Tag Archives: mystery

Guest Post by Marcie Connelly Lynn


My friend Marcie and her husband David live aboard a sailboat and are traveling the globe. They have one last long passage to make to complete a circumnavigation of the earth,  that last leg from Australia to the southern tip of Africa. They have sailed from Africa east past South America via the Panama Canal to Australia, where they are now–and a zillion points in between–over more than a decade.

I asked Marcie to write a guest blog, since she is a published author. She and her husband both have sold many magazine articles. Furthermore, Marcie is an accomplished (and published) photographer. She has LOTS to share for those aspiring to do the same. Read up and enjoy!!!

I must have at least four books in the works at the moment … all of them in various stages of “incomplete”. There’s a cookbook which needs a rewrite and an update; a novel based on fact; an anthology of sailing stories and another mystery novel which revolves around our life at sea. What keeps me actively writing though is our daily blog, our website and freelance writing for magazines.
Marcie and David 2012 Australia

My husband and I have lived aboard a sailboat for the last 13 years, very slowly traveling around the world. Writing has always been a passion for me, so it was only natural that I’d keep personal journals and continue writing as we sailed from place to place. Now I post our experiences daily and write articles for publication.

Want to take a stab at getting published in a magazine? Try this.

  1. Determine an area of expertise or interest. Figure out what you’d like to write about. Do you have a hobby? Are you a parent? Do you sail? Do you like to travel? Do you have pets? Are you a farmer, a hairdresser, a welder, a 50+ retiree?  Obviously, the more you know or care about your topic, the more it will show in your writing.
  2. Research what journals or magazines cater to this interest. There are magazines out there for every interest imaginable. Don’t forget to research regional magazines for your area. They’re smaller and may be more interested in your articles than national journals. Think outside of the box. We tend to write for sailing magazines because we sail and live on a boat, but I’ve submitted articles to cat magazines because we used to have a cat aboard. I submit articles to travel magazines. I’ve even submitted funny anecdotes to Reader’s Digest.
  3. Obtain the Writer’s Guidelines for those magazines of interest. This is key. Some magazines are very specific as to the length of the piece, the format in which it should be submitted, whether photos are required, their terms and amounts of their payment. The links below this post provide lists of magazines and their guidelines. These lists are not exhaustive by any means, but they’ll give you an idea of what’s out there.
  4. Get a copy of the magazine(s) in which you’re interested. Read it. See what types of articles they publish. Get a feel for the mood of the pieces. Are they serious? Whimsical? First person anecdotes? Determine what “departments” they have that might prove suitable for the article you want to write.
  5. Figure out your angle. Magazine articles usually do one or more of these things: inform, persuade, instruct or entertain. I tend to write informational/entertainment pieces on the places we visit. My husband, David, writes how-to pieces (instruction) on various topics relating to the boat. Write your article.
  6. Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation required…need I say more?
  7. Research your topic carefully. If you’re using facts and/or statistics to give some depth and color to your article, make sure you document them well and provide the source if necessary.
  8. Many magazines will accept articles on “spec”. Others prefer you send a query. I call this a teaser. Tell them in a short, succinct paragraph what you intend to write about and why it will be of interest to their readers. They’ll  review what you send them and get back to you if they’re interested. Send your best piece. Make the teaser irresistible. Then write the article. Make sure it’s ready to go.  If you don’t hear from the publisher within a couple of weeks, send them a reminder, asking their level of interest. Caution: Do NOT send the same query to several magazines at once. Be patient and submit to one publisher at a time. If two or more magazines should happen to accept your article or idea and you have to tell one of them “no”, you probably won’t get another stab at that magazine. If you don’t hear in a month after a reminder, consider it dead and move on.
  9. Don’t be discouraged if you get a “reject” notice. It’s common. Not every article received can be published. Find another magazine and send them the same teaser. We’ve had several articles rejected by one journal which were happily accepted by another. 
  10. If you get a bite and some interest in your teaser, respond immediately. Some will ask you to do a rewrite. Cut it down here…expound a little there. Get on it right away. We’ve had situations where the publisher delayed in responding and then we received an urgent email saying, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? We need your article for the next publication. Can you send it and all photos today?”  Needless to say, having the article written and ready to go was key.  We scurried, but got it done.

I doubt you’ll get rich from writing for magazines. We certainly don’t, although we usually succeed in having about six to eight articles published each year. We average ~$300-500 per article. You will, however, see your article in print, promote yourself, build confidence and polish your writing skills. Sometimes that’s enough!

About Marcie…

Marcie & David Lynn have lived aboard “Nine of Cups” since 2000. They’ve sailed over 70,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans  and visited hundreds of anchorages and ports in their travels. They’re currently down under in Tasmania. Marcie writes a daily blog www.justalittlefurther.com and maintains a website www.nineofcups.com. Both David and Marcie contribute regularly to Ocean Navigator and Good Old Boat magazines.

