Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Not the Writing, It's the Marketing!

I know a great number of bloggers whose blogs just aren't getting a lot of traffic. I have discovered it's not a problem with the writing, it's the marketing. Some bloggers have great content, only to go largely undiscovered because the authors are not good at marketing.

Marketing is hard for most bloggers; we are writers, not marketers. This article from Uncommon Designs gives five tips for marketing your blog and/or website.

I've used several of these tips and will continue. Having five blogs is a challenge, but I'm determined to market them as well as I write them. You can, too! Don't be afraid to put your writing out there. You never know when you will impact someone you never expected to impact.

Happy Blogging!
Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's So Exciting about the Truth?

I found this story circulating around Facebook and thought it was so interesting that people are just now trying to get to the real truth of this story. You might remember, without much of a reminder, because it was an unusual story. A woman bought hot coffee from McDonald's, spilled it in her lap, received 3rd degree burns, then sued McDonald's and was awarded $2.7M. Sounds absurd, doesn't it?

Much in our lives would sound absurd if reduced to a few summarizing sentences. I hope you'll take the time to watch and listen to this full report.

It's amazing what we learn when we listen.
It's amazing how a person can be perceived based on the writings of others, whether true or false.

Write truth.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How Many Blogs?

How many blogs do you have? I recently met a writer who has none....she was afraid to start blogging. I've read about many bloggers who have multiple blogs and they maintain them all.

I, personally, have five blogs. I just started my latest one today. Organized and Ongoing is my blog about daily life and getting a new home settled and organized while raising teenagers, home schooling and managing my free-lance writing endeavors. Organizing is one of my favorite activities, so this blog was a given, sooner or later.

There's this blog, of course, as well as my theology blog, Tuesday Theology. I started Tuesday Theology because, as a pastor's wife of 30 years, I have met a lot of people who seem to have a hard time taking their theology with them throughout the week. Tuesday is a random day in the middle of the week and it's been a passion of mine to help people live out their theology, even on Tuesday.

Create with Tricia is a creative place where I share my creativity, mainly with paper crafting.

Tricia, Cooking is my cooking blog where I post recipes I use to feed my large family. I don't post there often, but one of my goals for that blog is to have a recipe file for all my grown kids to refer to online when they want a family favorite for their own family.

So, there are my five blogs. No doubt the content of my blogs will overlap at times, but that's perfectly fine with me because it's all part of my wonderful life.

How many blogs do you have? Is one enough? It might be. It might not be. It depends on YOU and what you want to do, what you have to say and how you want to say it.

So, blog to your heart's content!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Have a Book to Sell? Blog About It!

It is no secret that blogging helps sell books. Even the most prolific authors of our day have blogs, including Amanda HockingDanielle Steele, Stephenie Meyer and many others.

I recently met a young woman who said she was a writer. Immediately, I asked her for her blog address and she said she did not have a blog. It turned out she was afraid to blog because she was afraid of criticism. She was afraid that someone might read the blog, disagree with her about something, then criticize. I tried to tell her that she can control all comments on her blog and that if someone posts a negative comment, she can simply remove it. But, the idea of being criticized was too much for her and she shrugged it off. I felt bad for her and encouraged her to think about blogging, even if it's just about a hobby she has.

Blogging is becoming necessary to writing success. It's a fearful thing even for some established authors, but, most take the plunge and are always so very glad they did. When I blog about my books, I sell more books. That's pretty simple, really.

Are you blogging? If not, why not?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writing Reveals Truth

As a writer, I'm constantly reading. I just finished reading Alaska Bound, One Man's Dream...One Woman's Nightmare! by Tammy Jones and I wrote a review on Amazon about the book. The title of this book had immediately caught my attention, plus the fact that it was a free Kindle book at the time. It is no longer free, but I was able to nab it when it was.

What struck me about the writer, Tammy Jones, is that she revealed so much truth about her relationship with her husband as she wrote. She did not directly address her marriage, but woven into the adventure were certain phrases and feelings that clearly revealed some major issues in her marriage.

