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1. Letters from your Characters

by Julie Eshbaugh

~~~

Julie(This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on my personal blog in October, 2010. I revisited it recently and decided to share it here.)

Wouldn’t it be great if, when you went to your mailbox today, you found a letter inside from the main character of your work-in-progress, telling you just how she feels about the central conflict of your story? Or maybe she wrote a love letter to another one of your characters, and somehow it was misdirected to you? Imagine what a resource a letter like that would be…

When I do my outlining for a new WIP, I write up a lot of backstory. I also do character sketches, to help me form a clear idea of each of my characters – not just hair color, eye color, and favorite movie, but what they would do on a perfect spring day, where they would go on vacation if money were no object, even how they feel about money, in general. I try to think of the most revealing questions possible. These sketches help me with the essentials of my characters, but they only get me so far.

That’s why I’ve taken to writing first-person narratives – letters to me, if you will – in the voice of each character. These narratives generally address the main conflict faced by that character in the story, and how she or he feels about it. Does she believe that the problem is insurmountable? Does she still have hope? Who is she counting on most to help her? Who does she expect to cause her the most trouble?

I also write first-person narratives by all the individuals involved in romantic relationships in my story. For each one, I ask the character to tell me:

What do you love most about this other person?

What would you miss the most if he or she were taken away?

When did you first feel an attraction and what triggered it?

And, well, I’m sure you can come up with a lot more questions along this line.

These letters are great tools to return to while drafting. They help me to maintain consistency within a character, but they also helped me see that, despite consistency, all well-rounded characters have internal conflicts they are dealing with. People are filled with contradictions. Your characters need to be, too, if they’re going to leap off the page as real people with real complexity.

When you ask your character to tell you how he feels about the central conflict, chances are his answer will be complicated. It won’t just be as simple as, “I hate my father and wish he were dead,” because where’s the true conflict in that? Nothing is ever that straightforward. If it were, in chapter one your character could pull out a shotgun and shoot his father and the story would be done. Instead, your character’s answer to how he feels about the central conflict will be layered, complex, and in some ways, contradictory.

For you, as the writer, the secret to your character’s arc lies hidden in these contradictions. Early in the story your character may respond most to the tug of one attitude toward the central conflict. But as the story moves along, he may feel the influence of another attitude toward that conflict, and he will begin to change. By the time he’s completed his character arc, he may find himself in a place of compromise between these two contradictory attitudes.

Do you think this method might work for you? Do you have any of your own unique methods of learning about your characters? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

  ~~~

Julie Eshbaugh writes fiction for young adults. She is the author of the upcoming Ivory & Bone (HarperCollins, 2016.) You can add Julie on Goodreads and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

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2. Ten Thankful Turkeys Book Blast and $50 GC Giveaway

Ten Thankful Turkeys by Angela Muse

About the Book

Title: Ten Thankful Turkeys | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Ewa Podleś | Publication Date: October 4, 2014 | Publisher: 4EYESBOOKS | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 2 to 8 Summary: This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book.

Kindle version available for only 99 cents from Amazon on October 24 & 25, 2014. Grab your copy now!!

Amazon (Kindle) * Amazon (Paperback)

 

About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

 Angela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to   being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends,   but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released books in her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, in 2013/2014. Her husband, Ben Muse writes suspense/thriller books that can also be found on Amazon.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

 

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest closes: November 23, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Servicesthe

Copyright © 2014 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.


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3. Unveiling the cover for my new book: Blood Will Tell

BloodWillTellI'm so excited to share my new book cover with you. It's for Blood Will Tell, the second in my Point Last Seen series. When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a few blocks feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. Then Nick's DNA turns up on the victim. How is this even possible? And can his SAR friends Alexis Frost and Ruby McClure find a way to help clear his name before its too late?

The series was inspired by the the real-life Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, which is a teen-led group that not only rescues people lost in the wilderness, but also does crime scene evidence recovery for local law enforcement. This particular book was inspired by two real life cases where innocent people ended up in jail after coincidences were seen as clear-cut evidence. One involved a person's behavior, the other DNA. 

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4. I Love Sefton High School

Sefton High in SydneyA community school – a selective school – a school that embraces reading – LOVE IT and LOVE the kids.

Kids from everywhere – they understand ‘Elephants Have Wings’ – where we’re all different but part of the same humanity.

Thankyou for the beautiful email I received from a student after my talks at Sefton:-

It’s amazing to have a compassionate author coming into Sefton, and talking about the hard journey of a writer, making us understand what it is to be a writer, that being a writer doesn’t mean being famous, being rich, e.t.c.

Butterflies by Susanne Gervay,burns,The Children's Hospital Westmead,World Burn Congress New York,IBBY, international youth literature on disabilityThat's Why I Wrote This Song by Susanne Gervay, 'Psycho Dad by Tory Gervay, I Wanna Be Found by Tory Gervay,, talking at Sunning Hill Education in the Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre (JJJC).I also would like to say, even though you probably have heard this a million times, your books, especially Butterflies (my favourite) and That’s Why I Wrote this Song (2nd favourite), have touched my heart, and inspired me.

