Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Ghostwrite Without Going Crazy

Ghostwriting is a bit like co-authoring, but usually the client sitting across from you has great ideas without the writing skills to match--at least not yet.

Because I've done a bit of ghostwriting myself, allow me to share some of the do's and dont's I've learned:

Photo by: striatic, courtesy of Flickr
  1. Start out with as much of an outline as you can put together. Discuss title, characters, theme, plot and so on. Get as much direction on paper as possible before you start. That doesn't mean things will change; they usually do, but the focus will help you in the following weeks as the chapters begin to materialize.
  2. Write in small chunks. One week discuss a particular chapter. Give yourself, as the ghostwriter, almost two weeks to write it. E-mail the client a few days before the two week mark meeting so he/she can go over the chapter.
  3. Every two weeks go over the chapter you've written during your meeting, and discuss the upcoming chapter. You shouldn't have to read aloud much of the manuscript you've just written, just go over the areas where the client has problems and fix them.
  4. Photo by: Nic's events, courtesy of Flickr
  5. Count on some areas of your writing needing to be re-written. Even after discussing the scenes to be developed in the chapter, your client may find that he/she doesn't like what you've come up with. Make sure that he/she knows early on that this might happen, but you will do all in your power to keep things going in the direction they've called for. You should charge for the discounted sections so make sure you are spot on as much as possible.
  6. Give suggestions for improvement of the manuscript, but listen closely to what the client wants. They should be the last word, even if you're the first.
  7. When you finish the first draft, allow the client to make small last minute suggestions or corrections. This doesn't mean taking out entire chapters and replacing them; what it does mean is searching for those typos and that oddly constructed sentence that no one noticed before.
  8. Suggest to your client that he/she get additional feedback. I tell my clients that 5 readers are best. Have your client return one final time to make changes.
As a ghostwriter, you will have moments when you may forget that this isn't your book. You'll want to take the reader down an entirely different path, you and your client may disagree on the names of the characters or the setting involved. Just remember, after you've given your feedback, it's the client's job to tell you what he/she would like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finding Your Voice

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, once said:

"Find your voice and then inspire others to find their voice."

Photo by Danny Getz, courtesy of Flickr

Finding your voice takes more than checking underneath rocks or clam shells (check out my blog post from yesterday if you haven't already). Finding your voice takes work. In my  eyes, work comes in the following ways:


When I research for a book I am gleaning information that I may or may not use in my book; I usually gather more than I need. Can a person find their voice in research? I believe so. What they choose to research, and the direction their book takes them, tells an author much about what he/she should be writing about.

Writing is the best way I know of to find your voice. It takes writing and writing and writing before an author escapes the C.S. Lewis phraseology, or the long-winded, 'these words I looked up in my thesaurus so that I'd sound smarter' mentality.

Reading helps with voice, too. Consider when you've read something that really made a difference. Perhaps the phrase was written to tickle your funny bone or you begin to appreciate something small like nose hair or belly button lint.

Reading does wonders for your imagination that in turn helps you to develop your voice.

Photo by: emily.laurel504, courtesy of Flickr
Discovering comes in taking that class or attending that writer's conference. Here, you take in a lot, and for days after the conference you are sorting through notes and ideas that you want to incorporate into your work; a part of your voice.

Finding your voice doesn't happen overnight, and obviously it doesn't happen when looking under a rock, but your voice will come (and that's a promise) if you give it sunlight and plenty of feeding and experience.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Does a Clamshell Have to Do with Marketing Your Book?

Recently, at a writer's conference, I learned a little about clamshells.

No, I'm not going to speak about clams found on an ocean floor or even gathered on a sandy beach, these clamshells have to do with selling your book(s).  

Photo by: Pretty/Ugly Design

When you put together a clamshell for book sales* you're looking at a case that holds your book, an article, some testimonials about your book, a CD, etc. When I put together my first clamshell it was on the cheaper end (and not really a clamshell); I bought a paper folder and arranged everything in that. And the results looked okay, but more like something I used to assemble in high school for a report.

