Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Blog – 2013 Joyce Hart

On Facebook people have been writing 10 things you don’t know about me, or 9 things, or 8 things, etc.  It is interesting to read facts about your friends that you really didn’t know.  I was supposed to write 9 things, but haven’t had the nerve to do that yet.

However, I was wondering, what ten things am I thankful for in 2013?  Can you list ten blessings rather quickly?

  1. My Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ 
  2. Family, husband and sons, daughters-in-law & grandson
  3. Church
  4. Friends
  5. Literary clients & agents
  6. Home
  7. My country
  8. Books to read
  9. Shopping
  10. That I’m able to walk after surgeries

As Maria said in “Sound of Music,” these are a few of my favorite things.     

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?    

We’re having about nine guests for dinner today.  I told them “come early, because I need help.”  I’m glad I have the freedom to say that to my family and friends.  We have lived in our home for 30 years this month and for most of those years we’ve had Thanksgiving here.  It’s a privilege to be able to do that.  Often we invite people who don’t have family in the area to join our family. 

I was looking through the grocery ads last week, looking for the best buys on turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings.   It made me remember one year when the boys were small, we were pastoring in Grand Island, NE and didn’t have much for Thanksgiving dinner that year.  Another pastor from out of town dropped by the day before Thanksgiving and brought us a large roasting hen and all the fixings for dinner.  We were so thankful.

Ps 100 is a Psalm of Thanksgiving. Verses 1 through 5 says:

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.  Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,and into His courts with Praise.  Be thankful to Him and bless His name.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting.  And His truth endures to all generations.”  NKJV

May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Lord help us to be truly thankful for all of the blessings that we enjoy!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Traditions We Hold by Diana Flegal

When I think about the traditions of the season I hearken back many years to a much simpler time.
At Thanksgiving, we ate our meal in shifts, there were so many of us at my grandmothers house. If the weather was decent we would play ball outside, or if it had snowed; sled or build snowmen until we were called in. Television football games served as background noise in the packed living room. Many  Polaroid photos of my various uncles sleeping off their turkey stupor testify to the good cooks in my family. But don't try to change the channel on the  television. A quick, "Hey, I'm watching the game!" would ruin our plans.

Recently I read a heart warming, nostalgic fiction manuscript. With it's small town community, neighborly 'over the fence' talking, I realized when considering it's target audience, it would not have provoked the same sentiment in my 25 year old son as it had in me.
How do the new traditions impact authors today writing stories?
A scene might include a group of cousins playing wii, or using the T.V. for a digital game of karaoke or dance hopscotch.   Maybe grandpa could suggest a game of outdoor tag football or the old standby, I SPY. 
A great book that can offer all kinds of creative things to do with your family and friends this holiday season is J. J. Ferrer's book  titled, Skipping Stones and Other Fun  Old-Time Games. With chapter headings of; Ball games, Brain games, Car Games etc., your sure to find something you all might enjoy.

So while things change, and quicker these days than of old; it is still all about family and friends being together and making and keeping  our memories.

Do changing traditions affect how you write 'story'? What new traditions have you added as your families have changed?  



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Leave Out the Good Stuff by Andy Scheer

That principle served me well on my latest book project.

I'm assembling a photo gift book for my father-in-law, based on the 10-day, 2,700-mile trip we took this fall in his 1930 Ford Model A. I served as navigator, co-driver, and photographer. Along the way we explored five antique car museums.

At the end of our trip, thanks to digital photography and a pair of cameras, I'd shot some 2,700 photos.

How could I make the decisions to assemble a photo book? Simple. First eliminate the bad stuff: photos with poor composition, focus, or exposure. But that still left more than 2,600 photos. So I had to eliminate the good stuff.

My book would have no room for images that are merely good. Or that overlap with better photos.

Today as I saved the final draft, my photo book has 56 pages and 203 photos. Each earned its place by telling an essential part of the story in a distinctive way.

