Aug 22

Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because
someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

This Warren Buffet quote inspires me. It’s simple, yet so amazingly powerful.

  1. A tiny seed can create something as massive as a tree, even a sequoia tree.

Think of the giant sequoia tree in California, USA. It averages around 26 feet in diameter, weighs around 4,189,000 lbs. and reaches heights of 275 feet. According to Wikipedia, “Record trees have been measured to be 311 feet in height and over 56 feet in diameter. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old.”

The seed of the sequoia tree is 0.16–0.20 inches long, 0.039 inches broad, and 0.039 inches wide.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it.

Something that tiny can produce something that enormous.

Well, this can easily relate to writing, to book marketing, to business . . . to just about everything in your work and life.

Small positive actionable steps, no matter how tiny, can create massive results.

You may think your writing and marketing efforts aren’t moving you forward, but think of how long it takes that tiny seed to grow into a tree that gives shade.

  1. What you sow today can have benefits for many tomorrows.

Time will pass whether you take action or not.

If you have an idea, take action now. Don’t wait for tomorrow or until you have more time or until you have more money. Take action now. The benefits may turn out to be bigger than you could possibly imagine.

You may reap the benefits of your writing or book marketing or business efforts far into your future, so take that initial step.

Or, maybe it’s expansion that you’re thinking about, or a new strategy.

Keep in mind, though, that every living thing needs sun, water, and food to grow. So, when you take that step (plant that seed), be sure to give it the nurturing it needs to become what you believe it can be.

Plant that seed today!

This post was originally published at:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2015/02/even-tiny-action-steps-can-produce-huge.html

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Writing for children tips

Want to Become a Writer? Read!

Writer’s Conferences Are Not All The Same

5 Rules to Writing a Children’s Book

Aug 15

The Writing Juggling Act

It’s time consuming to write a story… to write a good story.

I’m sure there are writers today who sit down and write a story in a day, but I’m talking about doing it right.

This is especially true of writing for children.

It’s so important to know the rules. Know what the standard industry guidelines are and adhere to them.

There’s a lot that goes into writing. And if you want it to be publishing and marketing worthy, again, you want to do it right.

But what happens when you finish your manuscript. You revised it, edited, it and proofed it, and possibly even had a professional writer look at it.

Your manuscript, your baby, is ready to fly.

You enter the traditional submitting phase. You’ve done your research and have found literary agents and book publishers in your genre. The submitting process is in full gear.

This process can easily take longer than the writing process, but you need to persevere.

In the meantime…

Should you just sit around and wait for a bite from an agent or publisher?

Should you just sit around and gather dust on your keyboard?

Absolutely not!

You need to move onto another story as soon as you start the submitting process on your first book. Once book two is being submitted, it’s onto book three, and so on.

This goes even more so for articles.

According to writer Suzanne Lieurance you should have around 12 articles written and circulating to magazine editors.

This is how you get work.

It’s the writing juggling act.

Keep the stories or articles moving.

Once you finish one story, get started on the next.

Another aspect of the writing juggling act: Book Marketing.

While you do need to keep writing those stories and getting them published, you also need to work on marketing you and your writing.

Marketing is a part of every author’s writing life, if you expect to sell your books.

-The first step of marketing is to create a quality book.
-The next step is to submit your work – this is pitching your work.
-If you’re self-publishing, you will need to actually publish it and have it available for sale.

Once the book finds a home, it’s about creating visibility. If people don’t know it exists, you won’t sell it. This is an ongoing process.

If you’re wondering if having to promote your books is a must, even major publishers expect their authors to have an online author platform. They also expect the author to be able to help sell their books through that platform.

And, small publishers expect you to do all the marketing.

Marketing is that important.

So, what’s the basics of an author online platform?

-The first step is to have a website and keep it current.

-Next is to post to social media to bring awareness about you and your books or articles.

This will take up any spare writing time you may have.

So, if you’re a writer, there is no such thing as downtime. It’s all about the writing juggling act.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos

Build Confidence as a Writer – 12 Ways

Writing – 6 Essential Steps to Publication


LIKE THIS ARTICLE? PLEASE SHARE!

Aug 08

Giving Basic Writing Advice

A while ago, I was asked to look over a children’s fiction picture book manuscript. This was not a paying job, just a favor.

The ‘new to writing’ authors, who are both health care professionals, had already been calling major publishers to find out submission requirements. They were told their manuscript would not be looked at without an agent.

So, they went to the library to find a book on top agents.

While this is a worthy endeavor, there are some basic first steps to take before shooting for the stars.

Just glancing at the manuscript, I knew it needed a lot of work. And, interestingly, I was surprised to see so many errors in a simple 600-word story. It seems as we progress in learning the craft of writing, we forget that we didn’t know the very basics at one time either.

So then, I had to figure out what to say to the authors without alienating them or totally discouraging them.

When critiquing or giving writing advice, it’s important to begin with the positive aspects of the manuscript. If the errors are basic and there are a lot of them, you may also want to state them in generic terms, not to offend the author/s.

What does this mean?

Well, it’s not a good idea to say, “You shouldn’t have the children’s picture book manuscript formatted in lists, numbered, or in Australian Sunrise 10pt font.”

