May 07

Tips to Overcome Writing Procrastination

Writing procrastination

Contributed by Mary Jo Guglielmo.

“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.” ~Proverb

Procrastination………….who me? I know how to get things done; I also know how to procrastinate. As a writer, sometimes procrastination has to do with feeling lost in a project, other times it’s about not being satisfied with a draft.  Personally, I’m pretty disciplined with my writing time, but I can procrastinate for months when it comes to sending a draft off to an agent or editor.

After having my 900 word manuscript accepted by a magazine, the editor sent it back to me asking that I further develop the topic.  I quickly added the info requested and sent it back.  The editor responded with …”tell me more.”  Again, I added another section and resubmitted the manuscript.  I was sure I was done with the manuscript.  The editor responded with highlighting another section  and once again said…”tell me more”.  Frustrated and not sure what she wanted, I put the manuscript down for three months.  When I finally finished the manuscript it was almost 3,000 words.  I was sure too much time had elapsed and the editor would no longer be interested, but with the next submission to the editor, I received my contract for publication.   Fortunately, my procrastinating didn’t cost me the contract, but it certainly raised my angst about the project.

Now when I find myself procrastinating I apply bookends to the project.   Once I decide what I’m gong to work on, I schedule it and plan a pre and post project incentive. It’s my bookends. I treat myself or do something I enjoy prior to starting the project and again when I finish it. Sometimes, it’s something small like a trip to Starbucks before doing research on a project, other times it’s a day at the zoo or the art institute.

Why do bookends work? I think because the first bookend marks it’s time to start and then the last bookend acknowledges the accomplishment. Sometimes the bookend at the end is something that I’m really dying to do or is time sensitive. This gives me the added push to slug through until I’m finished. So if you find yourself procrastinating, try bookends.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach. For more information check out:
http://theadvantagepoint.wordpress.com
http://facebook.com/DoNorth.biz

Writing for children tipsWhat’s Your Writing Forte?
3 Steps to Querying Publishers and Agents
Balance in Fiction Writing – The Major Elements

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 that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

This post was originally published at:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2014/06/if-and-when-were-planted-and-nothing.html

Apr 30

Children’s Writing and Information Dump

Tips on writing for childrenAs a ghostwriter and editor, occasionally I get clients who give me a draft of a story that has information dump within the first few spreads of a picture book.

This is a no-no.

Information dump is when an author literally dumps a chunk of information for the reader to absorb.

Granted most new writers may not realize they’re hitting the reader with these big chunks of information. Or, the author may want to tell the reader what she thinks the reader should know, but doesn’t know how to weave the information into the story.

I think the problem is the ‘author’ wants to make sure the reader understands what’s going on. For example:

Billy and Joe had been best friends since Kindergarten. They played together every day and even had sleep overs. They were also on the same football team. Then Billy insulted Joe last year. After that, Joe didn’t want to be friends with Billy anymore. Now, it’s a new school year.

While this example isn’t too long, there are some info dumps that are paragraphs long, pages long, or in the case of picture books, spreads long.

Another possible reason for information dumping.

Another possibility is that the ‘author’ is writing the story for himself. He’s writing to see what he wants to see in the book. He’s not thinking about what a seven year old or a 10 year old will want . . . even expect in a book.

Whatever the reason, information dump at the beginning of a story leads to a very boring beginning. And, it delays the initial problem that the protagonist must overcome.

While this has touched on the beginning of a story so far, it’s not a good idea to dump clumps of information elsewhere within the story either.

Why information dumping isn’t a good idea.

Children, even adults, have short attention spans. Being told what went on is boring for the reader. She wants to see or hear what’s going on through action and dialogue. Information or backstory must be weaved into the story here and there.

For example, going back to Billy and Joe. Instead of telling the reader flat out in the beginning of the story why they’re not friends, bring it in through dialogue.

It was the first day of the new school year. Joe walked past Billy in the yard without looking at him or saying a word.

“Okay, enough already. I insulted you last year. Get over it already,” chided Billy.

This lets the reader know what’s happening without knocking him over the head or dumping clumps of information. It brings the reader into the action and conversation. It’s effective writing.

While you may not be able to get every bit of information into the story that you think should be there, it doesn’t matter. Your reader will read between the lines. .

So, think twice before dumping that information on your reader.

