THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART TWO: WRITING

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These steps are a guide to aid you in a successful book launch. If you missed the first step, you can find it here THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION.

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The next step on the road to launching your book is writing. And writing is about much more than writing your book.

Writing

You want to be sure that you’re writing at least five days a week. You’ve outlined your book, so now you just pick a scene and write. Focus on that one scene alone and don’t go back and try to edit what you’ve already written. Save it for when your draft is done. Remember, your draft doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s why they call it a draft. Just puke it out if you have to, it can all be polished up later.

The key here is consistency. Sit down and get some words on paper.

***

Of course, at this stage, you’re going to be focused on writing your book. But during this phase of your book launch, you should be doing all that you can to grow your network. The network you’ve grown by the time of your book launch will be the ones who first purchase your book. Many will leave reviews and share your book with their friends, all of which will sell more copies and get your book into the hands of more readers.

Some of the best marketing options available to you are during this “creation” stage.

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GROW YOUR NETWORK

Blog About the Process

This isn’t blogging your book, it’s blogging your writing experience and sharing it with potential readers. Find ways to use the writing process that you are already going through as a means of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Don’t share parts of your book.

Don’t share parts of your book.

This is a great opportunity to connect with your followers and gain some new ones. The more people in your network, the more copies of your book you’ll sell. Plain and simple.

Create a Facebook Page

I see a lot of authors that create a Facebook author profile and that’s really not the best way to go about promoting yourself on Facebook. What works well is an author page, they are actually geared to work for you and your blog posts can automatically post directly to them. This way your facebook profile can stay personal and separate from your business as a writer.

Having an author page also promotes your website and gives you the ability to boost posts or create ads. You can even select the audience you are targeting so they see your posts too.

So remember, a Facebook Profile is personal, a Facebook Author Page is for business.

Create Videos Expanding on Core Ideas

This is a great way to go over ideas for your book and attract an audience. You don’t want to read your book aloud, you want to talk about your theme and core ideas. Get your viewers interested in whats to come. Video is awesome, it gives your followers a chance to connect with you on a deeper level. This is my next big leap 🙂

Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs

You know you need more exposure and one of the best ways to get it is by guest blogging. Expand on the core ideas of your book in these blog posts. Ask the reader questions, interaction on these posts is a big win. It can give you new ideas and you get to meet new people who are interested in what you’re writing about.

Create a Landing Page

Do you have a landing page? Landing pages are a great way to promote your writing and give you a chance to offer your viewers something for free for subscribing to your blog. This is one of the most effective ways to build your subscribers list. Then when you’re ready to launch, you can market your book to your subscribers. This is where the majority of your initial book sales will generate from.

Create a Podcast

Podcasts are pretty cool. they’re not hard to get started and you can incorporate them into your website. You can gain a ton of fans by talking about your book, doing interviews, etc. Also, they are easier to get into for those of us who are shy. You just chat away into the microphone and people listen. This can be a great way to grow your network fast.

Interview Experts

Taking the time to sit down with and interview experts in your field is a great way to draw your target audience and build your network. It will also strengthen your brand while creating brand awareness. You want to interview authors whose target market is the same as yours. Plus, you can learn from them which will help you develop your own ideas. And making new friends is always a bonus.

Create a Book Profile on Instagram

The Instagram community loves quotes which makes it an ideal place to share micro-content from your book. Set up an account for your book, set your website link to your landing page, start publishing quotes from the book in image form, and use relevant hashtags to boost discovery.

Get Interviewed on Podcasts

Since you are now writing the book it’s safe to say that you have a decent idea of what the core concept is and what directions it could possibly go in. That means it’s an ideal time to start sharing your ideas on a slightly bigger stage. Reaching out to podcasts and getting interviewed about your concept is a great way to get it in front of their audience while simultaneously being forced to explain the idea. Explaining leads to better writing.

Find Readers With Twitter Search

If you go to Twitter and use their search feature it allows you to find people who are talking about your exact topic. When used correctly this is a powerful thing as it enables you to jump into conversations, share resources, or even just observe what the conversations look like.

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More to come on “Your Road to Launch” – stay tuned 🙂

What Your Author Platform Could Be Doing!

THE 7 BEST EMAIL MARKETING SERVICES

Come See My New Logo Designs!

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I had the opportunity recently to design a few logos for some online courses.

My client, Peter Clark Nelson, is a heart-centered business consultant who has some great new courses coming out this summer. When he asked me to design some special logos for him I was thrilled, because the style he was looking for completely resonates with me. It’s a style of artwork that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at but never got the chance until now.

When he asked me to design some special logos for him I was thrilled, because the style he was looking for was one I had wanted to try for a long time now.

Check them out below!

 

I’m so happy with the way these turned out and so is Peter. In fact, he’s asked me to design a set of Oracle cards for business oriented people, using the sacred geometry theme. I can’t wait to get started 🙂

Here is a link to Peter’s profile where he shares some wonderfully uplifting and inspirational content:

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The 7 Best Email Marketing Services

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Your author platform could have a robust and reliable email marketing service to meet your needs for promotion and networking.

Email marketing services help you engage your network more effectively. They let you manage your contacts and separate them into groups for different types of campaigns. Having an email marketing service also enables you to track the performance of your campaigns.

If you don’t have one now, but think you could benefit from having one then check out the list below.


 

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  • Integrates with WordPress, Magneto, Shopify, and many other platforms
  • Easy email creator
  • Merge tags
  • Autoresponders
  • Sort contacts
  • Simple tracking and analytics.
  • How-tos, videos, and tutorials.
  • MailChimp offers a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. Their paid plans start from $10/month

Learn More About MailChimp

 


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  • Easy to use and beginner friendly
  • You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, and more
  • Easy tracking and reporting
  • Built-in social media sharing tools
  • Image library
  • 1GB of storage for your own files
  • Online training
  • 60-day free trial (no credit card required)
  • Regular pricing starts as low as $20/month

Learn More About Constant Contact

 


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  • Connects to most platforms including WordPress
  • Email templates
  • List management
  • Autoresponders
  • Email tracking
  • How-tos and tutorials
  • 30-day free trial
  • Regular pricing starts from $19/month

Learn More About AWeber

 


ConvertKit

  • Easy to use
  • Allows you to offer content upgrades and incentives with email signup forms
  • Auto-responders
  • Sort Contacts
  • Pricing for ConvertKit plans start from $29/month

Learn More About ConvertKit

 


getresponse

  • Easy to use
  • Marketing automation tools
  • Drag and drop builder
  • Create campaigns
  • Sort contacts
  • Responsive forms
  • Landing pages
  • Tracking
  • Autoresponders
  • Integrates with third party lead generation software
  • Free learning material including videos, webinars, how-tos, guides, etc.
  • 30-day free trial. Their pricing starts from $15/month

Learn More About GetResponse

 


campaign-monitor

  • Drag and drop email builder
  • Email campaign builder
  • Drag and drop segmenting tool to create different campaigns for different contacts based on behavior and actions
  • Personalize emails with rich customer data
  • A/B testing, tracking, optimization, and social sharing tools
  • How-tos
  • Campaign Monitor’s pricing plans start from $9/month

Learn More About Campaign Monitor

 


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  • Combines your email marketing, automation, with CRM and sales
  • Email template editor
  • Segment contacts based on their actions, location, behavior, and social data
  • Fetch additional data about your contacts using only their email address
  • Integrates with some third-party software including WordPress
  • You can also send SMS messages to your contacts for follow up on campaigns
  • ActiveCampaign’s plans start from $9/month

Learn More About ActiveCampaign

 


Generate Clients with this Non-Fiction Book Layout!

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Have you ever thought of writing non-fiction? Do you offer products or services? Do you think you might like to in the future?

As a writer, there is a system for reaching your earning potential.

Here are some hot tips on writing non-fiction to generate clients!

I’ve included a book outline to help you get started right away.

Having an outline makes it easier to write your book. Breaking it down into chunks or separate topics gives you the opportunity to sit down and do focused writing, one subject at a time.

The Generate Clients Layout is designed to do just that, make you money off the additional products and services you provide. It’s perfect for anyone who coaches, consults, accepts speaking engagements, provides training, or offers courses or webinars.

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INTRODUCTION

If you’re planning on using your book to generate clients, then this outline is for you.

In order to generate clients with your book, you’ll need a layout like the one that you’ll find here. It’s structured to keep the reader focused on the content of the book in the order that it’s presented.

Many readers will skim the contents of a book to grasp the key concepts, it’s the way of today’s busy world. If you want your audience engrossed in your book, soaking up its content, word for word, then this layout will accomplish that for you.


PERSONAL

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to write down your idea of success. This will give you a clear vision of what possibilities you will want to explore using your book as the foundation.

Remember that you are looking to build your business with your book, not just earn a residual income from it. Your audience is your sustainable business profit. Your mark of success is your active network, the people that will purchase your products.

RESEARCH:

Research your topic on amazon, YouTube, and Reddit. Look up popular material that relates to your topic. Study the way the content is structured.

Read through viewer comments and look for trends in what the readers or viewers are wanting – questions they have, likes and dislikes.

Then list the top ten questions or problems and intertwine them into your book. Be sure to take notes as you go.

VOICE:

The voice of your writing should be a conversational one. Tell, don’t sell until the final chapter.

You want your reader to feel as if you are talking with them. You want them to be compelled to talk back to your book.

NOTE ABOUT TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Many writers make the mistake of having boring chapter titles, or worse, descriptive chapter titles. The table of contents is a tool to entice the reader into reading, to draw them into starting from the beginning and consuming every chapter.

