Advice for the Beginner Author by Pat Sawtelle

Once you start writing a book, friends and family will push you to finish it with promises to buy the book, confident you will get rich. However, when the day of publication arrives the number of those people who actually buy it is very slim. They have good intentions, but their lives are just too busy. Now you have to find a way to get other people to buy your work.

Authors can easily get distracted by scanning the internet looking for sure bets on how to sell their books and get rich. While the proverbial celebrity lightning strike will strike someone, everyone else has to work hard to make a few dollars. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

1. Don’t believe everything you read. Check the dates on the postings. Articles on the internet are many times outdated soon after they are posted. Google, Amazon, even bestseller lists, change their processes and algorithms regularly to prevent scams and take advantage of the latest search and buying trends.

2. Don’t stop writing. You got into this because you enjoyed letting the words form into sentences and paragraphs. Set aside time to write on a regular schedule to maintain the fun.

3. Read. Make time to read works from other writers. It will improve your own writing.

4. Give Back. Take time to post an online review for every book you read. Without reviews, books languish at the bottom of the list forgotten like a rough draft stuck in the back of a drawer. Really like it? Take time to post a review on multiple sites like Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, and others.

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Catching What the Writing Muse Flings at You (Part 1) by M. B. Weston

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but ideas rarely come to me when I’m sitting peacefully at my desk and can write them down in an organized fashion. No, no, nooooo… My muse prefers to toss ideas my way when I’m in the middle of something else, usually without access to pen and paper. (Yes, I prefer this old-fashioned method for taking notes.) I still remember the day (pre-smartphone) when I went running around Walt Disney’s Polynesian Hotel looking for something to write with as a scene unfolded in my head. Ended up buying a Minnie Mouse notepad, but I was able to write it down. If you’re a writer, you know that when your characters start taking, you’ve got precious little time to record what they are doing.

Over my next few articles I’ll share a few “writer’s life hacks” that helped me record and organize my ideas even if I’m nowhere near a pen and paper. As long as you already own a smartphone or tablet, all of these (except one) are free.

Writer’s Hack 1: Put MS Word on your smartphone. I’m not sure about androids, but MS Word is free if you have an iPhone or iPad with at least iOS 7. I use Dropbox (more on that next) to store my writing manuscripts and notes. I can pull up any Word document on my iPhone and work on it. I can also start a new manuscript on my iPhone when the ideas strike. Unfortunately, I’ve found that trying to use MS Word on the smartphone/tablet, is nearly impossible, but it can work well with short stories or just taking notes during brainstorming sessions. Watch for Part 2 and keep writing!

Surviving the Day Job and Family while Writing and Promoting by Kristi Bradley

Balancing the day job while writing is not easy. Add family to the mix, and it becomes even more of a challenge. But with the three Ds – dedication, discipline, and determination, you can achieve your goals. Free time is now WRITING time. Sleep? Phfft. Who needs sleep? My children are older now, but my writing time was after their bedtime and lasted way into the night until I had to get a few hours’ sleep before the alarm went off.

Okay, I won’t sugar coat it. It’s not easy. You have to set boundaries, even with family. They have to learn when to leave you alone.

“Mommy?” Knock, knock, knock. “I want a snack.”
“Unless you’re bleeding from your eyeballs, go away!”

And once you’re published, it gets even more difficult. Now you have to promote. This means you have to put yourself “Out There.” An introvert’s worst nightmare. Bottom line, it comes down to planning. Most writers set a goal of a number of words they plan to write per day. Just as you plan your writing time, plan for promotion time. Social media is at our fingertips. Use it. Just don’t make your fans, or soon-to-be-fans, sick of you by over-promoting yourself. That defeats the purpose. Include fun stuff or things that interest you, not just your writing. And don’t forget to promote your friends and other authors you follow as well. Mix it up.

If you’re serious, you’ll find the time. Forget the excuses and figure out a way. With the three Ds, you can balance the day job, family, writing, and promotion. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure proceeds success. Keep writing.

Cities of the Dead and Appearances!

Enjoy our very own Kalila as she gives a tour of the Cities of the Dead in New Orleans!

Appearances: Call and reserve your space early.  We are booking up quickly.

3/24/18 Hernando Topic: The Beginner’s Guide to Writing for Publication
When do you call yourself a writer? Writing style- Pantser / Plotter. Why did you become a writer? What is & purpose of – Beta Readers, a Critique Group or Writer’s Group. Genre Blending – Where Do I Fit In – How to decide what genre you write. Balancing the day job while writing. Did you choose the genre or did it pick you? Do you write with an audience in mind? How do you keep from giving up before the story is finished?
Hernando Public Library – 370 W Commerce St – (662) 429-4439 – 10am – 1pm Central Time

4/19/18 Writing Series – Keeping it Fresh –
Tips to keep your readers engaged. Foreshadowing. How to hint at what’s to come. Select your main characters, but use smaller characters to provide fresh tension, support or humor.
7pm Germantown Community Library – 1925 Exeter Rd. 901-757-7323

5/15/18 Writing Shorts – Keeping it Tight –
Writing Vivid with Fewer Words
7pm Germantown Community Library – 1925 Exeter Rd. 901-757-7323

6/21/18 Crafting Successful Love Scenes –
How to build tension and were to draw the line. Tease, none or all out.
7pm Germantown Community Library – 1925 Exeter Rd. 901-757-7323

6/30/18 Hernando Topic: Writing Romance! Polish your work and make it shine – before you hit send!  Rules are meant to be broken sometimes, but you must learn them before breaking them. The Rule of Three – One of the oldest techniques in writing used to create engaging content. Have you finished your first short story or novel? Formatting 101 – Follow the Guidelines. Grammar & Punctuation – Common Mistakes that Drive Editor’s Crazy.
Hernando Public Library – 370 W Commerce St – (662) 429-4439 – 10am – 1pm Central Time