Saturday, August 21, 2021

Are You Writing A Perennial Seller?


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

In the last fifteen years, the publishing world has changed. In the past, self-publishing was the poor step-sister to traditional publishing. These self-made titles often looked poor and were not accepted in libraries or bookstores. As book production has improved, this attitude is shifting. There are still poorly made self-published books and the average self-published title sells less than 200 copies during the lifetime of the book

My bent in this area is for you to get the largest distribution and produce the best book you can produce. It's why I continue to encourage authors to create a book proposal and work with traditional publishers as well as explore other models like Morgan James Publishing (where I've worked for over nine years).

While there are many ways and companies to help you create your book, at the end of the day, the key question relates to sales of that book. Is it selling? Are people buying it on a consistent basis? Are you as the author promoting your book consistently? After all, as the author, you have the greatest passion for your book—whether you went with one of the big five publishing houses or a small publisher or self-published.

One of the best ways to learn about publishing is to consistently read how-to books about writing or marketing. As you read these books and take action from the information, you will grow as a writer. I've got stacks of these types of books that I read.


Several year ago, I learned about a book from Ryan Holiday called Perennial Seller, The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts. Books that last and continue to sell in the market are rare. Traditional publishers are known to be fickle in this area. I have seen it when I've worked inside publishing houses (not Morgan James). You work hard to get a book published and into the market, then for whatever reason it does not sell, then a publishing executive writes a letter to the author or literary agent and takes the book out of print.

Every day thousands of new books enter the market.  Which books become continual sellers? Bestselling author Ryan Holiday has studied these details with his own books and with other books. Perennial Seller is loaded with the details for every author or would-be author to read. Ryan has a keen sense of what it takes to create an excellent book and each of his sections includes gems of information for the writer.

While many writers believe their key failure is in the marketing areas, Ryan writes in the opening pages, “Promotion is not how things are made great—only how they are heard about. Which is why this book will not start with marketing, but with the mindset and effort that must go into the creative process—the most important part of creating a perennial seller.” (Page 19)

Also for those writers who believe they can quickly crank out such a book, Ryan cautions, “Creating something that lives—that can change the world and continue doing so for decades—requires not just a reverence for the craft and a respect for the medium, but real patience for the process itself. (Page 29-30)

No matter who you are working with to get the book out there, Ryan is realistic in Perennial Seller encouraging the writer to take their own responsibility rather than feel like they can delegate it to someone else. In the section on positioning, he writes a section called “You’re the CEO” saying, “If the first step in the process is coming to terms with the fact that no one is coming to save you—there’s no one to take this thing off your hands and champion it the rest of the way home—then the second is realizing that the person who is going to need to step up is you.” (Page 67)

Wherever you are in the publishing process, you will gain insights reading  Perennial Seller. I found the book engaging and valuable—in fact, maybe a book that I will read multiple times (unusual for me). I highly recommend this title.

Whether you read Perennial Seller or not, I recommend you get the free gift from the back of this book. You subscribe and confirm to be on Holiday's email list, then you get a series of case studies which were not included in the book—yet from experienced publishing people.

Are you writing or dreaming of writing a perennial seller? What steps are you taking as a writer to make that happen? Let me know in the comments below. 

Tweetable:

Are You Writing A Perennial Seller? Check out this article to  Make Your Book a Perennial Seller.  (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page
.  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. On October 5th, his classic Book Proposals That $ell will be released. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Strategic Creative Writing Tips

 


by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Consistent writing hones our skills and expands our experience—the key to writing success.

Creative writing is beneficial to all writers.
•    Enhances imagination and creativity
•    Shapes thoughts to logically create the plot
•    Growth of confidence
•    Clarity and skillful communication
•    Creates a change of pace and stimulates fresh ideas

The best suggestion is using creative exercises to foster imaginative stories & ideas that relate to people.
•    Include dialogue between characters to express relationships.
•    Give attention to Point of View.
•    Similes build images by comparisons.
•    Use a short narrative anecdote to develop your characters.
•    Ask yourself “What If” questions.
Just get into the flow and write! Later—review, revise, and polish.

Story starters can help us get going. Check the internet for: 1) Creative Writing Now/story ideas and 2) Writing Forward  https://www.writingforward.com/writing-prompts .

Read well to write well. Sample a new author’s work, go beyond blogs and social media to classical literature—there’s a wealth of written works to learn from and enjoy. Some things that standout to me include: plot and story structure, the flow of narrative and dialogue, and character development.

