Wednesday, April 7, 2021

#IWSG APRIL 2021 - Literary Snobbery?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!        


April 7 optional question - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!




A reminder that the IWSG Book Club is currently reading:  

Our March/April/May reads are…




The High Mountains of Portugal
 by Yann Martel is our fiction selection that offers a great
use and example of description.


Deep Point of View (Busy Writer's Guides Book 9)
 by Marcy Kennedy is our writing craft book with a focus on deep POV view.

Discussion Day for both books will be May 26, 2021!

The 2021 Anthology Contest is around the corner. Watch this space for more details. 


From time to time, writers go through those rough patches where inspiration may be low or we just need a new challenge to get the juices flowing.

A reminder that there are many challenges within the online writing community, to keep you on your toes.


Write Edit Publish Now is a great platform to polish your flash fiction skills. 

Will you let Freedom Morning spark a flash of hope for a systematically suppressed character?

Will someone break free - of chains, of the past, of a closed mindset - after years of living with them?

Or maybe someone will watch a brand new sunrise and come to a decision to start life afresh? Rise to a challenge?  :)  Overcome a hardship?

Take the artwork as a whole or in part and seed that into imagination. Your canvas is unlimited.

The annual A to Z Blogging Challenge is a great opportunity to write for an entire month. It’s also a great way to meet other creatives. More information HERE.   

Have you joined our FACEBOOK group? A reminder that on the first Wednesday of each month, IWSG members who have blogs can add the link to their monthly blog hop post on our Facebook Group. It's a great way to connect with other IWSG members! 

You can check out our swag, which includes stationery, keychains, mugs and T-shirts HERE

LITERARY SNOBBERY...

What is literary snobbery? This topic has been on my mind for quite a while... 
In a nutshell, it includes classic literature versus modern literature and physical books versus e-books. We all know that there are some people in the world who feel that one type of literature is "better" than the rest. 

Scenario: My “ordinary” story (think basic, predictable plot) is read by 100 new-to-reading individuals. This is the book that "hooks" these brand new readers...
Your “fancy” classic-styled story (think intricate plot filled with twists and a whopper of a surprise) is read by 10 000 avid readers.

Which story is more valuable/ significant/ beneficial {insert suitable word}? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Are you a risk-taker when writing? What is your perspective when it comes to literary snobbery? Have you considered signing up for the Anthology Contest, Write Edit Publish or the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge?

Monday, March 29, 2021

Little By Little


Haven't written anything in ages. Why do I bother? I should be writing. Those 500 words don't amount to much. What else could I be doing? 

Such thoughts have ran through many a mind in many a variation forever. Since cavemen started drawing on walls they have been there. Okay, maybe not as elaborate, but they have still been there. Cavemen didn't think past drawing on the wall? Bah. No cavemen to ask so no proof until you invent time travel. Where were we? Right. Thoughts. Self doubt. All kinds of thoughts spinning the drain. But you can avoid the drain. Just look at what you have done. 

500 words is 500 words more than you had before, 500 words more than someone who says they will write but never do, and 500 words more that you are closer to the end of your story.

You don't have to write to be writing. Well kinda. Ideas can still form and your mind can rest and recharge. Not to mention your body. That needs a break from sitting all day too. 

You could be doing 50,000 other things. But you can only focus on a few things and make headway. Sure you can join every social media thingy majiggy on the internet, but you will spread yourself too thin and be overworked with little done on each. Focus on what you are doing and not the "could" be doing for the moment. Could can come later after you've worked on the others and feel comfortable adding something else.

Those are just a few examples of how to spin the negative thoughts. You can always switch them around. There has to be some positive to it, even if mostly negative sometimes, unless you are doing absolutely nothing. But then by doing absolutely nothing you aren't making spelling mistakes. See? Positive too!

And if you can't find it then ask someone else. Preferably not a negative nelly though. Join a group like this one. Plenty of members will help lift you up. Blogland is a great place to find encouragement. There is always a spin to make those thoughts stop spinning the drain. You just have to want to look.