A step up from the paper folder was the a slick plastic folder; again, I had to step up the cost, but the items looked that much nicer. In both cases, however, the book fit in awkwardly, though I was able to place a first chapter in the folder nicely, plus every other item I've mentioned.

*A folder with the above information works nicely for a media kit. Media kits are usually presented to radio and television stations, magazines and newspapers where you'd like a write up, etc.

Hard bound binder with plenty of pockets and plastic inserts, can be used. Get a folder that has a place to slide in a picture of your cover. Folders like these can be found at office supply stores. Purchase CD clamshells for your CD(s) and make sure everything is handled as professionally as possible.

Photo by: puuikibeachm courtesy of Flickr
Your next best bet to selling your product in bulk may be shrink wrapping. Many copy centers provide this service, though your marketing contents will be stacked one on top of each other and not as nicely displayed. If you choose this option, your marketing materials will need to be smaller than your book. You could put a CD on top of the book and maybe a business card, but you'll probably not want to add anything larger than your book that you'll need to fold to fit unless you are backing the stack with larger sized cardboard. Purchase CD Clamshells for your CD(s).

A plastic clamshell to hold your material is a bit more pricey than a standard, plastic or high end folder, and even shrink wrapping, but if you are going the way of presentations and speaking engagements you just might want to invest in the upgrade. Plastic clamshell cases can be purchased online but they are difficult to find for books. I found plenty of CD clamshell cases, and clamshell cases for take out food, but not near enough options for authors interested in the clamshell option for their book.

If you decide to put together a clamshell for your product, consider some of the places I am looking at for my future book packaging needs:

BLACKBOURN Check out their online catalog!

When it comes to your presentation, a great package is really the icing on the cake. And you can decide what your books and other information is worth when buying in bulk.

What to put inside:

Your book
Media related items: Book reviews, testimonials, articles, the first chapter of your upcoming book & upcoming speaking events
A CD of you reading your book
A DVD of you reading your book; perhaps a speaking event that was recorded previously
Your business card or postcard
A bookmark or other small promo item

In a clamshell :), I would suggest not using folders as part of your sales. Low-end folders should be used for media purposes only. It's really a good idea to start out right and make your work look as professional as you can from the get-go.

Right now I sell everything I have published singly. Nothing is in a clamshell, placed in a nice binder or shrink wrapped, and I figure single is always better in the beginning until I decide to fork out the dough for something better.


Monday, February 25, 2013

What's In It For Your Readers?

Sometimes, when writing and publishing, we writers tend to get focused inward. Although we have been told to write to a particular audience and to focus on filling the needs of our readers, we may find ourselves looking inward to when and where we're going to make the next buck.
Photo by: Wonderlane, courtesy of Flickr
Unfortunately, when we make book writing all about us; how much money we're going to make, how popular we're going to become, etc., we lose the reasons we may be writing our book in the first place.

Photo by: Takashi(aes256), courtesy of Flickr
Yes, I go there too, but be assured that I don't live there. I prefer to ask myself, "What's in it for my readers?" And then I try to make my book and marketing efforts an answer to that question.
  • I want the words I have written to be the best I can put out there. That means I want to write inspired words; words that create meaning.
  • I want my editing to be sharp. Will my books ever be perfectly edited? No, but they will be edited.
  • I want my cover to appeal to readers who enjoy reading my particular genre.
  • I want my book's price to be fair and manageable.  
  • I want there to be a take away value. A 'so what' factor. If a particular reader finishes my book and says, 'so what?' that's a problem. If they can ask, 'so what?' and then answer that question with, "I learned...." "I experienced..." that's a great thing.
  • I want readers to come back and read other books I've written because they enjoyed the first one they read.
  • I want readers to share my book with others either literally or by word of mouth, so that someone else will have a desire to read my books.
  • I want to continue to see excitement in my reader's eyes when a free gift is given at a book signing or a book purchase.
When I ask myself, "What's in it for you?" instead of "What's in it for me?" I find that everything is taken care of. I share what I have written and others buy a particular book when it is right for them. There is no need to push or shove, just to be there to share.