Articles on writing for childrenBuilding a Writing Career Takes Practice and Focus
What’s Your Writing Forte?
3 Steps to Querying Publishers and Agents

Need Help With Your StoryLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

Apr 23

6 Book Marketing Tips Sure to Boost Your Author Online Platform

Book PromotionSo, you’re an author. That’s great. But, just writing books isn’t enough – you’ve got to promote you and your books.

The first step to doing this is to have yearly, monthly, and weekly book marketing goals. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.
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Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

To market your book. You need to generate visibility for you and your platform. Six of the bare basic online marketing strategies to increase you visibility are:

1. Create a presence and platform.

Creating an online author presence and platform is initiated by creating a website. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the domain name, site title, and content should reflect your niche and/or your area of expertise.

Remember, plan first. Choose a domain name and title that will grow with you. As an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is a chapter book or young adult, or other?

As part of your book marketing strategy, you should also create a ‘hub’ site that will act as the center to your offshoot sites, such as the individual sites for each of your books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the hub site’s title, or part of it.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Marketing expert Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works.

Google verifies this ‘simple is better’ strategy and notes that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. In fact, Google gives a ‘poorer’ score to pages that are slow to load.

Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may also cause you to lose potential subscribers and buyers.

TIP: You should have an author website up and running before you start submitting you manuscript to publishers or before you self-publish.

2. Increase visibility.

Writing content, blog posts, for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility – content is definitely still King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back and, just as important, to share your article.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3. Draw traffic to your site with blogging.

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You should also include guest blogging. This will increase your visibility reach.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

TIP: When using social media, choose two or three networks and ‘work’ them. It’s important to be active on the networks you promote your books on.

For more on using social media as part of your book marketing strategy check out:
The Social Media Marketing Smorgasborg

4. Create effective call-to-actions.

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords and phrases to use include:

– Get your Free gift now for subscribing
– Free e-book to offer on your own site
– Buy Now
– Get Access Now
– Get Started Today
– Join for Free
– Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
– Be sure to Bookmark this site
– Become a better writer – tips right to your inbox
– Are you blogging wrong? Find out how to do it right!
– Know what email marketing is? Find out here!

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

You can also check out this article from Hubspot for more ideas on CTAs:
Great Call-to-Action Examples

5. Develop a relationship with your readers.

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button or other call-to-action you have in place.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement.

Another strategy is to offer your readers an ebook relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader and help establish your authority.

As an author, you might offer a chapter of your book in ebook format.

So there you have it – six tips that will help you generate visibility and boost your book marketing results.

Articles on writing for children

The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins
Building a Writing Career Takes Practice and Focus
The Author Platform – You Definitely Need One and It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

Be a children's writerDon’t have a children’s book yet?

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

Writing Children's Fiction

Apr 16

Traditional Book Publishing – Contract to Sales to Career

The traditional writing path.You’ve chosen to write books, possibly children’s books, and you’ve done it right. You did your homework and learned the craft of writing. You created a polished manuscript and submitted it to publishers.

And, knowing it’s not necessarily the best writer who gets published, but the one who perseveres, you were steadfast and didn’t let initial rejections and lapse of time prevent you from moving forward.

Now, it’s finally happened – all your hard work paid off. A publisher accepted your book and you’re on your way.

But, this is far from the end of your writing journey . . . this is just the beginning.

After your book is accepted for publication, there are three steps you will go through on your writing journey . . . if you intend to make writing books a career.

1. The Book Contract

Once you get a publishing contract, you may want to sign it as soon as you can.

DON’T DO IT!

Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing it. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Once you’re sure everything in the contract is okay and you agree with it, sign away.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue’ and at some point editing with the publisher’s editor will begin. This will most likely involve revisions to your manuscript. This is okay. It’s part of the process.

Keep in mind that the publisher wants your book to succeed as much as you do. Everything they do is to make it better.

After the story is revised, edited, and proofed, it’ll be ready to go. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, if it’s a children’s book, the publisher will have illustrations created. Your book will also need a book cover.

From contract to actual release, the publishing process can take around 18-24 months.

2. Book Promotion

Once you’re in the submission phase of your manuscript, even before you have a contract, you should begin creating an author website and platform. This will help you create visibility for you and your book. And, publishers want to know their authors are capable of promoting their own books.