I expect my target reader will keep turning pages, all the way to the end.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do I Want to be Your Friend? By Linda S. Glaz

Our social medias pursue us like hounds on a burglar. It’s impossible to open the email in the morning and not find dozens of invitations to join your “friends” on the social media of the day. And those are constantly changing. New ones popping up, old ones figuring out new ways to connect you with more people. And all in the name of advertising. Did you think they did this from the kindness of their hearts?
The more you are interconnected, the more they can find just the right items to sell you. If you post about someone lying, suddenly all sorts of messages about people lying crop up along the side of your site. Mention a food blog…and you are inundated with food sites.
So what does it benefit you to become friends with John Smith and Suzie Jones? You’ve never met them and all they really seem to do is take up space on your site. Do you NEED to know each time Suzie’s two-year old goes potty by herself?
Recently, the buzzwords for an author are: platform, platform, and platform. So what’s a person to do if they want a chance at the brass ring?
There comes a time when balance, as with anything else in life, is key. You want to write, but you’re told you need to have a platform, and soon, platform takes over. You are spending more time checking your social media than you are writing.
Balance truly IS key. Set aside x-amount of minutes per day: check in with your ‘unknowns’ on social media, check your email, write blogs, check others’ blogs, but more importantly—write! You can’t promote something you don’t have.
Balance! Moderation. We learn as we get older that moderation is paramount to living any type of successful life. Staying slim, avoiding addictions, work, play.
Do you want EVERYONE to be your friend? Do you want to ‘stay connected’ 24/7? Do you need to have everyone like you, like your interests?
There comes a time when you have to make the decision: Do I want to be your friend?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Debunking the Roles of Publishers, Literary Agents & Publicists by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#publishers #publicists #agents

Much of what I'm about to say is up for interpretation and opinion, but my goal is to attempt to dispel some myths and define how most people in the publishing industry see these three roles, including how these roles are starting to change a bit. Why am I writing about this? Because I have had several people contact me this past year, hoping I can help with things that publicists do not typically do. I'm using the word "typically" because you will always find a rare exception to every case.

  • Publishers - Publish and distribute books to book sellers
  • Literary Agents - Represents authors & sells unpublished works to publishers & negotiates contracts
  • Publicists - Promote and publicize published works & authors to buying readers, including the media to increase their audience

Traditional Publishers 

  • Contracts - Prepares and offers contracts to authors. This includes an acquisition editor reading your manuscript proposal, taking it to a committee and pitching it to others. Once approved, it is negotiated with your agent, attorney and the author. Contracts are signed, authors typically receive half of the agreed upon advance.
  • Editorial Process - Author writes the manuscript, turns it into the editor, editor reads the manuscript and makes edit changes. Author makes changes and it goes through another round of edits, sometimes a third round of edits. 
  • Distribution Process - The publisher is responsible for having the right connections and maintaining those connections with book sellers and distributors who sell to bookstores. Based on the quantity of print runs and these connections, determines where an author's book will be available for purchase in bookstores to readers. The smaller the publisher, the fewer connections they will have and the fewer quantities of books they will have available. If you choose to self-publish, this is YOUR responsibility. You will not be able to hire a publicist or a literary agent to do this for you. Getting your books into bookstores and to distributors who sell to bookstores is not a task that most publicists take on. You may be able to find a publicist who will try, but most will not even tackle this difficult job since it is too hard, too time consuming, and feels like banging one's head against a brick wall.  
  • Marketing - Some publishers will provide an in-house publicist and/or hire a consulting publicist to promote their entire book list. This means that this publicist works for the publisher, not the authors. While the publicist will be an indirect benefit to the author, they are given priority to the books that the publisher determines and that is usually the big name authors who are already selling the most books. New and small authors are not a priority. Some small publishers do not have a publicist at all. This is why so many authors end up hiring their own publicist to represent them and their works on an  individual basis. 