When we write, our words become more powerful than when we speak. I highly doubt she intended to paint her husband in the light she painted him in, but through her writing, truth came out. It always does, especially if we are vulnerable enough to write about intense personal experiences.

What does your writing reveal about you and your relationships? Something, no doubt.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

You Have to Write It

These are wise words: You have to write it. I was recently reading this article by Ellen Rohr about starting a business and her first words of advice are, "You have to write it." She was referring to people who attempt to start a business but have all their plans in their head. She says that writing it down makes it real.

I have been giving this advice to my writing students for years! When you write it down, it changes it.

Writing it down makes it official. Picture yourself being chosen for a committee. You love what the committee is about and you pour your time and energy coming up with a plan for the committee. At your first committee meeting, you pass your plans out to the others...the plans you have written down. Because it's highly unlikely anyone else wrote down a plan, it's equally likely that your plan will be used. Why? Because it was written down. Official looking. Official sounding. Written down.

Writing it down helps you be objective because you can go back and read it later and either see that it was not a good idea, see that it's still a great idea or see that it needs some work but is doable. Writing it down does all that - and more - for you.

So, whatever you're doing, planning, thinking of or striving for, write it down. Make it official. Become objective. Succeed.

This is good advice.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Not to Blog

I read a few blogs every week, as I'm sure you all do. Reading others' blogs is a great way to learn, not only what they're blogging about, but also what does and does not work in the "blogosphere." I want to point out three things that cause me to stop reading a person's blog.

Everyone is busy; time is at a premium. Here are three practical ways to respect your readers' time. 
These three things make me click off a blog, even in the midst of reading:

1. Poor grammar. I simply can't get past poor grammar. I'm not talking about the occasional typo; I'm talking about the abuse of the English language I see on some blogs. I click off and usually don't go back.

2. Music. I usually play my own music, or need a quiet room for my kids. When I open a blog post and music starts playing immediately, I click off. 

3. Links that don't open in a new window. Bloggers, set your links to open in a new window so your readers won't lose the original post! This is common sense, or should be. The goal is to keep readers on your blog, not going off to a new link. If I click on a link that opens in a new window, I can save that opened tab for later while I finish reading what the blogger has to say.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Colors

I prefer to think of Monday as a blank slate to a new week with new opportunities. This morning, my opportunities were very limited. Our power went out. No explanation, no fanfare....but no power. Then our water began to be very slow until.....oops! No water! No power, no water. Ok, then. What is a girl to do? My kids, one by one, came downstairs asking about the lack of power. "The power went out..." was all I could say.

Fortunately, my laptop's battery was fully charged so I wasn't completely without access to the great Google machine. Upon "Googling" outages for our area, I discovered that our great electricians were already aware of our plight and were sending a crew. Only 10 houses were affected, but it grew to 14 in the next hour.

My blank-slate Monday turned out to have a slow start due to the lack of power and water. But, I must say, I'm back on track now and busy updating my website, making notes on new e-book projects and back in my writing saddle!

So, instead of the Monday Blues, I'm going to think in Monday Colors and be productive anyway.

Oh, and the power is back on so all is well, even on a Monday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reading to Write

FACT: Reading improves our writing.

What are you reading this summer? I'll give you my list:

*The Heart of the Matter by Frank Hamrick is an older book, but deals with targeting people's hearts instead of their behavior. Aimed at Christian school, it's a great read for anyone in Christian leadership.

*Alaska Bound, One man's dream....One woman's nightmare by Tammy Jones is a true-life account of an Alaskan adventure as told by a woman who lived it. I have not yet read this book, so it's risky to put it on my list here, but the title and description so intrigued me that I had to do a Kindle download asap. I'm looking forward to starting this one!