You need to become a ‘blip’ on the internet radar. To create and maintain this ‘blip,’ you’ll need to post content to your site on a regular basis and use a number of other strategies to extend your promotional reach. This will include using social media.

After your book’s release, you will want to take part in virtual and real book tours, do radio guest spots (online and off), do school visits, and all the other standard book promotion strategies. You can do this on your own or you can hire a book promotion service or publicist, if it’s within your book marketing budget.

There’s much involved in book promotion, so if you can afford it make use of professionals. Just be sure to ask around for recommendations. You want to use a service or individual who knows what they’re doing and who will give you value for your money.

TIP: Book promotion generates book sales.

You can check out these articles for book marketing tips:

Book Marketing – The Foundation
The Author Platform – You Definitely Need One and It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

3. A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your children’s book and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). This is super-exciting and the beginning of your writing career.

To have a writing career though, you need to repeat the process. This means you need to write and publish other stories. Ideally, you should have been writing a new story or stories when you were waiting to get a contract for your first manuscript.

If you haven’t been writing new stories, get started now.

Keep in mind though that it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.

You want to write good books. You want to take your time to make sure you create books that will engage the reader. Books that the reader will want see what happens on the next page.

This will establish you as a good writer.

But, a writing career can also be about more than just book sales. It can open doors and lead to other writing opportunities. These opportunities include: speaking engagements, conducting workshops, teleseminars, webinars, and coaching.

Summing It Up

Writing books, whether children’s books or other, is about learning the craft. And, if you’re taking the traditional publishing route, it’s about submitting to publishers and getting contracts. Then it’s about book marketing and repeating the process.

Keep your focus on your goal and persevere.

Articles on writing for childrenWorking with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process
Successful Writing Strategy – Know Your Intent
5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos

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 that gives you all the basics of Fiction Writing for Children, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books. GET STARTED TODAY!

Writing Children's Fiction

Apr 09

4 Writing Tips on Using Descriptions

Tips on writing descriptionsUsing descriptions can be a powerful writing tool. The most important thing to keep in mind is to use your imagination. Close your eyes and picture what your character is doing. Picture what the scene looks like then paint it with words.

Below are four tips to help you get a handle on writing descriptions.

1. You’ve got to engage your readers.

How do you do this? By showing them what’s going on.

Let the reader:

– Smell what the character is smelling.
– Hear what the character is hearing.
– See what the character sees.
– Feel what the character is touching.
– Taste what the character is tasting.

Let the reader feel like she’s there. Use your character’s senses to describe (show) what’s going on.

2. Use descriptions in action scenes.

Using an excerpt from my middle grade fantasy adventure Walking Through Walls, I could have said just said it was hot. But that wouldn’t show how hot it was for the protagonist, Wang.

The sun beat down on the field. Sweat poured from the back of his neck drenching the cotton shirt he wore. He hurled the bundles on a cart.

I used description to show the action scene. This helps engage the reader.

3. Use description to emphasis the scene.

While you should write tight, sometimes it’s powerful to use description to bring the reader into the scene. In the excerpt below, the protagonist of Walking Through Walls is on a path that could change his life forever:

Deep in thought Wang did not notice the black cat that crossed his path, or the black raven that swooped and almost landed on his head. He did not even notice the silver snake with the purple tail that slithered along beside him on the road. Wang only noticed that each step took him closer to the merchant’s home and the beginning of the road leading to his destiny.

I could have simply used a version of the last sentence to say he didn’t notice anything. But, this wouldn’t allow the reader to know what was going on around him – how absorbed he was in fulfilling his dream. It wouldn’t bring the reader into the scene.

In addition, the description used for that scene is brought up later in the story. So, it’s also helping move the story forward.

4. Don’t use description dumps.

While it’s essential to use descriptions in your writing, you don’t want to overdo it. And, you don’t want to give description dumps.

What this means is avoid going beyond what is needed to engage. Yes, authors did it years ago – they’d elaborate on descriptions for sometimes pages. And, I would think it gave the writer a sense of freedom to be able to describe in full what she was imagining – not having to worry about tight writing. But, it won’t fly today.

Today is about writing ‘lean and mean.’ It’s about thinking carefully about your word choices, your descriptions, and your character’s backstory. If you can say it effectively in two words rather than six, do it in two.

It’s about making sure everything thing in your story is moving the story forward. No sidetracking for a beautiful description. No sidetracking for over elaborating.