Our discussion of Commonplace Books (post #1 & #2) could be very useful.
In the first post, I mentioned—the essential commonplace book (or journal notebook) is your personal place for useful and informative content.  Post #2: https://www.writersonthemove.com/search?q=Commonplace+books  

It’s your idea book—uniquely yours, a central storehouse of knowledge. It is a helpful resource to gather your notes of wisdom, impressive sayings, and practical applications. As you read, capture an idea by making notes, scribbles, or comments. Let your commonplace book become your treasure store of ideas and wisdom. Organize it as you wish: diagonal snippets, vertical standout points, doodles and diagrams.

Nurture creativity. Devote time to this grand adventure. Here are a few ways to foster creative writing skills:
1.    Spark it with art projects or art field trips,
2.    Schedule writing appointments with yourself,
3.    Use writing text prompts or magazine images,
4.    Listen to music, write the story that comes to mind

Understand & Strengthen Your Personal Creative Process


Helpful Books & Links:
What is Creative Writing?
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2021/07/what-is-creative-writing.html  

Ready, Set, Write: a Guide to Creative Writing by Melissa Donovan

Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres

Telling True Stories: Nonfiction Writer’s Guide–Multiple Contributors, Edited by M.Kramer & W.Call
Telling-True-Stories-Nonfiction-Foundation
 

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 My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
"Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love"


 

 

 


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


 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Writing Residencies - Apply, Apply, Apply

By Mindy Lawrence

A writer I know decided to stick her neck out and apply for an international writing residency. Guess what? She was accepted! She got to go to Iceland and participate in a program for memoir and nonfiction writers. She’s getting to go for one reason—she applied.

It’s important to grow. We do that by pushing past what we think we CAN do and exploring the murky ground of the unknown. When we succeed, it gives us the motivation we need to investigate our abilities even deeper.  You might want to investigate some of the residencies mentioned in the links below and see if you are interested. By all means, look at them and apply, apply, apply.

LINKS

·         Nine Unconventional Writers’ Residencies: https://electricliterature.com/nine-unconventional-writers-residencies/

·         Conferences and Residencies Database: https://www.pw.org/conferences_and_residencies

·         Artist Communities Residencies: http://www.artistcommunities.org/residencies/directory

·         12 Offbeat Writer Residency Programs: https://mediablog.prnewswire.com/2016/10/06/offbeat-writer-residency-programs/

·         Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow: https://www.writerscolony.org/

=

 Original first published in Sharing with Writers.

Mindy Lawrence is a writer and artist based in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the State of Missouri for over 24 years and has retired to her sumptuous home office where she’s writing and doing calligraphy. She proofed and wrote a column for Sharing with Writers newsletter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson for ten years. 


Monday, August 9, 2021

Get Moving: 5 Fitness Goals for Writers


A lot of people see fitness - working out - as a necessary evil. That first part is correct.

Fitness relates to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. But, let's face it, working out, has a positive impact on all three. 

The truth is, personal and professional goals are forever intertwined, Feel good and you are more productive at work. When work goes well, typically so does your personal life.

As writers, our default mode is sitting at the computer. But it doesn't have to be.

Having trouble committing time and energy to a regular workout?

Here are 5 fitness goals for writers:


1. Explore Workout Videos. Like with any business service, you will connect better with some trainers than others, There are a plethora of workouts from which to choose on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Start searching.

2. Find a Workout You Enjoy. Test out different types of exercise until you find one that fits you. If you enjoy your workout, you are more likely to do it. 

3. Start Small. A 10-minute workout still counts as a win. Don't go overboard with new workout goals ... you may burn out, over-do things, and/or potentially hurt yourself.  Instread, start small, pace yourself, and build up to longer workouts.

4. Join a Community. There are plenty of fitness groups for sharing and reporting on workout goals. You can also share your goals and wins in my Write On Online Facebook Group or on my weekly #GoalChat Twitter chat.

5. Track Your Progress. Keep a log of your workouts, including what you did, when, and for how long. Seeing your progress with help motivate you to keep going! 

Bonus: Set rewards for accomplishing your fitness goals. You worked hard on working out. You deserve it! 

Committing to fitness - much like your commitment to writing - is a gift to yourself. So, choose yourself.

And, remember, you can do it!

* * *

For more on Fitness, watch this week's GoalChatLive:  

What are your fitness goals? Please share in the comments.

* * *

Need some extra help setting and achieving your goals? Please reach out!

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A writer, editor, and project catalyst, Deb works with entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives 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 and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Essentials for Managing a Writing Career

 


When I was on a panel at PALA (the Publisher Association of Los Angeles (an associate of Independent Book Publishers Association or IBPA), I was asked to give them the five most important tips to an independent writing career and this is an abbreviated rundown of what I told them:

1.    One of the most deleterious ideas—the one that has the most disastrous effect on the welfare of an author’s book—is that marketing is selling. Especially selling people something whether or not they want it (or can use it).This incorrect idea of what marketing is at its roots is unethical, destructive to creativity, and absolutely false. It is what marketing is not. Here’s what marketing is:

a.    It is having a passion for one’s own book, a passion coupled with a strong belief that it will help others—either a certain group of others or everyone. That it it is an authentic belief that the book will make their lives better. Help them. Entertain them.

b.    Marketing is the process of learning who those people are and showing them why it is right for them and helping them access it in the most convenient way for their needs.

c.    It is about caring and making it evident that this caring is  apparent through the campaigns and promotions the author does. Authors will be forgiven for that awful term selling if the reader can see—and feel—the caring. Both in the book and in the marketing campaign itself.