Have you ever had such thoughts? How do you get out of a writing funk? Writing much lately? Ever helped someone see they were doing more than they thought?

Monday, March 22, 2021

#IWSG - Engage Readers with Your Emails by Author Amy Lamont!

  Engage Readers with Your Emails

I feel the need to preface this with one of those “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV”-type disclaimers. I’m not a marketing expert, and I don’t have an enormous audience. What I do have is an engaged audience of readers. I have a small, but mighty, audience of avid readers who are happy to one-click my books every time I have a new release. This holds true if I release a book every month or if I go much longer between publishing new books. Last year I had a serious illness--no worries, I’m perfectly healthy now! But, it kept me from connecting with my readers for close to a year. Because I spent the time building relationships with my readers, they’ve literally stuck with me in sickness and in health. Here’s how I managed to grow such a loyal readership:

1.      Realize less is more when it comes to sales pitches.
Our readers definitely want to hear from us when we have a cover reveal or new release, but if the only thing they ever hear from you is,“buy my book,” chances are they won’t be sticking around too long. This is especially true if you only have one or two titles for sale. I don’t know about you guys, but if I get an email trying to sell me the same product every week for a year, it’s likely I’ve already purchased it if I’m interested, and if not, I’m probably going to unsubscribe from that list.

2.      Keep in touch regularly.
Yes, for a while there I was MIA, but when I first started my mailing list, I sent emails regularly, at least once each month, even when I didn’t have a new book to share. Now I try to send out a newsletter once each week. Emphasis on try. Keeping your readers engaged means when life happens and you disappear for a while, readers will be excited to hear from you again rather than wondering who the heck you are when you show up in their inbox.

3.      Get personal.
I’m not sharing every intimate detail of my life, but I do share funny stories about myself and my family. Guys, we’re first and foremost storytellers. Telling our personal stories is a great way to get readers to relate to us while also being engaged by our writing. Recently, I wanted to share news with my readers about a series of bear shifter romances I wrote several years ago. I didn’t just jump right into my book news. Instead, I started off with a story about my mom’s fear of bears and how since we moved to a town where it’s not uncommon to run into a bear on your daily walk, she’s started marking off the bears’ hibernation schedule on her calendar. Every April 15th, I wait for the text from my mom letting me know it’s safe to go outside again. So many of my readers hit reply to that email to tell me my story made them laugh. The same readers that took the time to respond to that email are more likely to open my next email whether I have a new book to sell or not.

4.      Keep emails short and simple.
Don’t fill your emails with tons of graphics or ginormous chunks of text. You want your readers to think of your emails like they’re emails from a friend. It helps to make them look that way. Use plain text rather than a super fancy template, and don’t go overboard with the photos you use. Short and sweet makes it more likely your readers will read your emails, and keeping it simple makes your messages feel more intimate, like an email or text from someone you like and look forward to hearing from.

5.      Encourage engagement.
This is an easy one. Let your readers know you want to get to know them, too,  and get them involved in your writing process. There are a bunch of ways you can do this. Use a poll to ask them about anything from the genre they read most often to their favorite flavor of ice cream. Ask them to help you name a character, business, or dog in your next book. Ask them to hit reply and tell you about the weather where they live, what book they’re reading right now, or what show they just binge watched. Just don’t forget to respond to their emails. Relationships are a two way street!

 Hope you guys found this helpful! If you want to chat more about writing emails that engage your readers, you can email me at amy@amylamont.com or Find me on Facebook, Instagram or Sign Up for My Emails.

Amy Lamont writes contemporary and paranormal romances. She’s currently working on a witchy billionaire romance series filled with magic and some four-letter words while drinking too much coffee and snuggling with Toby, her geriatric hound dog.

Monday, March 15, 2021

How to Turn Your Memoir Into a Short Story

 

Take your reader on a memorable journey utilizing engaging fictional techniques and deeper points of view.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I wrote my first short story in 2004 when I wrote about the impact my mother’s death had on me. It was a memoir short story.

A short story is exactly what it sounds like — a short story. It can be fiction shorts or nonfiction shorts. Publications will specify types of shorts they will accept.