God takes care of the rest.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Learn to Say No

I heard these words at a recent writer's conference and I've been thinking about them ever since.

  • Ever been writing and someone calls you to go out to lunch?
  • Ever been asked to be on a committee you weren't really interested in being a part of?
  • Ever want to say no when someone asked you to fill in for them at the elementary school?
Photo by: sboneham, courtesy of Flickr
  • Ever find yourself saying yes so that you won't feel guilty?

Photo by: marc falardeau, courtesy of Flickr
When it comes to saying no, a person really needs to know themselves. For example, you might say yes to lunch even though you have a deadline, or say yes as a committee member because your very best friend in the whole wide world asked you for help. You might say yes because you're on the 'list' or you may even say yes because you just plain don't like how you feel when you say no.

It's okay, I'm working on it too.

Phto by: fotogail, courtesy of Flickr
But there's something you should know.

Just because I'm a writer and I work at home doesn't make my job any less 'real' than people who get in the car and drive to their destination. Sure, I have flexibility and that means that sometimes I can choose to go to lunch or say yes to the committee, but it also means I can say no when I'm up against a deadline, whether the deadline is given to me by someone else, or the deadline is one I've put upon myself.

Why is it that some people think that writers:

Don't have a real job?

It's like we stay home all day, write, and eat bonbons and somehow the children get their needs met, the house gets cleaned, the bills get paid, the shopping gets know, the work gets finished while we're typing.

When I keep my commitments to myself as if I'm keeping the commitment to someone else, (something else I learned recently at the writer's conference) some amazing things start happening! I write more, I respect myself more, and I respect others more.

Who would have thought?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Editing Out Loud

If you read my blog yesterday, you'll know that I was struggling midway through my novel, The feast. Something wasn't right, and I had a pretty good idea what it was.

Photo by: *^ ^* Sherry, courtesy of Flickr
Still, I printed out all of the pages I'd written so far, got a black Sharpie and began to edit. I read out loud for almost 2 1/2 hours. (Sure, my voice was a little foggy for awhile, but it was worth it).

Mikelao26, courtesy of Flickr
My favorite to edit.

To find mistakes it's important to read your manuscript out loud. I found typos, weirdly constructed sentences, and yep, that problem with tension. What was I doing, placing the ending scene before it was time? No wonder my book was climbing and then suddenly falling off the cliff.

The mistake occurred on page 45. I took the entire scene out and placed it at the end of the book. Though I realized that the last scene wasn't complete, some ideas came to me that would end the story in a way that felt good to me.

I finally knew something about the last line and I was pretty excited about that.

Still am.

Anyway, I have this hole, so to speak, that needs to be filled before the lovely ending that I got a head-start on. The trauma, the pains and everything that Virginia experiences must be lived and breathed before that moment in time when I can finally write the ending.

It just has to be that way. For the sake of a good story, and for the expectations of my readers.

In a nutshell, FOR YOU.

Happy reading and writing!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Midway Through a Novel

If you're anything like me, you may get midway through a novel and find that you're stuck. Either you feel as if you have nothing more to say (and in that case the main character has solved his/her problem way to soon) or you feel as if the text isn't engaging enough to continue (again, the main character has solved his/her problem too soon).

Photo by: loudestnoise, courtesy of Flickr
I'm going over my manuscript today to see where I got hung up and make adjustments. The last thing I want my reader to do is to give up half way through the manuscript.

Although in my own personal life I like things to be solved "yesterday" or at least "next week," there are things that God wants me to learn, experiences I need to have to get me to the end of my life. And though a book is just a segment of a person's life, it is a segment nevertheless, and the segment needs to be resolved later rather than sooner.