It taught me to be empathetic, looking at different sides of a challenge, and also to trust and give second chances.

It was beautifully written, and I admire the way you plunge into you writing with commitment and passion, and being the character, making the story authentic. I understand it is hard to being a published author, which is why I love and admire you so much, and you are quite easy to talk to, like a friend.

Here’s a question from me: If you are friends with an author’s book, are you friends with the author?

My answer: YOU ARE MY FRIEND!

The post I Love Sefton High School appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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5. Teaching Writing in Middle School: Notes from the Saturday Reunion #TCRWP

By the time I arrived at Cornelius Minor’s TCRWP workshop, State-of-the-Art Workshop Teaching of Writing in Middle School, harnessing Methods Specifically Described in the New Units of Study, I had been up since… Continue reading

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6. Holding Yourself Accountable & Staying Motivated

Writing Life Banner

by

Susan Dennard

I’ve talked about productivity in great detail before. I’ve discussed how BICHOK is a sure-fire way to get your writing where it needs to be, how endurance can be increased, and how fear can often hold back your writing.

But what about those times when it’s just plain ol’ laziness that’s keeping you from the productivity you want? What about those days where you spend four hours at the computer and write all of 4 words because OMG! Look at all the pretties and shinies on the internet? And ungh, I’m hungry…and hey, when did that squirrel move into the tree outside my window?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

On those distraction-heavy days, my friend, it’s time to seek help elsewhere. It’s time to find SOMEONE ELSE to hold you accountable.

I mean, think about it: when you were in high school, you got your work done (or I hope you did…). Maybe it was at the last minute or maybe it wasn’t always your best work, but you finished. Why? Because someone else expected you to.

I’ve talked at great length about this with my author and solo-entrepreneur friends. We have no bosses! We have NO ONE to look over our shoulders and make sure we’re getting the work done.

Another thing we don’t have are people to validate us when we do make progress. So what if you had a great day writing–there’s no one there to be impressed or to pat you on the back or to say, “Great job! You deserve a raise.” We simply slog on, all alone.

But what if we put a dose of SOMEONE ELSE in our writing lives? What if we find (or start) a Twitter hashtag so we can make accountability partners? Or cheerleader/validation partners? Or what if we interact in forums or via email chains or Facebook groups? Writing is solitary, but it certainly doesn’t have to be.

I think camaraderie is one of the reasons that NaNoWriMo is SO successful for people! They’re all writing together, interacting, sharing, and keeping each other motivated.

So if you’re finding you need a bit more motivation in your life, I challenge you to find another writer who’ll hold you accountable and send you lots of smiley faces when you need ‘em. Heck, come join me in my forums–I’m definitely in need of some writing buddies!! Or add me as a friend for NaNoWriMo!

You tell me: Is this something you would ever do? Or do you already have someone like this in your writing life?

If you like what you read here, consider signing up for my newsletter, the Misfits & Daydreamers or swinging by my For Writers page!

SusanDennardBefore she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor, Susan Dennard traveled the world as marine biologist. She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the forthcoming Witchlands series (Tor, 2015), and when not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or practicing her tap dance shuffles. You can learn more about Susan on her blogTwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

 

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7. …which leads to books!

Remember how I said cleaning leads to writing? Yep, I’ve been busy. And I’m still busy, because I’m not exactly done. But I thought you’d be interested in an update and some recent releases, along with the coming attractions …

First, you can get these now:

LOVE PROOF is now out in audio! I love the narration Maria Hunter Welles did for it. And I didn’t announce it at the time (see above, been busy), but there are also audio editions of THE GOOD LIE, DOGGIRL, and REPLAY. I know. It’s a lot. Take your pick and listen away!

Also, I have a new short story collection out. It’s called A FEW STRANGE MATTERS, and it is. A little odd. But sometimes my mind needs a break from longer works like novels, and when I let my mind wander, it wanders. The collection has some contemporary, some science fiction, a little fantasy, some paranormal, and a couple of strange stories from the teen world. You might have read a few of them here and there, but I guarantee there are some you’ve never seen. Possibly because I wrote them under a pen name that none of you knew about. So take a look–I’ll be interested in hearing what you all think!

Now, for the coming attractions:

YES, PARALLELOGRAM 4 WILL BE OUT THIS FALL. That’s all I can say, because I have made the mistake before of giving you a pub date which turns out not to be true. But I promise you will feel satisfied and fulfilled when you read this final book in the series. I’m still working very hard to pull all the pieces together. Thank you for your questions (“When? WHEN??”) and your patience. I hate waiting, too. I get it. It’ll be along very soon.

And to make you even happier about all the time I’ve been hiding out, I’ll also have ANOTHER NEW BOOK for you by December, I believe. It’s fantasy, it’s epic, and it involves a girl warrior. Yessssss …

That’s my report for now. I have to go back to writing. I owe you all some books.