Instead, you might say, “Manuscripts are usually preferred typed in New Times Roman 12pt font, and are double spaced using a free form flow with the first sentence of each paragraph indented.

See the difference?

To help with clarity, you could include a first page example of a manuscript you have, or rewrite the 1st paragraph or two of the authors’ manuscript.

If there are just too many errors, for time’s sake you can make a list of proper manuscript formatting tips. This is the approach I took.

I started out with the ‘positive:’

This is a wonderful idea for a children’s book and has great potential, especially that both of you are professionals in the health field. Children will certainly benefit from the story’s information. It could use some tweaking, though.

Then I added the following:

Here are a few tips for writing and formatting a manuscript to help get it submission ready:

• Manuscripts should be formatted in 12 pt Times New Roman Font
• They should be double spaced
• They should be in free form without numbering for pages or in list form
• The first sentence of each paragraph should be indented
• Children love action – actions are better shown through ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’
• Notes for illustrations after each of your intended pages are usually frowned upon by publishers
• Most publishers, especially the major ones use their own illustrators
• Manuscripts are more likely to make it past the slush pile if they are polished
• Usually writers go through a process of one or two critique groups and writing groups. After rewrites and editing it gets to a point where it looks perfect. That’s when it needs to be professionally edited.

These tips are part of the advice I offered the authors and I kept it as generic as possible.

After you note the manuscript errors, you should end your advice on another positive note. You might say, “With rewriting and editing, you will have an engaging story that children will be sure to love, and it’ll be submission ready.”

I then provided several writing links about writing for children and editing.

Since every author’s personality is different it’s usually best to use the gentle approach when offering writing advice.

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE!

Writing Help

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Articles on writing for children

3 Reasons Editing Should Come Before Self-Publishing

Opening Paragraphs

Writing Success – Do You Really Have the Power?



Aug 01

A Story Revision Checklist

Contributed by Children’s Writer Linda Wilson

Once your first draft is written, you can begin revising. Looking at one piece of revision at a time can be helpful. After I finished the first draft of Book 2 in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, I let the manuscript rest while working on other projects. About three weeks later, I was amazed at how much revision was needed. Every single page of my 30,000-word manuscript has #2 pencil cross-outs, squiggly lines, and deletions—every one!

To be effective, it’s good to have a revision plan.

I stuck with a general revision the first time. That included condensing long-winded paragraphs, finding better word choices, making dialogue sound kid-friendly, and replacing “telling” with “showing” passages.

Again, I put the manuscript down. I wanted to begin again with fresh eyes. While the story rested, I shared my story outline and a few chapters with my critique group. They helped me think through flaws in the manuscript that I couldn’t see. Also, I lined up my beta readers, fellow authors and friends who love to read and have offered to give me their opinions. But before I showed it to them, it was time to move on to complete the revision process.

The next revision began a thorough analysis and can be accomplished in parts.

-My first question: What do I need to re-think? Does the title work? Are the plot points in place? Does the story have an arc? Does each character have an arc?

-Is the story structure solid?

-The first sentence, first paragraph, and first chapter are critical. For more tips, please refer to my article “Writers: First Paragraph Essentials”: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/10/writers-first-paragraph-essentials.html

-Does the story have enough conflict? Stakes?

-Are there any characters who don’t have an active role in the story? If so, they either need to be taken out or given an active role in the plot.

-Are there any scenes that don’t move the story forward? Any scenes that drag? You need to find ways to change the scenes that aren’t working.

-Is the story told mainly through dialogue and action? Description can be added, but sparingly. Condense to a minimum and spread out any description “dumps.”

-Is the main character’s flaw/need evident in the beginning, and satisfied/solved from what she’s learned by the end? Does she grow and change by the end?

-Are the facts accurate?

-Are the details specific? Check for anything vague or general.

-Do a drama check. Heighten the drama wherever you can.

-Is the story told from the main character’s viewpoint? For example, any description you introduce needs to be seen through her eyes.

-Make sure the main theme shines through throughout your story. Do the minor themes bolster the main theme?

Books that have helped me the most: Elaine Marie Alphin’s boom, Creating Characters Kids Will Love. Her example on page nine is especially helpful:

His sneakers were braced against the roof’s shingles. Slowly, Benjy took one hand off the sill and gripped a lower shingle instead. Then he took a deep breath, told himself very firmly not to be afraid, and let go of the sill with his other hand . . . Why couldn’t he have been a few inches taller? Benji cursed his height silently. Even just a couple of inches would have meant his toes might have been able to feel the bench beneath him. But wishing wouldn’t make him grow.

Also helpful are books by Chris Eboch: You Can Write for Children and Advanced Plotting.

Recently, I’ve been reading and enjoying the graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. I bought Guts, and even though my book is a chapter book and not a graphic novel, it helps to read passages now and then to remind myself to “talk” like a kid.

While writing my first book, Secret in the Stars, I had to disengage from disappointment after finding many glaring errors, when I thought the book was done. This must be the armor people talk about that writers must grow and wear, and perhaps why people admire authors so much. For the fortitude and single-mindedness it takes to do the seat-time, on and on, until we are finally satisfied with the finished product. Whatever it takes.