If your chapter titles are too descriptive, they’ll give the contents of the chapter away. If they know what the chapter’s about, chances are they’ll stop reading. If they assume they grasp the contents of the book, they won’t feel compelled to read on. They will skip over sections, or not read the book at all.

You want to approach naming your chapters as if you were creating headlines for content – what will make the reader investigate further.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

There is an expectation of your readers that you, as a writer, are an expert on your subject, that you have special knowledge of the concepts which relate to it, that you have a clear idea of the aspects which should be addressed.

You want to introduce who you are, what you are addressing in the book, and what the reader will come away with. This sets the pace for your reader and creates anticipation.

Identify the problems – promise a solution: demonstrate to the reader that you understand them and that your book provides the solution to their problems

How is your approach different from others? Why will people think you have the right answers for them?

Don’t give away the key concepts.

In the chapters immediately following this one, you will approach your readers top concerns, one by one, and use metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions. If you need to add additional key concepts (solutions to concerns), feel free to do so, or, save the new key concepts for a second book.

What is your purpose? Your book should be able to transform into other products.

What are the main ideas you are trying to get across? What will this book enable your audience to do?

2. KEY CONCEPT A

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

3. KEY CONCEPT B

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

4. KEY CONCEPT C

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

5.  KEY CONCEPT D

Using metaphors and analogies to explain your solutions on a conceptual level.

Focus on tangible, quantifiable, measurable, concrete messages.

  • What: state the problem the reader is experiencing or how they relate to the key concept – why they should learn and apply it. The reader needs to feel as if you understand them. That you know what they are doing now may not be working – that you have the solution.
  • Why: give the reader the reasons why they should continue to read. Motivate them to read on. Tell them why they should keep reading, reinforce how this concept relates to them.
  • How: explain the solution to their problem conceptually, using metaphors and analogies.

6. STEP-BY-STEP METHOD

What if: here is where you want to lay out the step by step actions your reader can take to apply the solutions.

These steps should be tactile rather than conceptual.

Go through each step one-by-one. You can put all the steps in one chapter, or spread them out, one step –  per chapter.

7. SUMMARY

You want to end your book with the same momentum you started with, giving the book a proper ending.

Motivate and inspire: it’s important to use the right language, you don’t want to leave the reader feeling overwhelmed. You want them to feel satisfied and motivated to tackle the steps you provided.

You also by this point have earned their interest in any future work from you.

8. CLOSING

This is your opportunity to direct people to contact you to purchase your products and services. Your call to action. This chapter should be half the length of your previous chapters.

Who you serve: who is your specific audience? Your niche? Age? Financial status? Job description? Who are you selling to? What are the attributes of the people who will purchase your services? Express this to the reader so they can see that they are exactly the type of person who should be hiring you for personal help through one of your services.

How you serve them: keep them fascinated, tell them how you have solved problems for other people and how you can do the same for them. You want them to wish they had you on their team. By now you’ve created value with all you’ve given away within the book, so they should feel a bit compelled to repay you.

What next steps do you want your reader to take? Should they inquire about your services, give you a call, consult with you, go to your website? What body of knowledge do you possess that will make your audience take the next step?

You want people to hire you, that’s what your book is about – trying to make the phone ring.

Influence them – get them to buy into what you’re saying.


Have you thought of expanding your brand by writing non-fiction? Tell me about it in the comments below!

I’m open to any questions or comments you might have!


Please Like and Share!

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5 Ideas That Will Motivate You to Write

If you’re a writer then you know what it is to have down times, times where you don’t produce any writing at all.

It could be any number of things that gains your attention and leaves the task of writing on the back-burner. Work, school, kids, depression or a frantic schedule can all take priority over your writing goals.

If you’re looking for ideas that will motivate you to get some writing accomplished immediately, then these tools might work for you.

The Usual Advice

I recently started a second job, full time, that seemed to eat up any spare time I had for writing. There were better things to do with my spare time like just unwind… zone out after a busy day. I lacked motivation because I was tired and my mind wasn’t into being creative.

I wasn’t meeting my goals with my writing and readers of my blog were starting to ask questions, wondering where I’d disappeared to. I stared at a blank screen more than once without a clue what to write about, and unable to muster my creativity.

Finally, I did what writers do and went in search of ideas on how to get motivated. All of the tools I came across seemed to be the same ones I’ve heard time and time again that just don’t seem to always work for me personally. But they deserve to be mentioned…

  1. Set aside a regular time to write.
  2. Find a good place to write and stick to it.
  3. Set a writing quota.
  4. Show up.
  5. Minimize distractions.
  6. It’s okay to write like crap.

Like I said, these are some great bits of advice, but not always enough to get most of us writing right now….

5 Tools to Get You Writing Now!

I find that keeping to the basics makes it easier to get back to writing right now, to bust through the writer’s block.

ONE

Use what you know. For me, getting some words into my writing quota means looking into my thoughts and seeing what’s lingering there. What’s on my mind – take what’s on your mind and use it to your writing advantage. If your working on a book, you can write a single scene, even if it’s out of sync. If you’re posting to your blog, you can use what’s on your mind to develop some interesting content for your readers. Using what’s in the forefront of your thoughts brings more passion into your writing because it’s what’s most important to you right now.

TWO

Research an idea. If nothing in your head appeals to your creativity or seems to be enough to spark the motivation to write, then try surfing the web for articles that interest you. The bonus involved is that you can take the time to visit your network and see what they’ve had to say lately. Chances are, what you read will get your creativity brewing.

THREE

Brainstorm for ideas and structure. Once you’ve got a basic thought to drive you, start brainstorming that general theme and find your own fresh take on it. The conclusions you come to are the basis of content creation. If you don’t find the theme useful now, save what you write for a future date.

FOUR

Create an outline. Take the general themes or conclusions you’ve come to and get constructive by creating a few outlines. Even just a few bullet points that generalize your idea are enough to serve as motivators for writing. Just fill in the blanks.

FIVE

Stop what you’re doing and start writing. I find that 90% of the battle sometimes is just starting to type. I remind myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and how good it always feels to get some writing done. So this is basically a repeat of the usual advice…show up. Sit down and just start, even if it’s just rambling at first until you find something worth writing about. Getting some words on paper will break the ice and works to get you back into a regular rhythm of writing.

Staying Motivated

Most importantly, when it comes to having accomplished a creative goal like writing, is to reward yourself. It doesn’t matter if you dislike what you produced of if the work was phenomenal, reward tricks your brain into creating a habit. So find a simple way to reward yourself for your efforts.

Unique Articles On Writing Motivation:


Image Copyright: Marcel De Grijs

My Latest Book Cover Designs

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Robert Mackey

Robert lives by the following adage: No matter how many heads have to roll in the attainment of you goals, be certain to smile and wave at them as they pass. It’s best to do your beheading on a hill with your opponent uphill from you to insure the head actually rolls and to prolong the amount of time you get to smile and wave. (Very important.)

Check out Roberts books at the Amazon link below.

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Lee Erlywine

Lee’s Novels are intense and receiving five star reviews. Go grab yourself a copy through the links below and check out the action! I’m reading the first book now and can’t put it down!

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Connect with Lee on Facebook!

download

Update!

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Update!

I’m getting close to publishing my book and shooting for a tentative date of May 1st. The excitement is really building. I am in the middle of edits and creating video tutorials that will be included in the ebook and referenced in the paperback.

The book is fully illustrated to demonstrate design concepts and theory. I’ve worked hard to keep the information you’ll find straightforward and useful.

I have beta readers and a content editor going over it now which is just awesome!  I’ve gotten feedback on the first chapter and it was fantastic!

Huge thanks to

Peter Clark Nelson,

Julaina Kleist-Corwin,

and

Dawn Lewis!


Spoiler Alert!

This first chapter starts off where it counts, Author Branding. I explain the process and provide easy to follow exercises to assist the reader in defining their brand as a whole. Covering these basics will help the reader define what their brand looks like. It will help them create a theme and style guide they will follow across their author platforms with all their author graphics.


Back to Work!

There’s still ton’s of work to do and I’m doing my best to balance my book with my work as a designer. I’ll have new cover designs to share with you on Monday 🙂

My book will be free in ebook format on Amazon for the first three days after its launch!

Thanks for all of your support!

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2017

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Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2017.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing Industry and I just want to pay it forward.

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Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the books point of sale.

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There are no hidden fees


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2017 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

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Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

How to Write Flash Fiction

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WHAT IS FLASH FICTION?

Flash fiction is a short-short story told in 2000 words or less. It is my current area of interest because I’m wanting to enter a few pieces in a flash fiction contest, the one I blogged about last week.

So here I sit asking myself where to begin, and my best bet is to learn a few things about what goes into writing a great piece of flash fiction.

At first thought, writer’s who are unfamiliar with these short shorts might think it seems like a fairly easy task to undertake. But considering the limited amount of space that you have to get your story to work its magic, I’m assuming it might actually be a bit more difficult than expected.

Creating just the right setting, only the necessary dialogue – in fact, the perfect dialogue, creating an atmosphere that begs to be explored further, all of this could be a bit of a struggle in the few words available within flash fiction.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

  • With short shorts you need to start in the action, so choose a flashpoint to begin your story.
  • Plot matters less than mood and the details of the telling.
  • What is left out is just as important as what’s included in the writing.
  • Pick one theme.
  • Pay close attention to language.
  • Opt for understated elegance.
  • Subtlety is key.

