Tag Archives: author tip

Writers – Get What It Takes For Success

Show Up

IMG_21473679414860Pay homage to your souls passion by showing up to make use of it. Face it, your desire for success and fame will never be realized if all you can manage to do 90% of the time, is daydream about what you are going to do. Hard work is favored with reward. Believe that you must show your dream some respect by putting in some time and attention to create your masterpiece and hone your talent. Strive to do your best and you will become your best.

Structure your schedule to include a time frame where you will work at your craft. Simply put, WRITE EVERY DAY!

If you are serious about giving the hours of creativity, then hang on tight, your soul is about to get a big dish of what it hungers for. At first you will feel a sense of satisfaction for your effort, but then the payoffs begin to roll in. Your writing is going to improve, and here is a map to guide you closer to your goal.

  • There is no such thing as writers block.
  • Get up thirty minutes earlier and start a dream journal.
  • Keep a doodle pad handy, or colored index cards for brainstorming.
  • Research at least once a week on your plot theme and structure.
  • Read an article about writing every other day.
  • Don’t read what you have written.
  • If your mind is wandering, do a brainstorming session and mind-map your ideas.
  • Read everyday in your chosen genre.
  • Be open to new ideas and try one on once a week.
  • Stretch and breath and drink lots of fluids. Don’t waste your time surfing the net.
  • Instant gratification is a lie and will get you nowhere and you are wasting precious time seeking it.

Writers Block: Seven Ways to Get Unstuck

You may be unable to write the thing you want or need to write, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write something. And that’s the key to breaking out of a funk. It’s like loosening up your muscles – once you get warmed up, your workout will be easier.

Here are a few tips for turning your brain cramp into a writer’s cramp:

  1. Write something else. An email, a blog post, a grocery list. Anything to get a little momentum going. 
  2. Free associate. Put pen to paper or fingers to keypad and write continuously for 15 minutes without stopping. Seriously. Whatever comes to mind. What you had for breakfast, what you see in front of you. Just do it.
  3. Try some creative writing. Write about your childhood home, your first memory, a favorite teacher or best friend. Turn on the TV. Take a line of dialogue you hear and use it as the starting point for a story. 
  4. Go online. Find something that really fires you up – sports, politics, the weather – whatever floats your boat or gets your goat. Read the comments and you’ll see how regrettably few people online are impeded by writer’s block. Join what passes for debate there and post a comment of your own. You might find that all you really need is to stir the passions a little.
  5. Change the scenery. Go somewhere else to write.
  6. Get moving. Get up out of your chair and take a walk or go for a run. Get energized.
  7. Read. Great writing inspires me. See what it does for you. Pull out a favorite book, or go online and track down the screenplay to a favorite movie.

Start a Dream Journal

What happens when you dream and what happens when you write is not so different, really. They both connect to the subconscious. All the weird stuff that floats around in your subconscious can be a good place to go when your work-in-progress gets blocked up. Make a game of it: choose some random element from a recent dream and work it into a scene you’re writing. It will keep you going—and in writing, if you just keep going (somewhere… anywhere!), you often end up headed in the direction you genuinely needed to go. The very act of keeping a dream journal stimulates the recollection of dreams. So the more you plan to remember, the more you remember.

  • Tell yourself you will remember your dream. If you sleep for the recommended 6.5 hours or more, you have five dreams every night. If you tell yourself and convince yourself that you will remember your dream, you will remember at least one in the morning.
  • Keep your mind focused before you fall asleep. Try to keep one idea in your head. Think about a news story you heard this morning. Think about your significant other. Dream about future kids if you don’t have any. Think about what color you want to paint your bedroom if you’re really desperate. Just try to keep it focused and don’t stress. You might remember a dream about this subject when you wake up.

Keep your journal near your bed with a working pen marking the next blank page. In the moments you waste looking for the journal, you will lose memories.

