Oct 22

Small Home-Grown Book Publishers – Good or Bad?

Publishing with Small PressesI’m thrilled to announce that I have an article up at Writer’s Digest!

It’s about the pros and cons of working with very small book publishers. What I mean by “very small” is the publishers that are primarily one-man or one-woman businesses.

While these home-grown publishers can be a life-saver for the new author and certainly do have benefits, there are a few things to be aware of before jumping in.

Here’s the very beginning:

As a new author or even if you have one or two books under your self-publishing belt, you may be thinking of entering the traditional publishing arena.

I’ve been there and have had my share of rejections from the larger well-known publishing houses.

But, I didn’t let that discourage me … well, not entirely.

While disappointed, I dug in my heels and attended writers conferences and joined writing groups. In one of the online conferences I attended, small publishers were on hand to take pitches from authors. Naturally, I took advantage of this opportunity. I gave my pitch and the owner of the publishing house asked to see my manuscript.

Excitement, excitement.

Check out the full article – it has very helpful information and insights into publishing with a small home-grown publisher:

The Pros and Cons of Publishing with a Small Publisher

HEY! While you’re there, please SHARE and COMMENT!

Children's ghostwriterWhether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your book in publishable shape today!

Oct 15

Writing Success – Commit to It

Tips on achieving writing success.Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

Become Totally Committed to Your Own Success.

Why do some people succeed against all odds while others never live up to their potential?

Those who succeed aren’t necessarily more talented or have more valuable contacts than those who don’t succeed.

But what they do have is a total commitment to their own success.

You may be somewhat committed to your own success right now.

Somewhat committed means you take action now and then to move ahead toward your goals.

And you make a little progress toward those goals from time to time.

But you don’t really have that much invested (in terms of time, money, or effort) towards your goals.

It will be nice if you reach your goals, but you’ll still be okay if you don’t—so you don’t mind losing focus now and then.

Someone who is totally committed to their own success, though, doesn’t look at or think about anything that causes them to lose focus on what they want.

They know they will be successful because they are totally committed to doing whatever they need to do to make it happen.

So consider this.

If you aren’t totally committed to your goal, then it isn’t a goal.

It’s just a wish.

Wouldn’t you rather be totally committed and know you were going to get what you want instead of wishing you were going to get it?

Try it!

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 180 page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

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Oct 08

Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing – The Differences

Tips on writing your storyIt seems the publishing waters are getting murkier and murkier.

I think the most significant difference between ‘real’ traditional publishers and services that are NOT ‘real’ traditional publishers (vanity presses, self-publishers, and others) is the cost. This is aside from ‘quality’ in many cases.

If you are submitting to a ‘real’ traditional publisher, you will NOT PAY A PENNY

What the ‘Real’ Traditional Publishing House Will Do

The publishing house, after they’ve read your manuscript, decided whether it’s marketable and given you a contract, will take your manuscript and request revisions if needed. It will then edit the manuscript and proof it.

You will pay nothing. The publishing house gets its income from the sales of your book. The publishing house wants to sell your book.

You will get a royalty from the sale of each book. And, unless you’re with a major book publisher, you won’t get an advance on royalties.

The royalties are usually somewhere around 10 percent. It may be higher for ebooks. And, you may get the royalty quarterly or less often.

So, while you don’t have to pay a penny, you likely won’t get rich from your books.

It should be noted, since this is a writing for children’s site, that this includes picture books. The publishing house will also cover the expense of having the interior and exterior illustrations created, along with the interior layout.

What Does Self-Publishing Services Do?

Self-publishing services will also do everything you need done to publish your book. BUT, you will pay for each service individually or in a package.

You’ll pay to have the book edited, proofed, formatted, layout, illustrations, and so on and so on and so on.

While you get most of the money from the sales of your books, there’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup the cost of self-publishing.

These services make their money from you, the author. They have NO vested interest in you selling a single book. Again, they’ve made their money.

Note: Picture book illustrations can be expensive and you’ll need at least 16 interior and a cover.

Usual Time Frame of ‘Real’ Publishing Houses

The other thing that’s distinctive about ‘real’ traditional publishers is it can take 16-24 months for your book to get published (available for sale) from the time you sign your contract.

And, keep in mind that it takes that long after you’ve got the contract. Don’t forget to include all the submissions, rejections, and time spent on this phase.

Yes, you have to be patient. But, again, you pay nothing. And, you have the clout of a traditional publisher behind you.

