibility and bring traffic to your website.

Wrapping it Up

These are just some of the strategies you can use to generate income from your book writing.

Tip: Remember to be focused and research your target market.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor. .

You can check out Karen’s e-classes through WOW! Women on Writing at:

Revised Reprint from 2010.


Your Website and Graphics
Writing to Get Published – 4 Basic Steps
10 Fears Freelance Writers Face

Planning a Writing Retreat

I have written about writing retreats here in the past. Last month, I was on vacation and made that into sort of a writing retreat, but since I can’t do that again for awhile, I started thinking about other things I could do instead. And then it came to me: a one day writing retreat for my local writers group. I suggested the idea to them and was asked to start planning something.

For this first time out (maybe it could become an annual event), we are going to stay in town to keep costs low. I picked a part of town where there are restaurants, outdoor seating areas, a walking trail, public library, hotel and a university. Plenty of places to use for a day-long or half-day writing retreat.

The first thing I did was to make a list of things that might be important to a group of writers. This list by no means is complete. There may be other things that are important to you or to your group. You may use my list and add to it. Perhaps brainstorm with some other writers.

  • Goals – What do you want to get from the retreat? Write a chapter of your novel? Complete a book? Start a book? Write an article? Try out some new writing prompts.
  • Location – Do you want to stay local or go out of town? If spending at least one night away from home, where might the group want to stay? Hotel, bed and breakfast, cabin by a lake?
  • Length – Will it be for one day, a weekend, a week or longer? What about a particular day, week or month?
  • Writing time – How long do you want to write? Maybe the entire retreat, half of it, a few hours a day? Are there other things you would like to do besides writing during the retreat?
  • Work area – Will you be sharing your work area or will you be working alone? Indoors, outdoors, table, bench, library, café. Are there a number of cafes on the street or neighborhood where you plan to go? Try café-hopping while you write.
  • Social activities – What other activities and sites are available? Walking trails, shopping, museums, theaters or spas might be nearby. Get some exercise, do something besides writing, relax, have fun.
  • Meals – Will you eat together as a group or separately? Share the cooking, dine at restaurants, pack a picnic lunch, have some snacks. And don’t forget beverages, including wine.
  • Writing kit – What do you need to bring with you to help you write and to provide inspiration? A tote bag filled with items such as notebooks and pens, laptop, books, magazines, photos/art, music, etc.
  • Conversation – What will the group talk about? Bring a book on the craft of writing to discuss, an experience you want to share, suggestions on how to overcome writers block.
  • Online or offline – Will you forgo email and social media? It might be ok to do some research for the book or article you are working on, but for most of the retreat, try to stay away from the internet.
  • Types of clothing - What kinds of clothing do you want to wear/pack? If you wear a literary or writing t-shirt when writing, would that make you work harder? Perhaps it’s a shirt you got at a writing conference, ordered from NaNoWriMo or purchased from another source. You might get some compliments and comments on it when you are out and about!

I have a kit which I will use during the planning and at the retreat. The Writer’s Retreat Kit: A Guide for Creative Exploration & Personal Expression by Judy Reeves is a boxed set of cards and a book. This set covers the planning of retreats and includes lists of writing prompts. It’s full of ideas that writers will find useful, whether the retreat is far away or at home.

What would you like to do on a writing retreat? Have you been on a retreat? If so, what did you do? Feel free to share your ideas and experiences here.

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.

How to Sell Your Book in Bulk

  by Suzanne Lieurance Did you know that studies have shown that most self-published authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book?   Tha...