2.    Here’s my most inspirational tip:. You can now be in charge of your own writing career. That means you get to make your own decisions. Fortunately that also means you have the never-ending uphill learning curve to climb and I believe it’s fortunate because you will never get bored.

3.    There are no blanket rules—no undeniable, unforgiving, steel-clad rules in writing or publishing. But you must know the rules anyway. If you don’t,  and you put out a less than professional product (and it is apparent there is no good reason for having broken those rules), you have done yourself and all the other independent authors a disservice.

4.    Learn, learn, learn. One of the best ways to do that is to use the benefits offered by respected writers organizations. Use them to learn more but also use the benefits they offer to help you market. Both their paid services and the ones that come free with membership. Example: One that works well is renting one of their lists for a direct marketing campaign.
 
5.    Learn to fight what is left of Book Bigotry or Entrenched Publishing Rules without spending time trying to change others’ minds. People only change their minds when they’re in enough pain. Be confident in knowing that entrenched (read that traditional) marketing ideas aren’t the best way to sell books anyway. The best way to use your marketing budget and time is to find the ways you can reach the most people in the least time (and where you can make the greatest net profit)—and that isn’t by selling through bookstores. . .or in airports.

6.    Tips: Read, read, read, but read cautiously. Everyone on the Web isn’t an expert. Find experts with newsletters written by experts who will keep you up to date.
Examples: Amazon sends information about their new promotion opportunities to those who are already published. To get that information, you have to read their e-mails.  And read newsletters. My favorites are:

                           I.        Dan Poynter’s
                         II.        Hope C. Clark’s (Funds for Writers)
                       III.        Joan Stewart’s (The Publicity Hound)
                        IV.        My SharingwithWriters
                                    (Subscribe at http://howtodoitfrgally.com/newsletter_&_blog.htm)
                          V.       And for speakers (one of the best ways to market), Tom Antion's letter for speakers

7.    Join organizations:
I love Independent Book Publishers Associations (IBPA), of course, but there are lots more targeted associations like memoir writers, journalists, the Military Writers Society of America, PEN. Remember they only work as well as you work them.

8.    Join listserves, sometimes called social network groups or forums. IBPA has a great one. Author U is one founded by Judith Briles. Here’s a tip: Learn which contributors are experienced and which aren’t before you take advice to heart.

Article reprint from 2015
-----

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for more than a decade. Her marketing plan for the second book in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success won the Next Generation Millennium Award for Marketing.
The just-released third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, published by Modern History Press, is New! Expanded! Updated!
Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction books have been honored by the likes of Writer’s Digest, USA Book News Award, the Irwin award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards and more. Learn more about Carolyn and her books of fiction and poetry. Each of them helped her learn more about maximizing marketing efforts for different writers, different titles. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com and Carolyn-Howard-Johnson: Amazon Page.




Sunday, August 1, 2021

Positive Thinking and the Writer


 

 "Positive thinkers see the invisible, feel the intangible, and achieve the impossible."
~ Sean McCabe


When I was looking for a house a couple of years ago, I saw this quote by Sean McCabe, and it amazed me how accurate it is.

As my husband and I were looking, my husband saw all the things wrong with each house. It had wall paper; it needed a complete renovation; it needed a kitchen; the basement needed to be finished; the rooms weren’t right. The lot was too big. It was a corner property. The list went on and on.

I saw all the things right with each house. I saw how it could be. I had the ability to look beyond what was actually there (see the invisible and feel the intangible) and see what could be.

It made me think about writing. Most writers understand that writing can be a tough business. There are lots of rejections and lots of ups and downs. To survive in this business, you need to keep a positive mindset. You need to persevere. You need to see beyond the slumps. You need to keep moving forward and achieve what may seem impossible.

This also goes for those who want to be an author but have no clue how to go about doing it. Seeing things through a positive mindset allows you to figure out what to do, whether it means hiring a ghostwriter or taking the steps necessary to learn to write yourself.

But it goes beyond writing. As with everything in life, there will be obstacles in your path. Sometimes those obstacles may seem insurmountable. The key is to not let them stop you. Keep moving forward. You might even envision yourself happily beyond the problem or obstacle.

