Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writer's Tools - Part 8

This week's topic might be a stretch on the title. I'm going to talk about author pictures. All writing books will tell you that you'll need a professional head shot. Although this is true, it's not always something you need in the beginning. I say this because the road to publication can be a long one and we all age, change our hair color or style, lose and gain get the idea.

It is my belief that your professional headshot should LOOK like you...NOW....not twenty years ago. Is anyone laughing? I've ran across this several times searching for an author at a writer's conference or book signing....and I didn't even recognize them because they looked nothing like their picture. So, I will update my headshot as often as I need because I want readers to recognize it's me behind the table at a book signing!

Feel free to share your ideas on this topic.

Here are some pictures of me presenting at Festival of the Book.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Writer's Tools - Part 7

I'm writing my blog from beautiful Deadwood, SD where I was a presenter at the South Dakota Festival of the Book.

That's my blog topic for this week-presentations.

Writing isn't just about, well, writing. Once your published you have to promote your work. One way to do that is through presentations at writer's conferences, book festivals, woman's groups, men's groups, schools, church organizations, libraries. You get the idea. Anywhere you can get your name out or your books name out to the public.

What to present is up to you. Today I spoke about goal setting and how to put 'inspirational' into a romance story. Many authors tell their story about the road to publication, putting a 'can do' spin on it, some authors talk about their process, many explain their research techniques while others simply read excerpts of their work.

Does standing up in front of a group of people make you sweat? Just remember YOU are the expert at your presentation. Most people will not argue or question you about your content. They may ask questions, but that is entirely different and shows your presentation was effective and they were paying attention.

Writer's do you do presentations? Readers do you like to attend presentations?

Please leave a comment, but remember they are moderated and I'll be traveling a good portion of the day tomorrow so they won't appear immediately.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writer's Tools - Part 6

Research is this week's topic. Most people assume that only non-fiction or historical fiction writers have to do research. That's not true.

If you are writing a contemporary romance, women's fiction or cozy mystery, you are going to need to research something. Maybe the setting, an occupation or police procedures.

The internet is a HUGE help for little things like the temperature in the Maine during the last two weeks of July or how to run a floral business. But some of the old tried and true sources for research can add further depth to your manuscript.

Start with books on you subject. Check them out of the library or purchase them is your budget allows or block off an afternoon to visit a bookstore, grab a coffee and hunker down in a chair with a book about your topic.

Take the opportunity to visit the area/occupation you're writing about. Most people are happy to talk about their occupations. You can plan your vacation destination to your book setting location.

Find an expert in either area and talk to them, asking them questions specific to what you are using in the plot of your book.

My favorite jumping off place for research is books. What's yours?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Writer's Tools - Part 5

Another useful tool for writers is books on the craft of writing and genre specific books on writing.

In my opinion when you decide you want to write, the first thing you should do is visit a book store, either brick and mortar or online and peruse your choices. And there are many to choose from!

For a beginner the best way to go is a general book about writing. A book that explains not only the creative process, but the business side as well. There are great books that explain and give examples of query letters to both agents and publishers, proposal packages, manuscript and synopsis format, the difference between a non-fiction and fiction proposal, etc. etc. etc.

One advantage to reading a general book about the craft of writing is they can introduce you to all types of writing, memoir, article, short story, magazine, and books. They encourage you and cover the realities of a writing career, like the length of time it takes to get published.

The genre specific writing books are invaluable to the beginner or seasoned pro. They cover the tried and true as well as the new trends. These books are key to getting your foot in the door of the appropriate publishers.

Here is a list of a few I've found helpful:

Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin
The Giblin Guide to Writing Children's Books by James Cross Giblin
Write the Perfect Book Proposal by James Herman and Deborah Levine Herman
On Writing by Stephen King
Writing Short Stories for Young People by George Edward Stanley
The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Cowden, LaFever and Viders

If you have a favorite book on writing, please leave a comment and let us know! Just remember my comments are moderated so they won't show up immediately.