Your dreams can sometimes inspire you to write. Even the characters your mind creates can be used. Many best-selling authors say that their characters were created in their subconsciousness; their prime method of communication is through dreams.

Your Plot Theme and Structure


Theme is what our story means. How it relates to reality and life in general. What is says about life and the infinite roster of issues, facets, challenges and experiences it presents. Theme can be a broad topical arena, or it can be a specific stance on anything human beings experience in life.

It can be a principle or an inevitable stage of growing up. It can be subtle or it can be on the nose. It can be contextual, or it can be the centerpiece of the story. And because it can be all of these things, or seemingly none of them yet strangely moving, it is often confusing to writers who can’t quite grasp what it means to the craft of storytelling.

Theme is the relevance of your story to life. To reality, as reflected in your fiction. Theme is love and hate, the folly of youth, the treachery of commerce, the minefield of marriage, the veracity of religion, heaven and hell, past and future, science versus nature, betrayal, friendship, loyalty, Machiavellian agenda, wealth and poverty, mercy and courage and wisdom and greed and lust and laughter.

Theme is life itself, as manifested in our stories, as seen through our characters, and as experienced through our plots. Take the time to do research on your theme and it will help you develop your story.


If you are feeling a bit stuck, try to find the real life equivalent to your plot. Then, do research to find out what actually happened, and use the real life events to invigorate and expand your current plot.

  • In a few sentences, write the basic action of the plot. For example, If your story were The Heart Stays, you might write: “A Native American College student gets a scholarship to an Ivy league School and had to deal with the unexpected arrival of her troubled sister on campus.”
  • Go onto your Internet and Google. Use a simple sentence, for example, “Native Americans who got scholarships.”
  • Open several of the websites that come up, and see what kind of information you discover. Make notes of anything that is interesting or surprising.
  • Now repeat the experiment, but this time research another aspect that interests you. Once again using our example, you might research “scholarships” and see if the details match the ones in your own story.
  • Repeat the exercise one last time asking one more question about a different area. For example, I might want to know how many scholarships were offered to Native Americans.

To recap, research can be a way to enhance a fictional plot. The trick is to find a few rich details and stop.

Why Read

It goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

With articles about writing, you can learn everything you need to know about virtually any writing topic and genre. Whether it’s fiction writing,how to write an article, getting published, promoting your work and much more. You learn from published authors and industry experts alike how to take your initial ideas and turn them into a completed story that is creative and print-worthy.

For Professional Book Cover Design, Illustration, & More

see Michelle Rene

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Writers – Harness Your Media Presence

Social-Media-LogosSTOP Before You START

T copyJumping into the social and networking scene before you have a real sense of direction could foul you up in your future marketing efforts. The time to pause is NOW.

Get out your notebook and start brainstorming before you start-up any new networking identities.

  • List the social networks you will be doing business on
  • List other sites that will help you to market your product
  • What is your objective
  • Who is your target market
  • Who do you admire that shares your craft, who will be your role modelsP copy
  • What are the possible benefits of your undertaking, what are the drawbacks
  • Why are you inspired to work your craft
  • What are some resources that can benefit you
  • How would you like people to perceive you
  • How much of a commitment are you willing and able to realistically make to your new endeavor

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You are in this to win. This is your business and if you are sincere in pursuing your passion then now is the time to harness your inner muse and gather your resources.

You Will Benefit From Gathering The Following Information:

What Is Your Business Identity: How do you want the world to know you?

Your business identity is important because it is at the forefront of everything you will present G copyto the public. It is the image that portrays you and the supporting banner image. It is your name. It is your tagline. It is your voice, your personality. It is anything you post or like. All of these things tell the story of you.

