Want to learn the ropes of the writing/ publishing business? Want to work from home? Then you need this! Top Selling Mystery author Lauren Carr is going to be teaching all this and more in historic Harpers Ferry, outside Washington, D. C., in March 2015.
Here’s an excerpt from her e-mail!
BIG NEWS: I have just scheduled to conduct a SIX HOUR workshop in
March at the church called: AUTHORS IN BATHROBE. I am still working out the details, but this workshop will break book promotion down into an understandable format for writers. Even if your book is not out yet,
then this will include things that you can do now to get the ball
rolling for sales when you book is released.
Focused completely on using the internet to promote your book and your
writing career, the workshop will include no less than an hour on
Twitter and an hour Facebook. (My own sales drop 10-20 percent on days I don’t tweet!) It will discuss the importance of a website and how to set
one up without breaking your budget. What is a blog? What goes into a
blog post. Virtual book tours. It will even cover the basics of an
author bio and what makes a good profile pic.
It will be 9 to 4 on Saturday, March 21. Lunch will be included. Price
is still being determined.
You are the first to hear this, so spread the word.
In the words of author Shelton Keys Dunning, “Writing is a solitary action.” Thus, the only advice I get is me talking to myself. Not good. That is one of the reasons I started this blog–to reach out to other authors and share feedback.
I got feedback in spades to my previous post “Fear of Finishing.” The advice is good for every writer facing self-doubt. So, at the risk of pink cheeks on my part, I share the tips and counsel that seasoned author and editor Shelton Keys Dunning gave me.
Before you read Shelton’s words, know this. Writers are like actors–we die without an audience. Writers are also human. We wither without someone to stroke us and fertilize our creative machine once in a while. Hence, the necessity of a support group.
The support group can exist through friends cultivated on-line or in person through a face-to-face writers group or in fellow students in a classroom setting. However or wherever, a support group of fellow penmen is invaluable to an author in turmoil.
Now to the feedback:
Fear is as normal as it is debilitating. I’m concerned that my edit contributed to your self-doubt. Honestly though, I will champion your talent through to the hellfires and back again. This next step is critical yes, heart-wrenching and laced with every type of harbinger of doom possible. It’s how you channel that fear that will make you or break you. I want you to read the following and take it to heart.
1. You have the talent. You have more than most. I would not lie to you about this.
2. Dead with Envy is a story only you can tell. And it is a story worthy of bookshelves. Again, I’m not lying.
3. Editing is the most difficult thing to do as a writer. You get through this, you can do anything. Period.
4. Writing is a very solitary action, it isn’t always clear that you have a support group. But you do have one. And I am your biggest fan. You can lean on me.
5. My mother wants to buy your book. I’m not lying. So you have already touched readers and you’re not even finished yet.
6. Set-backs aren’t permanent. Neither are road blocks. What can be permanent, though, is the wall you build around your heart to shield you from the unknown. Surround yourself instead with supportive voices. AND
BELIEVE THEM WHEN THEY SAY THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED.
7. Once your story is published, do not worry about your audience. The phrase: You build it, they will come, applies here. It worked for baseball. It can work for you. Will there be people that don’t like it?
Sure. Just like not everyone likes fried pickles. That’s okay. There will be others who will LOVE it.
8. Fear of the unknown is normal. I’ve been there. I am there. You are not alone.
9. My book: The Trouble with Henry? That took me two years to publish it. Two years passed since writing “Finis” before I felt ready to hit the publish button. I’m still finding flaws, but I am my own worst critic. Just like you are your own worst critic. You don’t have to take two years for Dead With Envy, but you can if you want to. You are in control.
10. Have I told you not to worry yet, that you are talented and beautiful? Have I said that Dead with Envy deserves to be on bookshelves? Just checking.
It’s hard to find your heart when you are mired in self-doubt. Every writer faces this. Every one. Even Stephen King. And if he claims he doesn’t, he’s lying. Think back to the first time you had to send an email to someone, anyone. I don’t know about you, but the first email I
ever sent terrified me witless. What if I did it wrong? What if I didn’t make any sense? What if I got lost in the world like snail mail through the post office and if the email did arrive, it arrived broken and torn and unreadable? There are still days when I face job hunts that I stare at the emails and wonder if I’ve forgotten the entire English language. Or what about blog posts? The first blog post you ever did, how did you feel then? How do you feel now? I promise publishing a book might feel bigger than a blog post, but it’s only ’cause it took more hours to do.
It might help to write all your questions down on paper, and answer them, on paper. If you ask yourself a question and you don’t know the answer, write “I need to research this” for the answer. That way, you’ve acknowledged that you don’t know, but you can find the answer. Breaking all your fears down into little pieces and tackling one at a time, helps.
And now that I’ve taken up your blog, I will leave you with this: I am here. I’m not going anywhere, heaven forbid, and you couldn’t be safer than among your peers. I promise this too shall pass.
Today, terms describing phenomena normally reserved for science fiction, science fantasy or paranormal genre stories also appear in romance, mystery and historical fiction books. Thus, it is important to stay current with terminology and correct usage of trending language and terms, whether you are a writer or editor.
The lesson today centers on the term psi power. It is appearing frequently in literature or articles. From the website wyndology.com:
The term psi comes from the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and is used as an informal abbreviation for “psychic phenomena.” As such it covers all uses of the mind beyond the reach of accepted science. It is not an acronym and should therefore not be typed as “PSI.”
What Is Psi? What Is ESP?
The term psi refers to any ability to achieve apparently paranormal or psychic phenomena through the power of the mind. There is no generally accepted mechanism in conventional science by which such abilities could operate.
Although “psi” is sometimes used interchangeably with ESP they’re not quite the same: ESP stands for “Extra Sensory Perception.” As such ESP covers phenomena known as “anomolous cognition”, for example mental telepathy. Psi is a more general term that also covers “anomolous operation”. In other words, ESP is the subset of psi that deals with knowing things – psi itself is a much wider field that also includes using the power of the mind to do things.
Why attend a writers’ conference?
- You will learn more than you thought possible about the publishing community.
- You will learn how to improve your writing.
- You will learn what is new in the industry.
- You will learn how to sell books.
- 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:
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
@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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Hi, sweet people. I owe you an apology. During August, I have been swamped and inattentive to you, to your comments, and more. Sadly, I remain under water with obligations and medical care until sometime in October. I want you to understand why I am behaving badly and not getting back to you when you write. Very soon, I promise to make it up to you and get back on top of things again.
I want to announce that I have started a Facebook page. Oh, heart, don’t fail me now. I swore I would never go on Facebook or any other similar strictly social network. Well, it seems that Facebook has evolved into more and so have I.
Since I am only, I don’t know, a millennium behind everyone else on the planet and haven’t a clue what I am doing, please be patient with me as the Facebook page evolves.
Finally I want to remind everyone who is interested in the FROM WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS CONFERENCE on October 5, to get your registration in. The price of $60 for 6 sessions will rise to $75 in September. Why pay a penalty for procrastination? Be proactive and save $$$. Remember, lunch is included in the admission.
Click here to register:
Email email@example.com or phone 304-285-8205 for more information.
You may read about the conference at http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html
or see the brochure about the conference below.
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.
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.
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.
I didn’t know I had it in me to write more than one novel. I’ve learned I do. And I want to.
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.