Happy Fall! ~Robin

0 Comments on …which leads to books! as of 10/19/2014 2:02:00 PM
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8. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e October 17th 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It (Laurie Scheer)  Jon’s Pick of the week
http://janefriedman.com/2014/10/17/story-idea-mediocre/

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle (Porter Anderson)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/17/between-a-blog-and-a-hard-news-cycle/

Query First? The Query as a Plotting Tool (Janice Hardy)
http://blog.janicehardy.com/2009/07/query-first.html

Getting Published: The Genre-Concept Connection (Larry Brooks)
http://storyfix.com/getting-published-genre-concept-connection

Celebrate yourself (Kathleen McCleary)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/15/celebrate-yourself/

Stop Social Media, I Want to Get Off!  (Kerry Gans)
http://authorchronicles.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/stop-social-media-i-want-to-get-off-focusing-your-online-strategy/

Bad Advice (Wendy Lawton)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/bad-advice/

What You Pay for When You Hire a PR Firm (Sharon Bially)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/13/what-you-pay-for-when-you-hire-a-pr-firm/

How Not to Register Copyright (Victoria Strauss)
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-not-to-register-copyright.html



If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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9. Interjections

Interjections are exclamations or parenthetical words that add color to your dialogue or internal dialogue. They are set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or set of commas. They can be followed by an exclamation point. However, if the sentence is doing its job, you shouldn't need it.

Interjections express a gamut of emotions: surprise, doubt, fear, anger, hate, happiness, joy, glee, disgust, or sarcasm. They insult, incite, and ignite.

Here are a few examples (minus profanity, which is another topic).

All right
Cool
Far out
As if
Yeh, right
Dig it
Yo
Fair enough
Ouch
Dang it
For real?
Duh
No way
Sure
Yay
Whoot
Hilarious
Screw it
Drat
Yes
Lord have mercy
Meh
Cheers
Ciao
Oops
Oy
Touche
Big whoop
Nope
Nada

My YA series Mythikas Island was set in pre-written-history Greece. Not being able to reach for any of the usual curse words, insults, etc. felt like wearing a straight jacket. I ended up typing *insert insult/curse here* and developing a list of options later.

Here are a few tips when revising:

1.  As you go through your rough draft, it is okay to insert placeholders and fill them in later. You may want to put some thought into the types of insults and interjections you characters will use.

2. It is important that the interjections fit the time and place in a historical novel. Look up the first time your word or phrase was used. Nitpickers love to point out errors.

3. When you write fantasy or science fiction, developing unique interjections helps your story world come alive.

4. Avoid overuse. Strings of expletives or exclamation points are annoying. As you read through your rough draft, highlight the interjections. If you have too many packed together, space them out.

5. You can make them character specific. People living in the same place and time with little exposure to the outside world tend to use the same vocabulary. However, each character can have their favorites or quirks.

6. If you have a diverse cast, each can have their own set of interjections, perhaps in different langauges. Avoid stereotypes. 

7. Avoid clichés . You can twist existing interjections in new ways. 

8. Interjections change as time passes. There is no way to avoid dating your book with them.

9. You can't cut them all. Your story would be lackluster without a few strategically placed verbal punches.

10. They can be used for comic relief. Sometimes after a tense moment, you need a little levity.

If you invent unique injterjections, they may become part of our language or at least the language of your fans. They may even be added to the dictionary. You could be the author of a new catchphrase.

For more information on revision, pick up a copy of:

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Building-Blocks-III-Revision/dp/1475011369

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Building-Blocks-III-Revision-ebook/dp/B007SPPL68


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10. Let’s Talk Point of View

rivet your readersI added Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View to my writing library and want to recommend that you check it out. The information is good and the price is right – $3.99 on Kindle and $5.39 in paperback. You can take a look at Jill’s romantic suspense novels by clicking this link to her website. http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/

Below are just a few things that Jill explains in her book. She gets more in depth during the book.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any given scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing events. That character’s psyche – his or her very soul – is the standpoint from which everything else in the scene is presented and evaluated. This particular character is the point-of-view character or POVC.

In order to remain firmly inside the POVC’s head, nothing in a scene can be presented for reader consideration that is outside that character’s awareness.

First Person:

Requires that nothing can be heard, seen, or experienced except through the senses of the character relating the story. However, a first-person narrative does allow for the viewpoint character to skip ahead in the sequence of events, and make a comment like, “If I had known…”, but you should weigh the moment and decide if the segue into telling is worth the loss of immediacy.

You may ask, “Isn’t first person automatically deep POV? No. It is possible to write “Shallow” and “telling” first person.

Second Person:

This viewpoint character is “you”. It is a problematic and difficult POV. Reader want to identify with the characters in a novel; they don’t necessarily want the writer to point the finger at them as the “you” character. Usually is an awkward presentation. Though writer will use this when describing a step-by-step “How to book”.

Third Person, Single POV:

Reqguires the author to remain inside one character throughout the story (much like first person). This creates an excellent opportunity for reader to identify with the main character. A drawback is the limitation in what can be shown. Events that happen outside the POVC’s experience must either be told to him by another character or discovered by that character in another way.

