Tag Archives: Help for authors

The Value of a Support Group? Priceless!


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.

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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!

Let’s Party at a Writers Conference!


The Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Conference is coming to Maryland in the fall of 2013. Why don’t we all go and have a party while we learn to write better? Sounds like fun to me.

Several links below will tell you more about it.

Registration form: http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/?page_id=2

FAQ: http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/?page_id=319

Schedule

3 Day Conference

Friday, September 13, 2013 Registration begins at 8:00 am Early registration ends November 30, 2012

FRIDAY

8:00 am to 5:00 pm – Registration 11:00 am to 11:30 am – Welcome presentation 11:30am to 4:30pm – Writers Roundtable 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm panels 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Agent Meetings 2:00 pm – Panels 3:00 pm – Panels 4:00 pm – Panels 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm – Book signing by all Friday authors 6:00 pm – Buffet dinner – opening ceremonies & keynote talk

SATURDAY

7:00 am to 9:00 am – continental breakfast 9:00 am – Panels 10:00 am – Panels 10:30 am to 12:00 pm – Writers Roundtable 11:00 am – Panels Noon – lunch / special guest interview 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm panels 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Writers Roundtable [1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Agent Meetings] 2:00 pm – Panels 3:00 pm – Panels 4:00 pm – Panels 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm – Book signing by all Saturday authors 6:00 pm – Banquet dinner – Keynote talk

SUNDAY

9:00 am to 10:30am – Buffet Breakfast (w/omelet chef) – special guest interview 11:00 am – Panels Noon – Panels

Attending Authors

Ann Arbaugh Bob Bailey Austin S. Camacho Lauren Carr DB Corey Jeffrey Deaver Christina Freeburn John Gilstrap Tracee L. Garner Christopher Golden Cherley Grogg Trice Hickman Norwood Holland Deliah Lawrence Larry Mathews Amy McCorkle Cynthia McDonald Larry Mild Rosemary Mild Juli Monroe Robin Murphy Penny Clover Peterson Ramona Rene B. Swangin Webster

Attending Agents

We have already confirmed the following agents will be attending the 2013 conference. Check them out and don’t forget to sign up to pitch your work to one of them!

Emily Gref – Lowenstein Associates

Emily Gref is an associate agent and subsidiary rights manager at Lowenstein Associates. Prior to Lowenstein Associates, she worked at the Strand Bookstore (and later at Shakespeare & Co.), and interned at Serendipity Literary Agency, Donald Maass Literary Agency, Penguin Young Readers’ Online Marketing, Tor Books, and Arthur A. Levine Books.

In fiction Emily is particularly looking for speculative fiction, science fiction, and fantasy for middle grade, young adult, and adult. She has a special weakness for historical fantasy, steampunk, and unique fairy tale retellings. In any novel she is hoping to find a strong voice, stellar world-building, surprising twists, and main characters that represent diverse experiences.

Berta Treitl – Grosevenor Agency

Berta Treitl is an attorney and literary agent. Berta is selectively building her nonfiction list in three areas: science and technology; current events, law and politics, biography, business and marketing; and art, design, cooking, health, and lifestyle.

In fiction, she’s interested in historical and high-quality mysteries. Berta focuses on projects that present a counterintuitive or fresh viewpoint and that feature unusual communities, travel and foreign locales, and female main characters.

Before joining the Grosvenor Literary Agency, Berta worked at a respected New York agency and in private legal practice. She is a member of the New York Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts.

C3 Anthology

Acorn Book Services has graciously offered to publish an anthology for the C3 Conference in 2013.

Please pay close attention to their submission guidelines below:

Word Count: Maximum 7,500 words.

Genre: Any of those genre accepted at C3

Limit: One short story per author, who must be registered and attending the C3 conference.

Limited to twenty-five stories accepted for publication so be sure and get registered today so your story can be part of the anthology!

Please include author photo, bio, website, and other information to accompany short story in the anthology.

Short stories accepted for the anthology must be edited, and will be edited and proofed by Acorn Book Services. By submitting a short story, the author agrees to giving Acorn Book Services rights of usage of the short story in the Anthology to be published in print and e-book form (at the cost of Acorn Book Services). The printed format will be given to attendees of the C3 conference. This anthology will serve as a promotional tool for the authors, who will retain all ownership rights to their story.

After the conference, Acorn Book Services will then release the anthology in e-book form on Amazon. In this e-book format, in exchange for use of their short story, the author will receive further promotion as the e-book will also include the author’s bio and links to their website and places where their books can be purchased.

All of this is at no cost to the author, other than the cost of attending the C3 conference. All proceeds from the sale of the e-book version will be retained by Acorn Book Services to help offset production cost of the anthology.

Deadline to submit: March 1, 2013.

For more information or to submit your story contact Acorn Book Services at writerlaurencarr@gmail.com

The Newspaper Inter-view


One of our Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe members started the ball rolling on marketing. He used an inside contact to connect me to the head librarian in charge of programming. That conversation led me to volunteer our writers for library programs. The librarian offered to refer news of the release of  Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology to her press contact at the local newspaper. Consequently, a reporter from the Lifestyles section called me to schedule an interview.

I invited our publisher Acorn Book Services to attend the interview. This turned out to be a good move for many reasons that I’ll share in a minute. My thought when inviting the publisher was as a thank you for helping us and sharing a bit of the limelight.

During the course of an hour-long interview, I learned that the reporter attended the same seminar at the library where I first collected names to form Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. That coincidence warmed him to us because he had first hand knowledge of our origins. That piqued his curiosity about how we moved from a start-up organization to a published entity in a relatively short period.

Further, the reporter was on a first-name basis with our publisher. The publisher offered to place an advertisement on the same page as the article in the newspaper. That financial incentive is apt to generate a better place on the page and a longer article than our group would get on its own. The reporter also proposed sending a photographer to the next meeting to snap a some candid photographs of the working group to go with his article. Photos are eye-catching and will draw attention to the article.

Finally, our most organized member and I took the publisher to lunch after the interview to discuss costs for producing print versions of the book. That led to conversation about select members appearing at a writing seminar as members of a panel during a teaching segment. Mr. Organization will not let that opportunity fall through the cracks. He’ll stay on top of it to be sure the writers group seizes every chance to promote our endeavors.

Do you see how that works? Chances are if I cold-called either the library or the reporter directly, the response would have been less successful. But by networking through personal connections and utilizing the special talents within the group, Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe will get free publicity both through the news story and through the local speaking circuit.

Commercial success for writers is like success for politicians. It all starts locally.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the exposure translates to sales!

Anthology cover

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe–Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357500066&sr=1-1&keywords=writers+of+the+desert+rose+cafe

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983