Time Frame for Self-Publishing Services

I think this can be anywhere from a two-weeks to four months, or so. The four+ months would be if children’s illustrations were involved.

It is quick!

Quality of Traditionally Published Books

I’ve self-published and I’ve traditionally published. And, I’ve read many, many, many books in my niche. ‘Real’ traditionally published books are usually of a much higher quality.

This goes from the cover illustration to the interior illustrations, to the editing, to the formatting, and so on.

A big reason for this is the quality control that goes into a book being published with a traditional publisher. The illustrators and editors are professionals and do quality work.

Quality of Self-Publishing Services

While you can have the same services done through self-publishing, you’ll pay for each of the services offered. The down-side is often the writers, editors, and illustrators are less than qualified or professional.

This is just the way it goes. The service needs to keep its costs down.

Which Is Better?

This question is a personal one.

It could be you’ve tried to get a traditional publishing contract, but it just didn’t work out. This may not mean your book isn’t good, it means the publishing industry in overwhelmed with books.

It could be you have the ‘I want it now’ publishing syndrome. The thought of having to wait even a year to get your book published is more than you can bear.

I personally think if you have the time, try traditional publishing first. Even if you’re impatient, give it six month. You just never know.

If you feel self-publishing is the way to go for you, GO for it.

While there are lots of less-than-professional services out there, there are also some good ones. You’ll have to do your homework. Research services. Review some of their books.

No matter what publishing path you take, you want quality published book. You want a marketable and saleable book.

You want a book you’ll be proud to be the author of.

What are your thoughts on traditionally publishing and self-publishing?

Sources:
Traditional Publishing Royalties
Should You Pay to Publish

Children's ghostwriterWhether you need rewriting or ghostwriting, let me take a look at your story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box.

Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your book in publishable shape today!

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Oct 01

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character Part2

Writing great charactersThis is Part2 of an article about creating your protagonist. Well, not just creating him, it’s about creating a powerful and memorable main character (MC). And, it’s based on an article I read at Jerry Jenkins, author of 186 books.

Part one discussed:

– Naming your character
– Making him quickly visible
– Let the reader be able to picture him
– Give him a backstory
– Making him realistic
– Making him heroic

You can check out Part1 HERE.

Now on to tips 7-11 for creating your MC.

7. The reader needs to see inside.

This strategy helps the reader connect to the MC. It helps the reader create a bond. It makes him want to turn the page and root for the character.

A great way to do this, in part and especially with children’s writing, is to let the reader see the MC’s thoughts. I do this with italics.

Here’s an example from “Walking Through Walls”:

I will be rich once I am an Eternal. I will have servants to toil in the land I own. Anything I want I will just get. Who can stop me?

It’s kind of like having the character whisper in the reader’s ear. The reader is privy to what’s going on inside the MC. His hopes, his fears, his anger, his happiness . . . his emotions.

This is powerful.

Another great tool for this is writing in first person.

Take a look at the first chapter, first paragraph of “The Talented Clementine” by Sara Pennypacker:

“I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot. But when my teacher said, ‘Class, we have an exciting project to talk about,’ I listened anyway.”

What a great first paragraph. What kid wouldn’t relate to that.

8. Make your characters a bit like you.

For this strategy, weave your experiences into the development of your MC.

You may not think you have anything in common with your MC. Or, you may think none of your experiences are relevant, but you’d be surprised. Your wants and fears and all the other emotions you have can easily make their way into your character. Even if the character is a different gender than you.

And, this can come in handy when you’re stuck for a reaction or even motions from your character.

In one scene in Walking Through Walls, the MC was drooling over some delicacies he saw but couldn’t have. I had to picture myself in the scene and think of what I’d do.

Would my eyes grow wide? Would my mouth hang open? Would I actually drool?

Other times, you might be stuck on how your character will move or use his hands. Again, you’ve got to step into his shoes. Act out how you’d move in a similar situation.

Would you wave your hands? Would your eyes blink quickly? Would you glare? Would you smile, laugh, or cry? Would you form a fist? Would you throw your hands out wide? Would you shove your hands in your pockets?

Finding these answers and using them in your story will be bits of you woven into your character.

9. The character arc.

The character arc is super important with writing for children.

Your story starts with the child having a problem. He tries and tries to overcome it. As he struggles to get past, over, under, around of through the problem, he grows and changes in some way.

“The Talented Clementine,” is a perfect example of the character arc.

There was a talent show going on and Clementine wanted to be good enough at something to be in it. But, she didn’t believe she had any talents. She tried to get out of it, she tried to find something she was good at. Everything failed. Finally, at the end, her principal needed her help directing the show and Clementine did an amazing job. She found her talent.