From the research I’ve done, it’s my understanding that you what to pick a portion of your scene and build on it, let the small focal point tell the story. Keep your readers engrossed with the story that scene tells with all its details and then hit them with an unexpected twist at the end, leaving them wanting more.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

  1. Be concise without strangling your plot and characters.
  2. Remember to deliver your message.  No one likes empty envelopes.
  3. Make your prose intense. You can’t burn the reader.
  4. Learn from the birds. Tweet, tweet, tweet(er).
  5. Use prompts to hone your skills.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO

  1. Don’t go in circles. You don’t have room for that.
  2. Don’t try to wear many hats. Flash has space only for one or two.
  3. Don’t mince words. You are writing a flash and not making hamburger patties.
  4. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You don’t want to repeat what others have written.
  5. Don’t forget that flash is a story and not a poem or essay.

Wish me luck! I would love to write piles and piles of flash fiction – tons of small stories sounds like a rewarding endeavor.

Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any more tips for me or for fellow readers.

Free Book Cover Design

 

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Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am happy to be gearing up for the next drawing with the Indie Author Advocate.

Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes both your Trade Paperback cover and eBook cover. The winner will also receive a selection of two of my most popular items like social media banner design, book teaser design, logo design, business card design, bookmark design, poster design, postcard design, etc.

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release and a discount toward their next cover design.

All winners will be announced and listed on the upcoming ‘Winner’s Circle’ page along with their new cover design that will be linked to the books point of sale.

There are no hidden fees

*unless your design package includes items that must be printed and shipped like bookmarks or business cards


Enter today! The next drawing takes place on March 1st, 2017 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter. If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email on March 1st with the happy news.

Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

 

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There are no rules.

:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the 7 day deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

A Flash Fiction Competition

contest

What are you writing?

All entries eligible for paid print publication.


DETAILS

Short Shorts Flash Fiction Competition is open to all new, emerging, and established writers.

They seek flash fiction of 500 words or less.

Multiple entries, simultaneous submissions, and previously published works permitted.*

Accepting entries between November 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

Grand Prize winning entry, and Runners Up to be announced within 60 days of closing.

GRAND PRIZE

$250 and publication in the 2017 issue of From the Depths.

Featured Author Interview to accompany published work.

RUNNERS UP

All entries eligible for publication in the 2017 issue of From the Depths.

Contributors to be paid $20 for each published story.

Featured Author Interview showcased online at Haunted Waters Press.

SUBMISSIONS

All entries accepted via Submittable.

$10 reading fee per entry.

*Multiple Entries, Simultaneous Submissions & Previously Published Works…

  • Up to three works of flash fiction per entry. Multiple entries permitted.
  • Previous online publication is fine, but entries must not have appeared in print. Please be certain there are no known copyright restrictions. Please provide publication details for all previously published works. Questions? Contact us prior to submitting.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please notify us if your work is accepted for publication elsewhere. Entries with conflicting publication rights are no longer eligible. Entry fees are nonrefundable.

Read More or Enter…

How to Get Yourself Back Into Writing

If you are feeling uninspired or timid at thought of getting started, you can use the following techniques to get some words, any words, down on paper… or into your computer. These ideas work for me when I’m really not wanting or feeling capable of getting the words out. They are my tried and true methods of getting back to the business of writing…

Read More: How to Get Yourself Back Into Writing

Get Yourself Prepared to Write

Not every writer has the ability to write on demand. Some people experience writer’s block, a condition that can span for just moments to extended lengths of time, up to years. This can really get in the way of building your platform, creating content, selling your product, or gaining credibility in your niche. Getting yourself prepared to write before you start your sessions is a good idea…

Read More: Get Yourself Prepared to Write

Cover Reveal

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A Work in Progress:

I’m in the throes of a rewrite of the first draft of my new book. It is just a blast to have the opportunity to get all of the knowledge I’ve amassed under one title. It’s a go-to guide that will help writers represent their work with stunning visual graphics they create themselves.

I am blogging about my process to get some insight from those of you out there on what your main concerns are and to make sure I miss nothing that will aid you in creating all your own graphics just like a professional designer.

Cover Reveal!

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It’s a work in progress and I plan to have it launched by spring at the latest. I’ll be offering it for free at first as a thank you to all of you who give me feedback throughout the writing process.

What’s Inside:

I have crammed everything you need to know to create stunning graphics and award-winning book covers within the pages of this illustrated book. This is a go-to resource for you as an author looking for graphics that not only compliment your brand but sell your brand and your product. There are secrets within these pages that other designers will cringe to know I’m revealing to you. But I think you deserve to know because you can do it yourself, and I want to help you.

Inside you will find helpful links to tons of resources. Not only will it have links to things like where to get the best images for the best price, but links to video tutorials and templates for the graphics you’re looking to create.

I’m excited because this book is a no-nonsense approach to getting you the skills you need as quickly as possible so you can start thinking like a designer. The material covered here will have you designing like a pro as soon as the first day.

What You Can Help Me With:

  • I could use your input on what types of tutorials you’d like to see and what your expectations would be if you sat down to read this book. Any input or feedback you have to offer would be much appreciated.
  • I’m also assembling a launch team and appreciate anyone who’s willing to participate in whatever way they can. Leave a comment if you’re interested.
  • If you have any tips or advice for me at all, I’d love to hear that too!

Fantastic Future Plans:

My future plans have me on the edge of my seat. I’m producing presentations and will be undertaking a tour of speaking engagements across the country after the book launch. I’m actively pursuing sponsorship to fund my adventure. My goal is to help indie authors compete with the big publishers by providing them the skills to create their own winning marketing graphics and brand graphics for their platforms.

  • If there are any public speakers out there reading, I could use some mentoring in this department.
  • Any advice at all would be appreciated

Getting to the Business of Writing

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You should be creating  content on a weekly basis to keep your audience coming back to your platform, to keep your brand fresh in their minds.

Creating  Content

You should write daily in order to find your voice and improve your writing technique. You will be creating content for your blog and you should schedule that into your writing time. If you’re looking for ideas for what to write about, turn to what you know. If you’re a writer than chances are you’re learning new things every day, and not just things related to writing. What you are experiencing, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve heard are all great content inspirations. You have an endless amount of topics to choose from to meet your daily writing challenge.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block does not exist. You can write about anything, including your inability to write. Your failure to put words on paper stems from your expectation of what you may produce or the subject you want to write about. You should eliminate distractions so you can focus on your writing when the scheduled time arrives. Carve out a good time of day for the task and prepare your environment beforehand.

By writing every day, you exercise your ability. So when it comes time to write things like a scene for your book, it will flow almost effortlessly from you and you’ll experience no writer’s block at all.

Editorial Calendar

You want to take the time to step away from your writing but have a set schedule to get to the task of editing it. You have taken the challenge to write every day, regardless of what it sounds like so you should also be committing to a strict schedule to edit.

It won’t all sound amazing after you’ve taken the time to get a fresh perspective. But now with a fresh set of eyes, you can rework your words into usable content.

Writing Well Consistently

Once you make a habit of writing every day, the ideas just come. You get into a flow state where the words just come naturally. The more you write, the more you’ll have to say. If you make that commitment to show up then your writing will consistently improve. Eventually what you have to say will become more compelling and more persuasive.

It’s true that the writing will be difficult at first, but your commitment will pay off by bringing you the success in writing that you’re aiming for.

Give yourself the liberty to write like crap. Remember that writing is something you learn by doing.

Are You Really Your Own Worst Critic?

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What Do You Think of Your Writing?

If you’re a writer then you know that feeling, the one you have after you read and reread what you’ve created.

You struggle for some sort of self-validation.

You know it’s ridiculous to try, there’s no way you can see your own work through someone else’s eyes.

Will people like it?

A Peek Into Your Mind

Sitting at your keyboard your eyes trace over the familiar words that you’ve so painstakingly crafted. Either you think it’s brilliant or you’re unsure. If it sucks, you certainly wouldn’t leave it in that state. You read along, you think you’ve got it, it all sounds right in your head.

BING! BING! BING!

Check yourself, stop what you’re doing. It’s someone else’s turn to have a look. You know the truth here. You can’t be objective. You’re reading the story as it plays out in your mind and not by the words that you’ve written. Truth.

Why Your Friends and Family Can’t Be Trusted

You do the first thing you can and share what you’ve got with that one trusted friend or any family that you can muster.

  • The first thing to note, your family has been roped into this.
  • The second thing, their reading because they feel like they have to.
  • Thirdly, they love you and aren’t going to be objective either. If they are, your situation is extremely rare.
  • Your friend is your best friend for a reason, they’ll be more honest but most likely want to steer clear of crushing you. They know you love writing, it’s your passion. They’re not going to jeopardize that by telling you the absolute truth if it’s crap.

At least you know what your next move is. You’ve read up on the business of writing and you know that good writer’s get themselves a good group of beta-readers. So you go through the motions, sending them chapter by chapter. You’re getting their feedback and you’re thrilled that they like it. Sure it’s not perfect, there are some areas that need perfecting, but of course there are, you expected that right? Yes, you did. Now you’re golden! Nope, think again.

What Aren’t Your Beta Readers Saying to You

What are your beta reader’s not telling you? Not every person who writes or reads is trained in the art of constructive criticism. And even if they are, do you think they want to hurt your feelings. It’s widely known that so many writers absolutely cannot take any form of rejection. It’s true, most writer’s cringe, denying their bad reviews, explaining them away. But not before taking it personally.

Is there some chance that you’re not getting the feedback you need? Great, just what you didn’t want to hear, right?

Before you dive into the world of beta-reading and build up your team, think of what your needing from them. We all ask for their honest opinion but are we prepared for the feedback.