Third Person, Multiple POV:

Using this method, the writer puts the reader into the heads of more than one character during the course of the story. Romances do a lot of this by telling the story through the POV of the male and females protagonist. A scene with multiple POS’s is hard to pull off, unless you are a season writer. Head hopping can be confusing, so you are better off not ping-ponging around in everyone’s head. You will be better served by staying in one POV throughout the scene and conveying the subtleties of the reaction, attitude, and emotion emanating from other characters by employing body language, voice inflection, and mannerisms. By staying in one person head, they can misread the situation, and the misperception creates additional conflict valuable to the story.

Third Person, Omniscient POV:

The viewpoint character is an omniscient narrator who tells a story about a cast of character from an all-knowing position. The narrator himself becomes an unseen character that can share things that even the characters do not know about themselves, so may have a god-like feel. Sweeping epics like Lord of the Rings employ this POV to good effect. The advantage is that this POV helps manage the length of the story and the sheer number of characters. Book Thief with its narrator being Death comes to mind.

Are there any areas where I violate the basic Point-of-View by inserting comments that the POV character cannot know?

Example: Dan turned away and didn’t notice Harry slip out the door. (Dan would not be able to see Harry’s sneaky retreat.)

Here is a rewrite:

Fists clenching and unclenching, Dan gazed around the kitchen. Where was that Louse? He had to be here somewhere.
“Harry, I need to talk to you. Now!”
Silence answered Dan’s shout.
He strode toward the living room. A gentle whoosh of air behind him stopped him in his tracks. Dan whirled. The screen door was settling back in place. The coward was on the run.

Now the reader knows that Harry slipped out the door, but we haven’t left Dan’s POV in order to convey that information. Plus, by refusing to take the lazy way out and “tell” the information through a POV violation, the story becomes much more immediate and exciting.

Love her examples. I think you will, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Book, How to, reference, revisions, writing Tagged: Basic Tenses in Story Telling, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Point-of-View, Rivet Your Readers in Deep Point of View

3 Comments on Let’s Talk Point of View, last added: 10/15/2014
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11. Let’s Talk Point of View

rivet your readersI added Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View to my writing library and want to recommend that you check it out. The information is good and the price is right – $3.99 on Kindle and $5.39 in paperback. You can take a look at Jill’s romantic suspense novels by clicking this link to her website. http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/

Below are just a few things that Jill explains in her book. She gets more in depth during the book.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any given scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing events. That character’s psyche – his or her very soul – is the standpoint from which everything else in the scene is presented and evaluated. This particular character is the point-of-view character or POVC.

In order to remain firmly inside the POVC’s head, nothing in a scene can be presented for reader consideration that is outside that character’s awareness.

First Person:

Requires that nothing can be heard, seen, or experienced except through the senses of the character relating the story. However, a first-person narrative does allow for the viewpoint character to skip ahead in the sequence of events, and make a comment like, “If I had known…”, but you should weigh the moment and decide if the segue into telling is worth the loss of immediacy.

You may ask, “Isn’t first person automatically deep POV? No. It is possible to write “Shallow” and “telling” first person.

Second Person:

This viewpoint character is “you”. It is a problematic and difficult POV. Reader want to identify with the characters in a novel; they don’t necessarily want the writer to point the finger at them as the “you” character. Usually is an awkward presentation. Though writer will use this when describing a step-by-step “How to book”.

Third Person, Single POV:

Reqguires the author to remain inside one character throughout the story (much like first person). This creates an excellent opportunity for reader to identify with the main character. A drawback is the limitation in what can be shown. Events that happen outside the POVC’s experience must either be told to him by another character or discovered by that character in another way.

Third Person, Multiple POV:

Using this method, the writer puts the reader into the heads of more than one character during the course of the story. Romances do a lot of this by telling the story through the POV of the male and females protagonist. A scene with multiple POS’s is hard to pull off, unless you are a season writer. Head hopping can be confusing, so you are better off not ping-ponging around in everyone’s head. You will be better served by staying in one POV throughout the scene and conveying the subtleties of the reaction, attitude, and emotion emanating from other characters by employing body language, voice inflection, and mannerisms. By staying in one person head, they can misread the situation, and the misperception creates additional conflict valuable to the story.

Third Person, Omniscient POV:

The viewpoint character is an omniscient narrator who tells a story about a cast of character from an all-knowing position. The narrator himself becomes an unseen character that can share things that even the characters do not know about themselves, so may have a god-like feel. Sweeping epics like Lord of the Rings employ this POV to good effect. The advantage is that this POV helps manage the length of the story and the sheer number of characters. Book Thief with its narrator being Death comes to mind.

Are there any areas where I violate the basic Point-of-View by inserting comments that the POV character cannot know?

Example: Dan turned away and didn’t notice Harry slip out the door. (Dan would not be able to see Harry’s sneaky retreat.)