Today I'm going to check over the problems my character has faced up until this point. Maybe she is moving along too splendidly without enough resistance. In other words, perhaps the tension evaporated somewhere in the book.

I'm going to look over Virginia's meetings with God, I'm going to check her level of fear and discouragement, I'm going to see if her problems are constantly climbing or getting worse before I start healing them all.

If I want to get to the end of my book, (and though I want to save her) I'm going to have to allow Virginia to sweat a little longer.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writer's Conference a Spiritual High

If you've ever attended a writer's conference, you'll understand me when I tell you that often, you return home with so much information that your head is bursting. You may even think to yourself, "What do I do first? There is just so much information for me to assimilate, I don't know where to start."

Photo: I'm loving this Authors Summit!  This is a great panel of authors. I'm meeting so many great people!  Shanna Beaman, Paula Fellingham, Shantel McBride and others.
My husband Doug in the center. I'm sitting next to him.

The good news about the Aspiring Author's Summit I was a part of on Saturday was that the ideas were out there, but something else took the cake; I call it the icing.

Photo: This was one of the BEST Events ever, said Almost EVERYONE!!  I wish I would have taken More pictures!!  No peeling me off the ceiling tonight!!
My husband and I are the last two panelists on the left. 
Typically, when I've attended writing conferences the information is plenty but the motivation less so. Though I have been inspired to move forward I haven't been touched. Though the ideas have helped me to improve in my writing, I haven't felt as if what I'm doing extends from a higher place.

In a nutshell, I haven't felt God.

Allow me to share just a few quotes that I recorded on that day:

"Tears of joy and tears of sorrow have different chemistry."

"Changing your thoughts is better than a face lift."

"Eat that frog. Do the hardest thing first."

"Keep commitments to yourself as if you're keeping the commitments to someone else."

"81 percent of people want to write a book--but they don't do it."

"Selling 10,000 books in one week is better than selling 10,000 books in one month."

"Find your voice and then inspire others to find their voice."

"Better done than perfect."

"God has a million ways to reach us, what matters is how we reach back."

"Write about the glory within yourself."

"Be the channel of grace. Plant seeds of hope and healing."

"To sell more books, write more books."

"A co-author in a project needs to have your same heart."

A big hug you to all those who shared and to all of those I met. It was an incredible experience!

To August!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Writing Ideas

Since most of us are going to be in the Valentine swing tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to share some fun writing prompts to get every heart pumping.

When it comes to writing romance, it's a skill every writer needs, yes, even if you're not writing a romance novel. Since romance is a part of most of our lives, don't you think it should be a part of most of our novels?

Photo by: Mike Overall, courtesy of Flickr
So here goes:

Create a Valentine's Day box. Decorate it accordingly today, with slips of paper and ideas written on them that can be drawn out during the day tomorrow. Keep the ideas simple, like write your first paragraph with the word 'love' in it, or write a poem with the word 'red' in it. Interestingly enough, you may not come up with the best Valentine poem, but you will have something, and that's the point. Keep the box and pull it out next year to write even more.

Photo by: Peter Hellberg, courtesy of Flickr
Rather than buying a ready-made Valentine, write a love letter to your significant other. Use the five senses; something cards do, and make your words literally breathe love.

Photo by: Ruth L, courtesy of Flickr
Cook a Valentine's dinner instead of going out. In an envelope place some slips of paper with all of the words you can think of that explain your love for him/her. Share these words during your dinner.

Photo by Daniel Morris, courtesy of Flickr

Go ice skating and pay special attention to the couples. It's amazing what you can come up with when you watch others in their element (or not so much). Many romantic ideas can come from visiting places where couples are likely to frequent on Valentine's Day.

Valentine writing ideas are as available as your imagination. The deeper your imagination, the more ideas will come to you. Hopefully, these ideas will get you started.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday's Need to be Shared

Today is my birthday. I'm 29 again! Isn't it great?

I have already received some beautiful and inspiring birthday messages and I wanted to thank all of you. When it comes to birthdays, the day might be something we look forward to, or something we don't...we are getting older...