Literary Agents

  • Manuscript Screening - Literary agents screen hundreds and thousands of manuscripts each year. They reject most, ask to see more of others, and find a select few that they feel is good enough and/or will fit into a publishing line. 
  • Proposal Process - Some agents are involved in requesting authors to provide additional edits and formatting the manuscript in a proposal process. They may give authors guidelines on what should be included in the proposal such as bio, book comparisons, marketing plan, how much of the manuscript to include, etc. Also, this will vary from publisher to publisher since each house has their own specific requirements and standards. Once the proposal is ready, the agent writes a cover letter and submits it to editors at publishing houses that are open to that particular genre.
  • Contract Negotiation - Agents are responsible for keeping authors informed of the status of manuscripts at publishing houses, rejections, feedback from editors, editorial changes if an editor is willing to look at it again, if it advances to a committee and negotiates the contracts if a publisher makes an offer. Agents often nudge editors if they have had a manuscript for a long period of time and have not responded at all. 
  • Career Advice - An additional benefit that agents sometimes provide is career advice to authors. Agents will often suggest an author try writing in a different genre or consider submitting to a publisher that they were not originally targeting, give marketing advice, and encourage authors. 
  • Handles Author/Editor Disputes - Sometimes an agent can step in and negotiate terms and issues if an author and editor are having a disagreement. This saves authors from having to deal with an uncomfortable situation and saves the relationship between the author and the editor. 


  • Media - Promotes the book to the media via press releases and news-wire distributions, including TV, radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, ezines, bloggers, and social media channels. Unless the author is a well-known celebrity, it is difficult to get on some traditional TV, radio and newspapers. 'Therefore, publicists will often concentrate on the author's local media connections and or strategic topics of interest to show hosts that may relate to the book itself.
  • Book Signings - Traditionally, publicists would contact bookstores, festivals, book fairs and conferences to schedule authors to sign books. These days most authors do not have the funds to travel and publicists either concentrate on the authors location connections for these signings or foregoes book signings in favor of virtual book tours. 
  • Virtual Book Tours - Publicists will schedule authors to appear on 20-30 blogs over the period of a month or two. Tours can include book reviews, author interviews, guest posts by the authors, scavenger hunts, etc. Giveaways of the book are often included, as well as gift certificates, kindles, nooks, ipads, free trips, etc. 
  • Digital Platform - Nowadays authors must have an online digital platform where readers can find them through all kinds of connections, networks and channels. Publicists will often give consulting advice or offer services to design branded websites and blogs, social media packages, video book trailers, banner ads and/or ad campaigns. 
  • Facebook & Twitter Parties - Some publicists will coordinate and host social media parties in a fun way to bring authors directly to their readers. It's a live online chat at a designated place where authors share news of a book launch, readers ask questions, and lots of giveaways are offered. 
  • Speakers Bureau - Some publicists will offer the service of booking authors to speak at special events and conferences, while others will just offer a listing service for an author to promote their speaking talents and topics. 

With digital publishing, some literary agents are now taking on the role of publishing e-books and offering publicist services. Likewise, some publicists are taking on the role of publishing e-books. I have considered this as well since I offer book cover designs, and I may start offering it in the near future at Upon the Rock Publicist.

The role of distribution will soon have a new dynamic as subscription based e-book services continue to pop up. This past weekend a reader came up to me and was excited to meet me because she had read my newest novel For Love or Loyalty on a book club subscription service. I didn't even know that my book was available on this service, but it made me realize how valuable something like that could be if my book wasn't available on a popular service that could become as big as Netflix and Hulu for books.

I'm sure I left out a few things, but hopefully this post will give people a clearer understanding of these roles. What are some of your thoughts and questions?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's nearly that time - by Terry Burns

Yes, it's nearly the time when publishing slows to a crawl for the holiday season. There are no hard and fast rules in publishing, but as a general observation it can be very difficult to get a publishing decision in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year.That's "family time" for publishing professionals and with that family time being scheduled over this holiday and that holiday, it can be almost impossible at times to get committees together to approve acquisitions.

But that doesn't mean things aren't going on.

A lot of people use the period to clean out their inboxes. Many have more time during this period to do reading than at other times of the year. This is a good thing if that reading gets our project selected to present to the powers that be when things start moving again.

A "yes" for any house other than a small press is going to involve other people. But there are lots of people authorized to say "no." That means we can look for a higher number of rejections during this time than other times and they try to weed out that inbox.

There are often fewer distractions during this period if they are working, or maybe more distractions if they are working at home, as they try to evaluate submissions. How much are they going to read to make their decision?