What should your audience experience upon first glance? Key words and images will create a response (good, bad or indifferent) from your public. This is your initial chance to shine, to throw your best face forward and hook their attention. Ultimately what you are selling is the product of your talent, there is no longer room for being an introvert. ANYONE can be your customer and you need to be the kind of professional you want to portray at ALL times when dealing with your networks. How you behave and the voice you project will determine whose interest you peek and who becomes a patron of your art.download (4)

What Is Your Talent

Your talent is your passion, your art, and you are about to engage in self-promotion. Its best to know a lot of information regarding your subject matter.  How do you go about perfecting your craft, where are your weaknesses. What are your strengths. What more could you do with your writing to capture the attention of others. Know what you are selling and what pertains to it, it will help you optimize your content and gain a wider audience.


Whether or not you are shy, timid, or just feel uncomfortable about advertising your own book on your social networks, you had better just get over it. You are not going to sell dribble without networking, promoting, advertising, and socializing.

What Are Your Key Methods Of Self-PromotionS copy

It can be a little unnerving to anyone to begin to sell what you have crafted simply because most of us don’t like rejection. You will be advertising your wares and there will be several methods of delivery depending upon the network or site you join or blog/website you host. Research people on those sites that inspire you, people that have achieved what it is that you are hoping to achieve. Learn from them, what is working for them. and be prepared to flavor your networking with your personality. People enjoy real people and the majority wish the best for you, they want to know you are approachable.

Who should you connect with, what types of social circles should you follow. It is good to know that you have people out there waiting to encourage and promote you by connecting, liking, sharing, or following what you do.ME copy

How Much Time Can You Set Aside Each Day For Your Craft

You need to set aside time everyday to work your craft. Whats the point in networking something you are not consistently working at. You should make time for several things that relate to your writing and schedule time for them throughout the week. You should write every day, even if its complete garbage, your skills as a writer will improve remarkably by doing just that one thing. You need to keep up with your social media sites, you should really plan your activity on them. know what your keeping an eye out for, new ways to market, what is trending who are your best allies. take the time to devote yourself uninterrupted because networking is an energy burner but very rewarding. Don’t put off what you should do today or you will fall behind and yourGR copy fans may lose interest in you, not what you want when they begin to be your bread and butter. This is where your passion may get fed the most, this and when you are creating.

What Will Be Your Content

What will you share in order to draw a growing audience to your profile?

What I sincerely encourage you to do FIRST is to get really comfortable with imaging copyright laws. Try not to be daunted by this. You should know what will pertain to you as a business entity. Not knowing the law and infringing on copyright is simply not acceptable 500px-Tumblr-Iconperiod. It is also best to ask permission if there are no copyrights attached to content you want to share.

What are some resources that you will require in order to gather that content.

  • You will need good images that are legal for you to share, where will you find them and how much might it cost you. What resources are available for free and what are the exceptions for them (are they for personal use only, and what are the rules when sharing content).
  • Research what you do. If you are a writer then read books in your chosen genre because you will learn from and be inspired by them. Writers read. Read articles on your craft. A good writer knows there is always room for improvement. You never know what may spark your inner muse and inspire that masterpiece.download
  • Your local media or organizations within your community can also be, not just good sources to market your work, but also a source for content to share and relative events to attend or become involved in.
  • Research who you admire, they can be a source of inspiration and guidance that leads to great content.

For Professional Book Cover Design, Illustration, & More

see Michelle Rene

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Editing and Proof Reading – Busting the Myths

So you’ve written a novel. Oh, okay, let’s not use the word ‘novel’. Say anything: short story, essay, just any form of writing. You’ve written the first draft. You think it’s good. You think it’s great. You think it’s wonderful.

But it’s not ready to be distributed or shown to anyone else yet. Before that, there is what some writers call the ‘mammoth’ task of editing/rewriting. To make sure that everything is perfect. No contradictory information, no confusing sentences, no over-used words, no kid-like grammar, and the like. Similarly, checking for spelling mistakes (typos) or grammar mistakes (called by some as grammos — I personally don’t use that word!) is known as proof-reading.

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Many writers hate the task of editing or proof-reading. Why?

Because they think it comes when the ‘creative stage’ of writing is finished. They hate to look for errors — they’re already convinced it’s done, come on! Proof-reading — argghhh (according to some writers). Necessary evil.