*Baby Dust, A Novel about Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss by Deanna Roy is just what the title suggests. I chose this book because I, too, suffered the loss of a pregnancy through miscarriage. I totally love the title, Baby Dust, since it sums up the magnitude of this type of loss for those of us who have lost babies.

Those are my three prominent reads this summer. I have others on my "to read" list.
What are you reading?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Inspires You?

I get inspired to write no matter where I am. I can have a conversation with someone at the grocery store and get inspired to write an article, title or even an entire book. A wait in the doctor's office often inspires an idea. I can get motivated to write while listening to a good sermon - and while listening to a bad sermon.

Many of these writings never see publication, but that doesn't dissuade me from writing. I write volumes, making notes and writing down ideas every day.

Get inspired. Look around you and make mental notes on what's happening. Stay inspired. Write.


Friday, June 21, 2013

E-Publishing and You

Did you know that even established authors are e-publishing? They blog. They publish e-books. They vlog. They are smart to do so. I wanted to share a few observations about e-publishing and how it can impact your writing.

* E-Publishing puts the decision to read what you write into the hands of the public. 

No longer do writers have to depend on a publisher to get their writing out there. The public gets to decide. Famed author Amanda Hocking is a good example of this. She sat in my writing class and showed us her countless rejection letters. No one would publish her writings. So, she took to e-publishing and more than 2 million people said yes to her writings by downloading her e-books! THEN the publishing houses started paying attention to Amanda Hocking and now she has both book and movie deals. The public decided.

* E-Publishing lets an author earn credibility while giving their name more exposure.

Ree Drummand, The Pioneer Woman, started her blog to share a drastic change in her life: going from city living to be the wife of a rancher. Her blog became so popular that she ended up with a cooking show on The Food Network! She has cookbooks, an active blog and has even gained some credibility as a photographer. All through her original blogging efforts.

*E-Publishing increases earning potential.

You can earn money writing blogs for yourself, ghost writing for others, writing and publishing "how-to" books. You can channel those earnings into public speaking about what you've done, earning more. You can earn more through guest blogging, blog partying, affiliate advertising and many more avenues. 

E-Publishing is for you.
E-Publishing is for every writer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Write

I write. I am a writer. I write all the time, daily actually. Most of what I write does not get published, but I write anyway.

Sometimes I write and find it therapeutic, as is the case with my book, Victory Over Violence.

Sometimes I write because something so deeply touched me that I have to put it down on paper, as with my book, Tears in a Bottle.

Other times, I write because I have information that I think others will find helpful, like in my book, How to Not Potty Train Your Kids.

I write for many reasons. When stuff happens in my life, I write about it. When stuff happens around me, I write about it. When I feel passionate about something, I write about it. When I feel silly, I write.

I've written songs, poems, books, short stories, Bible studies, a memoir, silliness, doctrine and kids' stories. I don't publish all my writings, but I write them just the same. I mostly write non-fiction, but am working on a few fiction projects and finding it interesting to say the least.

Reading my old, unpublished writings helps me improve my writing. Sometimes, I'll read through old writings only to be thankful I never sought to have them published. Other times, I read through them and wonder why I didn't have them published....then I sell them to an editor/publisher and get paid.

Writers write.
I am a writer.
I write.
What about you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Writing is Work

Some people say that if you love what you do for a living, you won't work a day in your life. I don't agree with that statement 100%. I love being a mom, but when I had three kids in diapers at once, three different kids on three different sports teams at the same time and another one or two learning to drive, I worked. When all eight kids lived at home, I worked. I loved it, but it was still work. I only have three left at home now and I work and work and work. I love it still, but it's work. Work that I love.

Writing is also work that I love.

Maria Murnane, CreateSpace blogger hits the nail on the head with this article on the discipline of writing. I love being a writer. The thrill of selling one of my frequent articles or getting tons of hits on my blogs or checking my e-book sales to find them up higher and higher is beyond exciting for me. But, writing those articles and e-books is work, even though I love it.

