Monthly Archives: June 2013

WRITERS CONFERENCE NEAR HARPERS FERRY, WV IN OCTOBER


http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html

If you live in or travel to Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Delaware, or if you have friends who write living there, please share the news about the upcoming writers conference. A total of twenty authors will share what they know on a broad range of topics. And to make the event really enticing, attendees can meet with a traditional publisher, a small press and a self-publisher’s book service to talk about how to get published.

Space is limited! Reserve your seat today by clicking on the link above.

 

writers conference poster

Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013

8:45 am-5:00 pm

Place: Oakland Church

70 Oakland Terrace Charles Town, WV

Cost: $60 (lunch included)

Panel Discussions on Writing, Publishing, Illustrating, Writing Children’s Books

Sponsored by Acorn Book Services

The From Writers to Published Authors Conference offers writers the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of writing and publishing directly from those who have gone before them. At this first annual event, authors and publishers will gather together to spend the day helping new writers to reach their goal of not only publishing their books, but doing it right.

Attendees have a choice of panel discussions to attend based on where they are in their journey toward authorship. The forty-five minute panel discussions will cover writing tips (getting your books done/research), publishing (social media/cover design).

Currently Scheduled to Appear: Lauren Carr (publisher and mystery author)

Austin Camancho (publisher and mystery/thriller author) Beth Rowland (publisher) Tim Rowland (columnist/author) Cindy McDonald (author) Ed Steers (historian and author) Thomas L. Trumble (author/playwright) Michael T. (children’s author) Joe Santoro (illustrator) Malcolm Ater (young adult/middle school author) Penny Clover Petersen (author of children’s and adult books) H.L. Grandin (author) Mary-Ellen Low (author) Victor Nieves (author) Fay Moore (author) Daniel Claggett (illustrator) Debbie Brenneman (author) George Johnson (author) S.J. Brown (author/photographer) Todd Aune (cover designer) D.B. Corey (author)
This conference also includes two Super Panel discussions which are foremost on most writers and published authors’ minds: The Future of Books and Using Social Media for Book Promotion.

Three publishers are schedule to appear: Lauren Carr of Acorn Book Services, Austin Camacho of Intrigue Publishing, and Beth Rowland of Black Walnut Corner Book Production.

The fee for attendees is $60. Lunch is included. We encourage attendees to not be shy. We encourage writers to feel free to talk to authors and publishers about their projects and ask any questions they may have about completing their books and advice on publishing.
But Wait! There’s More! Intrigue Publishing will have a special presentation during lunch:

Working With a Small Press – A Reality Check.

Writers won’t want to miss this interactive presentation that will answer many questions about the differences between publishers and  how using a small press differs from self-publishing.

*Schedule Panel Topics *Topics may change due to author’s schedules before the conference

Writing

Get ’er Done: Committing to your book to complete it.

Let’s Get Personal: This panel is made up of authors who have successfully put pen to paper to tell their stories.

Research: Get it Right: Even in fiction, nothing can kill a book like having your facts wrong.

Laughing It Up: Writing humor.

Publishing

Judging a Book By Its Cover: Cover Design.

Picture My Book: Working with Illustrators.

Who’s Going to Read It: As much as we like to think everyone will want to read our book, that is just not the case. This panel will discuss determining your readers so that you may focus your book and your marketing toward drawing them in.

How to Sell It: Different from the Social Media Super Panel, this panel discussion will focus on basic marketing techniques that every author should know.

Children’s Books

Kiddie Lit I: Writing for Children. Writing for children is not as easy as it may appear. This panel will discuss the basics to know when it comes to writing a children’s book.

Kiddlie Lit II: Where’s the Line? Is your book appropriate for your age group? Does your middle school book have too much romance? Is it appropriate to have your grade-school-aged protagonist curse? This promises to be a hot discussion.

 

Space is limited for the From Writers to Published Authors Conference. So don’t delay. Sign up today!

Email acornbookservices@gmail.com or phone 304-285-8205 for more information.

 

Advertisements

Writing Changes


For two years, I have been working on a first novel. In April, I took time off from life and hid out far from home and distractions and finished the first draft. Since then I have been editing and getting some professional input. There is, at last, light at the end of the tunnel.

