Monthly Archives: September 2013

Guest Post from Jim Denney, Take Two


At Fay Moore: I Want To Be a Writer, we are fortunate to have published authors share insight into how to move forward as writers. Today Jim Denney, author of Writing in Overdrive, has been kind enough to offer some advice in his second appearance here on the blog.

Denney book cover Writing in Overdrive

Write Every Day

By Jim Denney, author of Writing in Overdrive

“The only thing you need to know about writing is that you must do it. The rest is just showing up.”

—Jeff Goins

I love to write. I begin writing every day, almost as soon as I tumble out of bed. Writing is not merely my daily habit, it’s something I can’t wait to begin.

But I haven’t always been this way. When I was in my twenties, writing was a chore. I wanted to write, but I resisted and procrastinated and made excuses for not writing. It wasn’t until I turned thirty that I began building a daily habit of writing. Today, I can’t imagine going all day without writing. It’s actually more difficult for me not to write than to write.

If you struggle with resistance and procrastination, if you want to write but find it hard to drag yourself to the keyboard, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. And I want you to know you can learn to love writing and make it your daily habit. But before writing becomes your love, it has to become your discipline.

Begin by viewing writing as your profession—even if you have a non-writing day job. Stop calling yourself an “aspiring writer” or a “wannabe writer” or a “weekend writer.” Tell yourself, “I’m a writer,” period. Once you accept the fact that you are a professional, you will begin to treat writing as a profession, not a hobby.

Now that writing is your profession, recognize that you are your own employer, your own boss. And part of your job as your own boss is to get yourself to work every day. No one else will do it for you. You have to set regular, working hours for yourself, and you have to show up for work on time every day. As the boss, you must be ruthless with yourself about keeping your writing time inviolate.

As John Steinbeck wrote in his journal while writing The Grapes of Wrath, “In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. … I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not.”

When building a habit, it helps to write at the same time and place every day. Your unconscious mind learns to associate that time, that place, with the creative process. Whether you write a desktop computer in your office, on a laptop computer in your secluded garden, or in longhand in a notebook at a café, build a daily habit.

You may say, “I’m so busy with my job and my kids that I only have fifteen minutes a day to write. What can anyone accomplish in fifteen minutes a day?” Well, if you write every day without fail for fifteen minutes a day, you can accomplish quite a lot.

Fifteen minutes a day adds up to 91.25 hours per year, or the equivalent of more than two forty-hour work weeks. That’s a lot of writing time. And by writing every day, even for just a quarter hour, you will boost your creativity enormously. You’ll remain focused on your novel, your story, your characters, and your goals every day. You’ll find you are thinking about your story when you wake up, when you’re in the shower, when you drive to work, when you’re at lunch, when you drive home, and before you go to sleep. That added focus on your story magnifies your productivity and creativity in your fifteen-minute sessions. You may find yourself feeling so inspired that will keep writing for thirty, sixty, ninety minutes or more. And you’ll build some excellent daily writing habits in the process.

Most important, you’ll build a deep love for writing that will carry you through the rest of your life. Build a daily habit of writing—and watch writing become the dream job you love.

_______________________________

Jim Denney has written more than 100 books, including the Timebenders science fantasy adventure series for young readers—Battle Before Time, Doorway to Doom, Invasion of the Time Troopers, and Lost in Cydonia. His latest book for writers is Writing in Overdrive: Writer Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly. A veteran of both traditional and indie publishing, Jim is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Follow Jim on Twitter at @WriterJimDenney. He blogs at http://unearthlyfiction.wordpress.com/.

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What Happens at a Writing Conference?


Why attend a writers’ conference?

  1. You will learn more than you thought possible about the publishing community.
  2. You will learn how to improve your writing.
  3. You will learn what is new in the industry.
  4. You will learn how to sell books.
  5. You will meet interesting people.

It is that last item that I want to emphasize. I met world class authors and could ask them questions directly about the field, about their experiences, both good and bad, and about what advice they could offer to me as a new author.

Moreover, I made professional contacts, leading to my being interviewed on video and on audio recording for a podcast, allowing me to promote my book to a new audience.

Finally, I made new friends who sent me the lovely messages below:

Fay,

 It was great meeting you at the C3 Conference. Thanks for doing the podcast. I’ll let you know when it’s up and send you the link.

 Larry Matthews Author of The Dave Haggard Thrillers http://www.larrymatthews.net

Was soooo thrilled to meet you in person Fay–you are such a lovely person! XXXOOO

Cindy McDonald

@MooreFay, you are such a delight, and I can’t wait to read your novel. Thanks for coming and enjoy the kindle.

Author Sandra Webster @BSwanginWebster

(Oh, yes! And I won a Kindle Fire at the Crime, Creatures & Creativity conference!  So surprising things can happen, too!)