So, work. And write. And love it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Every Blogger is a Published Author

If you take a look at this article by Nina Amir, you might think I'm guilty of plagiarism even by the title of this blog post. In the article, titled Blog an eBook So You'll Get Read As You Write, Nina quotes a speaker from the New Media Expo as saying just that...."Every blogger is a published author." This is not new information to me. I have been telling my writing students this for several years now.

Publishing is easier today than ever before. I tell my students that if they've so much as written a Facebook status update, they have published. Their update might be read more than a long article in the New York Times. Smart writers have learned to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and other social media outlets to advance their writing, their product or service and generate not only business, but a following.

If you are not blogging, what are you waiting for? It's easy, quick and can have a huge positive impact on your writing.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Check Your Resources

If you're like me, you have a variety of resources you use for your writing. I thought today I would highlight a few of my favorites.

Grammar Girl is first on my favorites list. She tackles every day grammar issues that all writers face and you can search her site for answers to all your grammar questions. Love Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty)! Find her on Facebook so you don't miss out on the best grammar tips around.

LinkedIn is another favorite resource of mine. I have joined several writer's groups on LinkedIn and have found the conversations to be worthwhile, stimulating and very advantageous to my writing. There's nothing like having others read your writing or reading others' writing to add fuel to your own writing.

SEO News is another of my favorites. I learn something every single time I go to their website. If you're going to write and publish on the internet, SEO News can help you learn the best way to use and optimize search engines for the best results.

This Top 10 List is a winner for guiding you to some great resources for writing.

This is just a very small list, but it highlights some of my favorites.

Happy Writing!
Happy May Day!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Doing the Happy Dance

Are you doing the happy dance when it comes to your writing? I am doing the happy dance because I have sold more Amazon Kindle books. I love it when I'm out and about, busy living my life, and I come home and find that I have sold more books!

I realized a long time ago that I would not sell any Amazon Kindle books if I did not publish those books on Amazon. This is not so profound, it's obvious, yet many writers can't do the happy dance because they are not selling books and they are not selling books because they have not published their books!

E-publishing is here to stay and even well-known, accomplished authors are seeing the need to e-publish in some form or another.

And you will be doing the happy dance, too!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You Should Write

The three little words in this blog title perfectly sum up the start to my writing career. I was in college and had just turned in yet another research paper. I did my best work on the paper, turned it in on time and sighed with relief as I went on to my next class. I had no idea that the paper I'd just finished would change my life.

Upon getting the graded paper back from my professor, I noted that he'd written a note at the top. It said, "Reading your writing is just like talking to you. You should write." The words were simple, their impact far-reaching. Three little words. I took them to heart for a number of reasons.

First of all, I was not used to hearing positive feedback or any sort of compliment. Being raised in an abusive situation didn't lend itself to my siblings and I being built up in any way. I simply had never heard much positive reinforcement in my life, thus it was incredibly pleasant.

Secondly, the professor was a professional, giving his words more weight in my life. Had I gotten the same compliment from an acquaintance or friend, I might have thought they were just being nice to me. The professor didn't have to be nice in that way; he could be, and was, totally objective.

Third, I had gotten a A on the paper. Because I was in Bible college with little history of ever going to church or even reading the Bible, I was struggling academically for the first time in my life. I'd breezed through high school. This was like learning a new language while learning facts in that language. I was overwhelmed, then got that A, which boosted my confidence.  An A on something I'd written was like a mega-horn shouting, "WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!"

A few years later, I started writing for Regular Baptist Press on a fairly regular basis.
A few years after that, I started getting published in other places, Family Circle magazine to name one.
A few yeas later, I wrote my first book, Victory Over Violence.
A few years later, I started teaching writing on a formal basis and saw success in the success of my students, one of which was Amanda Hocking.

Three little words that I have never forgotten. "You Should Write" Thank you, Professor Glen Crabb. You impacted a young student in a deep and very positive way.