But when one looks below the surface, a lot of different answers are to be found. Editing is not as hard as it looks. Nor is it boring. It’s fun.

Yes, I’m not kidding. It’s fun to correct your work. Although it’s not as much fun to correct the same mistake over and over again.  To fix broken sentences, to correct grammar — the fun of that depends on you. For me, they’re not too great, but they have to be done, nevertheless.

And what about proof reading? Well, even that’s not as hard as most people think. Yes, it is a bit boring—in fact, very boring at the start—but it’s immensely rewarding. When you go over the same thing twice and find that all previous mistakes were corrected by you, the author, the feeling which comes is great. Sense of achievement!

As a matter of fact, proof reading your own work is also helpful long-term. When the brain collects information about what kind of mistakes it’s doing, it will not do the same mistakes again. Grammatical errors such as the wrong use of the apostrophe, “its” vs. “it’s” or “accept” vs. “except” will be done plenty of times in the first draft. But as you keep editing, proof reading, writing, editing and proof reading all over again, you’ll find that the mistakes will gradually reduce. The brain will get more competitive.

Proof reading: proof reading generally means to check your work minutely for typos, grammatical errors, strange repetition of words, accidental contradictory information and the like. Although they’re highly annoying to correct the first time, it’s also rewarding to see after a period of time that you’re no longer making those mistakes just because you made them in the first place.

Writer Clip Art_full

When we write, self-correction drives us bananas

Writing articles drives us crazy. Our natural tendency to self-edit gets out of hand. We can’t seem to put it on hold, even for a few minutes.

And the reason for that is our lack of competency.

Competency is a state of mind you reach when you’ve made enough mistakes that your brain can now move on.

That’s right. It’s not about getting things right in your brain — it’s about getting things wrong. The brain has to make hundreds, even thousands of mistakes — and overcome those mistakes — to be able to reach a level of competency.

Once it reaches competency, it self-edits on the fly

You can see this for yourself by spending time with a two-year-old.

Get the child to walk on grass, and then on gravel. He’ll struggle, and he may fall.

Get the child to say a sentence, and he’ll struggle to find the right words in the right order.

And yes, you may say that a child’s brain is not fully developed. But in fact, the brains of two-year-old children have more neural connections than at any other point in their lives. As they grow older, they lose many of those neural connections. Technically speaking at least, the child is in the best possible situation to learn — and learn quickly.

Yet they struggle

And that’s because the child hasn’t made enough mistakes yet. His brain is still working on finding and correcting them.

Once the brain makes enough mistakes — and corrects them — it now has a database of information that it can call upon at any time. Your brain has now reached its level of competency in that field, be it walking, talking or writing.

Your brain can now self-edit on the fly.

This is what great athletes do

And great writers.

And great singers.

And great speakers.

They’re still constantly self-editing, but they’ve reached such a high level of competency that they’ve moved into the realm of ‘fluency.’

Fluency is when self-editing happens so quickly that we can’t see it

It seems magical. And when things seem magical, we call it ‘talent.’

But what we call talent is just an advanced level of self-editing. Over and over and over again, until it’s second-nature.

Until your article writing looks like this:

Write. Write. Write. Edit. Write. Write. Write. Write. Edit.

For Your Professional Cover Design and Illustration See Michelle Rene


Source: http://www.writerstreasure.com/editing-proof-reading-busting-myths/

Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/stop-self-editin/

Author Tip: How To Design A Book Cover

Books are packaging, just like other items that sell in the stores. The cover of your book may be the single most important thing that sells it. What colors, images, and packaging will force a reader to grab your book from the shelf, or capture their attention on Amazon, etc.  Even the colors that are used on your cover have meaning to the reader, marketing research proves it.

A successful package has generally three elements working for it:

  • It should be associated with positive feelings about the product.
  • It should be attractive, to catch the consumer’s attention.
  • It should be unique and distinctive.

