Friday, July 31, 2009

It's 1 am

Ok...I'm writing this post at 1 am. I can't sleep, the apartment is quiet, and it's a perfect opportunity to write. So the plan is to write until I get tired. Hopefully that won't mean writing until too late otherwise I will be a zombie for my J-O-B tomorrow.

My cat is perched beside the computer, my cup of ice is stationed on the other side, and I'm closing down the blog - here I go...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Press Release Formula

So I've been working to perfect my skills in press release writing and distribution; all in preparation for promoting my novel once it's published. To do this, I've spearheaded the press release campaigns at my full-time job, volunteered to do some press release distribution for my high school reunion, and I've tested the waters with press announcements about Do You?'s recent award.

All-in-all my "press formula" seems to be working. All three press release projects have been successful in that I've been able to get press publication for articles at work, for the reunion, and for my book.

Here's why I think it's working:
  1. I've written several versions of the press releases to appeal to the audience served by the publications. As an example, for Do You?, I decided to target NJ and NH publications. For NJ publications I used a tag-line that mentioned that I am a local, NJ author. For NH publications I used the tie-in that I'm a NH high school graduate. Both appeal to the audience who want to hear about local success. In addition, the subject matter can also be utilized as a tie-in for industry specific publications. It's all about showing the recipient of the press release why your news is important to the publication's audience.
  2. I created a list of publications in the targeted area/industry/genre and researched contact names to correspond to each publication.
  3. When sending the press releases, I chose to send them via email with a personalized message for each publication. It's a bit more time consuming but the extra time increases the success of the story. Think about it, are you more likely to open an email that is personalized or one that looks like spam? Me, I'd open the personalized email and chuck the spam.
  4. And finally, I used a version of the tie-in tag line in the email subject so the person receiving the press release automatically knows that this is a story that has appeal to the readers.

I'm not saying that I'm a pro at this by any means, but I'm excited by the success in what I've been doing on a small scale. Now the trick is to create a plan that can be implemented on a national level for my next novel once it gets published.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rachelle Gardner's Lessons from "Proposal to Publication"

Did you all see this blog post from Rachelle Gardner, literary agent with Wordserve Literary: Lessons from "Proposal to Publication"

This is a nice overview of her "Proposal to Publication" series. Here's an excerpt:

"As I was reading through it, I noticed there are some lessons you could take away in terms of what you can be preparing yourself for, now, before you enter the process.
1. Many writers balk at the requirement to write a really strong book proposal. You may have noticed in Friday's post that everyone in the publishing company, including the sales, marketing, and art departments, are given your book proposal and sample chapters. They might not have time to read your whole book, but they need to know enough to do their jobs. This should be enough of an incentive for you to write the best book proposal you possibly can! If your book is fiction, that 1-sentence hook and 1-page synopsis are all-important..." read more

Monday, July 27, 2009

Today I'm Stuck - Writers Block

I’m sitting at my computer, hoping to be hit by some creative inspiration, and it’s just not happening. I’m at a loss for words for today. So, I’ve decided to post some articles about working through writers block. And maybe when I’m done with this blog, I’ll use some of the exercises for myself.

How to Get Rid of Writer's Block

How to Get Over Writer's Block

Five Ways to Break Through Writers Block

Breaking Through Writer's Block

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Borders Ink - An Expansion in Everything "Teen"

I blogged about the expansion of the teen section in Borders back on 5/30/09, and now we can see the expansion actually taking place. Get the inside scoop in this article that was released on Wednesday:

Borders Expands Teen Section
By Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 7/22/2009 2:55:00 PM
Borders Group is rolling out a new teen section to take advantage of the relative strength of that category. “It’s a natural extension of what we’ve been doing,” said Kathryn Popoff, v-p of merchandising/trade books at Borders about the creation of Borders Ink...read more

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Did I Tell You?

Did I tell you? I got an email yesterday from a state library requesting a copy of my book. It must be the press strategy working. Yahoo! Now if I can only get my YA novel finished, published, and on bookshelfs. Literary world here I come...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Quote from Ovid

Short and sweet today - Here's a quote for the day:

"Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish."– Ovid

"Publius Ovidius Naso, the Roman poet known as Ovid, best known for the epic Metamorphoses, is considered one of the greatest poets of Latin literature. He was born in 43 B.C. in what is now Italy. He rose quickly in Roman government and was on track to become a senator when he chose to devote himself to poetry instead. His tale of Pyramus and Thisbe is the source for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid from Rome for unknown reasons in 8 A.D.; he died in exile in 17 A.D. " as quoted from the Today's Inspiration newsletter, Everyday Health Network.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writers Sharing Knowledge

As writers, we should share the skills we learn with others. As we gain knowledge through our experiences about writing, publishing, marketing, and all the business aspects of the industry we should willingly share that information to anyone who is interested in the same.