  • Are they trained in constructive criticism?
  • Do they write in your genre?
  • Are they someone who’s writing you respect?
  • Do you trust them to tell you the truth?

Will you get upset if they tell you something you don’t want to hear? They think you will. It might be that they aren’t skilled at constructive criticism. They might shy away from stating what’s obvious to them that you somehow missed.

Why the hell are we so delicate you might ask? Because we’ve toiled away, bleeding our hearts out and it all sounded great in our minds while we were at it. We’ve spent hours and hours in the editing chair. We did our very best, followed all the rules we read in Stephen King’s book on writing. We put up the hefty fee to have our work edited by a professional even, and we made the necessary changes. See… we corrected the spots where we screwed up. But is there still something more that’s being overlooked here?

What You Can Do

While it’s true that there will always be a percentage of people that your writing just doesn’t resonate with. And there will always be the haters or the people that think they are better than you. There will always be a someone that rejects your style of writing. But, is there a message you’re missing, or something that’s been left unsaid entirely.

Take the time to make a list of what you expect from your beta-readers. Make sure the people that are reading for you are qualified to give you the feedback you’re looking for. If you just want to see if they like it, you can ask just about anyone to read for you. But if you want to grow as a writer and improve your craft, you’ll look for just the right fit. You’ll beg them to shred your work, demand that they hold nothing back. And the best part, you’ll love every ounce of criticism. It’s golden.

 

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

wvwp-0020-copyWednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Author Chat with Dorothy M. Place

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I am totally excited today to share my interview with award-winning author, Dorothy M. Place in accordance with the release of her new book The Heart to Kill. Dorothy sees the world from a unique creative perspective, I admire her character and I fell for her rich writing style immediately. She has taken her talent to great heights in the telling of a story that many might consider taboo.

Dorothy’s new book takes a deep look into the psyche of a woman who has inexcusably taken the life of her own child. The story follows alongside her childhood best-friend who joins her legal defense team in spite of public outcry and a sure verdict of guilty. Check out this intense and intriguing story of these two young women and discover what could drive a mother to commit such an unforgivable act. The side story here is just as rich and compelling as the main plot, so this book is guaranteed to grip you all the way ‘til the end.

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How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

The year I started graduate school at UC Davis, I went to see the play MEDEA. I believed I was the only person in the audience who empathized with Medea when she murdered her two sons. Like Medea, I had just been dumped by my husband for another woman and, being the sole support of three rowdy children, trying to complete a doctorate, and keeping everything on track, I have to admit there were times that murdering the children seemed like a possibility.

Actually, the play had a profound impact on me. Euripides, has the Greek chorus ask, “How does she have the heart to kill her flesh and blood?” That question came to mind with every media report that yet another mother had murdered her children. In fact, studies show that about 500 children under six years are murdered every year by a parent, and that number remains fairly constant.

And so, my book, The Heart to Kill, grew out of that question. Sarah, the protagonist, wonders how her high school friend, JoBeth Ruland, came to the point in her life when murdering her children was the only solution.

I have been thinking about the dilemma of women who have nowhere else to go but to murder their children. Like everyone else, I keep asking why. Perhaps there is no answer.

Where did your love of storytelling come from?

At age twelve, my parents moved to 58 acres of weeds and rocks in upstate New York from the New York metropolitan area and became “farmers.” We lived eight miles from a town of 3,000 and my mother didn’t drive. We lived more than a mile from our nearest neighbor, and their children were fully engaged in farm work. So, except for school, I spent my days and evenings alone. My favorite thing to do was to lie upon the roof of the goat house, where my mother couldn’t find me and ask me to do housework and read. Although I never considered writing as a profession, those long afternoons opened up the entire world for me.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing about ten years. I started with short stories, ten of which have been published, and two awarded prizes in short story contests. Since I was a research director at Sacramento State University, this was a complete departure from the number crunching I did at work.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Well, when I started I thought this was going to be a blockbuster because it dealt with a question that has been asked for 2,500 years. But, like your first pancake, this didn’t quite turn out the way I envisioned because, being my first novel, I didn’t realize how difficult it is to take an idea and turn it into words. Nevertheless, the book does offer the reader a journey into a story that explores a horrible crime and the enduring friendship between two women.

What projects are you working on at present?

Along with marketing my first novel, I am working with an editor to polish a collection of short stories and starting my second novel, The Search for Yetta. In the second novel, Sarah, the protagonist in my first book, goes on the find what became of a relative whose name had expunged from the family history after she survived the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City.

download-1On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burned, killing 145 workers. It is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial history, as the deaths were largely preventable–most of the victims died as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers. Read more…

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Sarah, a student at Northwestern University Law School, returns to her apartment after a trying day to find two telephone messages. The first informs her that she has not been chosen for a coveted summer internship, a position for which her father had arranged an interview. The second is from her mother, with the news that Sarah’s best friend in high school, JoBeth Ruland has murdered her own son and daughter. To mislead her father about her failure to be chosen as a recipient of the internship, Sarah decides to secure a position on JoBeth’s defense team. Against her father’s vehement protest, she leaves Evanston, Illinois at the end of the term and returns to Eight Mile Junction, South Carolina, a small town in the Appalachian foothills, determined to convince him that the experience will contribute to her future.

To make the best of the situation, Sarah sets out to become a vital member of the defense team and to regain favor with her father. But she is not well-prepared for the shock of leaving her sheltered academic life and working in a community rife with chauvinism, malice, and betrayal. Her struggle is met with the benevolent amusement of the senior law partner, John-Two who, despite her objection, insists on calling her “Little Lady.” The criminal trial expert on the team, Al, a tense, disciplined young attorney, resents the intrusion of what he believes to be a know-nothing law student and treats Sarah as if she is incompetent. The folks of Eight Mile Junction close ranks in the face of Sarah’s inquiries, hiding the town’s complicity in JoBeth’s degradation from the eyes of “outsiders” by finding her guilty before the trial begins. And finally, her father, on whose judgment Sarah has relied her entire life, rejects her efforts to placate his ill-humored response to her decision that summer.

In the end, Sarah discovers the underlying issues that precipitated her friend’s murderous act. Through interviews with JoBeth, her mother, her former lover, and her work associates, her ex-husband’s mistress as well as the testimony given during the trial, the horrifying events that shaped JoBeth’s life are revealed, helping Sarah understand how a person can be driven to extremes that defy ordinary reasoning. It is the betrayal by those they love and believe in that changes their lives forever. Ultimately, it means disgrace and imprisonment for JoBeth. But for Sarah, who decides against returning to law school, it is the beginning of a life in which she, not her father, manages her future.

Get Your Copy Today!

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untitled-1-copyBorn in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dorothy M. Place now lives and writes in Davis, California. A principle investigator of a research group at Sacramento State College, she began creative writing, first as a hobby then as a second career, ten years ago. Since 2005, ten of her short stories have been published in literary journals and magazines, two of which were selected for prizes. At present, she is putting together her first collection of short stories, Living on the Edge, and working on her second novel, The Search for Yetta.

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How to Achieve Success as a Writer

writing, writing tip, writing advice, writing inspiration, writing motivation, amwriting, writelife, creative writing, aspiring author, write, success, blogging, how to write, social media marketing, copywriting, content writing, inspiration, motivation, advice,

If you’re a writer then you know all too well, the struggle to achieve success. Whether you write copy, content, author non-fiction or fiction books, or aspire to become a successful writer, you are looking for the best method to accomplish your goal. You should know that your dream is not beyond your reach….

Continue Reading: How to Achieve Success as a Writer

Must Have Writing Tools for Story Outlining

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Tools and Templates for Your Story Outline

As a writer, I am a planner. I am a huge fan of outlining a story or book and find the process extremely enjoyable.

Brainstorming

Planning your book with a story outline is a great way to break it down into small writing goals, each with a focused idea.

What I love about brainstorming an outline: I can think up an idea, break it down into major scenes, and get an overall feel for the story I’m wanting to write. I can follow a general story arch and make sure that my major scenes are occurring where they need to. It’s a fun exercise that allows me to see the whole story idea come together before a word of it is actually written.


Tools

Scrivener is the number one tool writers use to write their books. It has great options for storyboarding/outlining. It formats your book for uploading to your publisher. Go check out everything this program has to offer. Honestly, if you don’t have Scrivener, I strongly suggest you make the investment. Below is my affiliate link.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

If you have Scrivener, another great tool you may want to try is Scapple. Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows. If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does. Plus, you can drag your notes right into Scrivener.


What’s Great About Outlining

  • Outlining breaks down your story idea into small enough segments that you can write about them in one sitting.
  • You can focus on one scene at a time and know where the story is heading so you can really dive into the scene with confidence.
  • You can add details concerning character development to the story arc. I actually add to my outline, about a paragraph on what’s going on in each scene, or what needs to happen, and what’s changing or coming to light with the characters.
  • You can set a milestone goal for each scene and reward yourself each time you’ve finished one. Rewarding yourself along the way will make you more apt to continue with a writing routine.

Books

Here are some great books I recommend if you’re looking to learn more about outlining.

41rtj4w2zzl-_sy346_ Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

by K.M. Weiland

 

 


Templates

For those of you who are wanting to get started right away, here are some templates that you can post up as references to help you as you work through your outline. Although there are several different plot themes you could use and many different methods of outlining, in these templates you’ll find a basic outlining method that works well for most works of fiction. However, I highly recommend reading one or more of the books above before you begin.

*Right-click on the template to save to your computer and print. Images should print as 8.5 x 11 inch or you can choose your own printing options if you’d like them smaller.

Step One: Some basics to consider before you start your outline.

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Step Two: Some pre-outline questions that will help you get started.