10. You’ve got to ‘show’ your story and your characters.

While you want the reader to know all about your MC, you don’t want to tell the reader.

Everything your character does will convey what he’s about. How he acts. How he reacts to situations. How he talks. How he moves. These all show what the character is about. And, adding his thoughts here and there helps too.

Here’s an example from “The Chocolate Touch” by Margot Apple:

“At last he came to a small central ball of cotton batting, and there right in the middle, was a little golden ball. He picked at the ball with his fingernail and peeled away the gold paper. . .”

It could have read: John opened the box and ate the chocolate. Instead, the author shows the reader exactly what John is doing. You can feel the character’s anticipation. This is showing.

11. Research, if needed.

Jenkins says, “Resist the temptation to write about something you haven’t experienced before conducting thorough research. Imagination can take you only so far.”

It’s a sure bet that I did lots and lots of research writing Walking Through Walls. Set in 16th century China, my imagination could take me only so far. And, it’s essential when writing in a specific time period that you get it right. You want the flavor of the time. You want the authenticity.

But, I also do research for lots of my children’s ghostwriting clients. I may be writing a fiction story about a horse or a pig and I want to know what their real characteristics are so I can incorporate them into the stories.

Or, maybe it’s a story about a boy with asthma or a girl learning to swim. Getting the details right matters.

Summing it up.

There are at least 11 elements to writing a great character, a memorable character, the first of which is to give him the right name. Use all the tricks of the trade when writing your characters to ensure their engaging, connectable, and memorable.

Do you have your own strategies to write a great character? I’d love for you to share with us.

Reference:
10 Tips to Developing Your Characters

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Children's ghostwriterLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a publishable book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Sep 24

Children’s Writing – Creating Your Main Character Part1

Write Memorable CharactersI read an excellent article by Jerry Jenkins who is an author of more than 186 books and a New York Times bestselling novelist. This is a writer who knows about writing.

The article was about creating memorable heroes.

Every author wants to be able to do this. So, below are the first few tips Jenkins offered (I put my own spin on these tips and made them relevant to children’s writing. And, since it’s a long post, I divided it into two-parts):

1. Name him right.

A name isn’t just a name. Giving your main character (MC) the right name matters.

I’ll use my middle-grade fantasy book, “Walking Through Walls”, as an example.

The story is set in 16th century China.

What names come to mind?

Harry, Shawn, Dale, Justin, Juan, Saheb? I don’t think so.

If you want to keep the flavor of the story true, you’ll need to use appropriate names. The MC in “Walking Through Walls” is Wang.

2. Get him out there.

You’ve got to get your MC out there in front of the audience right away.

You don’t want any confusion as to the MC. You want your reader to make a connection quick. The MC should be the first character introduced in the story.

This is especially true with young children’s books.

3. The reader should be able to picture the main character.

This may not be relevant if you’re writing a children’s picture book or even a chapter book as most of them have illustrations. But, if you’re writing a middle grade, you most likely will need to describe your MC somewhat.

Just give enough information for the reader to be able to imagine what your MC looks like.

Is he tall? Is she fair or dark? Is she thin? Does he have any unusual characteristics?

You want the reader to be able to picture him – to create her own image of him. Whatever information you leave out, the reader will fill in.

4. He’s got to have a backstory.

Okay, this isn’t relevant to picture books as they’re too short for backstory. But, with other stories, the MC needs to be realistic and this means he needs a life.

Using “Walking Through Walls” again, it’s quickly revealed that Wang has a father, mother, and sister. It’s also quickly revealed that he’s a dreamer and doesn’t like to work. And, he wants the fast track to fame and fortune.

This was done within the first couple of pages.

Other aspects of your character that might be conveyed are:

– Is he smart?
– Is he an athlete?
– Does he have lots of friends?
– What are his innate qualities?
– Is he a follower or a leader?
– What are his goals?
– What are his hobbies?
– What makes him happy, mad.
– What he’s afraid of.
– Is he outgoing or shy?
– What’s his family life like?

The list can go on and on. Use the qualities or characteristics that are relevant to your story.

5. Make him realistic.

I wrote an article a few years ago about your character being one, two, or three dimensional.

You need a three-dimensional character.

He needs good qualities, bad qualities, things he’s good at, things he not good at, and so on and so on. You need a character who is life-like.