In nonfiction, the difference is the memoir short story is told in story form like a fictional story, not essay format, despite being based on real life. When told this way it creates an immersive experience for the reader that keeps them turning the page.

The story takes the reader on a journey, allowing them to experience the journey as well as deepen the emotional connection with the story and author. The reader lives it with the storyteller.

Word counts for short stories range from 500 to 20,000 words. The most common lengths are 50
10, 1000, 3000, 5000, 7000 to 10,000 words.

You should always read the submission guidelines of any publication where you want to submit your story.

You can fictionalize your memoir to protect people involved, at which time it becomes a fictionalized story based upon a true story.

A memoir short story I wrote about the loss of my mother: Memoir A Short Story.  It Should Have Rained Carnations medium.com

Story format in memoir can be seen in novels and movies.

You see this memoir or biographical type of story format often in movies based on books, such as Where The Red Fern Grows, based loosely on the childhood of Woodrow Wilson Rawls, and A River Runs Through It, based on the 1976 semi-autobiographical novel by Norman Maclean.

Granted, these are novel-length stories; however, the fictional format was followed to convey a deeper experience of the story, which translates well visually and produces award-winning movies.

The author starts in the narrator’s voice, which is non-intrusive in the character journey for the reader. The voice of the narrator only appears briefly in the beginning and at the end of the story.


Give us a sense of time and place.

Fiction techniques such as deep point of view and show-don’t-tell help you to create an engaging experience for your reader.

Carry us to the place you lived using landmarks that are markers of the time. If you lived in the eighties, they still had attendant and self-serve gas stations; in the fifties, soda still came in glass bottles. The body styles of vehicles are ways to communicate the era, as well.

These time markers set a scene and give the reader atmosphere and place without a lot of telling.

The year or decade your memoir happens in shapes it through the trendy fashion and styles, slang words, patterns of speech, and the surrounding landscape using key specifics for the time.

Show us, don’t tell us.

If your character feels rushed show us by letting us see them scurry around, running late, experiencing frustration in action, and through the consequences that result from being late.

Show us through body language, interactions, and dialogue. According to Janice Hardy in her book Understanding Show, Don’t Tell, you should use words that demonstrate the physical action such as I reached over, I picked up the cup.

In deep point of view, certain types of verbs put distance between you and your reader.

Alice Gaines in Mastering Deep Point of View says there are three kinds of verbs that do that: perceiving verbs, thinking verbs, emoting verbs. These are verbs that tell: perceiving: to know, to wonder; emoting: to see, to feel, saw, notice; thinking: to wish, to feel.

Use description to bring a scene alive and give it character. We learn a lot in this first paragraph of a fictional story, Anne of Green Gables, about the character Mrs. Rachel Lynde through description.
~First paragraph of Anne of Green Gables from the Project Gutenberg website.
CHAPTER I. Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Surprised

MRS. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof. More on Show, Don’t Tell:  
Let your story come to life on the big screen of your imagination.  Why You Should “Show, Don’t Tell”     There are many story craft books that teach techniques that can help you immerse your reader in your personal story whether it is fiction or creative nonfiction. Other recommended reading for deep point of view:

Below are a collection of memoir short shorts or biographies, in story format, which are engaging reads, plus a couple of good memoir novels:

As I said above, reading is the best way to learn these immersive techniques, which can help you learn to show, rather than tell, your memoir in short story form.



Monday, March 8, 2021

My Publicity Campaign is Done – Now What Do I Do?

To have successful book promotion you must have effective branding and communication with your target audience. Maintaining relevance after your book is published and the publicity campaign ends is a key aspect to continue building on your brand and take advantage of the investment you’ve made in your campaign. Therefore, if you’re wrapping up a publicity campaign with us, here’s a few tips to keep your book and expertise relevant and not let your (and our) efforts fade away.