Product researchers outside the book industry have performed studies that apply to books, as well – strapping headsets onto prospective buyers, for example – to track how people look at covers. (Apparently most readers hone in on the upper left of the package, then spiral clockwise into the center.) So book cover design is a science. If we can harness the science, then all we need to do is to be sure that each cover reflects the cutting edge of market research.

As every publishing professional will tell you, books often defy science – they evoke emotion, memory, and they tell stories. Creating the cover is unique, there is an art to it.

It often takes years of experience to really develop the instincts to know what works and what doesn’t, in order to design such a cover. Great designers use “visual thinking” – a vocabulary and skillset made up of images, titles, and how they interact. Designers are plugged into pop culture, history, music, film, art, and politics, for instance, and use that host of visual cues (image, color, font, and so forth) in order to figure out and articulate the essence of the book. Books with flowers on them, for example, will appeal to women, but most men will steer clear. Adding the color red may evoke passion, heat, or intensity – but it can also look cheap and unappealing. Blue, on the other hand, will be calmer and more relaxing. White can disappear on a shelf. Golden retrievers are always crowd pleasers. Small type is hard to read, especially at a distance.

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Once you know the rules, you then have to design a cover that readers want to pick up. After all, if the reader doesn’t know the author – as is often the case in a first novel – and if the book can’t catch the reader’s eye, the reader doesn’t pick the book up. Game over.

How, though, to get that reader to pick up that book is still the subject of debate; publishers and designers have a lot of different types of criteria for how it happens. The experts seemed to whittle it down to three interconnected and overlapping qualities:

  1. Distinctiveness
  2. Clarity
  3. Connectedness


You want to signal the genre of the book first. Then you want to attempt to draw new readers to the genre.  Thrillers are generally darker, use large type, and depict shadowy men.  Red adds suspense; red and black made the white and yellow stand out; the sickle and hammer image nods to the novel’s setting in Stalinist Russia. In total, the cover works within the rules but breaks out of them. People know it’s a thriller but the man without a face and the spying eyes reach out to intrigue the reader.

TRS - 04D Front example

Books that tend to stretch boundaries and bend genres are often looking for an unusual cover: cover designs that don’t look like other books, that a reader will pick up because they’re intrigued. An example is The Red & Restless, where the cover focuses on the author, her disability, and her motivation to write her unusual poetry.  You will have to read to uncover that mystery…

Red and Restless 05

No matter the genre, though, distinctiveness can often be a critical element in making the reader pick up the book. It is by no means the only element, though – some books with distinctive covers still don’t leap off the shelves.


Besides distinctiveness, many publishing professionals refer to clarity as a guiding principle. A person has three to five seconds to look at a book – you want to help him find it.  If the image and the title don’t match, don’t clearly identify the book and the market, if they leave the reader confused, they just don’t work. But you can use an assortment of images to convey a message that will be both clear and evocative. More and more, there needs to be a reason for the book to occupy the retail space – packaging is more important than it’s ever been. So a book with a muddled message may be a book with a very short shelf-life.


Distinctiveness and clarity are useful terms, but a third contingent says that both are part of a much bigger issue: that of emotional engagement – the same criteria as for magazine covers. The book must connect, immediately, with the reader’s emotions.

One of the first steps to determine how to connect emotionally with the reader is to figure out what that reader is looking for. 40% of book purchase is based on subject matter), specific story-lines, or themes.

Once the reader finds the shelf they’re looking for – paranormal suspense, or new literary fiction, and so forth – something speaks to them, piques their interest, engages them. It may be the “distinctiveness” factor, but quite often you find that the chosen covers aren’t as distinctive as their counterparts.

Keep in mind that most readers go to the bookstore looking for some kind of benefit. For nonfiction readers, the benefit is often educational . Novel readers, on the other hand, are often looking for an emotional benefit – they buy the book to be emotionally moved, so an emotional hook – an image, a typeface, a color, or more likely all three – will answer  the expectation: the cover engages the reader emotionally, and once that happens, everything is set in motion.