Weigh what will work and what is too much. Use balance in writing descriptions in your story.

Articles on writing for childrenWriting with Clarity
Writing Rhyme in Children’s Stories  
The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?

WANT TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S BOOK?

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 Fiction Writing for Children. This 180 page ebook  gives you all the basics of writing fiction for children, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

Writing Children's Fiction

Apr 02

The Ghostwriter

What is a GhostwriterShe’s Invisible…She’s Powerful…She Helps People…She’s the Ghostwriter!

What’s the essential characteristic of a ghost?

Invisibility.

Well, that’s exactly what a ghostwriter is…invisible.

And, the ghostwriter is a powerful tool and a huge help to people who can’t seem to get their ideas into readable and publishable stories. Or, for people who don’t have the time to write themselves. Or, for people who don’t have the necessary skills to write a book.

The ghostwriter is kind of like a superhero in the writing world. She lifts you up and helps you create what you don’t have the time, energy, or skill to do yourself.

She is a modest gal and takes no recognition for her feat. The individual who hires her gets all the credit for the finished product. The ghostwriter gets paid for her services.

In other words, the ghostwriter can be a ‘dream fulfilling’ superhero.

Okay, maybe not a superhero, but you get the idea.

Moving quietly behind the scenes, the ghostwriter helps turn your dreams into reality.

Wait. Maybe she is a superhero!

What Can She Do?

•    Does your story need a makeover?
•    Do you have a story outline, but don’t know where to go from there?
•    Do you have a story idea, but don’t know what to do with it?
•    Fiction, nonfiction? Short story, long story? Essays? Speeches? White pages?

NO PROBLEM. There are ghostwriters to write in any niche.

How Does It Work?

The client (individual hiring the writer) may provide an idea, an outline, draft, a keyword, or topic. Or, he may need a piece rewritten.

The ghostwriter does her homework and accomplishes what is requested.

She turns whatever you have into an engaging and publishable story.

Does the Ghostwriter Ever Get Recognition?

It should be noted that in some instances ghostwriters do receive some recognition or credit. This is something the client and writer decide upon. The cost of the project may be less if credit is given. But, most often the ghostwriter remains anonymous.

In other instances the ghostwriter may reduce his fee for a percentage of the profits from the finished product.

Is Ghostwriting Popular?

According to the article, “What is a Ghostwriter?” by Gary McLaren, “Statistics are hard to come by since many people don’t want to reveal that their book or other content is ghosted. But, some industry estimates suggest that up to fifty percent of all non-fiction books are ghostwritten.”

A couple of famous ghostwriters are:

– Barbara Feinman ghostwrote, It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us by Hillary Clinton.

– H.P. Lovecraft was a ghostwriter for Harry Houdini.

– A.E. Hotchner ghostwrote the autobiographies for Doris Day and Sophie Loren

– And, you have series writers like Tom Clancy and James Patterson who share authorship with their ghostwriters.

– Even the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series have ghostwriters.

Confidentiality and the Ghostwriter

Professional ghostwriters will absolutely keep your idea, outline, draft, or other information offered completely confidential.

If you’d feel more comfortable with that in writing, s/he would certainly supply you with a NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

Hiring One

Obviously, it may be difficult for a ghostwriter to obtain testimonials from all her clients, so when looking for one you should ask for samples of her writing in addition to testimonials.

Another tip to hiring a ghostwriter is to check if her site is active and professional looking. Is there a helpful blog?

If you’re interested in a ghostwriter, ask for a brief phone consult or send an email to start a conversation . . . get a feel for the writer.

Sources:
http://www.arthistoryclub.com/art_history/Ghostwriter
http://www.worldwidefreelance.com/ghostwriting.htm
(Unfortunately, these original post links don’t seem to work any longer)

Writing for children tipsThe Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins
Building a Writing Career Takes Practice and Focus
What is Your Writing Forte?

Let's talk about your children's writing project

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into an engaging and publishable book.

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

Mar 26

Do Book Back-Covers Really Matter?

Creating your book's back coverBeing an author is no longer just about writing. Now, you have to become savvy about marketing your book.

An important element of book marketing is the back cover. And, making it powerful does really matter.

In fact, aside from the front cover, the back cover is what will motivate the reader to buy your book. Anyone who picks up your book will look at and hopefully read the back cover after looking at the front cover.