But I want you to know that with each birthday I appreciate more what God has given me. I am grateful for my writing talent, for my great friends, for my family and for opportunities given to me almost daily to improve in some area of my life.

Photo by: Bulldog Pottery, courtesy of Flickr
Do I always like change? No, but I am grateful to be changing. What would my life be if I was a stagnant vessel?

flyskyfrp, courtesy of Flickr
And speaking of vessels, there is a reason they are called vessels. Vessels are usually made to hold things. If they are full already, they hold nothing more and the water (if that is what is inside the vessel) gets stagnant if it's not changed regularly.

As a vessel I hope to begin each day begin as an empty vessel eagerly waiting to be filled with good things, challenging things, things that I can grow by.

And I'm happy you are a part of that.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Using Music in Your Writing

Music. I love to listen to it. I love to dance to it. I also like to write to it.

I usually use it when:
  • I'm beginning a new book and have no idea where to start. I choose my music carefully, but it's amazing how the beginning of my books take shape and begin to flow. 
  • I use music when I really want to go deep. Because I struggle with romance scenes I like to use music; it helps to get me in the writing mood.
  • I put on some music when nothing is coming to me; when all I can do is sit there and stare at the blank screen. Music calms my nerves and allows the creative ideas to start flowing.
  • Photo by: Brandon Giesbrecht, courtesy of Flickr
  • I use music when there's a lot of distraction. It might even be good distraction like my grandchildren playing in the next room, or Grover on Sesame Street trying to fly. Music will help me to stay focused on the task at hand.
Remember these?
Photo by: Ferrari+caballos+fuerza=cerebro Humano, courtesy of Flickr
Depending on the music I choose, I can write a scene that a few moments prior just wasn't coming to me. If I'm writing something spiritual, putting on that type of music (usually instrumental) will allow my heart and my head to connect and to write something beautiful. If I'm writing action, especially intense action, I choose another piece of music with lots of noise.

Some of my favorite albums for writing include: Ocean Waves, by Lifescapes, Facing Future, by IZ Israel Kamakawaiwo'ole (good for books that have a tropical setting) and anything by Josh Groban. I also use the free radio stations on the web and plug in a theme for the music I want to have played. Pandora is my favorite.

When it comes to using music for your writing, the most important thing you can do is to choose the music wisely so that the scene's tone is where you want it. Second to that is using music when nothing is coming--a sure fire way to get through that 'writer's block.'

Friday, February 8, 2013

Writing for Your Business

It occurs to me that I probably haven't written a post on this subject, but I think it's important. As a writer (or even as a non-writer) we are daily confronted with opportunities to share our thoughts, whether the thoughts come through:

Photo by: new1mproved, courtesy of Flickr

Social Networking
Article Writing
Novel Writing
Resume Writing
and so on...

One of the worst things on the planet (in my humble opinion) is to send something out to the public or an individual without checking over the document for errors and clarity. Sometimes I get stuff so riddled with errors I struggle to get through it, and if it comes from a business, I immediately delete it or throw it out.

Sure, mistakes are made, (I've made them myself and continue to make them) but the cleaner your copy, the clearer you write, the easier it is for your reader to like and maybe even purchase the service or product you are offering.

They trust you because what they have read is exceptional.

Writing for your business should never be taken lightly. In a nutshell, it is an opportunity to showcase your strengths, to share with the world what makes you great.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Teach a Class

I've said a lot about taking classes in writing, but, let's face it, teaching a class can help increase your writing skills as well as your teaching skills in one fell swoop.

I remember the first time I taught. My hands were shaking and my voice sounded like something surreal. I got choked up several times, and not because my words were, shall we say 'powerful.' I think it's safe to say that it took a few times of teaching a class to calm my nerves but I also think I'm pretty normal. Most of us get scared when we have to teach in front of a crowd.