Here is a rewrite:

Fists clenching and unclenching, Dan gazed around the kitchen. Where was that Louse? He had to be here somewhere.
“Harry, I need to talk to you. Now!”
Silence answered Dan’s shout.
He strode toward the living room. A gentle whoosh of air behind him stopped him in his tracks. Dan whirled. The screen door was settling back in place. The coward was on the run.

Now the reader knows that Harry slipped out the door, but we haven’t left Dan’s POV in order to convey that information. Plus, by refusing to take the lazy way out and “tell” the information through a POV violation, the story becomes much more immediate and exciting.

Love her examples. I think you will, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Book, How to, reference, revisions, writing Tagged: Basic Tenses in Story Telling, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Point-of-View, Rivet Your Readers in Deep Point of View

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12. Writer Wednesday: Marketing the Second Book in a Series

A couple weeks back, I was asked (in the comments) how to promote the second book in a series, so that's what I'm going to talk about today. First, I don't claim to be an expert at all. I'm just sharing my experiences and hoping they'll help you. So, here we go.

Promoting a sequel or second book in a series is tricky because you want to get word out about the new book, but you also want to draw new readers into the series, which actually means promoting book one. You should definitely post about book two, though. Post the cover reveal, post teasers, post links to reviews, but always continue to promote book one. Your current fans won't need much encouragement to buy book two if they loved book one. A simple "it's release day" post will prompt them to run out and get book two. You need to keep trying to broaden your reach and find new readers for the series.

Even though the entire Touch of Death series is out, I continue to promote book one. My publicist even made this image for me:
Notice it's book one on the image. That's not to say you can't use images with both covers or all of them if it's a series. Go right ahead, but make sure it's clear which book begins the series because new readers will need to know that.

Over the summer, Stalked by Death, which is the second book in the Touch of Death series, was the Kindle Daily Deal. It became a #1 Best Seller in Greek Mythology on Amazon. What also happened was Touch of Death becoming #3 in the same category. Why? New readers bought book one when book two went on sale.

So, when you promote book two, don't forget to promote book one. You want to be loyal to your existing fans and continue to let them know about your new releases, but you also want to reach new readers and draw them in to the start of the series.

Do you have tips for promoting a second book in a series? Please share in the comments.

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13. Love being a Writer in Canberra!

Susanne Gervay 5.00 am early start – dragging myself out of bed – even chicken was squawking.

5.30 am – destination our capital city – hop in the BOOTIE-MOBILE – also known as my car.

Sun shining, car purring, radio on as I drive out of Sydney into the countryside with yellow fields of sunflowers and baa-ing sheep, eventually along Lake George to spring lined streets of Canberra -  It’s glorious being a writer on the road.

First stop ACT State Library to a packed  group of enthusiastic kids writing about – Werewolves, Wizards & Writers.

ACT Writers Centre with Tracey Hawkins and SCBWIL CAMERANext stop, Poppy’s Cafe at the National War Memorial listening to bagpipes while discussing everything with SCBWI Coordinator for ACT/Camberra – author Tracey Hawkings.

SCBWI Australia East and new Zealand at The Hughenden

Then it’s the SCBWI Event at the ACT Writers Centre with the dynamic SCBWI ACT crowd – including authors Tania McCartney, Irma Gold (brilliant short story writer), best selling author Gina Newton, historical author Pauline Deeves, script writer Lina Silva and other committed authors and illustrators. It was great fun , great nibbles, great enthusiasm for creating story.

Saturday was brilliant – the ACT Writers Centre at Gorman House is old world with a lilac lined courtyard and Saturday markets and music – and I had the pleasure of running a short story course with some extraordinary writers.

Caught up with SSuzanne Kiraly and Susanne Gervayuzanne Kiraly at Tilley’s Cafe where we talked writing and about the Literature festival Suzanne is organising 28 Feb next year – it’ll be brilliant.

Drove home through fields and sunshine.

Can’t wait to visit Canberra again.

The post Love being a Writer in Canberra! appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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14. Craft Book Recommendation – Writing Great Books for Young Adults

Writing Great Books for Young Adults Released – October 7, 2014 By Regina L. Brooks ISBN: 9781402293528 Trade Paperback/$14.99         Praise for Writing Great Books for Young Adults “Written from the perspective of an industry insider, the … Continue reading

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15. Three days in Missouri

2014-10-08 08.19.392014-10-09 08.10.12I spent four days in Desoto and Herculeneum Missouri last week, speaking to about 3,000 students. I signed hundreds of books.

I also taught a couple of writing classes, including an exercise in which we built a character and a story together.

That's always a bit of a highwire act. I remember one time the kids came up with a five-year-old named Max who lived in a treehouse and liked to knit clothes for his ferrets. And we made it work!

At the schools, they had made giant versions of two of my book covers, one in pastels and one in oil. They also had the students post tweets in the hallways from the point of view of various characters in The Night She Disappeared.


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2014-10-09 10.14.42


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I even got to see the Scholastic Book Fair display with Girl, Stolen and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, next to another Portland author's book - Cat Winter's In the Shadow of Blackbirds.
2014-10-09 08.01.17

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16. Writing Contest

Mark Miller's ONE is a spiritual anthology featuring true stories of faith from best-selling and critically acclaimed authors around the world.