All editors and agents know that they are going to have to pass on most submissions. It isn't that they want to, the numbers tell them that. They know how many they are going to have to look at and what few slots they have to fill. So they tend to read to the point where they are sure that it isn't going to work for them. It may be well down into the proposal, even reading some of the actual writing. Or it may be as quick as the subject line of the email. As an example our submission guidelines say we do not work in the adult sci fi and fantasy markets. So if a subject line said, "please find enclosed by 250,000 word sci fi epic," how much am I likely to read. I just did, that's it.

Of course a quick perusal of the submission guidelines before sending would have prevented that.

So is it a good time or a bad time to submit? I don't think that matters. Worse case it may sit in an inbox until after the holidays. Best case it may be set aside for action when people are back up to speed. But most important, actual responses that we tend to receive during this period may not help our holiday spirits any. But there are always those exceptions that prove the rules.

It's a little early but I hope everyone has a terrific Thanksgiving. I guess since it falls on a Thursday that it would normally be up to me to post that day, but I think it'd be more appropriate for that message to come from Joyce. Frankly I hope you are all so happily involved with family that you don't have time to read it that day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't Shoot the Messenger by Diana Flegal

It is difficult to hear that the manuscript you labored over and birthed has been rejected. Or to meet with your critique partners only to see their red ink bleeding all over the pages of your best efforts.

But the worst thing you can do is shoot the messenger.

This past weekend I had the privilege of teaching at a Mini-Fiction Workshop at the Anderson Library, Anderson, SC. organized by Elva Cobb Martin.

One of the workshops I delivered was First Lines, First Pages. Authors brought the first pages of their work in progress. (WIP). We read them and let the authors know if we would read on, and if not- we made suggestions that might better 'hook' their reader.

I reminded them that the author of THE HELP, Kathryn Stockett, had faced rejection 61 times before her title was accepted and published. That is a lot of rejection and yet Kathryn did not quit. And I am glad she did not. Her literary voice is one I am thankful to know.

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. In reading Matthew Pinsker's article, I smiled to learn that Lincoln wrote several drafts of his speech. So many that they can not be absolutely sure which version was the one read so long ago. After his speech, many requests were made for copies. Each one was originally penned by hand by President Lincoln, known for rewrites and self editing.

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved."
Ralph Waldo Emerson from the

I'm sure Kathryn Stockett's first page in her published book, was not at all the same as the first page she began with. She took the suggestions and rejections to heart, made the needed and necessary improvements, and ended up with a bestseller.
So rather than let your words slip down the drain, or blame others for your rejections; revise, rewrite and retry.
When you wear the flower of impatience in your heart instead of the flower of acceptance with joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you."
Hannah Hurnard wrote in Hinds Feet in High Places- spoken to much afraid as she battled her enemies discouragement and despair.

Never give up on your dreams. With every journey round the mountain, you will find hinds feet growing until you will leap over every obstacle with ease.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hooked by Andy Scheer

I often coach writers how to attract and hook readers. This past weekend I found myself viewing promotional material as a customer – and I'm pleased to report my experience matches the theory.

Browsing the literature tables between appointments at a writers conference, I didn't expect to find a title I wanted to buy. I own enough unread books to keep me busy for more than a year.

Then I saw the five by seven promo card displaying the cover of a January release. One glance convinced me I needed the book.

I took in a mid-1940s New York street scene including Harlem's Apollo theater where Sarah Vaughn was headlining. The title type of “Nobody Knows” immediately evoked the famous spiritual – which I didn't realize was connected with Harry T. Burleigh. Nor did I know that Burleigh, as the subtitle proclaimed, was “one of the most influential figures in American music.”

But from multiple interactions at conferences I did know the author, Craig von Buseck. His credibility as a writer sealed the deal. As a student of American music of the early twentieth century, I needed this book.

The back of the card's display type and short paragraph further convinced me of the decision I'd made in less than ten seconds. This story would deliver the kind of information I want to know.