A book’s back cover will usually have a brief synopsis (back cover copy) of the book. It can also have an illustration or a picture of the author with the synopsis. Some back covers have a brief bio of the author. Unless you’re well-known, you might want to go with the book’s copy rather than your bio.

You’ll have up to 150 words to fit comfortably on the back cover without it looking crowded. You have to make those words count.

Here are examples of back cover copy on some children’s books:

Chrysanthemum
Picture book

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect, until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

Ivy & Bean – What’s the Big Idea?
Chapter book

It’s Science Fair time at Emerson School and the kids in Ms. Aruba-Tate’s class are supposed to find a way to cool down the earth. Some kids are making litterbug-eating robots. Some kids are hold their breath for a very, very long time. But what should Ivy and Bean do? Something with ropes? Something with explosions? Something with ice cubes? Or maybe something . . . different.

The Talented Clementine
Chapter book

When it comes to tackling third grade, Clementine is at the top of her game–okay, so maybe not all the time. After her teacher announces that the third and fourth graders will be putting on a talent show, Clementine panics. She doesn’t sing or dance or play an instrument. She can’t even hop with finesse. And as if she didn’t feel bad enough, her perfect best friend, Margaret, has so many talents, she has to alphabetize them to keep them straight.
As the night of the big “Talent-palooza” draws closer, Clementine is desperate for an act, any act. But the unexpected talent she demonstrates at the show surprises everyone—most of all herself.

Crispin – The Cross of Lead
Middle grade book

I kept asking myself if I felt different, if I was different. The answer was always yes. I was no longer nothing . . .
How odd, I thought: it had taken my mother’s death, Father Quinel’s murder, and the desire of others to kill me to claim a life of my own.


Back covers can also just have an illustration, no text, but I don’t advise this. You want to motivate the reader to take action with effective copy (a brief synopsis).

Then there are the back covers that have blurbs from influential sources, such as Publisher’s Weekly, the New York Times, and well-known people. If you have these types of blurbs, you’ll definitely want to use them.

Some back covers have reviews of the book from influential people. Some have a combination of elements.

Be Careful

Just be careful of how what you put on your back cover and how you organize it. The back cover is the second most important book marketing tool on the book. The most important is the cover illustration/design. You’d think it’d be the story itself. Ha.

To see more back cover copy and get some ideas, go to the library to see how major publishers create a back cover in your genre.

Articles on writing for children5 Must-Know Tips on Writing a Powerful Thriller (and most other fiction stories)
Characters or Story – Which Comes First?
How Do You Make a Good Story Worthy of Getting Past the Gatekeeper?

Let's talk about your children's writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable book – one you’ll be proud 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

Mar 19

Writing a Memoir – 5 Rules

Tips on writing your storyWhile this site is for those who want to author a children’s book, I do get the occasional individual who wants a memoir written. So, I thought I’d provide some information on that topic.

Writing a memoir is different things to different people. Some people are looking for closure, or a cathartic release from a traumatic event in their lives, others simply want to share their experiences with readers.

Whatever the reason behind writing a memoir, there are a few rules that should be adhered to.

5 Rules to Writing a Memoir:

1. Know what you want to convey to the reader. Know why you’re writing a memoir and let the reader in on what to expect. This will help give your story direction and focus – it will provide a basis for it to move forward.

2. Decide on what format you will write your memoir, but keep in mind that trying to stick to a purely chronological order can cause a problem with the flow of the story. One possible alternative is to divide the story into specific topics within the overall subject (your life), possibly childhood, education, marriage, family, or other topics important to the story.

The idea is to realize you have options. You might try brainstorming some alternative memoir formats. You can also do some research by reading memoirs by traditional publishers; go to your library and ask the librarian to offer some suggestions. Finding ones that are recently published will be helpful; you need to know what the current market is looking for.

Another aspect of structure that needs to be addressed is how you speak to the reader. In a Writer’s Digest article, “5 Ways to Start Your Memoir on the Right Foot” by Steve Zousmer, it says, “Is the conversation external or internal? That is, is writing your book the equivalent of sitting down in your living room and telling a small group of people the story of your life (external), or are you having an internal conversation with yourself while allowing readers to listen in?”

3. Whether you’re writing a mystery, a romance, or a memoir, you need to hook the reader. Again, read other memoirs for some examples and ideas.