The 2015 edition is going to be a little different. It will be written by YOU! All of the stories in the 2015 book will be by first time authors. 20 stories will be selected from all submissions.

If you have a story to tell and have NEVER been published, this is your chance. We want to hear your story.

Beginning October 1, 2014 and running through January 31, 2015, submit your story by FB message to MarkMillersOne - www.facebook.com/MarkMillersOne

Be sure to "like" the page while you are there and share it with your friends.

Now for some details:

*This contest is open to everyone 18 years and older, or 12 to 17 years with signed consent of a parent or guardian.

*The writer must NEVER have been published, either traditionally or self.

*The story must be an original work and not infringe on anyone else's copyrights.

*The story will be published by Helping Hands Press in the 2015 edition of ONE. As such, Helping Hands Press will retain all print and digital rights of the story for five (5) years from the date of publication. Selected authors will also have the opportunity to contract with Helping Hands Press for future works, but are under no obligation.



*Submissions should be in a Word-compatible document. A minimum of 1,000 words, but no more than 10,000 words. Stories must be inspirational or faith-based, preferably Non-Fiction (sorry, no poetry). Stories containing profanity, sex, or violence will be automatically disqualified.

*Winning selections will be personally edited by Mark Miller. Any and all submissions, in whole or part, may be displayed on the ONE Facebook page for promotional purposes.

*Contestants agree to donate all proceeds from the sale of ONE 2015 to a charity selected by Mark Miller, MillerWords.com or Mark Miller's ONE.

Please feel free to share this event and invite any aspiring author you know. Please post any questions to this event page.

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17. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e October 10th 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:


Seven Years as an Agent (Rachel Kent)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/seven-years-agent/

With Self-Publishing, We Control the Future of a Series (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
http://elizabethspanncraig.com/2487/self-publishing-control-future-series/

12 Hardwired Expectations Every Reader Has (Lisa Cron)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/09/a-readers-manifesto-12-hardwired-expectations-every-reader-has/

The Changes Go Beyond Publishing (Rachelle Gardner)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/changes-go-beyond-publishing/

NaNoWriMo  Prep: Planning Your Novel’s Beginning (Janice Hardy)
http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/10/nano-prep-planning-your-novels.html

Not This One (Wendy Lawton)
www.booksandsuch.com/blog/one/

The Seductive Trap of the Historical Novel (Larry Brooks)
http://storyfix.com/seductive-trap-historical-novel

How Similar is TOO Similar in the Great Agent Hunt? (Jennifer Laughran)
http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-similar-is-too-similar-in-great.html

Naming Emotions (Mary Kole)
http://kidlit.com/2014/10/06/naming-emotions/

Beware of Trolls (Merry Farmer)
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2014/10/beware-of-trolls.html

Take Charge of Your Author Business: 5 Aspects to Consider (Joanna Penn)
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/05/take-charge-of-your-author-business-5-aspects-to-consider/



If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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18. The Collective Experiences That Become a Drama

What would I do if I did not tell my stories? I might be “asleep” in life.  But even in sleep my stories dance in my mind. They wait. They hear my “voice.” That “voice” is a part of them. Where soul and chance meet, in their midst are cinematic images. They must be given an account in […]

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19. Now Available – Ten Thankful Turkeys

Turkery Cover

We are so excited to announce the release of our latest children’s book, Ten Thankful Turkeys.  This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book.  You can get the kindle version of this book for a special launch price of $.99 for a limited time or FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.  We also have paperback versions on sale now at Amazon for $8.99.

Be sure to gobble up this deal before it disappears. :-)


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20. Don't give up on your dreams

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.01.28 AM

This week I'm talking to over a thousand students in Missouri. And I think the most important message I have for them isn't about reading, writing or research. It's about not giving up on your dreams.

I'm not the best writer out there. But - and this is an important but - I one of the most tenacious. I think in most things in life, tenacity can be just as important as talent.

When I first started writing, I took a class with two people named Jane and Tom. They were both better writers than I was. (In fact, Tom used this one clever framing device to describe a character that I have since borrowed a couple of times.) They both approached a few agents, and both got rejection letters.

And both, at least the last I heard, gave up writing.

The thing is, those agents didn't really have the power to tell Tom or Jane they weren't good writers. All they could say was that they did not want to represent those particular books.

The only one who can really take you out of the game - whether that game is writing or acting or dancing - is you.

I have had four times in my career as a writer where it looked like I might never be published, or published again.   I still have a big fat file that stinks of sadness that I labelled submissions/rejections.  There are probably over 100 items in that file.  But I did not take no for an answer. Or at least not "the" answer. I kept pushing, writing new books, tweaking old ones, looking for as much advice and inspiration as I could get.

So if you really want something, be tenacious!

(When I spoke at a school in February, a teacher came up to me afterward and said that after listening to me, she had decided to go to massage school!) 