Writers, realize the impact of your words.
Choose them carefully.
Tell the truth.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Book Review, A Suggestion

Today, I'm reviewing a book for you and making the suggestion that you buy it. This book, Rainbows in the Storms, is by a friend of mine and it's the poignant story of a young wife and mother of four who faces the terminal illness and subsequent death of her beloved husband and father of her children. The author, Ann Asprey Erdmann, tells how each and every step of his illness affected her and their family as they journeyed through the storms that rolled over them again and again.

I was privileged to be one of her first editors and, let me tell you, this young woman is the real deal. Any time I told her that the message of God's power in seeing them through was not coming out in her writing, she was willing to change it up until it told the story right. The story is heart-wrenching, yet filled with hope. This hope is only found through God and His saving grace through Jesus Christ. That is the author's clear message and clearly the message of her husband, even as he lay dying.

I recommend this book. You will see how one young family not only survived the storms that swelled up around them, but how they thrived even while staring down the ultimate enemy - death.

Ann's willingness to take what some might consider harsh criticism has allowed her story to shine and be a beacon to others looking for hope. What if she had not listened? What if she had not been willing to take criticism and dug in her heels instead? She was not afraid to take criticism, not afraid to hire an editor and do it right and not afraid to face anything that came her way as she sought to tell her story in the best way possible.

Kudos to Ann for getting her book published!
Kudos for her humble spirit!
Kudos for her ultimate desire to honor God through all her writings!

Writers, learn from her. Take criticism. Hire editors. Work hard.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Edit, Anyone?

I read a few blogs regularly and those blogs often introduce me to new blogs. Today, a Facebook post led me to a fashion blog and it looked interesting and informative enough to click on. Fashion is important, to a point - the point where I don't go around looking like an idiot or dressing too young, etc. That can be challenging, though, since clothes in the junior department fit me best. It's not always convenient to be short.

The fashion blog held a lot of useful information, but this young blogger desperately needs an editor. We can certainly look past a few typos, but this gal had no clue how to use the English language. She needs an editor.

We all need an editor. I can't tell you how many times I've written a blog post, reread it several times, posted it, then came back and found typos or other errors! It happens to everyone.

I'm not just irritated at poor, unedited writing. I'm also frustrated for the writer because, in the long run, it will affect her success. Poor writing skills affect everyone's success, especially if we promote ourselves as writers. It pays to look like we know how to write. It pays to edit. If you're not confident to edit your own blog posts, have a friend look them over, or trade editing services with another writer who needs the same. Nothing can replace an objective eye looking at your work.

Editing is simple.
Practice it regularly.
You won't be sorry.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The (Non-magical) Writing Process

Writing is a process as much as it is a creative action. Those of us who write for publication know that this process, while we are drawn to it without reason, is not always easy. Writing involves a process. Part two of my series of classes on Writing for Publication focuses on this process and breaks it down into manageable steps. Today, I'd like to share some content from that class, which will be available in an e-book later on this spring or early summer. My first e-book from this set of classes is already available and you can find it here.

John Steinbeck said, "I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."

John Steinbeck knew that the writing process is not magical. You basically just have to do it; just write. This is not a "how-to," it's more of an attempt to help you know the process so that none of this process will catch you off guard and you will know what to expect. I have broken the writing process down into these four steps:





The simple definitions for each of these steps are:

Prewriting - Anything you do before you actually write any portion of a piece. This includes thinking, getting the idea, taking notes, talking to others and a host of other things you might do in relationship to your writing before you actually write. This is a recursive process.

If you are thinking about your writing project, 
you are already in the midst of the writing process for that idea.

Drafting - Putting your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. It involves explaining, supporting and connecting.

Putting ideas into words changes gives them more power than you might realize.

Revising - The act of refining your work, improving the flow, making connections clear, clarifying context, etc. The revision process is more recursive than any of the other steps in the writing process. Be prepared for this. 

The biggest part of revision is often elimination. 

Editing - This is the last thing you will do before publication. I highly recommend hiring an outside editor since none of us are really objective enough to edit our own work. 