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Step Three: A layout of a basic story structure for reference.

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Step Four: A story outline template with the story structure highlighted where it should appear within the story arc.

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For an eye-catching book cover design

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

ship-in-stormWednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Must-Have Writing Tools for Character Development

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Character Building

Characters drive the story. That’s why most writers and lecturers out there will tell you that the characters should be developed first. With all the tics and quirks which make them human.

Authentic characters are the key elements which encourage readers to turn page after page. If they feel connected with the character and identify with them, they will be compelled to keep reading. Your plot has probably been told one way or the other one thousand times before but that doesn’t mean it has read like regurgitated material. When you take the time to develop your characters (as well as your setting), you infuse your story with a cast that comes to life on so many levels. Their character traits and development throughout the story, will drive your plot and keep your readers hanging on to every word.

Because characters are so important, many writers start with them. Pansters write without the use of a story outline, they let the characters act and interact, and watch how the story develops. Pansters should have the conflict of their story clearly defined before they start writing to give them a clear story arc.

Tools

Writers can use the following tools to develop and rehearse one of the fundamental skills of their craft -characterization.

Authors should develop an in-depth knowledge of the character’s personality in order to create consistent and engaging personas.

The ultimate goal of a writer is to utilize their knowledge of character development and craft a wonderfully engrossing, character-driven work of fiction.


Downloadable PDF’s

Creating Your Characters – The Line-Up

How to Write a Character Sketch

The Ultimate Character Questionnaire


Image Templates and Charts

To save and print the images for your wall, simply right-click on the image and select “Save image as” then save it to your device, and print. Viola!

  • Wheel of Archetypes

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  • Preliminary Character Sketch

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  • Create Satisfying Character Arcs

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  • Sample Character Outline

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For Book Cover Design See….

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Your Cast of Characters – The Line Up

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In our efforts to craft a new work of fiction, we writers are faced with the prospect of creating our cast of characters.  This is usually how many stories begin, with the blossoming thoughts of an intriguing personality that begins to stir in our crafty little minds.

Understanding the different character archetypes helps me when I’m putting together my character sketches. I post the different archetypes up on my wall and shuffle around different combinations on paper to get the perfect mix for each member in the cast of my story. I imagine them facing different types of situations and how they will react.

I keep the draft of my story outline close at hand to pencil in scenes that help me frame the story arc. Recalling that we all relate on some level to many aspects of the different archetypes, I set the stage. Following the rise to the climax and, finally, the ending – I create sets of scenes featuring the characters that I believe will pack the most punch and hopefully seduce my readers into becoming emotionally attached to the progression of the story. This is probably the largest element that the readers will take away from the story – how they connected with it, it’s feel.

Character archetypes fill our communities and their individual uniqueness adds to the richness of the lives we live. Archetypes represent a fundamental human collection of the different experiences we may have had in the past. They stir up deep emotions within us. These different types of personalities have been popping up in people’s lives since the dawn of time. Most of us have experienced nearly all of them, or most certainly different aspects of them unless we have been sheltered from social experiences and kept away from our community at large.

Although the following list may be information you’re already aware of, I find it helps to use this list when I’m crafting my characters and maybe you will too. It enables me to more readily imagine their traits individually, to understand what drives them, how they will react in any given situation, and what purpose they serve to the plot and other characters.

Refer to the following list when creating your characters. Supply each character with different levels of each aspect. Have fun with creating a dynamic group that will carry the weight of your story. These are the characters your readers will come to know, root for, pity, laugh-with, worry-about, despise, admire, and even love. Referring to this list can help to make your characters unforgettable.


The Four Cardinal Orientations

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The Four Cardinal Orientations define four groups, with each group containing three types (as the wheel of archetypes shown above illustrates). Each group is motivated by its respective orienting focus: ego-fulfillment, freedom, sociableness and order.


The Ego Types


innocent1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.


orphan-copy2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense
Also known as: The good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.


hero-copy3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.


nurse-copy4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbor as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.


The Soul Types


explorer-copy5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.


rebel-copy6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.


lover-copy7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work, and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing their own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.


creator-copy8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.


The Self Types


jester-copy9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
Talent: joy
The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.


sage-copy10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.


magician-copy11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.


royalty-copy12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

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Related:

Check out Julaina Kleist-Corwin’s video post about the hero’s journey The Hero’s Journey for Writers


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You Should See Our BookPorn!

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A mosaic of select pics from around the web featuring the most lovely book images that lit up my screen.

SELECT IMAGES TO ENLARGE

Essential Advice for Your First Draft

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The first draft does not have to be a painful experience. From what I understand, the key to getting the story down is to stay at it, moving forward to the finish.

We are all guilty of it. We’ve all, at the very least, glanced back at what we’ve written. It’s all so very tempting just to hear how our story is playing out up to that point. However, the best advice in this instance is to hold yourself back from any proofreading or editing of what you’ve written until the story has been laid down entirely. Get the writing of the first draft complete, no matter how rough or unruly. Only when you’ve finished that draft should you revisit what you’ve written.

Pausing to look back on what you’ve written before finishing that first draft can get you stuck in that section of the story. The reasons why could be endless…

  • It could or should be worded better.
  • It doesn’t flow appropriately.
  • The characters aren’t strong enough.
  • The scene should be reworked.

All of the above are jobs to be tackled in your upcoming rounds of edits.

By stopping to read what you’ve written you will get sucked into the temptation to edit and most likely lose your forward momentum with the draft. Here is where your headaches begin and your situation could possibly result in an unfinished story.

You can get so caught up in fixing what you’ve already written that you simply lose your passion that you had for the story in the first place.

If you can hold yourself back ’til that draft is complete, you can give yourself the opportunity to step away from the story for a couple of weeks. Come back to it for your first round of reading and edits with a fresh perspective, a new set of eyes. You should have a clear understanding of the layout and direction of the story at this point, which will strengthen your story arch throughout the editing process.

First drafts don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be written.

What helps you to get your first draft complete?


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How to Make the Most of Your NaNoWriMo Buddies

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NaNoWriMo Buddies serve many purposes. They are there to encourage us, bounce ideas off of, to gain insight from and to be encouraged by – and we are their to do the same for them in return.

Here are some tips that will help you make the most out of your relationships with your buddies. They are a resource for you and the writing challenge you’re invested in. They’re invested too, and can benefit just as much from open lines of communication.

Making the Most Out of Your Buddy List

  • Don’t be tempted to send out open invites to buddy up with just anyone. I made that mistake yesterday before thinking it through. You will make a mess of your list and probably won’t benefit as much as you would if you take some time and do some vetting.
  • Connect with people who you share your genre, inspire you, or that you’ve gotten to know through the forums.
  • When someone ads you as a buddy, you can return the favor by selecting there name and adding them back.
  • Don’t add everyone. You want to keep your buddy list manageable and fill it with people who will help you to succeed.
  • Take the time to check out your prospective buddies bio’s, novels, and excerpts.
  • Reach out to your new buddy, make it personal.
  • Check your buddies word counts and cheer them on.
  • Check your NaNo email every day.

Do You Have Any Buddy Advice?


I am looking for new buddies…

Come check out my profile on NaNoWriMo: Michelle Rene Goodhew

I have been writing since grade school. I am a published poet but no novels yet, I have several stories I started but never got around to finishing. I am new to my novels genre and am actively reading in that genre for insight. I have worked as a copywriter in the publishing industry for about three years now. I write for this blog and am a member of the writing team for Dustin Meyer’s website The Evolutionary Mind where I post content on writing that serves to educate and inspire. I am a professional book cover designer and illustrator by day for Mundus Media Ink.

This is my first year with NaNoWriMo and I’m totally excited. I am writing a YA novel that falls within the genres of paranormal, fantasy, drama, coming of age, thriller, adventure, horror. The main theme of the book is death. Other major themes in the series include:

  • isolation
  • displacement
  • facing darkness
  • self-preservation
  • finding a tribe
  • character development

I am a plotter when it comes to writing books and have mapped out my story for NaNoWriMo. I have it laid down all the way to individual scene sketches, but am trying to leave some room for adjustments. I still have some character development to work on and add to my story arc. I think that character archetypes and their development is where the magic is, and I will make use of that with the story I’m writing.

I need buddies who are willing to give me open and honest advice without worrying about hurting my feelings. If I’m doing something wrong, well that’s great, it gives me the opportunity to learn something new.

I will be posting here about NaNo three days a week to aid my fellow NaNo’s and to learn more about NaNoWriMo myself.

I am available to bounce ideas off of or whatever help I can provide, just contact me and we’ll see if we’re a good match.

There’s much more to see on my bio, and novel pages…come have a look 🙂

Come check out my profile on NaNoWriMo: Michelle Rene Goodhew


Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

676624a85d7f14b1911c88f8e2b2e67bbWednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Nell Zink’s ‘Nicotine’ can leave a reader breathless

Imagine all the different ways people smoke. There’s the cinematic post-coital smoke, the break-up-the-work-day smoke, the pack-a-day smoke, the one-a-day smoke, the-I-only-smoke-at-parties smoke, the hiding-it-from-everyone smoke, and the long-slow-deep-drag-of-cool-Didion Esque-contemplation smoke, to name a very few…

Continue reading

Nell Zink’s ‘Nicotine’ can leave a reader breathless – LA Times

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Mystical Morning, The Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

What Makes The Difference in Your Writing

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What Makes The Difference

If something is stopping you from becoming the writer you want to be, then change it.

In response to the very valid excuses you may come up with for not writing, I have created a list of alternate realities for writers that write.