For me the endorsement by Eric Metaxas, the author of the bestselling biography Bonhoeffer, was redundant. By that point, the evidence in favor of purchasing Nobody Knows was pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

That evening I sat with Craig and asked him for details – some previews of the story I look forward to reading. I took a few additional cards since I know a professional singer who gives educational concerts on historic African-American composers and musicians. She doubtless knows others who will also want to buy the book.

Craig outlined his plans for the book's launch. I suggested multiple ideas, but they all matched ones he'd put into place. Considering how well he'd hooked me as a part of his target audience, I shouldn't be surprised.

The early months of next year will tell if Craig's plans succeed. As always, God gives the increase. But Craig's put himself in a position where success shouldn't come as a surprise.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Your Footprint by Linda S. Glaz

Authors, what will your footprint look like in one hundred years?
You have been given an opportunity and a calling to tell ‘your story’. What will that story look like? What are you saying that will make a difference in another person’s life? After all, isn’t that the reason for telling the story in the first place?
You don’t necessarily have to write the story of a person who has changed the world: a president, an activist, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela. No, you might simply be telling the story of the girl or boy next door and how they managed to victoriously come through a difficult situation.
Perhaps you’re penning a love story. What impact will that have on posterity? A young woman contemplating divorce might read about a couple who triumph over betrayal, distrust. And it could be the encouragement she needs to try again to forgive.
You never know who your story will touch. Or how it will touch them.
What impact, what footprint are you leaving behind you? What is your story telling the rest of the world?
The only important thing I hope you’ll take away is to write your best. Never write what someone else wants you to write. Do your best, tell ‘your’ story. And tell it so that when you’re gone, a person might read it and hopefully have it change their life for the better.
Leave a solid footprint. Make an impact. Make a difference.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Integrate ALL Your Writing on Your Website by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

It has always been difficult for authors to make a living at writing, but these days it has become even harder with a shifting ratio of more writers and fewer readers than in previous decades. Therefore, writers are supplementing their income by writing articles, multiple genres, and delving into both fiction and nonfiction. Writers are constantly being stretched beyond their comfort zone to write on topics they would never consider if it wasn't a financial necessity, including their own marketing pieces.

I have had authors ask me if they need a separate website for each pen name or for each genre. Some wonder if they should offer more than one blog to their readers. My advice is to integrate as much as possible, but keep it organized and simple.

Integrate with Web Pages
You need to have one website that represents ALL your writing, but offer various web pages for different works. Wherever you have tabs for your Bio and Contact page, insert tabs for your writing. You can categorize these based on what works for you.

If you have various pen names, your web pages should be named accordingly. For example, Nora Roberts also writes suspense as J.D. Robb and it is included as a web page tab at the top of her site. Therefore, if you are a fan of J.D. Robb, but a search brings you to the Nora Roberts site, you will not be confused in thinking you are in the wrong place.

Point all pen names that are actual domain names to the same site
In Nora's case, the J.D. Robb link takes you to a separate website, but it could actually be integrated into one site and have all domain names and point to the same site. The J.D. Robb web pages could still have a different look to represent suspense.

An example of this is Jayne Ann Krentz who writes as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle. If you click on all three of these domain names, they will all take you to the same site.

Create Web Pages for Different Genres
If you write both contemporary and historical, create web pages on your site to reflect those pages. Try not to bury your books deep into too many layers. You don't want readers to click 3-4 times before they find your books. It should only be one click away from the home page. Web surfers won't spend much time looking for your books. They click and move.

Currently, I do not write under other pen names, but I have written both novels and novellas, and I am planning to venture into the contemporary thriller genre. On my site, I've created web page tabs for Novels, Novellas and Thrillers. Each one of those have drop down menus to reveal the series or books I've written in those categories. The drop down effect keeps them from having to click through more layered pages and allows readers to make a choice without leaving the home page. See the image below.

You could do something similar for your articles, devotions, fiction and nonfiction. One caution I would like to provide, is try not to showcase every article you have ever written. Some authors have written hundreds and thousands of articles. Showcase your top 20-30 most recent and relevant pieces. If you still want to provide links to ALL of your work, it is best to provide a searchable archived section. You might want to categorize them as well. Most people will not take the time to sift through high volumes of old works unless they are looking for something specific.