The cover telegraphs the story – when you see the title, you should have a flash of intuition; you should have a sense of an impending story, and as soon as that happens, you’re engaged. The beauty or distinctiveness of the cover is actually secondary, or could actually prohibit book sales: book-buyer’s don’t want a pretty cover, they want a visual that pulls them in.

Fantasy tree house in dark green forest

Readers bring their own intuition and passions into each read. Part of a book’s appeal is the unstated promise that a book will exercise the reader’s own imagination. It is different from seeing a movie, reading is much more subjective and intuitive, so part of what makes a cover really work for a book-buyer is its ability to lure the reader in – to connect. There’s a story here, the cover tells you. Something secret, something that perhaps you should have already known or read or guessed.

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For the book itself everything comes down to the reader, and that moment in front of the bookshelf – and sometimes, it turns out, the author and/or publisher and/or designer didn’t quite have it right. By overdoing connectedness you can actually turn readers away, they want an air of mystery, they don’t necessarily want the story thrown in their face.

So when you see that book cover for the first time, don’t think about whether you love it, or whether you think it’s beautiful. Before you even look at it, prepare yourself. Think:

  • Will this stand out on a crowded shelf? [i.e., is it distinctive?]
  • Is the cover’s message clear?
  • Does this engage me emotionally?

When you first pick up a book, in a very short space of time, the design of the cover, whatever associations you have with the author’s name, and the first few sentences … all generated an impression. That first impression created a flurry of responses. The response wasn’t “I like this cover” or “This cover is beautiful” – but a lightening strike of emotion, of connection. The cover was distinct enough for you to pick it up; its message was clear enough for you to understand; and you could engage on an emotional level with the cover treatment in front of you.

The cover is your first, and best, chance of connecting with your reader.

Source: http://www.foliolit.com/resources/judge-your-book-by-its-cover/

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Author Tip – Writing Your Author Bio

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Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book jackets, article bylines.

Make it professional but you also need to convey personality and writing style. Don’t try too hard to be funny, but include something that makes you seem like a real person.

What gives you credibility? What makes you interesting? What helps people connect with you? (When you’re on Twitter, Facebook or your blog, what kinds of posts seem to get the most comments?) These are things you can briefly include.

If your book centers on something specific—the Civil War, for example—are you a member of a Civil War society? Have you published any articles in historical journals? Include that.

Try not to include too much “resumé” type information–education, job history, etc. because it tends to be boring. Only include what’s relevant to the book you’re pitching.

As you write a bio, consider carefully the purpose of the bio – who is the audience? Is it agents and editors? Is it your blog readers? Tailor it to this audience.

How to write a bio if you have no publishing credits:

  • If you’re a member of a writers’ organization such as SCBWI, ACFW or ASJA, you can mention it.
  • You can mention if you’re a member of critique group or if you have a degree in literature or writing.
  • Don’t say something like “I’ve been writing stories since I was two years old.”
  • Keep it short and sweet, i.e. “Jane Smith is a fifth grade teacher in Bellingham, Washington, and is a member of ACFW.”

A bio for a query letter:

  • For FICTION, if you’re unpublished, it should be one to two sentences—about 50 words or fewer.
  • For NON-FICTION, it should be longer, enough sentences to establish your credits, credentials, and/or platform in the subject matter of your book.

Some tips for the process of writing a bio:

  • Read author bios in a couple dozen different books. Note what you like and don’t like.
  • Make a list of things you MIGHT want to say about yourself. Try to list 20 to 30 things—don’t self-edit, because you don’t want to leave anything out. Later you can choose the best elements to include.
  • Write two or three bios of different lengths so that you have them ready when you need them.
  • Trade author bios with a writer friend and help each other make them interesting.

Source: Rachelle Gardner: Literary Agent, Editor & Publishing Coach http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-terrific-author-bio/