The important thing is that we are open to teaching. That's why we study up on ways to make the classroom experience more effective, and we are willing to teach even if we aren't paid at first. The most important thing is that we teach, especially if:

Photo by: tribalicious, courtesy of Flickr
  • We have just published a book or have experience in newspaper or magazine writing. Even blog writing can make you a professional, especially if you've been at it for awhile.
  • Are teaching a beginning class as an intermediate writer, or an intermediate or beginning class as an advanced writer. There is so much you can do, even if you don't feel as if you're as expert as a writer who's been at it for 25 years. What have you learned through the process of writing? What have you learned about dialogue, setting, or plot that you can pass on to writers?
  • We want to sell our books at the end of the event. Even when a teaching event doesn't pay, such as a writer's event, you can still get the word out about your books. At the beginning of your class, spend a few moments talking about your writing journey, and make sure you're a part of the book signing event at the conference.
  • Love teens or young children. When my first book, "A River of Stones" came out, I spoke at various schools and libraries. Since the book was for younger readers, my book fit right in, and most places were happy to sell my books after the class or event. I have also taught one hour writing classes in schools, where the children create their own picture book story.
  • Photo by: Bes Z, courtesy of Flickr
  • We enjoy learning from others. There is so much to learn, and a classroom setting gives students an opportunity to share their work and ask questions. In every class I have taught I have learned something valuable for my own writing.
  • We love mentoring. One on one teaching is great, and not just because you avoid the large crowds. Teaching a single student allows you to understand and appreciate what they do. It also allows you to focus in on the student's needs and give them the assistance they specifically need. You can make it your business to mentor students in your home or you can work as a reading or writing aid at a school within your local school district.
Teaching a class may not be an easy prospect, but it is rewarding. Giving yourself some time and learning the ropes, often through just doing it, will not only be an important growth experience for you but for those you teach.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine Ideas for the Romance Writer

Since I don't write romances, this is a bit of a stretch for me, although I'll have you know that even in a Christian fiction or cozy mystery book there can be a bit of romance.

Photo by Adam Bell Photography, courtesy of Flickr
And, need I say it, I have had a bit of romance in the almost 33 years that I have been married.

So here goes:

The best books I've read that have had romance in them (even if they've only included one small kissing scene) do one of three things. They:

1. Keep you Guessing. The entire Valentine scene isn't spelled out. In my mind, the best romance isn't handed out on a silver platter, it takes some imagination to finish out the scene. That means that the reader is finishing out the kissing and what comes after it, not the writer.

2. Are Realistic. Most of the best romance happens on the spur of the moment, not on some long drawn out planned event. Sure, you may take your best girl to Hawaii for Valentine's Day, but it's not the flower petals that really get her, it's the flooding in the hotel that proves her man's devotion to her.

Photo by: Ryan Jarvis Photography, courtesy of Flickr
3. Keep You Wanting More. There is a lead up that first kiss. It isn't always easy and there are many obstacles to overcome before the romance happens. Heck, she may not even like him at first. Beginning the romance before it's time is kind of like taking the relationship to the next level before it's time. And yes, this does happen in real life, so if you decide to make this an issue in your book, be very sure to give your main character some time to heal or learn from the 'too soon' jump.

Valentine's Day, or at least those Valentine moments can be used in every book as long as the reader is kept guessing, feels like the romance is realistic, and the obstacles, including time, keep them wanting more.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Aspiring Author's Summit

Need some assistance with book writing or marketing?

Then you'll not want to miss the Aspiring Author's Summit is today!

Date:  Feb 16, 2013
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Place: Larry H. Miller Campus Auditorium
           9750 South 300 West
           Sandy, Utah  84070
           Cost:  ONLY $24.97 for the entire day!

Photo by: uair01, courtesy of Flickr
From the Eventbrite site:

Join us for this amazing summit where you will learn from Authors, Publishers, Editors, and Promoters! You will learn the "how-to" of writing, getting published, self publishing, and so much more!