As a former accountant who now writes, if writing my memoir, a possible beginning might be, “From the pencil to the pen.” This possibly has the potential to arouse enough curiosity to hook the reader.

Your experience and story is unique, try to come up with something that reflects that.

4. Don’t let your memoir be a platform to get even with those who you perceive have harmed you in the past. You may feel good about venting, but your readers won’t. This will turn off agents, publishers, and readers. Remember, your memoir should be to entertain, enlighten, help, instruct, uplift, motivate, inform, or encourage your readers; it shouldn’t be all about you and your vendetta.

5. As with any form of writing, the bare bottom basic is to have a proofread and edited manuscript. Even if you intend to have your manuscript professionally edited, you need to know the basics of writing. This aspect of writing entails effort – effort to learn the craft of writing, including revisions, proofing, and editing.

If you are having your manuscript professionally edited, the editor will expect to be given a relatively polished manuscript to work on. Unless of course, you’re having the memoir ghostwritten, in which case you and the ghostwriter will determine what shape, if any, your manuscript needs to be in.

But, assuming you’re doing it on your own, at the very least you need to be part of a critique group, a non-fiction writing group, or one specifically for memoirs. A critique group will help you hone your craft and will spot a number of problems within your manuscript that you will not be able to find on your own. And, be sure the critique group you choose has experienced and published authors, along with new writers.

So many new writers don’t think this aspect of writing a memoir applies to them. Or, they just don’t want to put the time and effort into learning the craft of writing. But, if you intend to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers, or if you are self-publishing, having a polished manuscript is a must. It’s a reflection of you and your writing ability, and will be a factor in how readers view your book.

The Possibilities

If all the elements and rules of writing a memoir are applied, and your particular story offers unique insights, has a universal theme, has a one or two sentence WOW elevator pitch, is memorable or provocative, it may have the potential to soar.

Memoirs that have gone above and beyond include:

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell
“Marley and Me” by John Grogan

Articles on writing for childrenPoint of View and Children’s Storytelling
Storytelling – Don’t Let the Reader Become Disengaged
Book Review of Middle Grade Story The Lucky Baseball

Let's talk about your children's writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

Mar 12

Tips on How to Write Out a Word You Don’t Know

It’s most likely happened to everyone. You’re thinking of a word, but you’re just not sure how to spell it. And, your not even getting close enough for your Word program to give you suggestions.

Since this is a common occurrence, Hubspot decided to put together an infographic full of tips. And, since those who visit this site are writers or wannabe writers, I thought it might be helpful.

spelling-words-infographic

So, what do you think. Helpful or not? I’d appreciate knowing.

Writing for children tipsWriting a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish
Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’
Writing with Clarity

Lets talk about your childrens writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

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

Mar 05

Your Writing Week – You’ve Got to Make a Schedule

Tips to scheduling your writing weekContributed by Suzanne Lieurance

As you’re planning your work week, be sure to do the following if you wish to have the most productive week possible:

1. List your 3 major writing/career goals at the top of this week’s marketing plan – that way, you can check each of the actions you plan to take this week to make sure they are *all* in alignment with one or more of your major goals.

If you’ve planned on taking action that isn’t in alignment with one of those goals, what is the purpose?

Take it off the list since it won’t move you closer to one or more of your goals.

2. Don’t overload this week’s plan/schedule with too many action steps.

You don’t even need to take actions toward all 3 goals every single week.

In fact, it might be better to take action toward only 1 or 2 of your 3 major goals in any one week.

Remember, you want to build your writing career, but you want to enjoy your life, too.

Don’t overload your writing schedule so you have no time to just relax and enjoy yourself.

3. Instead of simply making a list of the actions you plan to take this week, get a calendar or make up a calendar for the week.

Make your plan an actual schedule, with the specific dates (and even times, if you like) listed for each action you plan to take this week.

You’ll be more productive if you do this rather than just listing your action steps because you won’t have to waste any time during the week wondering which action step to take.

You’ll know because all you need to do is look at your schedule, then take the action that is scheduled for that date and time.

Now, get your weekly marketing plan/schedule created – or modify it if you need to according to the steps, above – then all you need to do this week is follow your plan.

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.

Writing for children tipsThe Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components
Finding Age Appropriate Words When Writing For Children
Ingredients for a Perfect Picture Book