Along with this, he needs a mutli-faceted personality. What I mean by this is, a boy will act differently with his brother, his friend, a girl he’s sweet on, his teacher, his coach, his mom, his dad, and so on.

Our personalities are able to adapt to the interactions we have. You don’t want a MC who acts the same with all secondary characters and in all situations. He needs to portray realistic feelings and reactions.

6. He’s got to be heroic.

While your MC needs to be human / flawed, he also must learn from his failures . . . from overcoming the obstacles thrown in his way.

I love the way Jennings put this, “While striving to make your main character real and human, be sure to also make him heroic or implant within him at least the potential to be heroic.”

When writing for children, especially young children, the MC must prevail. He needs to overcome his obstacles and end up smarter, stronger, wiser, happier. Whatever the growth is, it’s got to be there.

Going back to Wang, while he’s kind of a slacker, he feels a need to help his friend even though it would mean fighting against warriors. There’s more to the story to make him heroic, but just wanting to help a friend in need is enough.

To read part 2, click the link:
Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character P2

Reference:
10 Tips to Developing Your Characters

BEEN THINKING ABOUT WRITING YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S BOOK?
Check out FICTION WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Sep 17

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?

Writing FictionBefore I get into whether secondary characters are important or not, what is a secondary character?

A secondary character is any character in the story aside from the protagonist (main character) and the antagonist (villain or force in opposition to the protagonist).

Just a side note here, an antagonist doesn’t have to be a character. It can be an internal emotional or mental problem. Or, it can be an external force, such as a category 4 hurricane that the protagonist must prepare for or fight to survive.

It’s important to mention also that there are two categories or ‘subclasses’ of secondary characters:

1. The supporting character.

A supporting character is a substantial part of your story. She or he is part of the protagonist’s life and is usually there throughout the story helping move the story forward.

An example of this is Chen from “Walking Through Walls”. Wang is the protagonist and Chen is his best friend. Wang bounces many of his problems off Chen and Chen advises him. Chen is the voice of reason and calm while Wang ‘wants what he wants’ and is impatient.

This friendship is an essential part of the story. It’s part of what makes Wang choose one course of action over another in the end.

Sometimes supporting characters can have their own subplot. Using “Walking Through Walls” again, Chen was chosen by his village to become an Eternal apprentice. His village was invaded by neighboring warriors and his younger sister was abducted.

Supporting characters can be a catalyst for the direction the story takes.

Chen’s backstory also plays a part in the direction Wang takes in his character arc.

Along with this, supporting characters are essential to a book series.

Think of just about any series on TV (old or new): The Big Bang Theory; Superman; NCIS; Castle; The X-Files; even the MythBusters. You expect to see the supporting cast. You’d be disappointed if you didn’t.

2. The minor character.

A minor character is someone who may make a brief appearance in the story or is there in the background throughout. They give the story more authenticity and dimension. There will most likely be various minor characters throughout a book.

For example, in “Walking Through Walls” Wang and Chen are in an apprenticeship with other students. These students help create a dimensional world for the story. But, while they exist and are mentioned here and there, they aren’t essential to the story.

A great example of a minor character is the taxi driver, Sylvester, from the 1947 movie, “The Bishop’s Wife”. Sylvester was only in a couple of scenes, but he was memorable while adding nothing more than humor to those particular scenes.

Summing it Up

Getting back to the title question of whether supporting characters are important to stories, they are. They are an essential part of every story.

Sources:
http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall10/kane_amanda/character_types.htm
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/how-to-write-effective-supporting-characters
http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/what-is-a-minor-character-understanding-the-minor-characters-role

Be a children's writer

Being a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

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Sep 10

Be a Successful Writer Even if You Don’t Think You Have Enough Time

Being a Successful Writer

I always think about time and how there just isn’t enough of it to do all the things I must. Then, I look at two quotes that put time in perspective:

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Pretty powerful, right?

Well, Suzanne Lieurance (a member of Writing for Children’s ghostwriting team), wrote about time and writing and how to get a handle on both.

Why You Don’t Need MORE Time to Be Successful

Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

Many people who wish to be best-selling authors or want to build a thriving freelance writing business think they need more time to be successful.

Maybe they have a regular day job, a family, and many other commitments.

All these things require time, so they feel they simply don’t have enough time for their writing.

Does this sound like you?

You think you just don’t have enough time to become a best-selling author or a successful freelance writer?

Well, that’s simply not true.

Think about it.

Most best-selling authors also have families.

Many started out writing while they had regular jobs and many other commitments.

But they also made a commitment to their writing or their writing business.