In the afternoon you will experience a live question and answer session with a panel of professionals. Following the panel, you will have two hours to personally meet authors, publishers, editors and promoters and ask them the questions you still have unanswered.

This summit is for all ages, including teens, and writers of all genres. A diverse panel of professionals will be present.

This is the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime for aspiring authors!

Don’t miss it!

Sign up by clicking here

I will be a part of the author's panel and am looking forward to meeting and discussing writing and self publishing with you! Come and learn more about Idea Creations Press and how you can get your book out into the world.
Come and have some fun!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Keeping Up With Standard Publishers

Do you ever say to yourself, "I wish I had the time and means to keep my marketing up to snuff with those standard publishers"?

Photo by: 401(K)2013, courtesy of Flickr
If you consider that most writers are writers because they love it and not because they're making a trunk load of money, then you quickly get a sense of how difficult it is for some of us to keep up. With a standard publishing company, you may go on a few book signings or give your publisher some ideas on how to get the word out about your newest book, but you usually don't have to set up your own signings and the company will pretty much let you in on what it will take to sell your book.

Photo by Toby Otter, courtesy of Flickr
If you're self-publishing like I am, these ideas are not handed out on a platter, though you want to stay in the loop without too much trouble. That's why I teach classes on marketing and why I'm also putting together the second issue of Marketing Your Book on a Budget.

We need the help and we need to save as much time and money as possible.

Still, with the Internet continuing to give us FREE opportunities to sell and talk about our work, we really don't have any excuses for not marketing. In fact, most people check online blogs and websites for the books they are going to purchase (if they haven't had a friend tell them about their latest favorite book first) and it's really not necessary for you to worry about your book getting mentioned in a magazine or newspaper.

People, quite honestly, aren't reading many magazines and newspapers, unless they are online!

I tell writers that they can do A LOT to get their work out there without spending a mint, but I'm not sure many of them believe me, until I give them the list. Not every marketing idea is as good as the next, but be assured that being open to new and creative ways to market is the best thing you can do as a modern day writer.

It takes GUTS to get your work out there in the first place, but it takes extra DETERMINATION to have enough faith in it to put it anywhere and everywhere you can.

How else is a potential reader going to see it?

This blog post might sound to you like a rah rah speech and it is!! Get out there and talk to other writers. Get their ideas for marketing. Share yours.

And keep up with those standard publishers!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Writing Tough Subjects

Writing tough subjects may be slightly different for every writer, still, they cause more than some surface reflection.

Photo by: umjanedoan, courtesy  of Flickr
When I put together "A River of Stones," my first novel, I dealt with the subject of divorce and re-marriage, but I focused on the feelings of a child. And because I was a child of divorced parents with a mother and father who re-married there were many feelings that were tender and difficult for me to talk about.

My first published book
The good news about writing a book using your experience is you are able to get the feelings out--sort of a million (hopefully less) free therapy sessions with your computer or pen. Suffice it to say that I got much of my feelings out about divorce through my main character Samantha, still, it wasn't always easy to share these feelings.

I remember writing about the day my father left. My brother and I had just gotten up and my mother sat us down on the couch to talk to us. It felt sort of strange and a bit too formal. Mom usually talked to us in the kitchen as we ate breakfast or played with our toys. I knew something must be wrong before she opened her mouth.

I guess I could have thought something might have been right, but our family was poor, so I knew we weren't going to be traveling to Disneyland.

Anyway, when she told us the news that my father had left us for good and that it was just 'us' now, I remember feeling empty and a little confused. Later, I was angry and felt like I'd caused the separation and later divorce of my parents. It was my fault because if I'd been a better child my parents wouldn't have had a reason to divorce.

Writing tough subjects is important. There would be nothing worse than fluffy books filling the libraries and book stores. Sure, there's a place for them too, but not the entire store!

If you're working on a tough subject today, keep in mind that there is someone out there who needs it. And whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, be assured that those who are going through your book's specific hardship, will more than likely find a pull to pick up your book and read it once it's finished.