Anyway, for these reasons and more, I urge you to sign up for the October 5th From Writer to Published Author conference in Harpers Ferry, WV (a suburb of Washington, DC). The closing day to register is just a few days away—September 22. The link to register is below.

http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html

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 BooksSponsored 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 Camacho (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) B.Swangin Webster (author) 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 a big press, and also how 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!

Introducing Larry Matthews


Larry Matthews is a broadcast journalist turned book author. I met Larry at the Crime, Creatures & Creativity Conference in Hunt Valley, MD this past weekend.

He has several books out. Reviewers say:

“Author Larry Matthews has a knack for creating believable, realistic characters in very unusual circumstances.”

–blogcritics.org

His books are available on his website; the link is provided below.

One of the special features on Larry’s site is a selection of podcast interviews Larry has done with a number of authors. For the beginning writer, the podcasts offer a window into the mind of men and women who create books. Larry’s years in broadcasting with media giants like National Public Radio have honed his interviewing skills. Listening to the podcasts, you will feel as though you are sitting at the table with Larry and his guest, sharing an intimate conversation about the process of writing.

For access to the podcasts and to learn more about Larry Mathews and his books–including the David Haggard thrillers–please click here: http://larrymatthews.net/

Breaking It Into Manageable Steps


My daughter is a sweetheart. She sent me a very helpful article from www.daringtodeliverfully.com. I am feeling overwhelmed and uncertain as I am finalizing the book for publication and starting the marketing process.

The article, called “What a Masked Vigilante Can Teach You about Goal Achievement–The Zorro Circle,”  by Marelisa offers concrete steps to take in the midst of mental chaos to restore order and purposeful action.

The basic idea of “The Zorro Circle” is to set a large goal and then select a small area of that goal to conquer. Once you’ve conquered that small area, you expand the circle. As you conquer each successive “Zorro Circle”, you get closer and closer to achieving your goal. Here are the five basic ideas behind “The Zorro Circle”:

  • Research shows that when we feel that we’re in control of a situation, we’re happier and able to perform at a higher level.

  • When a task is very large, we lose the feeling of control and influence, we feel overwhelmed, our brains are hijacked by fear and stress, and our abilities plummet.

  • You take control of the situation by starting with small, manageable steps.

  • Once you’ve mastered one small area, you expand that mastery outward.

  • Keep expanding outward until you’ve achieved your goal.

This morning I applied the principles of “The Zorro Circle” to work on a marketing blurb for the book to be used at the Creatures, Crime & Creativity Conference this weekend. I am a panelist at the conference, and will be introducing my book.

All of this is new to me, and the novelty (combined with my own inexperience) paralyzed my thought processes. My daughter came to my rescue.

Consequently, I focused on writing the blurb that will go on the promo materials I am handing out at the conference and nothing else. I finished two versions and sent them out to my beta readers for feedback.

Later this morning, I will create and print the advertising pieces. It’s nice to be back on track.

New Author Education from Lauren Carr


Lauren Carr, top-selling mystery author, has a new book in the works: Authors in Bathrobes. It is a down-to-earth tutorial for the new author. It will be  available before Christmas on Amazon.

I want to share an excerpt from her book that describes where I am in the publishing process. It is an educational eye-opener for the new author who has a publication-ready manuscript and wants to know what comes next.

ARC: Advanced Review Copy

When you traditionally publish, approximately three to four months before a book is released, the publisher will send out advanced copies of books to publications, reviewers, or even celebrities. Authors will sometimes offer ARC’s as giveaways or prizes for fans.

The purpose of this advanced release of the book is two-fold:

The reviewers are able to read the book and provide reviews, which will come out at the same time as the release. This is how big-named books by major authors have hundreds of reviews posted, sometimes even before the book is released. Big publishers will send out hundreds (sometimes thousands) of ARC’s, also called Uncorrected Proofs, to get the publicity ball rolling. The reviewers know that they are reading a proof, so they are forgiving of typos and errors.

Meanwhile, the author is reviewing the book for any last-minute errors he or she may catch.

Because I am a new author and do not have a staff of editors to do the work of editing for me, I am s-l-o-w about getting my changes made. I grossly underestimated the time it would take to proof and correct my book manuscript.

Lauren’s book will help you avoid lots of mistakes that beginners make. Watch for it. It is coming soon!

 

Hair Flying Over Hagerstown


This weekend is my time to read the critiques of the Beta readers.  If you hear weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth or if you see hair flying over the rooftops of Hagerstown, you will know that I have become a mad woman as I try to figure out how to get the last re-write done in time for publication this month. A September release may not be possible. Yet, I will give it my best effort.

Good thing I got that head shot taken before I pulled all my hair out. Not to mention the dark circles under my eyes from pulling all-nighters trying to meet deadlines. I don’t bounce back like I used to. It may take me a month to look human again.

I better make sure someone is doing a buddy check on me to make sure I haven’t passed out from dehydration or sleep deprivation. Face flat on the floor, tongue hanging out,  random wisps of mad-scientist hair still clinging to my now-bald pate–isn’t that a scary sight?? Yeah, I’m glad I got that photo taken!