If you think you don’t have enough time to become a successful writer, start tracking the way you spend your days.

Are you “thinking” about writing for quite a bit of time each day rather than actually taking action and writing something?

Are you letting yourself get distracted all the time so you very rarely follow through with any of the actions it takes to become a successful writer?

Do you have a plan in place for reaching your writing goals, so all you need to do each day is follow your plan?

You have just as many hours in your day as everyone else on this planet.

So start telling yourself, “I have plenty of time to become a successful writer.”

Then make a plan and a regular schedule for reaching your writing goals.

You can do it.
Try it!

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

Children's ghostwriterOKAY, SO YOU STILL DON’T THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO WRITE YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S STORY? OR, DO YOU NEED HELP WITH A STORY YOU STARTED?

Well, that’s where I come in.

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a publishable book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

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Sep 03

Writing Picture Books for Young Children – A Different Writing Style

Writing Style and Picture BooksA writing style is the way a writer writes a story. It’s the words used, sentence structure, tone used, and even the method used.

The children’s picture book writing style is unique for two main reasons:

1. You’re dealing with young children.
2. You’re often dealing with parents and teachers who will read the story to young children.

Let’s break the reasons down.

1. Simple words, simple sentences, simple ideas.

When writing for children you must remember you’re writing for children.

It may sound silly, but it’s easy forget this and end up writing for yourself. Always remember your audience will be young children.

Reason one is broken into two categories:

A. Your sentences are too long and complex for the young reader. Or, the words you’re using are too advanced for the young reader.

I’ve been guilty of this one. I’ll write the story using longer sentences than I should and using words that are too advanced for the target reader. This is a no-no.

Children, especially young children need things kept simple: simple words, simple sentence structure and length, and simple story line.

As a simple (and exaggerated) example:

BAD: Freddie couldn’t comprehend the complexity of the situation.

BETTER: Freddie didn’t understand.

The ‘better’ example above reduces the length of the sentence and simplifies it also. Children will quickly understand what’s being said. And, if parents/teachers are involved, they won’t be stumbling over a complex sentence.

Simple is better with young children.

There’s a great book to help with the use of age appropriate words when writing for children, “The Children’s Writer’s Word Book” by Alijandra and Tayopa Mogilner.

B. In addition to simple words and simple sentences, you need to think about the scenarios you’re creating. You don’t want to give young children bad or dangerous ideas, like sneaking out at night, or running away from parents when in an amusement park, or running into the street.

This doesn’t pertain to young adults and even some upper middle grade. In these genres, the reader is able to grasp just about as much as an adult.

But, for picture books you need to keep it on the simpler side.

2. Parents and teachers may be involved.

Parents and teachers often read picture books to children. You certainly don’t want them stumbling over long sentences. And, their audience is very young children who will usually have very short attention spans.

Think of a one or two-year-old who can’t get away fast enough or who’s squirming all over his mom trying to grab the teddy bear that’s sitting on the shelf.

Next, think of the kids in pre-school and kindergarten. Granted they have a better attention span than the toddler, but not by much.

Make the picture book kid-friendly. Simple words, simple sentences, and simple story line.

You also need to consider the parent who is reading their child a bedtime story. Make the story flow. Keep it simple. Make it engage the reader as well as their audience.

How to test your story.

To help get a handle on your story, to help determine if it’s simple enough, Mary Kole from Kidlit advises to read the story out loud. It’s so much different than just reading it. (1)

Reading aloud, you won’t just glaze over the words, you’ll have to read each one to say them. You’ll get a better sense of how it sounds and flows.

An even better test, if possible, have someone read it out loud for you. Maybe a family member or friend or critique partner. This is even better than reading it yourself because that person won’t be familiar with the story. You’ll be able to catch all the snags in the story that can cause pausing or stumbling.

(1) Picture Book Writing Style

Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a publishable book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

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Aug 27

Writing Nonfiction – Using Quotes

Quotes and nonfiction writingIf you’re a fiction writer, you know there are a number of elements that a writer needs to incorporate to create an engaging and believable story, such as characterization, plot, structure, clarity, and so on.

Well, Writing nonfiction also has a set of elements that must be incorporated into the piece to create similar results, such as clarity, structure, and an engaging story. But with nonfiction the writer also needs to provide authentic information.

Merrian-Webster.com defines ‘authentic’ as: “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”

If you think about it, this makes complete sense. Anyone can write an article or a book and purport that it’s fact.

But, what gives your content the authentic, credible element that it needs to be convincing, to be taken seriously?