Are there any other dilemmas you've wondered about or solutions you've found? Share in the comment section.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tulsa Fellowship of Christian Writers by Terry Burns

It was a fast trip to Tulsa Oklahoma, do a program for them, a quick overnight then a drive back home. But it was a great experience.

My thanks to Lavon Hightower Lewis for acting as my host. She was delightful. I got there in time to go out to eat with her, with President Elece Hollis (who was celebrating her birthday) and with some of the officers of the group. We had a nice visit then made the drive over to the Kirk of the Hills church, which was a magnificent facility, for the meeting.

There was a nice turnout, and those in attendance were very interactive which always made doing a presentation more enjoyable. If anybody lives in the Tulsa area and you are not associated with this group, you really should be. You can find out more about the organization at The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 o'clock pm there at the church.

The Fellowship of Christian Writers started with a handful of writers in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area in 1979. Originally called Tulsa Christian Writers Club, they changed their name to Fellowship of Christian Writers (FCW) in 1999 to reflect their growing influence outside of the geographic region. Thanks to the Internet and their Yahoo chat group, FCW has touched hundreds of writers and probably thousands of readers because of those writers' words.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pictorial Sources of Inspiration for Writers and Bloggers by Diana Flegal

In preparation for last weeks blog, I took a walk around the grounds of my apartment complex looking for an appropriate squeaky wheel photo. I snapped many photos of architectural hardscapes instead of the usual fall foliage. The storm drain, a danger sign and even a wall. The images inspired various topics I could share here, on this blog, and in my writing workshops.

Author Susan Heim Call's newest blog post was inspired when she boarded a plane on her way to a conference this summer. It is titled; Your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device and other tips to equip you for life's little or big emergencies.

I often schedule artist dates on my day off. I browse the local antique malls, scour thrift stores,  visit craft supply stores or take a hike. All inspired by Julia Cameron's book, The Artists Way. It unleashes my creativity.

This colorful, rusty hydrant entertained me with a dozen questions. How long ago had it been placed there. Had it ever supplied water to quench a fire at the assisted living center, whose yard it graced? Were the first responders young or weary warriors? Is it still in service? Does that square tightened down shank hold back a gushing geyser? Where would they take the residents to wait out such an event? The rose garden or the front yard? How often do they have a fire drill?

I pray they are ready and practiced, in the event of any emergency.

When I spied this sewer cap, I marveled that the manufacturer had taken the time to actually design it. A decorative touch for such a functional object. Was he or she a frustrated artist forced to join the family business because it was often said "What are you, crazy? You can't make a living painting pretty pictures"!

Inspiration can be found anywhere. Keep your eyes open.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guess How Many People by Andy Scheer

The email's subject line asked, “Guess how many people have seen your reviews?”I was surprised to learn the total now stands at 10,632. Not bad for about 60 short-paragraph pieces I've typically written in less than ten minutes.

It's been unpaid work, but I gain the satisfaction of helping others by writing reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions for the travel website TripAdvisor.

I check the site's reviews whenever I plan a trip, so contributing my assessments and an occasional photo enables me to offer some payback. And it's a great writing exercise to reflect on the highs and lows of an experience, then boil it to one or two paragraphs.

So far my most popular review, with 1,142 readers, was of the Motel 6 in Springfield, Illinois, where I stayed while driving from the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference to the HACWN conference in Kansas City. And my “most helpful review” was last summer's assessment of Zapata Falls near Great Sand Dunes National Park.
In reviewing the Studebaker National Museum,
I advised visitors not to miss the cars stacked
two-deep in visible storage in the basement.

I'm surprised that 14 percent of my readers live outside the United States,
with 9 percent from Germany and 1 percent from India.