Www.oceannavigator.com

http://www.goodoldboat.com

Writer’s resources

http://www.freelancewriting.com/guidelines/pages/index.php

http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/markets/online-guidelinesMO.htm#MMM

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Sell Your Short Story–Boost Your Book Sales


Are you working on a novel? Is it taking forever to complete? Are you growing weary of working on it?

Take a break and write a short story with one or more of the same characters in your book. You may find it helpful in more ways than you think possible. First, it is a diversion from your novel, yet keeps the characters of the novel fresh in your mind. Second, sale of the short story assists the sales of your novel when you release it. Third, you can sell your short story for supplemental income.

West Virginia author Lauren Carr created a 7,000 word short story called “Lucky Dog.” The dog in the story, named Gnarly, is a regular character in her Mac Faraday mystery series. She intended to print the story as a promotional giveaway during book fairs.  A series of fortunate events led her to e-publish the story for $.99. Since then, her short story sales have pushed her novel sales up in multiples. (Visit her web page at http://mysterylady.net/Mac_Faraday_Books.html.)

The short story, sold at a low price point, gets your work into the hands of readers unfamiliar with you. If they like your story, they will look for more works written by you. In Carr’s experience, readers who liked Gnarly, the” Lucky Dog,” bought her mystery books that featured Gnarly. The sale of the short story ended up boosting the sales of her novels.

That’s called smart marketing!

And the plot thickens. . .


A news story appeared on May 23 on Yahoo’s The Lookout. Reporter Pueng Vongs wrote:

Jason Blackburn, 35, of Memphis was cleaning a stone walkway when he discovered 13 tombstones from a historic military cemetery buried about three inches deep, reports The Commercial Appeal. He first thought he had found a garden stone but then saw the inscriptions.

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my goodness, I hope there’s not dead bodies in my backyard,'” said Blackburn, who bought the house about a year ago, in the report.

Whodunnit? Who thinks it was the butler in the pantry with a candlestick?

The truth is the house was owned by a former cemetery worker. Whenever a headstone contained an error and was replaced by the maker, the worker took the flawed stone home. There were no bodies found in the backyard.

Kinky–but free–way to build a walkway. File that item away under the file name “Weird But Explainable.” Novel fodder.

Visiting the Blog Cabin


Author Timothy Hallinan writes and teaches. He has kindly offered words of wisdom to me in the past and encouraged my dream. He has been my modern day pen pal via the Internet.

He loves to share wisdom; he shares his own and that of other professional writers who have success scars from a bruising ascent. He offers insights on a web site called “The Blog Cabin.”

On March 27th, Hallinan posted an interview with author Jean Henry Mead, a national award-winning photojournalist. Mead has written 17 books in all.

Her recent work is The Mystery Writers, Interviews and Advice. It features interviews with 60 mystery writers, many of them best-selling authors.

Hallinan asked Mead:

As a writer yourself, are there any answers that you’ve found especially helpful?In my latest book, The Mystery Writers, there are many articles of writing advice that I wish had been available when I first attempted to write fiction during in the early 1990s. Most of the authors agreed that persistence is more important than writing talent and that outlining is the best way to begin a novel, although most of them don’t. That characterization trumps plot and humor is a necessary element in even the darkest noir, among many other great gems of advice.

Check out this interview and others at http://www.timothyhallinan.com/blog/?p=5835#more-5835

Marketing Tip: When You Release a New E-Book


     This week in my writing class taught by mystery writer Lauren Carr, I learned a marketing trick that I intend to use when my book is ready for release. Here’s a story to illustrate the power of using this tip.

     A new author released her first novel as an e-book. Readers were reluctant to spend their hard-come-by dollars on an unknown author, fearing they would be disappointed. The author’s sales were nearly non-existent.

     On a whim, the new author decided to write a short story and offer it as an e-booklet for free in the same venue as her e-book. Readers downloaded the freebie. They liked what they read. Then they searched for more works by the new author. The readers, who now had a taste of the new writer’s work, found the new novel and ordered it. Before long, the new author had sales equal to other well-known authors.

     Lauren Carr, who currently has four novels available through Amazon.com, will be releasing her fifth novel in early summer. She heard about the success of the novice author in marketing her book via the use of the giveaway e-story. Carr decided that if she used a similar tactic, she may lure new readers for her novels. Carr e-published a short story called “Lucky Dog” and reports that the story is selling at $.99. She hopes the interest in “Lucky Dog” translates to sales for the new release.

     Carr says, “The short story cost me nothing but my time. I have about 3 hours of time invested in the writing.” A bit more time was needed to format and upload the document to an e-marketer.

     The award-winning author recommends this tactic as a way for a new author to develop a following.