1) Use Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts To Your Advantage

Set up Google Alerts with key words such as your name and book title to keep track of any media hits that may come up your promotion campaign ends. For instance, if your book is creating buzz in your field and media outlets are continuing to mention you/ your book in articles, you need to catch these as they run. Your ability to stay up to date to the conversation surrounding you or your book is key to maintaining your relevancy in the long-term. You want to be aware of these and use them on your social media and add to your website’s press page.

2) Respond to Social Media Chatter Surrounding Your Topic of Expertise
Use social media tools to keep the conversation going in your field of expertise. Browsing hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, replying to comments, and engaging with trending posts can help with keeping your audience engaged and aware of your online presence. Your social media is the perfect way to showcase expertise in your field and attract more potential followers that might be interested in your book well after its been published. Think of social media as a gateway for your audience to learn about your brand, let them into your ecosystem, build relationships with you and allow that to help sell your book once they’re hooked on your content.


3) Always Be Ready

It’s not unusual for media outlets to request interviews with authors that have expertise in trending, newsworthy topic. Keeping contact with key outlets gives opportunity to add to the conversation whenever your topic becomes relevant in the news space. It is important to stay current on events and chatter happening in the news and be ready to dive right in when the opportunity presents itself. There will always be a consistent way to grab media attention, and the skill to adapt to the changing tide of conversation will greatly impact the long-lasting effects of your book’s publicity campaign.

There will always be multiple opportunities for authors to continue their brand building and continue to sell copies of their book way past the publish date. Maintain relevance in the long-term. Remember that book promotion is a marathon, not a sprint.


PR by the Book
is available to assist you along the way in various ways. Here are just a few ways we help:
• Sign up for Author to Influencer Accelerator, learn from 60+ workshops and get built-in consulting with our Founder.
• Utilize one of our Social Media Offerings, having our digital strategist handle your socials or simply provide you with a Crash Course.
• Inquire about our full publicity campaigns: info@prbythebook.com.

Marika Flatt is a 23+ year veteran of the book publicity industry. She speaks (both virtually and in-person) to writers and authors on a regular basis, teaching tools of the trade. Over the years, she’s won multiple awards for her tenacious PR skills, considers “connecting others” to be one of her superpowers and is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She can be heard on “Texas Standard,” the statewide NPR show and is regularly interviewed on TV outlets across Texas. You can find her on Twitter @marikaflatt.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

#IWSG - Top 5 Reasons to Keep Writing Even When You Don't ... Feel It!

 


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

March 3 optional question - Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 3 posting of the IWSG are Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose! 
 
 
 ***
 
I can't even tell you how many people asked how much writing I accomplished after we got sent home last March due to the pandemic.

It would have been a great idea. And, to be honest, I did try, more than once, to write new words. Unfortunately, new words did not come to greet me.

Well, not until very recently. They're not all good words, and the ideas don't have much staying power, but some words have been written.

And, I've realized just how important these words really are.

5. We are creative people and if we don't create the things we really love, we make mistakes in the kitchen instead. You heard me. Stop baking!
 


4. It's good for our family. They're used to us just up and leaving the dinner table, or an important family gathering, to 'get a few more words down on paper' and they've now seen entirely too much of us.
 
3. The people we normally rely on to bounce our ideas off of are SOOOOO BORED! What were we thinking cutting them off cold turkey like that? They need content!
 

 
2. Without us writing, I'm actually surprised the snack and beverage companies didn't go out of business. They're desperate for us to get back into the nosh, sip, and write zone again!

And...the #1 reason to Keep Writing Even When You Don't ... Feel It!
 
1. The people need entertainment. Readers, watchers, listeners, they're all out there waiting to be entertained.
 
 
If we don't do it...who will?

 
Write a few words. Then a few more. Before you know it, you'll have a whole paragraph!! 
 
Keep trying, keep writing, keep moving forward.
 
***
 
Release date: May 4, 2021

Dark Matter: Artificial

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of
Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
CD Gallant-King
Kim Mannix
Steph Wolmarans
Tara Tyler
Deniz Bevan
Charles Kowalski
Olga Godim
Elizabeth Mueller
Mark Alpert


Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99
Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies (FIC028040) / Space Exploration (FIC028130) / Genetic Engineering (FIC028110)