"If it's possible to cut a word out, always cut it out." - George Orwell's rules for writing #3. 

There you have the four steps to the writing process in a nutshell. 
Happy Writing!

Monday, March 11, 2013

20 Great Ideas

I ran across this article on the web and thought it was excellent, thus worth sharing with you. The article, written by Rowena Crosbie was published through Tero International, Inc, An Elite Training Group, is titled 20 Tips for Engaging Your Audience.

I do public speaking fairly regularly as a writing instructor as well as a Bible study teacher. I speak at women's events as well as in college classrooms. Even though I have done a lot of public speaking and a lot of writing, I still learned from this great list and I hope you can learn, too. Even though this article was written for public speaking, the principles within apply easily to writing for publication.

Writing for publication requires a writer to keep their audience in mind while writing.

Happy Writing!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Best Writing Advice You'll Ever Get

Today, we wish a Happy Birthday to Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known to us all as Dr. Seuss. This article by writer Richard Nordquist is an excellent tribute to a most talented writer. I thought it was good advice, the best I've ever heard, so it's prudent for me to pass it on to you.

Take it to heart.
Be a better writer as a result.


Monday, February 25, 2013

The Right Tools

I love to bake. I love the fact that I can take a bunch of seemingly random ingredients and turn them into something tangible and delicious like a loaf of home made bread, brownies, a savory dinner or a pizza pie! A key to baking well is having and using the right tools. We just moved across the country and I'm happy to say that my new home has a fantastic place in it to have a baking station. I was unable to do that in my last kitchen and it was always a challenge. Now, with my baking station, I can whip things up quickly and easily on a whim if I want. Today, I found a recipe for "Gobs" aka "Whoopie Pies" and decided to make them while my boys studied in my home school. They turned out great!  My baking station, always at the ready, made quick and easy work out of baking up the wonderful treats. My favorite baking tools include my wonderful Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer, my Pampered Chef microplane, parchment paper, my vintage mixing bowls and my home made vanilla extract. These five things have enhanced my baking a great deal and made it even more fun.

My writing isn't much different. What are my essential writing tools? Are they always "at the ready" to assist me in my writing endeavors? What about you? Below is a list of my greatest writing tools. Have you inventoried yours lately?

* Great Ideas
   Writing starts with a great idea, whether it comes from observation or personal experience. Start with your great ideas and see how far they will take you. Don't be afraid to write it down.

* Your own method
   Your method is your comfort zone for making your writing happen. Famed author Danielle Steele uses an old-fashioned typewriter rather than a modern word processor for her books. I love my word processor, but when I'm developing an idea, nothing beats writing it out on a legal pad with a soft pencil. This method helps me capture the mood of what I'm writing, which assists in complete development.

* A love of reading
   Reading makes you a better writer, so read, read, read to your heart's content. Read a variety of genres, not just your own. Read, then write.

* An objective opinion
   Find someone you trust to give you an objective opinion of what you write and ask them to give you honest feedback. You can offer something in return so you're not taking advantage of that person if that is an issue, but by all means, get a trusted, objective opinion on your writing.

* Write
   Writing is the best way to improve and hone your writing. Write a journal. Write an article. Write a note to someone. Write a how-to book in one weekend and e-publish when finished. Just write. And continue writing your way to success. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Seeing Your Work in Print?

It's been too long since I posted on the Total Writer, but we just moved across the country, so blogging had to take a back seat. However, I have thought of all my fellow writers, my writing students and others who read the blog, so know you were not forgotten!

Just yesterday in the mail, I received copies of my latest articles published by Regular Baptist Press. I've been a regular writer for RBP for over 25 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the process. It never fails, no matter how many times I see one of my articles published, I get a big smile on my face. It makes my day. My two latest:

Writing articles is a great way to stay fresh, get published, keep your name out there in front of potential readers and stay in practice as a writer between major projects. If you haven't before, I strongly encourage you to write articles. Search out different publications which might be looking for writers and start submitting your work. You might just be surprised at the response you get.  I submitted an article to RBP 25 years ago and I'm still a regular contributor!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Revision, Revision, Revision

Revision is a necessary tool for successful writing. We write, we edit, we revise. Then, we revise again. And again. And again.

