Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cjpetterson@gmail.com cj

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The step writers need courage to take

 cj Sez:  And I don't mean the great step into indie-publishing. Pat Conroy, the beloved author of The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides, credited his English teachers . . . no, make that: he lauded the “genius of” his English teachers for instilling in him a love of the English language. 


   Conroy is quoted on Goodreads saying: “I've been in ten thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English language. ” (Goodreads has collected many of Mr. Conroy’s meaningful thoughts.  http://bit.ly/1ldfCg2 )

 Me? I was too business-oriented to get that inspired by my high school and college English teachers (who were nonetheless wonderful). Despite my apparent lack of interest in writing during those years, I am fascinated with words and syntax. I love, love, love the task of putting words together in just the right order to create a story so full of pictures and emotions that readers can see and feel what I do when I’m writing.

   But what really draws me to quote Mr. Conroy today is something he wrote in his memoir My Losing Season: A Memoir: 

   “Do you think that Hemingway knew he was a writer at twenty years old? No, he did not. Or Fitzgerald, or Wolfe. This is a difficult concept to grasp.  . . .  But they had to take the first step. They had to call themselves writers. That is the first revolutionary act a writer has to make. It takes courage. But it's necessary.” 

   That’s what it’s all about. We have to learn to call ourselves “writers.” That’s a grand title I long hesitated to give myself despite having been published in several genres (and been paid for it) over several years. Now that I’ve done it, guess what? It feels good and natural. Try it. Celebrate it. Say it: “I am a writer!” I bet you’ll like it too.


   How and when did you decide it was time for you take ownership of the title you earned?

§§

Marketing your indie-published book

   I attended a webinar this past week hosted by the Central Virginia Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Their guest speaker, Alex Newton of K-lytics, presented a comprehensive lecture on the analytics of trending popular genres and keywords and the sales they can generate. He also gave us the following freebie … data on 2020 Christmas book sales. Maybe you'll find a useful nugget of info in there.

https://k-lytics.com/christmas-mysteries 

K-lytics, ebook marketing intelligence for success https://k-lytics.com

§§

 That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj

P.S.  My stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are out of print on Amazon, but The Haunted Bookshop has signed copies in stock. The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

   TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

➜ Follow me . . .       
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CjPettersonAuthor
➜ on BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-petterson
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A blast from the past…Stephen King talks strategies

 cj Sez: Another post from Lyrical Pens’ past that I think deserves new life. Although this one is from my 2016 archives, I don’t think Stephen King’s eight writing strategies are any less helpful today.  

  Some of the strategies are basic and universal among successful writers, perhaps because we believe Mr. King's writing strategies helped him sell 350 million books.

   The quotes, excerpted from an interview (the source is cited below), are some that I’ve pretty much adopted…or adapted. 

1. Tell the truth.

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all... as long as you tell the truth... Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work... What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave.”

2. Don’t use big words when small ones work.

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up your household pet in evening clothes.”

3. Use single-sentence paragraphs.


“The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story... to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all.
 

The single-sentence paragraph more closely resembles talk than writing, and that’s good. Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction. If not so, why do so many couples who start the evening at dinner wind up in bed?” 

4. Write for your Ideal Reader.

“Someone—I can’t remember who, for the life of me— once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this.

I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?’ For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha... Call that one person you write for Ideal Reader.” 

5. Read a lot. 

“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a
book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows. Waiting rooms were made for books—of course! But so are theater lobbies before the show, long and boring checkout lines, and everyone’s favorite, the john.”
 

6. Write one word at a time.

“In an early interview (this was to promote Carrie, I think), a radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply—‘one word at a time’—seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn’t. In the end, it’s always that simple.” 

7. Write every day.

“The truth is that when I’m writing, I write every day, workaholic dweeb or not. That includes Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday (at my age you try to ignore your goddam birthday anyway)... When I’m writing, it’s all the playground, and the worst three hours I ever spent there were still pretty damned good.”

8. Write for the joy of it.

“Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it... Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side — I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Excerpted from:

http://www.inc.com/glenn-leibowitz/8-simple-writing-strategies-that-helped-stephen-king-sell-350-million-books.html

(cj Sez: Has Mr. King’s writing changed since 2016? What do you think?)

§§

  My to-be-read list and stack keep getting longer and taller. I don’t seem to be making any headway despite all the alleged free time I’m supposed to be having during these months of “shelter at home.” I found too many household projects that need to be done, so my reading and writing are now on a backburner that hasn’t been turned on in months. That said, I just started looking for contests in which to enter some pages in the hope that I’ll catch the Writing Bug again instead of the Novel Flu.

§§

 That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 

cj

P.S.  My stand-alone suspense (with a touch of romance) novels are out of print on Amazon, but The Haunted Bookshop has signed copies in stock. The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

➜ Follow me . . .       
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CjPettersonAuthor
➜ on BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-petterson
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6