So, whether it’s with your writing life or life itself, be a positive thinker. See the invisible and the intangible, and achieve the impossible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting, rewriting, and coaching 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.


And, check out Karen's The Adventures of Planetman picture book series and her other books at:.
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/


MORE ON WRITING

Find Mentors for Your Writing

Use the Whole Alphabet to Name Your Characters 


One Way to Build Your Freelance Writing Career


WOULD LOVE IT IF YOU SHARE THIS POST!


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

How to Write Vivid Scenes, Part I, by Chris Eboch

Prolific children's and adult author, 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", and in my June 2020 post, “Felany Melanie: Prequel to the movie Sweet Home Alabama.

During the next three months, Chris will be sharing her expertise on “How to Write Vivid Scenes,” information that has helped me personally with my craft.  

How to Write a Vivid Scene

In fiction writing, a scene is a single incident or event. However, a summary of the event is not a scene. Scenes are written out in detail, shown, not told, so we see, hear, and feel the action. They often have dialog, thoughts, feelings, and sensory description, as well as action. 

A scene ends when that sequence of events is over. A story or novel is, almost always, built of multiple linked scenes. Usually the next scene jumps to a new time or place, and it may change the viewpoint character. 

Think in terms of a play: The curtain rises on people in a specific situation. The action unfolds as characters move and speak. The curtain falls, usually at a dramatic moment. Repeat as necessary until you’ve told the whole story.

So how do you write a scene?

  • Place a character — usually your main character — in the scene. 
  • Give that character a problem.
  • Add other characters to the scene as needed to create drama.
  • Start when the action starts — don’t warm up on the reader’s time.
  • What does your main character think, say, and do?
  • What do the other characters do or say?
  • How does your main character react?
  • What happens next? Repeat the sequence of actions and reactions, escalating tension.
  • Build to a dramatic climax.
  • End the scene, ideally with conflict remaining. 

Scene Endings

Scene endings may or may not coincide with chapter endings. Some authors like to use cliffhanger chapter endings in the middle of a scene and finish the scene at the start of the next chapter. They then use written transitions (later that night, a few days later, when he had finished, etc.) or an extra blank line to indicate a break between scenes within a chapter.

Give the reader some sense of what might happen next — the character’s next goal or challenge — to drive the plot forward toward the next scene. Don’t ramble on after the dramatic ending, and don’t end in the middle of nothing happening.

A Scene Can Do Several Things

  • Advance the plot.
  • Advance subplots.
  • Reveal characters (their personalities and/or their motives).
  • Set the scene.
  • Share important information.
  • Explore the theme.

Ideally, a scene will do multiple things. It may not be able to do everything listed above, but it should do two or three of those things, if possible. It should always, always, advance the plot. Try to avoid having any scene that only reveals character, sets the scene, or explores the theme, unless it’s a very short scene, less than a page. Find a way to do those things while also advancing the plot. 

A scene often includes a range of emotions as a character works towards a goal, suffers setbacks, and ultimately succeeds or fails. But some scenes may have one mood predominate. In that case, try to follow with a scene that has a different mood. Follow an action scene with a romantic interlude, a happy scene with a sad or frightening one, a tense scene with a more relaxed one to give the reader a break. 

Don’t rush through a scene — use more description in scenes with the most drama, to increase tension by making the reader wait a bit to find out what happens. Important and dramatic events should be written out in detail, but occasionally you may want to briefly summarize in order to move the story forward. For example, if we already know what happened, we don’t need to hear one character telling another what happened. Avoid that repetition by simply telling us that character A explained the situation to character B. 

Avoid scenes that repeat previous scenes, showing another example of the same action or information. Your readers are smart enough to get things without being hit over the head with multiple examples. If you show one scene of a drunk threatening his wife, and you do it well, we’ll get it. We don’t need to see five examples of the same thing. Focus on writing one fantastic scene and trust your reader to understand the characters and their relationship. For every scene, ask: Is this vital for my plot or characters? How does it advance plot and reveal character? If I cut the scene, would I lose anything?

Next month: How to Write Vivid Scenes: Connecting Scenes, by Chris Eboch

Visit Chris at: www.chriseboch.comhttps://www.krisbock.com/; and her Amazon page:  https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Eboch/e/B001JS25VE/ .


Tall Boots by Linda Wilson,
illustrated by 1000
Storybooks, will be
available on Amazon
next month
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher, has published over 150 articles for children and adults, several short stories for children, and her first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, which is available on Amazon. Publishing credits include biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; PocketsHopscotch; and an article accepted by Highlights for ChildrenSecret in the Mist, the second in the Abi Wunder series, is coming soon. Follow Linda on 
https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

Free Coffee Chat with Pinterest Specialist Deb Gonzales

                                                                   Hello, ...