Sometimes, our content needs less revision than our title, however. This was the case with my new e-book, Writing for Publication.  I wrote, edited, revised, had an outside editor look at it, revised again, rewrote part of it and updated other parts. After all that was done, I created a title page, using my own photography as I always do on my e-books, and uploaded the project to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. I waited a couple of days, then did a search for my e-book. Clicking through to page five in the list of books on writing, mine simply did not show up. I gave it another day. Nothing. My e-book still did not show up in any searches!

So, I had to rethink my project and revise once again.  This time, revision involved my title and book cover. I spent a little time searching for writing e-books and made notes on what was showing up in searches. My original title, Writing for Publication, was buried in medical writings and newspaper column advice. I didn't check past page five because page five is deeply buried enough on Amazon to know it was never going to be found through a general search.

My new title, Write, then Publish. Today. with the subtitle (A Guide to Writing for Publication) has shown a much better search result. I'm glad I revised the presentation and title. It was work. It took time. But, it was necessary to make sure my e-book was easy for readers to find. I created a new picture by revising my original one, too.

Revise. Revise. Revise.
You will never be sorry you did!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Preview, An Excerpt

My new book, Writing for Publication (Book 1) will be available via Kindle and Kindle apps by the end of this week! I'm excited to have made this much progress since we're in the process of moving. Here's an excerpt from the book, a teaser:

There are specific keys to overcoming the inevitable failure of being a writer. These few ideas can have a huge impact on your writing, and on your success as a writer. 

        Appreciate your own talent. If you know you are a good writer and you have something valid to say, appreciate that in yourself. Self appreciation comes across to others as confidence. Appreciating and having confidence in your talent is not boastful or prideful, it’s honest and real.
        Don’t let rejection slow you down. Realize and accept that rejection is part of the job of writing for publication. If you accept this, it will not surprise you when it happens. It’s a given, par for the course. It truly cannot be avoided. What you need to do is file the rejection away and keep writing without missing a beat.
       Keep writing. Famed author Amanda Hocking did this.  When she took my class, she had a thick file of rejection letters and they kept coming even during the time she took the class. What did Amanda do as a result?  She wrote more books.  By the time she self-published, then e-published, she had 17 finished books. Now, because of her e-publishing success, she is an international sensation with book and movie deals that scream her success.  She started out failing.  She kept writing. She saw success. That’s a simple formula. It will work for you, too.

      Much more to come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stop "That!"

Tip for the day for writers:  

Stop using "that" as much as you possibly can. 

I like to remind myself by saying, "That sounds flat."

Here are a few samples which illustrate my point:

Actually, this sentence is a perfect example. I could have said, "Here are a few samples that illustrate my point."  By choosing "which" instead of "that," the sentence flows better, sound more intelligent and helps the reader focus on the subject at hand, all which are benefits to any writer.

Anything you do to ease the reading of your work will benefit you, as the writer, the most.

Consider these examples:

"I will vote for the candidate that most closely shares my view."
"I will vote for the candidate who most closely shares my view."

Using "who" instead of "that" in this instance gives credibility to the writer's understanding of a candidate being a person and not a thing, since "who" or "that" in each instance refers back to the candidate they intend to vote for.

"Fear is a strong word that often comes out of misinformation."
"Fear is a strong word, often resulting from misinformation."

In this instance, "that" can be totally left out, making the sentence sound more intelligent, flow better and really focus on the point of the thought the writer is trying to get across. More words don't usually mean better writing. Less is better.

In your next writing project, take a look at "that" and see if you are overusing this common word.
Think of ways you can use "that" less.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get Real!