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21. Writing and time management

by

Jodi Meadows

Late last night, I remembered that I needed to write a blog post to go up this morning. I sat around for a good thirty minutes, refreshing Twitter and having one of those shouting-across-the-house conversations with my husband, because neither one of us wanted to get up. Finally, I asked a friend what to write about. She said, “Time management.”

So I thought this would be an excellent time to give you an idea of how I get through my day. I keep a very strict schedule that never varies so that I get all of my work done and never have to do anything at the last minute.

8 hours — sleep
2 hours — email
2 hours — Twitter/other social media
1 hour — lunch/TV
1 hour — email (again!)
1 hour — researching something that will affect only one sentence out of the entire novel, like what type of trees grow where
30 minutes — Twitter/other social media
1 hour — trying to find the perfect font
30 minutes — think about sleeping
2 hours — nap
2 hours — try to figure out what that word was that I couldn’t think of earlier
1 hour — dinner/TV
2 hours — realize that no writing will get done today unless I squeak out a few words right now

So there it is, my foolproof time-management plan. This is how I am never behind on anything and my writing is always done weeks before my editor starts asking me about my book. Deadline schmedline. I got this. And if you follow my guidelines, you can, too.*

*It’ll also make your hair shinier!**
**This entire post may be a lie.***
***Or some parts might be true.

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).
*A Kippy is a cat.

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22. Writer Wednesday: The Importance of Having a Website

I know some authors don't find a need to have a website, but I definitely do. Here's why. When people who don't know me look me up online, they'll find my website first. Google me and you'll see that my website comes up at the top of the search results. Sure my blog is also there in the search results, but if people aren't bloggers, they get a little intimidated by blogs. 

Most of the people who contact me are teachers, readers, or parents of kids who have read my books. They look for a website, and they look for a contact me page so they can get in touch with me. So I spend a lot of time updating my website, keeping it current with what's going on with my writing. My home page has a News section with whatever is going on right now that I want people to be aware of. It's the first thing they see when they land on my page—well, under my custom banner slideshow that displays my books.

I also have my bio, press kit, and FAQ for any media personnel who stop by my site. Everything is right there for them to find in one spot. And I recently added a virtual business card that looks like this:
I know I'm most likely not the first person to use a virtual business card (even if I'd love to take credit for the idea) but I think it's a great idea. You can't hand your business card to everyone in the world, but if it's on your website, anyone can see it.

When I first created a website, I went with a free site. I quickly learned that having a custom domain is very important. Custom domains are easier to search for, and we want people to find us online. I now have a premium website with a custom domain, and I think it's money well spent. The proof is in the number of emails I get through my contact me form on my website. People are using my site, and that makes me very happy.

So yeah, I believe in author websites. How about you? Do you think author websites are important?

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23. In Season?


They say each season has a rightful place:

A time to scribble,
A time to paint.

A time to read good books,
A time to dream up new ones.

A time to craft words,
A time to delete.

A time to face the music,
A time to dance in the face of it.

It's the natural breath of our days -
The ups and downs of waves. 

Summer rushed to Fall a smidge too soon in my neck of the woods.
 
Birthdays, school starts,

First wiggly teeth,
Rounded hula hoops of doings.

Responsibilities loomed.

Do you ever drag your feet ?


I soured up a few days
kicking my heels against time and tides,
and then I remembered...

What of all the sacred moments today ?

What am I missing with my eyes shut tight against change?  

Here is the good news: 
Gratitude mends easily.
It always starts with today.

And thankfulness is magic. 
It turns straw into gold,
turns dirty dishes into a sacred space.



Farewell summer!    Hello Fall!

It's simple, right?
To find joy, we breathe.
In and out. 
   
And if breathing means working hard at a task today,
then may we find beauty under the stones at our feet.

Or if it means taking a ramble in the woods,
then let the leaves turn,
let the fruit fall
and find us with open hands.


"Nobody else but the rosebush knows
how nice mud feels between the toes."  
 - Polly Chase Boyden

 

 Book treasures that make me smile in all seasons:


The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Inga Moore
Firefly July - compiled by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    Lindbergh - The Tale of a Flying Mouse, by Torben Kuhlmann
    The New Arrival by Vanya Nastanlieva

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Odd, Weird, and Little by Patrick Jennings


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24. What’s On the Nightstand: Fall 2014 Edition

Recent Reads: Books

What have you been reading? I’ve always got several books going at once, and let’s be honest, they don’t stay on the nightstand, so every night I’m frantically looking for the three I want at the moment.

First up, we have The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. I haven’t gotten very far yet, but so far, it’s very funny, and I’m impressed by the intricate world Udall has created and all the many characters and their complexity.

Next, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I can’t remember if this was a random book I picked out or if it was recommended by a friend, but it’s a goodie I turn to again and again. It has some excellent writing exercises, which I need, because lately I’m feeling a bit depleted creatively.

On to Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel, which you may remember me mentioning before. It’s a good, solid, weeknight cookbook with lots of fresh ideas. Simple but never boring. Currently loving the chipotle black beans, which are quick enough to make myself for lunch. The author also has an excellent blog.