  • Almost all writers have day jobs, and they still manage to produce some writing. Why can’t you? Writers make the time to practice what they love, writing.
  • If eating dinner exhausts you then you are eating too much, or too fast, or you need to get your body moving not long after your meal. Just like the fact that you can eat smaller portions more slowly to get full, you can get off your butt to induce the energy it takes to get your mind moving again. It really is that simple. And don’t forget that consuming alcohol and then eating leads to passing out. If you’re a drinker, you might want to think about skipping happy-hour in order to have the energy to devote your time to something you might find more meaningful.
  • Writer’s have a special place they go to write. They insist on the time spent alone in that place in order for them to get any writing done. They go outside, they go to parks, coffee shops, closets, nooks, garages, sheds, bedrooms, spare rooms, bathrooms, wherever they can find, because writing, to them, is that important.
  • It is unacceptable for another person to require your attention 100% of the time. Writer’s need their space and set their boundaries accordingly.
  • There is always time to pursue the passion for writing, because you just finally decide to make the time and you make sacrifices for it, and that’s the way it is if you are a writer.
  • Writer’s write. It is not always what they would like to write that they’re busy at. Writer’s write all the time to hone their skill and keep their creativity flowing. It’s called practice. They write about the weather, they journal about their day, they write poetry, practice with writer’s prompts, they use visual aids, they brainstorm ideas and write those down too. They are busy at the business of writing and therefore always improving their skill.
  • All a writer needs is a pencil, a pen, or something that will make marks and the world can be their canvas. Walls, cement, napkins, paper sacks, wood, whatever will accept the words they need to write will do. A writer writes.
  • A writer loves the act of writing and sacrifices other things in order to do it, often what they sacrifice is sleep.
  • Writer’s make a separate schedule to do their research. They not only research their ideas, they research their craft, to improve their writing skills. 
  • Writer’s brainstorm the ideas they are mulling over and write them down. Sometimes splitting them into a layout that serves as their writing template.
  • Writer’s aren’t always in the mood to write and much of what they write is crap. The important thing is that they are exercising their skill and getting better at their craft by showing up to practice it. They will write about whatever comes to mind just to get some words on paper and call it good. Writing is writing, whatever you write about. A writer knows that the book they are writing is just a draft, and probably the first draft, so it will suck anyway. There will be plenty of future sessions spent editing their work, and polishing their previous writing.

Know that nothing will change unless you go about the task of making it change. A person can talk about the way things ought to be for miles and get nowhere if no real action is taken.

The non-writer should commit themselves to writing and dedicate time to it on a regular basis if they want to be a writer. The goal is not out of your reach, but the tomorrow your waiting for will never be here, so do yourself the favor of starting today.


Don’t get discouraged, for those of you who aren’t writing yet, you are a writer waiting to happen.

What do you think would help get someone back into the writing habit?


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Create Your Day

This is the most brilliant lecture I’ve ever listened to. You so gotta get an earful of this – but be sure to listen with a fresh ear, cuz some of it you’ve heard before, but the important parts are fricken magic!

line orangeWhy do you have your beliefs? Who taught them to you and why do you hold it within you? How do you perceive yourself? How do you perceive others? Do you want to learn more about the world you experience and live in? Is there a habit you want to break? Listen to this and get an idea of consciousness. Old knowledge with a new perspective.

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A Writer’s Perspective

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You Have a Unique Perspective That’s Worth Sharing

It’s in there, your voice. Your voice is your unique take on the world at large. It’s your very own special twist on things. It’s how you make your writing shine. It’s what will draw the reader’s to you, and keep them coming back for more. It’s something that only you have, and that’s pretty awesome.

You might be way ahead of me in this department, and if you are then my hats off to you. I’ve been writing for years, but I’m still struggling to find my voice. It’s because I haven’t invested the time and effort into my writing that I should.

I know you know what I’m talking about when I say voice. There are several parts of your character or personality that should be consistent in your writing style. If you’re not beginning to see some common traits of yours that shine through in your writing, then chances are you’re not writing enough.

When you find that unique voice, you might not even be able to explain how it came about – let alone describe what it is. That’s the beauty of writing and discovering as you write. Sometimes the best things just happen naturally.

Making the Commitment

Some of us just struggle to carve out the time to devote to our writing. It’s okay, I totally get it, I’m guilty of it too. I should be writing every day, learning more about what kind of writer I’m becoming, because even after a few years at this I don’t feel like I’m quite there yet.

Make a promise to yourself, to work on your writing. I’ll make that promise to myself as well. I will get up an hour earlier every day to focus at least 45 minutes on my writing. Can you do the same, carve out some time every single day to see where your writing can take you? You’re worth it.

(if you’ve had a hard time finding your voice, check out the article below by Jeff Goines, he’s got some really great tips)

Now go kick some ass, it’s Monday 😉



An exercise for finding your voice

“If you struggle with getting people to read your writing or with staying consistent in your craft, you need to stop chasing numbers and productivity and reboot. It’s time to start finding and developing that voice of yours.” – Jeff Goins



Get a Stunning Book Cover Design or Illustration from an Award Winning Artist 

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Halloween Tasty Beverage – While Writing…

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Booze + no gooey mess? This is the best caramel apple we’ve ever had…


TOTAL TIME: 0:05
PREP: 0:05
LEVEL: EASY
SERVES: 4 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. Caramel
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 8 oz. caramel vodka
  • 1 bottle champagne
  • Apple slices, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small dish, pour caramel sauce. In another small dish, pour cinnamon sugar. Dip champagne flutes into caramel to rim glass, then dip in cinnamon sugar.
  2. Pour apple cider, caramel vodka, and top with champagne into flutes.
  3. Garnish with an apple slice and serve.

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Author Chat with K.M. Weiland

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I recently had the opportunity to interview K.M. Weiland who is just super awesome! I am a huge fan of her writing and admire the vast amount of knowledge she has to share with the writing community. Check out how she got her start as a leading author mentor and more…

k-m-weilandK.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


Tell us a little about yourself:

Where are you from and what is your favorite pastime?

I’m a longtime western Nebraskan. Writing, of course, is my all-consuming passion. But I also enjoy various types of design, as well studying the psychology of personality.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I don’t know that it was ever something I “discovered” per se. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made up stories. In fact, my earliest memory is of myself dreaming up some wild story about saving my family from some unknown catastrophe. I started writing my stories down when I was eleven or twelve, and throughout high school, I wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for horse-crazy girls. Moving on to novels was a natural progression. I guess you could say I’ve always been a storyteller; it’s just inborn; it’s who I am. But the writing—the learning of the craft, the studying to show myself approved—that was something I became.

What is the number one book you would recommend to writers and why?

Tough to pick just one! But I’m going to go with Robert McKee’s Story. Blew my mind.

What inspires you to write speculative historical fiction?

I’ve always loved history—mostly because it’s… a story! But I love exploring faraway places and times and the beauty of other cultures.

Where do you come up with your ideas?

I like to say that inspiration is everywhere—and it really is. I’ve picked ideas from such disparate places as the dust on my windowsill (I’m a terrible duster) to my pets to the grapefruit I had for breakfast. It’s really just a matter of being open to whatever you’re experiencing at the moment.

But I will say that most of my inspiration is usually the result of other people’s art. The three big ones are most definitely:

1. Books
2. Movies
3. Music

I feed off other people’s stories and glean little tidbits that inspire stories of my own. The characters and themes in books and movies and the half-answered questions in songs are endless sources of inspiration for me.

What is the main theme of your fictional writing?

I’ve always loosely defined my fiction as “blood and thunder,” but a reviewer recently described them like this: “The consistent theme in each of her books is finding the best in human relationships and coming to an understanding about who you are and what you believe.” I thought that was pretty accurate, so I adopted it!

Helping Writers Become Authors

If you haven’t discovered Katie’s award-winning blog Helping Writers Become Authors, you should take the time to visit.

You are an expert in your field and I am curious to know how and when you got started? Was your author mentoring blog an early career goal, was it strategically planned, or was it created to fulfill the needs of your growing network?

Like most newly published authors, I was looking for a way to build a platform. And, like most newly published authors, I was clueless how to start. I figured blogging about writing would be more interesting than blogging about washing dishes or walking the dog. At the time, my intent was merely to spread the word about my fiction. But, of course, it’s grown into so much more.

What do you love most about what you do? How would you describe your journey as a mentor so far and where do you see yourself in the future?

I think the reward is two-fold:

1) I’m learning right along with everyone I teach. My blog and my books are just an outgrowth of my own writing journey. Forcing myself to put my own thoughts and discoveries into a teachable format has been invaluable to me in strengthening my own conscious knowledge of writing.

2) I love helping people. It’s a joy to be able to reach out and touch others in the solitary lifestyles we pursue as writers. I’m humbled and honored that I’ve gotten to work with so many people. It always makes my day to hear that something I’ve written has helped another writer have a “light bulb” moment in their own writing.

How do you carve out enough time to manage your platforms, provide such great content, and write books?

I like to say, in all seriousness, that schedules are my secret weapon. I manage my time strictly and I’m always tweaking my daily schedule to try to get my best productivity while still balancing the need for relaxation and recharging.

I like to get my writing done first thing in the morning, while the day is still fresh. Right now, I’m experimenting with staving off email, and Internet activities until the very last thing in the work day. Blogging gets its own day, in which I take care of all the weekly blogging duties in one fell swoop.

Minimizing distractions is key, so I’m very strict with myself about wasting time on the Internet, watching videos, or even reading news sites.

What advice would you give to someone carving out their own niche in the publishing industry today on how to strategize for the greatest chance of success?