In revising the work, I noticed that my writing/ storytelling abilities improved from the first chapters through what followed. It’s subtle, but there. And it makes me smile.

Smile? Yes.

It means this old dog is learning new tricks after all. It means there’s hope for any writer to make his work better by investing the time and energy to make it so. It means that maybe, just maybe, I will produce a story that entertains, engages, intrigues the reader. It means, maybe, I can sell a book or two.

Smile? Yes.

It means I can writer another book. In my head I am already three-quarters of the way done with the next plot. And the third is percolating there, awaiting its time. And the fourth.

Smile? Yes.

I didn’t know I had it in me to write more than one novel. I’ve learned I do. And I want to.

Good-Bye, Simple Life


When I started this blog about writing my first novel, I had no idea of the complexities of the world of publishing and selling books. I didn’t know that the writing of the book would be the easy part.

There was a time when I read the daily blogs of many, many people, keeping up on details of their lives and projects. I enjoyed the interaction, the making of new friends. We talked about our dreams. We dreamed about telling stories that others would read and enjoy. Together–at our own pace–we put one foot in front of the other and started the Writer’s journey. We encouraged each other.

Man, I loved those times!

Then came knowledge–cover design, marketing strategies, book conferences, interacting with the media, and more. Intermingled with all of this is the grind of the re-write and editing, editing, editing.

Plus, I have work outside of writing. And family and friends who need nurturing. And it’s summer: the grass is growing; the garden needs weeding, the ants taking over my house need murdered; the animals need care and play time.

I have complicated my life–by choice–in so many ways. Even though I have given up commercial farming, there is no spare time in the schedule. In fact, I am busier than I ever was. And I am trying to get the #$%^# novel finished!

Okay. Now that I have bawled like a baby and thrown a tantrum, let me say this–I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one thing. Me. I’d change me to be better organized, less frazzled, less fearful of the unknown, more optimistic about the future. But I wouldn’t change a thing about the craziness of the book world I have embraced.

Simply said, “Good-bye, Simple Life.”

Marketing My Novel, Step 2


I hadn’t anticipated writing about this topic under marketing my novel. On reflection, I think it is where it belongs. It is about making mistakes and learning from them BEFORE the book goes on sale. I said I would share my mistakes, so you can avoid making the same ones. Here goes.

Today I had a discussion with one of my editors. He is a perfectionist, which is why I like him reading my stuff. He kicks my ass when I make mistakes. He makes me a better writer.

The conversation today went something like this:

“I have a couple of thoughts about the manuscript. First, I want to tell you it is difficult to keep track of the story when you send me only a chapter at a time. ”

“The re-write process is taking longer than I anticipated. I feel less guilty if I give you something.”

“Oh, you are re-writing before it gets to me?”

Oh-oh, I think. This sounds ominous.

“Yes, that’s why you aren’t finding a lot of mistakes. You aren’t returning pages to me with many marks. I’ve already edited the chapter during the re-write.”

“Like I said, it’s a long time between chapters, so I am having trouble retaining the story line between edits. I read so much in between your chapters. I want to mention a suggestion to you. I have to think about it in my own writing.  It’s how a writer introduces backstory. The chapter I just read has a lot of backstory. I can’t remember what happened in your earlier chapters.”

More discussion follows on the skill of integrating backstory into the actual plot.

“Yes, I understand what you are saying. I just read an article about Sue Grafton. The article described her mastery of mixing backstory directly into the storytelling. I will make a point to read one of her novels solely to study that technique, so I can improve my skill. I know of a different writer who warns authors who use “data dump” to tell the backstory that they are boring their readers. So I understand what you are telling me; I need to be careful about loads of background weighing down the pace of the story.”

“In my novel, chapter one starts the story. Chapter two goes to backstory. In chapter three, I go right back to the story line.”

“Are you telling me I’ve used too much backstory?”

“I am saying ‘maybe’ because I can’t remember the detail of your earlier chapters. I know this chapter had a lot of backstory.”

There are two lessons here for you and your work.