Next: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? which I borrowed from my friend Susan.

This may be my favorite book of the year. By Roz Chast, of New Yorker cartoon fame, it’s the story of the slow descent of her elderly parents. It’s told in handwritten journal-like entries plus cartoons, drawings, and photographs. The story is laugh-out-loud hysterical (yes, I know, sounds strange, but it works) but also sad, poignant, and above all, deeply human. It makes me want to write a cartoon journal book. Think I may have to read it again.

photo 3-001

Under that, The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. I’m just getting into this book, but I really like the way it’s set up and the extensive research that goes into each recipe. The folks behind it test everything to death and make sure it works.

GF cookbook-001

It includes a DIY gluten-free flour mix (my other go-to GF cookbook does this as well). The hubs made me a gorgeous and delicious apple pie using said flour mix and cookbook. See?

Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Next: Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe

This book kept popping up on quilting and crafting blogs, and I just had to have it (thanks, mom and dad!). It is so completely gorgeous I can’t even tell you. The collection features my favorite kinds of quilts—-improvised, imperfect, and made with the materials at hand.

book

Unconventional3-001

Unconventional4-001

And finally, we have Williams-Sonoma’s Cooking Together. Sometimes kids’ cookbooks seem to be more about making cute things out of candy and junk food than about real food. This one has a really nice range of recipes and lovely photographs to help kids envision what they might like to cook. My kids like to sit and plan—-but, confession, we haven’t actually made anything out of the book yet. I’m expecting good things, though, because our other Williams-Sonoma books are solid.

Btw, for kids interested in cooking, Chop Chop is another excellent resource for kid-friendly yet healthy, not-intimidating recipes.

Also, just finished Gone,Girl——totally worth a read if you haven’t yet. Can’t waaaaait to see the movie!


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25. Right to Write What You Write

erikaphoto-45Hi. Jersey Farm Scribe here on:

You’re Right to Write What You Write

I have important information. It’s big guys. I mean, hold on to your seats B-I-G. Ready? Okay. Here goes:

Getting published is hard.

Phew! Wait, what? You knew that?

Truth is, getting published is hard no matter what you write. I’m always surprised when I hear someone say, they REALLY write (fill in the blank), but they know they’ll never get their first book deal with that, so for now, they write (fill in the blank) so they can get an agent.

In my opinion, this simply won’t work. First of all, the relationship you’ll have with your agent must be based on openness, trust and honesty. This feels misleading to me; as if they’re presenting themselves as someone they don’t really want to be.

But even more than that, a pre-published author has a hard row to hoe. A pre-published author not writing the work that’s truly in their heart?? They will have twice as hard a time, no matter how “marketable” their genre or topic is.

I write picture books and chapter books; quite possibly two of the hardest first sells. But that’s what I write. It’s not even a decision that I made. It’s simply the type of stories that I have right now. I could force the stories to be something that they’re not, but then I wouldn’t be putting my best foot forward, not fair to me, my manuscripts or the agent. We all know our stories have a heartbeat, a LIFE of their own. The best writers allow the stories to flow through them, instead of forcing them into the box they think they SHOULD fit in.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to look around, see how your book falls into the current market. If YA or middle grade is saturated in vampire and witch novels, you need to know that if you’re writing one. But NOT because it should stop you from writing the vampire story you’ve been telling yourself for years. That story needs to be told.

Instead, use your market research as a way to learn what makes your manuscript different. Why is yours an important addition to a child’s already established collection of vampire tales?

Often times, we have stories inside of us because we feel there is something missing in the books already out there. The piles of somewhat similar novels we’ve read have only enhanced this craving inside of us, a longing to feel the thrill of a story with just the right amount of ____________ and that really touches on the _________, in a way that no other book does!

What goes in those blanks? You tell me.

THAT is what’s important about YOUR book. No matter how saturated the market is in your theme or genre, what matters is filling in those blanks.

Sure, agents have “not-interested” lists. And they’re important. Search for them. Read them. Respect them. Plan your submissions around them. But do NOT plan your manuscripts around them.

If you write slice-of-life picture books and notice that some agents are not interested in them, be happy that you learned they’re not the right agent for you. Part of finding the right agent, is learning who it’s not. You want someone who is going to see your story and say THIS is it! THIS is what I’ve been looking for!

And they’re out there.

Don’t try to mold your story into what you think an agent is looking for. Most agents say nothing trumps writing, trends are always changing, and ultimately, Marketability and Greatness are somewhat interchangeable. What agents really look for, is greatness. Use your knowledge of the market to find the greatness in your own story, what makes it different, what drives the need to write it, to give it life?

Your story is important. It has something special to give the world. And writing what is truly inside of you is what will make you successful. The best thing you can do as a writer, is to write. And to trust that it will find it’s own unique place in the market.

You’re right to write what you write, because you’re bringing the story inside of you into the world.

And the manuscripts that live inside you are worth it!

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, inspiration, Process, writing Tagged: Erika Wassell, Jersey Farm Scribe, Right to Write What You Write

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