Marketing is about personality. It’s about getting your personality—your books—your brand—to as many people as possible. That starts with a platform, and the foundation for that platform is your home on the web. Start building an email list as soon as you can, since this will be your only assured direct route to dedicated readers. Give them content they care about to keep their attention: drawings, freebies, special deals, glimpses into your life. Craft your book launches with care, since Amazon’s sales algorithms will treat you right if you can prove early on that you can generate sales. And most of all—have fun! Don’t let marketing be a chore; embrace it as a challenge. Your audience will sense that attitude and respond to it.

Author Advice

Write Yourself a Bad Review

I recently read a guest post you did with Patrick Ross where you gave some great advice for authors in “Write Yourself a Bad Review”. In your post, you mention our inner critics and how they might actually benefit us. I liked the idea of giving these critics the chance to be heard to identify weak areas of our writing.

I love the humor you injected into this article while also offering up a specific set of areas to focus on so the bad review pays off. Your plan of action at the end is a brilliant method for going back to a manuscript with a fresh set of eyes that has looked at the writing from a fantastic perspective.

I would recommend this unique approach as a round of edits that all authors should approach because it can provide a level of assurance that they have put their best work out for publication.

I had never come across this idea before as something that could provide such a great deal of positive criticism without seeking outside help.

When did you start implementing this technique and how did you discover it?

If memory serves I think fellow author Roz Morris had written something in her great writing book Nail Your Novel that sparked the idea. I don’t use it for every book, only those that are really giving me trouble.

What are some faults it has helped you overcome as an author?

It’s a good way to really drill down to the heart of the issues that are dogging a novel—to see them objectively, instead of just flailing away at the book, knowing something is wrong.

Do you have any other suggestions that might make an impact on an author’s final product as the process of writing yourself a bad review does?

How about writing yourself a good review? 🙂 Usually, I’ll write myself both a bad review and a good review of the idealized novel I want to create. More on that in this post: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/strengthen-your-story-by-writing/

More Author Advice

Earlier I mentioned your Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. I have these books now and love them. I have found everything I learned from them extremely helpful to me as a writer. You didn’t have the boxed sets with the workbooks like you offer now, so that’s an added bonus for anyone that’s interested. You also offer a story structure database on your website that is pretty impressive.

How can writers take advantage of that?

I have a whole post, talking about how to best utilize and navigate the Story Structure Database: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/story-structure-database/

Basically, I recommend watching your favorite movies and reading your favorite books and trying to figure out the structure for yourself. Then stop by the site, look up the story, and see how it lines up with what I’ve provided. It’s a great, hands-on way to really understand how structure works and how it affects a vast array of stories.


A huge thanks to K.M. Weiland for taking the time to  chat with me 🙂



Young Writers Competition with awards of up to $10,000 in prizes

Around the Web:

Young Writer’s Competition


Are you a 15-18 year old writer?

The Writing discipline includes creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, short story and spoken word. Writing winners receive entry to a National YoungArts Foundation workshop where they can push the boundaries of their abilities with master teachers in their established field during a week-long program.


WHY APPLY

  • Win cash awards of up to $10,000, an alternative to scholarships to spend as you wish
  • Take master classes with accomplished writers such as Edward Albee, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Chinaka Hodges, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Sam Lipsyte, Campbell McGrath, Joan Morgan, Salmon Rushdie and Rebecca Walker
  • Become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
  • Receive a lifetime of mentoring and professional support with a rich network of peers
  • Connect to educational and artistic development opportunities

AM I ELIGIBLE?

To apply artists must be:

  • US citizens or have permanent resident status
  • 15-18 years of age or in grades 10-12 on December 1, 2016

SUBMIT by October 14, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST


REQUIREMENTS

Creative Nonfiction and Short Story applicants must submit 2 pieces of writing. Novel applicants must submit a synopsis and an excerpt. Play or Script applicants must submit a dramatic script or a synopsis and an excerpt. Poetry applicants must submit at least 1 poem. Spoken Word applicants must submit 2-3 poems and video performances for each. All the requirements are listed in downloadable PDFs found at the bottom of the contest details page at the link provided below.

Find out more and how to apply at the National YoungArts Foundation


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Source: Writing | YoungArts

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this should be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

Author Chat: Debbie Moyes

Today I’m pleased to chat with author Debbie Moyes and introduce you to her latest books.

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  • When and why did you become a writer, what inspired you? What makes you stand out from the rest? What Inspired you to write these two books?

A year ago, I watched an episode of 60 minutes about an entertainment time capsule in the midwest, and a story line popped into my head that absolutely refused to leave. I couldn’t function anymore, so I decided to write it down, and before I knew it, the story-line had turned into a book. Then that book turned into a sequel, then into a third novel. 

  • What draws you to your current genre? Or what’s the coolest thing about your genre?

As far as my genre, I have always been a science fiction nerd. I grew up watching Star Trek and find anything science-related to be so fascinating and entertaining. Naturally, that’s where my mind goes when I think of stories. I love the innocence of young love and adventure, and also tend not to use things like swearing, drinking, immorality, etc. Which naturally draws me to Young Adult. I absolutely love clean YA books. 

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  • What’s your secret, how did you get from first drafts to publication so quickly? Maybe we could adopt some of your habits.

People ask me how I wrote books so quickly. First of all, I treated it as a full time job, giving up television and staying up until my eyes couldn’t stay open any more. The story gets out quickly for me, because I see it literally as a movie in my mind, everything the characters do and say, and then I simply write down what I see. Editing is the hardest part, going through a million times, having others edit for me, etc. It’s a longer process, but it’s worth it, because seeing your work in print/ebook is awesome!

  • Tell us about your cover designs!

My covers are amazing. I knew I couldn’t have people on the cover, and I knew it couldn’t look too “Science Fiction-ish,” considering that a large part of the book is on the planet instead of space, and is much more adventure sci fi than hard sci fi. I love how the covers for both book one and two tie together really well–there’s no doubt that you can tell they’re in the same series. Both covers give off the feel I was looking for. 

  • Tell us how you hit #1 on Amazon, how did you market your books? We could use some pointers.

As far as getting to #1 on Amazon, I used basic marketing techniques. I did the advertising thing on Facebook, and told people that if they were kind enough to mention the book, to NOT say that they knew me in any way. It sounds more legit to hear someone say they read a good book, than to hear that their friend/sister/cousin wrote a book and everyone should check it out. I brought out the sequel quickly after the first book, in the hopes that readers would want to go straight to book two, instead of having to wait and then forgetting about the series completely. I also used the kindle select free days to my advantage. When the book was scheduled to go free, I signed up on several different book promotion sites and applied for my book to be featured as a free book with them. They were all free, although there’s many options for paid promotion. The days that it was free, it was being shown on various sites, as well as twitter. When people downloaded it for free, the hope it that it would then draw them in to buy the sequel. 

  • What are some helpful tips you could give to aspiring writers?

Advice I could give to any other writers would be to use others. Get many people to read your work and honestly critique it. Change things that don’t work, even if you love them dearly. And absolutely don’t stop writing, ever! Getting success with your writing is slow going, but don’t stop trying. 

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  • What journey will we experience with your story, what will we come away with?

Something I love about my series is that it’s clean. Way too many books, even Young Adult, are full of swearing, sex, drugs, etc. I love when a book has an awesome story without having to include those things and wanted to make mine that way. There’s a twist in the story that I find fascinating– it makes you look at our world and the universe in general in a different way. My stories also touch on the subject of morality and compromising values for the greater good. Is it justified? Or is it still wrong?

  • What can we expect from you next and when?

I have the third book in the World 4 Series coming out in October 2016, and another YA series in the works. I put out “hidden chapters” (parts of the story that didn’t make it into the actual novel) onto my website www.debbiemoyesauthor.com, as well as updates and random ramblings. I can’t stop writing!

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Hello! Im melting in the desert of Arizona while taking care of my four kids. Science fiction has always been a love of mine, as well as adventure and of course, anything Young Adult. I started writing World 4 as a kind of secret hobby, which then exploded into a full-on series and my new, awesome passion. I love stories that can transport you to a different place and introduce new ideas. I love these characters, and want so badly for everyone to know their story!

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How to Get Book Reviews

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Let’s face it, waiting for book reviews can seem to take a lifetime. These all important book reviews are a necessity in getting your book viewed and purchased by more readers. Without them, you’re screwed.

Waiting for Book Reviews?

While your waiting for your book reviews to increase in number you can begin a campaign that will help them do just that.

Ask for reviews: There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for reviews. In fact, you can send out a newsletter to your subscribers advertising your new book and ask for reviews.

Query book reviewers: You don’t need to pay for this service, although you can. I recommend you get real reviews, because paid ones stand out from the rest, they’re a bit obvious. Start assembling your list of book reviewers well before your publication date. This is something you want to be prepared for so that when your book is released, it has a large amount of reviews to go with it. Book bloggers are the best people to reach out to for this purpose. There are several other places to find reviewers as well.

  • Story Cartel – all books on Story Cartel are free in exchange for honest book reviews.

Be sure to check out the etiquette for this process later in this post.

Offer prizes: You can offer up prizes for your reviews in the form of author swag. People love free stuff and they love to win prizes. You could have anyone who purchases your book write a review and be automatically entered into a drawing that shows your appreciation. You can give out bookmarks, playing cards, coffee mugs, water bottles, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more.

Give your book away: Take advantage of the three days Amazon gives you to give your book away for free. When you are doing your promotions you can mention it’s in exchange for a review.