The title of this blog is not a joke nor a flippant statement on my part. Being real is ever so important to one's work as a writer - and really to one's credibility whether they are a writer or not. Being real, not exaggerating oneself and presenting oneself as honest to the core is everything in the writing world. Absolutely everything. It's also everything in the world of education.

I've been doing some editing for a man lately.  This man has a legitimate Ph.D, which he rightly earned. (Not all who claim to have a Ph.D have it legitimately. Many colleges, even local community colleges, reject claims of such a higher degree if they are not legitimate. More on this in a minute.) This man I'm editing for is a good writer, has a great handle on the English language and has some vital things to say. The problem is, he misrepresents his Ph.D by putting "Dr." in front of his name. While this may seem acceptable, the reason it is not is simple: the title "Dr.," in written form, has been reserved for medical doctors only.

When I first saw this title on his work, I immediately thought his Ph.D was not real; or essentially not legitimate. I interpreted his mistake as ignorance and this level of ignorance is usually associated with those who do not come by their accomplishments legitimately. Such was not the case with this man. Upon questioning him, he already knew using the title "Dr." was a bit on the risky side, yet he used it anyway. His reason was simple; he wanted to distinguish himself from another writer of the same name.  My response to him was simply that while I understand the need to distinguish himself, doing so by deceiving his readers is a mistake his writing career will not recover from. I made sure he knew his readers would assume he's a medical doctor and allowing them to make that assumption is deception. I warned him that he would lose all credibility as a writer should he proceed with that as he's published.

The rule of thumb is that if you are a Ph.D, you list your name as:

Jane Doe, Ph.D.


Dr. Jane Doe

Immediately, when people see "Dr." they assume medical doctor. This assumption is widely accepted in the writing world, as well as in education. When someone finds out Jane is not a medical doctor, they either think she's a liar or ignorant.......and neither of those is a good way to be perceived!

Get real.  Be real.

Only represent your real accomplishments. Only list what is true about yourself. If you got your Ph.D through a for-profit university, it's likely it will not be acknowledged in most colleges, thus it's not appropriate to claim. Most colleges check these things; you will be found out. It's best to be real and up front, saving yourself the impossibility of trying to overcome such a disaster in your career. Most people's careers will not recover.

So, just get real. Be real. Stay real.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Go Ahead, Set that Goal!

Happy 2013!!  What a great year this promises to be! Starting a new year, or even a new day is like waking up to a clean slate, or in my case as a writer, to a new word document!  Either way, opportunity abounds each and every day. One sure way to take advantage of those opportunities is to set goals. Setting a goal or a number of goals gives focus, validity, and clarity to your writing.

Being the creative type, I sometimes find goal setting confining. To combat that, I keep my eyes on my end result, asking myself what I want to accomplish and how it can be accomplished. I have found that even non-specific goals, such as a goal to be more consistent, can carry great influence. It's easy to take a non-specific goal and make it more specific with a plan.  Even if you're a free-lance writer who does not earn your entire income from writing, you should have a plan, a business plan, for your writing.


Your next step, after setting a goal and making a plan, is to take action. Go ahead, set that goal! Make that plan! Now get up and make it happen! It's your goal, it's your plan, it's you who has to take action. Below, I've outlined one such goal setting/plan making/action taking idea:

To blog more consistently

Set weekly blogging goals.
Brainstorm for fresh ideas daily.
Research trends to stay current.
Work to keep content fresh
Write ideas down daily.
Keep new and interesting pictures ready to use 
(I use all my own photography on my blogs.)
Read. A lot.
Network often.
Market wisely.

Well, you're reading the first result of my action!

Have you set  writing goals for 2013?  I have many more than just this one. I hope you set many goals for 2013 and work to accomplish every one of them. Join a writer's group which will help keep you on track. If there is no writer's group in your area, start one. I did that here where I live and it has been a great help to me as well as my fellow writers. 

Happy New Year!
Happy Writing!