First, think about how you tell backstory. Don’t bury your reader in it. I’ll have to look at my manuscript, once all the editing is complete, for how I have handled the history of the characters. I may have to re-order chapters to avoid too much in one night’s reading. My nightmare would be having to re-write the story to fix the problem.

Second, give your editor the entire manuscript–or at least a big chunk of it–at once, not a chapter at a time as I did. It handicaps the person who is trying to help you improve your work. My editor reads so much other material between my chapters that he can’t recall the flow or detail of my work. He’s limited to remarking on each chapter as a stand-alone piece.

I was planning to finish another chapter this weekend to hand over to the editor. I will hold it now until I have several chapters ready to be edited. At least that way he will be better able to critique the flow of my story, whether I have loose ends dangling, and the like. The upside to handing over the whole thing is I get a better editorial commentary on the novel. The downside is there may be many more editorial notes about corrections I need to make.

But, wait, that’s an upside, too.

Future or Fiction


The story opens. A man sits in a lavishly furnished home office.

He is obsessing again. Outside his window, Fall is throwing dying leaves to the ground. Dust to dust. The scene is an in-his-face reminder of his own mortality, a mortality he will shed tomorrow in exchange for immortality. Tomorrow he will join the others. He will no longer be human. He will become nonbiological.

If futurist Ray Kursweil is correct, the man’s choice, described above, is our future. Lest you think becoming Borg is fiction limited to Star Trek episodes, know this. There are those who believe that this morphing of man into machine is the factual future. Influential people support Kursweil’s vision.

Ray Kuzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations—transforming our lives in ways we can’t yet imagine.”

–Bill Gates

Does this prompt your inner storyteller? If a choice such as this were a reality, what would the future look like? What would your family look like? Your relationships? Your work? Your home and world? Who would have this option open to him or her?

Would the earth’s environment have to change to accommodate your new nonbiological form? Is the moist air corrosive and, therefore threatening, to you? Which is more vital to your survival: water or oil? Would a population of biological entities have to be maintained? If so, for what purpose?

Happy imagining.

 

Writing About Covert Operations


When writing spy thrillers, or other stories about covert operations, one should be factual. This isn’t difficult for the author who has served in the military special forces or other intelligence agencies. Experience teaches these authors how things work in the real world of covert operations.

I stumbled upon an abbreviated video from the website of Catherine Austin Fitts, who worked in government under President George H. W. Bush. The speaker on the video is discussing the pattern of a covert operation. Who are the players? What role do they serve?

If you want to write in the spy thriller genre, and do not have a background that gives you an insider’s perspective, then listen to this video. It’s educational. And short!

http://solari.com/blog/a-taste-of-the-solari-report/

Marketing My Novel, Step 1


While I am going through the editing and re-write process, which is far lengthier than I anticipated, I have developed a marketing plan for my novel. Remember, as a self-published author, I wear two hats: writer and businesswoman.

My marketing plan–which is a work in progress–is designed to give readers a taste of my writing style before the release of my novel. How so?

I authored an 8000+ word suspenseful short story named “Strange” which I am releasing soon on Amazon.com. The cover art has been commissioned.  When released, the story will sell for 99 cents.

Hopefully, readers will sample my story and decide that  they would like to read Moore (pun fully intended) writing from me. The next step is to release the novel–shortly after releasing the short story–before those who enjoyed “Strange” forget about me.

I may have made a mistake in this by-the-seat-of-my-pants marketing plan. I want to share my mistakes with you, so you can learn from them and avoid them in your own marketing.

My short story “Strange” involves death, but not murder. It is suspenseful, but in a different way than my murder mystery novel.  The characters in the short story are nothing like the characters in the novel.

In hindsight, I think I should have written a murder mystery short story using a main character from my murder mystery novel. That would not only introduce the reader to my writing style in the up-coming novel, but would have hooked them into getting to know one of the characters.

Hmmm. If I am a smart cookie, I will do that anyway. I will write another short story to introduce a main character from the novel–maybe two short stories, each focusing on a different character–and e-publish them to whet the taste of readers for the novel.  That way, if a reader likes the short story and the character, the reader can buy the novel.

I like that plan. Now, where am I going to get the time to do it? That’s a post for another day.