Ask friends and family: You can amass quite a few reviews just by asking friends, family, and coworkers. These people like you, chances are they are willing to read your book. Ask them to leave you a review, heck, offer them prizes too if you want. Just be sure to mention that they shouldn’t refer to you as if they know you when writing their review. The review will sound more convincing that way and help to draw new readers into buying your book.

Be proactive: What’s important when seeking reviews is to be proactive. Talk about it on your social networks. Use a book teaser to help gain interest in your book through your marketing. But always mention that you would appreciate reviews. Do a blog tour and ask for reviews there.

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A Few Words On Etiquette

Some may not know this, but there is actually etiquette that goes into asking a reviewer to read your book. Reviewers are not obligated to read your book, and they certainly aren’t required to like your book, so here are a couple of pieces of advice for the author who is looking to get their book reviewed.

  • Take the time to establish a relationship with your book bloggers.
  • Take into consideration what the reviewer likes to read.
  • Give a synopsis of your book in the query email.
  • Don’t hound the reviewer.
  • Don’t get upset if the reviewer doesn’t like your book.
  • Don’t expect the reviewer to search out the book.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Make it personal.

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How to get high ranking reviews

Amazon Top Reviewers: Garnering a positive review from one of Amazon’s top customer reviewers is not only a great endorsement for your book, it’s often perceived as a more meaningful, and especially helpful, review due to the criteria that Amazon uses to qualify those that have achieved this ranking.

Their higher profile and credibility, plus the competition for their in-depth, quality reviews makes it tough to catch this group’s attention. But the rewards are often worth the extra effort. In many cases, reviews from top Amazon reviewers can generate enough momentum to create a cascade of additional reviews and book sales.

Another strategy for finding high quality reviewers on Amazon:

  • Go to your personal Author Page on Amazon and locate the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on the right. This section provides a list of authors whose topic or genre is similar to your own.
  • Clicking on an author name will bring you to their author page, which will include a listing of their books. Choose a book, then click on a review for that book. This will take you to the Customer Reviews page.
  • Click on the name of a reviewer to get to that reviewer’s Amazon profile (which lists books or items that they’ve reviewed).
  • Look for contact info like an email address or a link to their website.
  • Send them a query via email, referencing that you noticed they reviewed book XYZ by John Doe and you are wondering if they would be interested in reviewing your book on a similar topic, and that you’d be happy to send them a free copy if they’re interested.
  • Remember, you can go through the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on each author’s page, not just your own.
  • No spam! Make it personal and be authentic.

Publishers Weekly: BookLife is PW’s new site dedicated to the world of Self-Publishing. It’s packed with tips, reviews, profiles and destinations for authors and readers!

It’s also the new home of PW Select, their marketing program for self-published authors and the place where indie authors can now submit their books for PW Review consideration FOR FREE!

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10 places that review self-published books

1. Goodreads

2. Digital Book Today

3. Kirkus

4. Self-Publishing Review

5. IndieReader.com

6. Indie B.R.A.G.

7. PW Select (Publisher’s Weekly)

8. Blue Ink Review

9. The Indie Reviewer List — (not a review site itself, but a great resource with links and contacts for book reviewers and blogs that highlight self-published literature)

10. Book Blogger Directory — (similarly, a “comprehensive listing of book blogs”)

What advice can you give for getting more reviews?

 

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Why You Need a Book Poster

By Jessica Kane

Independent authors are faced with many unique challenges, and one of the most daunting is promotion.

Seeing your book in print for the first time is a special moment that soon gives way to the sobering reality that now you must market it properly.

One of the most effective ways to do this is with a book poster.

There are a few reasons why you need a book poster copy

  • A poster is a highly-portable and visual way to draw attention to your book that can be used in variety of methods and places.
  • Aside from book blogging, which is a great method of promotion for independent authors, a book poster that is professionally designed lends a certain amount of credibility to your status as an author.
  • While the number of self-published authors has grown in recent years, there is still something of a stigma attached to independent publishing. Many readers have a perception that the writing of an independent author cannot be as good as that of an author with a big publishing contract. This is patently false, of course, but it is still something you must overcome. One way to do that is to mimic the promotion methods used by mainstream publishing houses, and the book poster has long been used to generate a buzz for new releases. Just check the window of your local bookstore the next time you visit.

The thing is, any old poster won’t do. Too many independent authors make the mistake of trying to design their own or of using a cheap online printing service. A poorly designed poster can actually hurt your chances for sales rather than improve them. If you are going to use a poster, having it professionally designed offers significant advantages. A designer can bring their creative skills into play in order to capture the essence of your book in a way that others cannot.

Think about it. If you are an independent author, writing is what you do. It is far more efficient to spend your time book blogging than to spend it designing a poster or banner. The money you spend on hiring someone to design a poster for you is well-spent because it frees you up to do what you do best–write.

Getting a book poster designed is actually one of the most cost-effective methods of book promotion because a poster has a wide variety of applications.

  • Posters can be bundled with pre-order offers to enhance the chances that people will make a purchase. Be honest. How many times have you purchased a book because you liked the cover art? You’re not alone. The importance of graphic presentation is something the big publishers have always understood. If you sign some posters and include them with a pre-order, there is a chance that you will make more sales.
  • If you are promoting your book with signings at local book retailers, using posters to promote the event and having some on hand to sign is a plus. Once again, the quality of the poster is all important. You only have one chance to make a good impression with it.
  • Posters are an integral part of the press kit that you should assemble and send to media outlets and reviewers in advance of your book’s publication. Critics are just like anyone else. They, too, can be swayed by slick presentation. If you include a poster with your marketing materials you are sending a message that you are a serious player. The absence of nice graphics in the form of a poster or banner will often sound the death knell for an independent author. If a reviewer takes your book out of the envelope and it looks like a self-published work, expect it to be shuffled to the bottom of the heap where it may or may not get a review.

Overall, book posters are a wise investment. They should be a part of your marketing budget for their ability to increase exposure in a way that is effective and economical when weighed against other methods of promotion.

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unnamedJessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.

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The Importance of Your Book Cover

 

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The cover of your book is important because it’s the first thing a reader sees. You’ll want it to have a design that grabs their attention and portrays an accurate idea of what your book is about. Your book deserves an exceptional cover—a cover that you feel proud of—one that reflects the quality of your book, as well as the commitment and attention to detail that went into writing it.

The more general your cover idea is, the more likely I’ll be able to create a successful design. If your cover idea is too detailed, I may have difficulty creating a design that looks professional. For example, if you want to see a man and a woman on the beach, this is a general idea that can probably be turned into a very attractive cover. But if you want a man and a woman of very specific ages, ethnicities, hair color, and clothing, we may have a very hard time finding images that match your description. My covers are created from stock images and photography in a large subscription library. While I’m able to manipulate these images to an extent, it is still a good idea to keep your cover idea as general as possible.

Also, try to be as open minded about your idea, and if possible try to think of more than one possible design concept. This will keep my options open, allowing me to pursue the idea or design that can be completed the most professionally and attractively.

Don’t Show Too Much of Your Character

It may be tempting to show your book’s main character on the cover but this usually isn’t a very good idea. Most readers prefer to use their imagination to depict the story and characters in their head. In addition, it can be very difficult for a designer to find a stock-image that lives up to your expectations of what your character looks like. If you want a face on the cover, it’s a good idea to be generalized as far as looks are concerned. Woman with red hair is a good example and still gives me room to find good images for you.

If you think it is important for your main character to be represented on the cover, there are ways to do this without revealing the whole character. Consider using a silhouette of the character or perhaps showing them in either small part or from behind. These alternatives will spark your reader’s interest without limiting their imaginations.

Be Simple, Strong and Symbolic

Refrain from depicting a specific scene on the cover of your book. A specific scene is often difficult to assemble using stock images and is usually not the best way to tell potential readers what your book is about. Remember that the front cover is the first thing that most readers will see. Without the proper context, a specific scene may not have any meaning to them.

It is better to be more symbolic or iconic with your cover design. Try to come up with a simple eye-catching idea that anyone will understand upon first sight. Keep in mind that most people will see your book as a tiny picture on a bookstore website or out the corner of their eye in a bookstore. In either instance, a strong, simple, symbolic cover is much more likely to catch their attention than one that is complicated or cluttered.

Research at Your Local Book Store and Browse Stock Images

If you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for your cover, it may be a good idea to do some research. Go online and examine books of the same genre. This can give you some ideas or suggestions for your own book’s cover design. Once you have an idea in mind, you can browse and purchase stock images on the web or give some sample covers to your designer and let them find the perfect stock-images.

Don’t Forget the Technical Stuff

There are a few technical guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to your book’s cover design. The first is to be aware of copyright issues when submitting images for your cover. If an image appears to be copyrighted, we will not be able to use it without written permission from the copyright holder. Submitting copyrighted images without permission may also delay your book’s production. You can avoid potential copyright infringement by submitting images you have taken yourself or by choosing licensed images from stock-image websites. Or better yet, as mentioned before, let the designer choose the best stock images for you. They are professional designers with an eye for detail and would know what would create the right emotional response from the viewer.

It is also important that your images be high resolution. Resolution refers to the crispness or quality of focus in your images. Cover images must have a resolution of no less than 300 DPI. In addition, they must be a size suitable for their intended use.

Click here if you’re looking to hire an award winning designer and illustrator.

 

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

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Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dare go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a story-teller so this should be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites.
  • If you want, when you’re done, Check which famous writer you write like with a statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Just paste your completed work at  I Write Like – You will be given a badge that says which famous author you write like and you can paste the html into the end of your Wednesday Visual Writer’s Prompt, if you like, to show us all your badge! AWESOME!
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!