The answer is simple: Using quotes.

While your nonfiction article may be accurate, you researched the information thoroughly and created your own content, there’s no real authenticity or credibility without relevant quotes from reliable sources to back your piece up.

Along with adding credibility, using quotes increases your professionalism and expert status. Those who read your content will assume you know what you’re talking about because you provided evidence from reliable/expert sources.

The quotes can also be the cornerstone of your story, allowing you to build upon them.

First off, quotes offer variety by changing the voice of the story. These tidbits by other authors/experts have their own voice and writing style. This will help keep the reader engaged and helps keep the content fresh.

It helps break up the monotony of a possibly long drawn out monotone piece, which in turn will help keep the reader reading.

It’s also a good idea to sprinkle your article with quotes, maybe one every few paragraphs. Along with increasing the story’s credibility, it also adds white space to the piece.

Why is adding white space to your article, report, or book important?

It aids in easy reading.

This is a known writing technique that is used in various forms of writing, including copywriting. You don’t want the reader to become hypnotized and blank-out from too much continuous text.

If your content goes on and on with very few breaks (white space) the reader will lose interest. Using quotes will force you to create new paragraphs, which will usually be short. This adds additional white space and gives the reader a breather; it also creates a less cluttered piece, which is also something the reader will appreciate.

When using quotes in your article or book, be sure to offer information pertaining to the author of the quote.

You must give credit where credit is due.

As an example, suppose you are quoting from this article. You might do so by saying: In her article “Writing Nonfiction – Using Quotes,” Karen Cioffi explains . . .

Or, you might say: According to Karen Cioffi, in her article “Writing Nonfiction – Using Quotes,” she believes . . .

Or, you might input the quote first and then say: “This is a known writing technique,” according to Karen Cioffi, in her article “Writing Nonfiction – Using Quotes.”

You can see there are a number of ways you can attribute the quote to the author.

Sometimes, especially when writing health or scientific information, you may need to include quotes from research teams. Here is part of the information used in a health article I wrote regarding a particular quote used:

Researcher Talal M. Nsouli, MD and his colleagues at Watergate Allergy & Asthma Center in Washington reported their findings at an American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) meeting.

Also keep in mind that you may need to list the sources for the quotes. This is usually done through footnotes or endnotes. According to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), “The notes, whether footnotes or endnotes, are usually numbered and correspond to superscripted note reference numbers in the text.”

Important question: How much can you quote within quotation marks?

If your quote is six or more lines, you need to block off the quotation – each line of the quote needs to be indented. You would not use quotation marks.

There is also the matter of using part of a quote or shortening a quote. In this case you will need to use ellipses and possibly brackets.

Most importantly though, always be sure you’re allowed to use the quote. For more on this, check out: Quoting Material

When in doubt, you might want to paraphrase. For more information on this, check out: Paraphrasing

For in depth information on using quotes and verifying current information, you can check out the CMS and/or the APA Publication Manual.

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Aug 20

Raise Your Writing Standards

Are Your writing standards high enough?Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

I watched a video of Tony Robbins on YouTube the other day and he said something that really stuck with me.

He said, “If you are unhappy with anything in your life, simply raise your standards in that area.”

So what did he mean by that?

Well, according to Robbins, we all have standards that we have set for ourselves in all areas of our life.

These standards are the way we see ourselves and the way we think we are supposed to live.

We have health and fitness standards, relationship standards, and wealth standards, for example.

We probably set these standards for ourselves long ago based on something we were told or taught.

But, the thing is, many times these standards no longer apply to the life we want to be living now.

For example, long ago someone might have told you that you were overweight and it was a genetic thing.

You were just destined to be overweight and there wasn’t much you could do about it.

So guess what?

You either accepted that and used it to create low health and fitness standards for yourself or you failed to believe it and raised your standards in this area.

If you raised your health and fitness standards, you started eating right and exercising regularly and eventually you were no longer overweight.

It might not have been easy.

But it wasn’t impossible once you raised your standards.

We Set Writing Standards for Ourselves, Too

If you’re a writer, you’ve set standards for this aspect of your life, too.

But have you set your writing standards too low?

If so, you probably aren’t getting published regularly and you aren’t making much money from your writing.

Examine the way you have set and accepted low standards for yourself as a writer.

Next, decide to raise your standards as a writer.

Write down your new standards so you’re really clear about how you want to see yourself as a writer and how you want to live the writer’s life according to these new standards.

Try it!

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

Reprinted with permission from:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2016/09/raise-your-standards.html

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