That's part of the beauty of reviews. You never know who might be able to gain from what you've experienced – and your skill in writing about it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

When Writers’ Block Knocks You Out by Linda S. Glaz

Your fingers are flying over the keys a mile a minute…and I MEAN a mile a minute. Have you seen some of these folks’ fingers flying?
Anyway, just as the ‘bad guy’ rounds the corner, feet from grabbing the heroine’s hair, she stumbles and…she stumbles and…she stumbles and…
What happens next?
Are you kidding me? She stumbles and what? He grabs her. No. He snatches at her, ripping curls from her head. Not only no, but NO!
He stops. She freezes. They both…absolutely not!
What’s going on? Why is this happening? I’ve written 10k this week with without so much as a glitch, and now—nothing.
It could simply be the 10k. You’re tired. The well’s dry, so to speak. Everyone has a method that works best for them, but what if this is your first venture into writers’ block. What do you do? Coffee? A nap? Rip up the WIP and start over? Tuck it in a drawer? Look in the mirror and give yourself a hard slap? Go for a 10k run? Triathlon? Pay a bruiser to sock you in the noggin to scramble the info for a fresh start?
Sometimes the solutions are a bit less drastic. While each person must find his or her own way to rekindle the juices, here are a few suggestions:
-walk away from it for a few days, or weeks if necessary
-check out a movie in the era or genre of your work
-read a book (let someone else’s finished product help inspire you)
-try naming your characters different names and put them in an entirely diff setting. You might find straying from their setting will get those juices going
-offer to help someone else by proofing a crit partner’s work
-ask your crit partners for suggestions
-and here’s one that really helps…write something else. Put away your WIP and redirect your efforts to a new work. A short story, a magazine article, or you might even outline a new novel
Whatever your block, don’t give up. The solution is right around the corner. Never give up. You’ll find a solution and your heroine WILL escape the mad man’s hands.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Special Birthday by Terry Burns

The kids are giving Saundra a special birthday Saturday. Actually it isn't her birthday, that's not for a month yet but they determined it was when everybody could get together the easiest so pretty much everybody will be there.

 Why is it special? I'll just say she is hitting a milestone and let it go at that although I
will tell you that we went steady in high school, and people nearly always guess her to be 10-15 years younger than she is. In fact I have a picture of us in high school.

Writing can be a very solitary process and very often our families just don't really "get it." They think it is just that cute thing we do and they are happy that we have a hobby we enjoy. Sometimes it takes a substantial amount of success before they realize it really is something we are pursuing seriously.

Saundra is my biggest supporter and makes it possible for me to do what I do, both as a writer and as an agent. When mother was alive she was a strong supporter as well and is the conduit that I got my gift for story-telling through. I haven't had to battle the lack of support that plagues many authors. They've been there for me.

That's what is on my mind as I hope you will join me in wishing her an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love you, sweetheart!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Squeaky Wheel by Diana Flegal

Before I sign on a client, I do my best to cover in detail the expectations I have of my authors and what they can expect of me. I have gotten more specific as I've learned the need to be.
One of the things I now ask of my clients is that they keep in touch with me. It is too easy for an author who is quiet to slip between the cracks and fall off my radar. The squeaky wheel does get the grease … or my attention. I appreciate an author who is proactive. If someone begins to abuse this, I kindly provide a realistic boundary that works for us both.
In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud addresses the need for ongoing measurements, stressing that when we stop to measure time, we can find that months have passed instead of what we thought were weeks. He believes this  loss is partially related to the digital culture we live in, where lickety-split actions are taken online. “There is an APP for that is commonly heard, providing shortcuts that speed up our lives. Much of our jobs are handled from smart phones where we multitask: juggling Facebook and Twitter posts while answering work e-mail. And as we juggle, time passes.
Monitoring our daily activity is key. For agents and authors alike.
Many authors sandwich their writing in between work and parenting. If your agent or publisher asks for something from you, it is your responsibility to place that task on your “to-do list.” When I ask an author for something, I am handing it over and removing it from my list. I then move on to another. The author must then stay on top of that.   
Many agents manage 50+ clients. It falls to the author to be proactive and communicate with his or her agent.
My authors regularly “check in” with me by e-mail, phone, and text, telling me where they are in regard to their marketing, social media, WIPs (works in progress), proposal tweaks, or new story or book ideas.
I suggest you err on the side of bothering your agent than not. They will advise you if you abuse their time. That’s better than slipping between the cracks.