That's part of the reason why I write this blog. If I uncover a piece of information that is helpful to another writer, then I consider this blog to be a success.

On that note, I've been thinking a lot lately about how I can pass on the information not only to the writers that frequent here, but also the writers that are just beginning, the ones that are just discovering the magical world of books in schools around the world. It's something that has been rolling around in my head the last couple of weeks. I'd like to tour some local schools to encourage kids to explore their imaginations through books, reading them & writing them.

Upon researching writing tools for kids, I discovered these on the Library of Congress website Suggested Writing/Illustrating/Storytelling/Creating Pop-ups Topics.

Can anyone offer advice as to what might or might not work in sharing this knowledge with kids?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rejection - The Unpleasant Part of the Equation

I arrived home from a fun filled trip to Lake Compounce Amusement park on Saturday to find another dreaded rejection letter waiting for me in my inbox. I took in a silent gasp, and felt my euphoria from the day of fun 'n sun dwindle to the floor. My heart dropped with it.

But then, after a moment, a silent voice in my head reminded me that some of the all-time great creative minds have had to endure rejection. I reminded myself that it's "paying the dues"; success cannot come without rejection.

George Lucas of Star Wars fame for example had his share of rejection. Did you know that Star Wars was turned down by several studios before being picked up by Twentieth Century Fox? Imagine if he would have quit after the first few studios turned him down, there would be no Star Wars - imagine! Here's a link to his biography on The Internet Movie Database.

And what about Stephen King who had over 30 rejections for Carrie. Check out this piece on him at Rejections & Writing Habits.

I think I need to read a few more of those stories right about now - Which artist has your favorite rejection-to-success story?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another Local Newspaper Contacted Me

Yesterday, I received a call from a second local newspaper who had interest in the press release they received about my award from The New York Book Festival and my book Do You? She asked me for a headshot photo and answers to a few questions.

I'm so happy that my press release distribution is generating interest, and I hope I can utilize some of this for future projects as well.

I'll keep you updated.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Sunrise Earth" and Morning Stretches

I tried something new this week. I discovered "Sunrise Earth" on Discovery HD Theater. It has become a nice replacement for actually being back on the camping trip. I find it soothing to see the sunrise and hear the sounds of early morning in different locations all over the earth. One morning I followed the animals on a Vermont farm, and this morning I watched the sunrise in Cambodia and listened to the monks chanting. So cool!

It's relaxing and spiritual at the same time. And it gives me an opportunity to do my morning stretches while I watch. I found I was better prepared to start my day, and more in touch with my creative side, which is always more alive in the morning than at night.

Now if I could only squeeze in some writing time right after it I'd have a perfect mix.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Contest Alert - NIEA Excellence Awards

Another contest for all you self-published authors with book publishing dates from 2007 until 2010.

THE 2010 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS ARE NOW OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

All entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2010.
Winners and Finalists will be notified May 15, 2010

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good News: Book Deal for Self-Published Kindle Author

After yesterday's post, I needed to counter the sober news about the publishing industry with some uplifting news. That's just my nature. So how about this:

Book Deal for Self-Published Kindle Author
The tech news website Gizmodo thinks that Boyd Morrison may be the first writer to self-publish on the Kindle and secure a book deal. Morrison scored a book deal with Simon and Schuster's Touchstone imprint for "The Ark"--the imprint acquired "hardcover, paperback, audio, and electronic rights in the US and Canada." It is the second book in the author's Tyler Locke adventure series, and is scheduled for a summer 2010 release. Another book is planned for 2011...click here to read more

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sobering Updates on the Publishing World

Today's post is another update on the status of the publishing world. Even though the news is just another reminder of how hard the publishing world is being affected by changes in the industry and the economy, It's also a reminder to all of us writers that we need to be more vigilant now. We need to fine-tune our work to a level that is more ready for agents & publishers than ever before.

I'm forcing myself to revise, revise, revise; creating the most polished manuscript I can. I've had portions of my work read by people I trust for feedback, and then it's back to revise, revise, revise. I may even send my manuscript out to a professional editor, and submit it for reviews. I've got contests lined-up as potential venues. And every agent, contest, and professional I consider means research. My hope is that the added work will increase my chances of securing a traditional publisher for my novel. I will not lose hope, I will persevere, as I hope all of you will too.

And in the words of Cardinal Leon Joseph Suenes, "Hope is not a dream, but a way of making dreams become reality."

Outlook gloomy for US publishers - survey
Pay freezes, job insecurity and dissatisfaction characterise the US publishing industry,...
How Low Can You Go? PW's 2009 Salary Survey, by Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 7/13/2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Whisper of Stories

I've got so many notes stored in boxes. I carry a notebook with me almost everywhere because I don't know when I'll be inspired by a scenery, a character, or even a dialogue. I did the same thing in acting school as we were taught to constantly observe our suroundings and take notes. It works the same for writing.

