Writing Tips

Don't let simple mistakes ruin your book's chances! ~ Don McNair

Sunday, March 29, 2015

How to Support Your Local Author

Stop by the Summer of Love Books website on April 1 for a chance to win a whole summer of romance novels (mine is one of them). There will be more than one winner, so be sure to enter.

cj Sez: Haven’t been feeling up to snuff for the past few weeks, so this post is going to be short (but I’m hanging in there). What follows is a stream of consciousness blog about how to Support Your Local Writers, whether you’re a writer or a reader.

 If you’re a writer . . .

and have your own blog, invite guest bloggers. Lyrical Pens does do that, though we haven’t been graced with a guest for a few weeks. (Time for us to send out some more invitations.) When you have a guest, send out “Coming Attractions” promotions on Facebook, Twitter, et al. Giving your guest blogger space to say something about their own books is a nice touch.

Read and be willing to give your fellow authors’ work a fair critique. Be kind but be honest.

If they want to just sit and talk, grab a chair and listen. Writing is a lonely occupation, and most other people don't understand.

Encourage each other. Writing is not a competition; everyone can be successful.

If you’re a yet-to-be-published writer with a manuscript on the cusp of publication, but don’t have a business card, get one. Hand it out to agents, workshop instructors, fellow writers, wherever you have an opportunity to network. Get your name out there as early as possible so people can watch for your new release. Some variation of the business card that follows is my suggestion, and it would work even after your novels are published:

Name  Jane Doe, Author
Writer of XXX (literary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, YA, romance, whatever)
eMail address
website address

Now, if you’re a reader (and since writers are also readers, this applies to everyone) . . .

Like and comment on authors' posts on their Facebook pages. Facebook's algorithms only show posts that FB thinks other members would like to see. That means the more likes and comments a post gets, the more people will see it. By the by, after the Summer of Love contest opens on April 1, you can get an extra entry by liking my Facebook author page.

Go to book signings, even if you can’t afford to buy the book at that time. Your attendance is encouraging. I’ve been to book signings where the author and I were the only two people there. I've been the author at signings where . . . well, never mind. With a little thoughtful planning, you can keep that from happening to another author, and if you’re in Mobile, AL with a new book, I’ll come to your signing. Just let me know when and where.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Taking Ownership redux

The contest isn't "live" yet, but COMING SOON.

cj Sez:  Author Pat Conroy credits his English teachers . . . no, make that lauds the “genius of” his English teachers for instilling in him a love of the English language.  As he is quoted on Goodreads: “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.” (http://bit.ly/1ldfCg2 ).

 Me? I was too business-oriented to get that inspired by my high school and college English teachers (who were, nevertheless inspired and wonderful). Despite my apparent lack of interest in writing during those years, I have loved reading for as long as I can remember because I was, am and will always be fascinated with words and syntax. I love, love, love the task of putting words together to create a story so full of pictures and emotions that readers can see and feel what I do when I’m writing. I especially like to lure the readers into conjuring up the images in their imaginations. I want to make each of my stories their own.

But what really draws me to 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.

 I’d love to hear how you decided it was time for you take ownership of the title you earned through study, discipline and determination.

This St. Patrick's Day wish is a wee bit tardy, but sincerely given:

Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.


You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.