I've got so many writing projects just waiting in the wings, many that started as a single note in my notebook. But it's hard to keep denying those ideas that whisper to me in the quiet. I record them, hoping that one day I'll get the chance to develop them.

The hardest part is finding a way to categorize the character sketches, story ideas, and misc notes that I've accrued over the years. It's hard to be inspired by something that is sandwiched in a manilla folder collecting dust.

I remember seeing a news piece on Phyllis Diller and she used to have a huge card system to store all of her joke ideas. It worked for her.

But I'm very visual and I need to see the notes to be inspired by them. So I'm curious, fellow writers & artists, how do you deal with this problem?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chalk One Up To Perseverance!

I've been stuck all week on my writing. I thought when I returned from vacation that I'd have broken through the writer's block I had started right before I left, but it wasn't the case. I've been working on a revision in the middle of my novel that has been holding me up. It required some research, which I hadn't done, so each time I'd go to write I'd stare at the page because I didn't know enough about what I was writing about in that chapter. While I finally did the research, and YAHOO I'm past the writers block. I was able to get a solid portion completed this morning and it makes me so happy to be moving again with the revision.



Chalk one up to perseverance!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

E-Zine Submission Alert - Ducts.org

I don't remember when I originally stumbled onto this E-Zine, but I received an email from them today and thought it might be a resource to pass on to everyone. Good luck!

Ducts.org is a New York-based webzine devoted to publishing engaging personal essays, memoirs, art, fiction, poetry, humor and more. The webzine features emerging and under-recognized writers and artists alongside more established contributors.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PRESS - Article About Me in the Hackensack Chronicle

So one of the first things I did when I finished unpacking from the trip was to collect all the mail from the mailbox. I flipped through the pile with a purpose; I was looking for one thing in particular - the Hackensack Chronicle. That's the local paper where I was interviewed by a reporter a couple weeks back. I was expecting to have to scour the paper, and then to go back a second time to find a small write-up sandwiched towards the end. But, to my surprise, I found the article on page four and it was a half page with a picture to boot. How cool is that!

Let me tell you, I was jumping around with excitement. I sat my husband and son down on the couch and read the entire article to them. They were excited too!

So, of course, I had to share the excitement with you.

So here's a link to the article: Hackensack Chronicle. Let's hope it's the beginning of many more to come.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Becoming a Full-Time Writer

I think we all have those moments when we fantasize about being able to turn this passion of writing into our full-time careers. And there are writers who are able to do it. But when is the best time to make the switch?

For those of you pondering this question, this article by Jeff Yeager in the May/June issue of Writer's Digest is worth a read: 10 Questions Writers Must Ask Before Quitting Their Day Job

The idea of writing full-time is something I strive for, and yet as I ponder it I find there are many stepping stones to reach before it becomes an actionable reality.

Anyone out there already a full-time writer? Any advice or comments you'd like to offer on the subject?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Back From Camping



Ok, so I'm back from the camping trip and I miss it already. It was wonderful living a week without an agenda, and just enjoying every moment of the day.


]Here's what I'll miss the most about the trip:
  • waking up and making coffee on the propane stove in the cool morning air
  • the sounds of the loons and chipmunks in the morning
  • paddling with my husband and son around the lake, visiting the island I used to camp on as a kid
  • being present for everything, not being distracted by tasks
  • going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 8am
  • the feel of the the thick sleeping bag warming me against the cool air
  • sitting around the campfire and listening to the light rain hit the leaves in the trees above

...and so much more. But now it's back to schedules, work, responsibilties, and a very long list of tasks that need to get done. And yes, back to writing too.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Contest Alert - 2009 Descriptive Writing Contest

2009 Descriptive Writing Contest
Source: www.squidoo.com


This writer's contest exercises creative imagination by asking you to write descriptions for each of the photos or paintings displayed.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Contest Alert - Writer's Digest Pop Fiction Awards

And here's another contest from Writer's Digest:

Writer's Digest Pop Fiction Awards
Deadline: 11/2/2009

Writer's Digest is now accepting entries in the Pop Fiction Awards. Submit your entry (or entries!) now for your chance to win $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market. Compete and Win in 5 Categories!
Romance
Mystery/Crime Fiction
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Thriller/Suspense
Horror

Click here for additional information or to enter online!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Contest Alert - "Garden Verse" Poetry Competition

Here's another contest to check out:

“Garden Verse” Poetry Competition sponsored by Horticulture magazine

Entry Deadline: September 1, 2009

Prizes:
First Place: $250 each
Second Place: $100 each
Third Place: $50 each
The names and poems of the First Place winners will be printed in an upcoming issue of Horticulture magazine. Afterwards, the names and poem titles of all winners and honorable mentions will be posted on www.hortmag.com.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009