While writing Secret, I thought the amount of revision it took was excessive. Now that I’ve written multiple books, I understand how much revision is required. Lots. A good way to look at it is: the hard work of getting the words on paper is done. It’s time to play! Revising allows you to play with what you’ve written, rethink better ways of showing what the characters are going through, and re-do anything that isn’t working. When you’re finished, after careful attention to every detail, you can take the guesswork out of the many aspects of your story, and feel sure of your work. You’ve earned the title of a professional author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Children's author

Linda Wilson is a children’s author, and her first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, is available at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com

Need Help With Your Story

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Picture Books – Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First?

Writing – Showing vs. Telling

Writing Procrastination: IF and WHEN Were Planted and Nothing Grew


Jul 25

How to Make Your Story’s Setting Come Alive

Setting informs the reader of the time and place of your story.

It can include the time period, the physical location, the climate, and the social surroundings.

But it can do a lot more.

An example of this is the middle grade book, Walking Through Walls. It’s set in 16th century China, and the speech, the descriptions of the behaviors, the clothes, the trades, the food, and more all add to the authenticity of the time period.

This allows the reader to get a feel for the environment the protagonist is in. It helps bring the reader into the time period.

You setting descriptions can be powerful.

  1. It takes a village to raise a child.

Okay, that’s kind of a stretch for Tip #1 on how to make your setting come alive.

I was going for: it takes all the senses when describing setting. Don’t limit it to just one.

It seems the majority of authors stick to the scenery – what can be seen. While this is an important sense, the reader will become more involved if there’s more to ‘feel’.

To make your setting come alive, your fictional landscape, use as many senses as you can. You should include smell, touch, sound, and if the story allows, even taste.

In Walking Through Walls, the protagonist Wang is walking home:

Wang ambled back to the cottage. He noticed his favorite flower, the lemon lilies, in full bloom. They draped the landscape. Hmm, they smell so good.

While that passage doesn’t go into detail, it brings the smell of the lemon lilies into the reader’s mind, bringing another sense into the picture.

Here’s another scene from Walking Through Walls:

Tired and hungry, Wang trudged through fog thick as porridge.

This gives the reader a bit more insight into Wang’s journey. Again, while it’s not explained in detail, the fog might have fell damp on his skin. Maybe it left beads of water on him. The reader has something more to picture and imagine than just a fog.

The senses can also help to bring backstory into the story. Through taste, smell, and even texture, the character can remember people or times from their past, enlightening the reader to important elements of the character’s history.

  1. Use your character’s emotions to describe settings.

If your character is in a good mood or reflective, he will sense the world around him much different than if he’s in a bad mood or angry.

Going back to Wang and the lemon lilies, if he’s happy, he might bend down and pick up one of the flowers, bring it up to his face and take in the sweet odor.

If Wang is angry, he might trample over the lemon lilies, grumbling under his breath.

How the character reacts to or describes his surroundings will add an element of emotion.

  1. Treat your setting like part of your story.

Your setting can create a deeper experience for the reader. Using rich details will help the reader dive further into the story. She’ll feel like she’s there.

It helps the reader understand what the character is feeling, what he’s facing.

Here’s another passage from Walking Through Walls:

Slowly his gaze traveled up and up and up until he could see no further. The mountain loomed above him like a never-ending wall. Its thick giant trees left little space between them for a trail.

This gives the reader a pretty good picture of what Wang was facing, bringing the reader into the story.

  1. Add just enough setting description.

Okay, you’re a writer and it may come easy to write every little detail about a setting. You might want to capture it from multiple views or describe every color.

Well, if you add too many details that aren’t important to the story, the reader may get bored and skim over that section.

This may lead the reader to wonder what other sections she’ll have to skim over.

While you want to keep the setting descriptions within limits, the description or detail you include should do more than just show where the characters are, if at all possible. Think emotional state, symbolizing, evoking a memory, etc.

Going back to Wang looking up at the formidable mountain, it foreshadowed the difficult journey he had begun.

Just like the rest of the story, the setting description should move the story forward.

The setting and its descriptions help create a connection between the reader, the character, and the story.

But…

If you’re writing a children’s picture book, you can ignore the above.

The illustrations in a picture book fill in all the setting descriptions.

They show the emotions, the surroundings, the characters… they show what the story text doesn’t say.

It’s a whole different writing experience.

This article was inspired by:
5 Mistakes Writers Make When It Comes to the Setting

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

Articles on writing for children

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?

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

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE!

Jul 11

Writing and Point of View: 2 Must-Know Elements

There are two elements to point of view (POV).

The first element is who’s telling the story.

From whose viewpoint is the story being related to the reader? Or whose story is it?

With this part of POV, you’re choosing the character who is telling the story.

With young children’s books, there should be only one POV, and it should be that of the protagonist.

When you’re writing in one character’s POV, it’s essential that you don’t accidentally fall into head-hopping.

Head-hopping is suddenly bringing another character’s POV into the story within the same scene. It may be the same paragraph or the same chapter.

There’s no lead-in to the POV change which makes it jarring to the reader. It can cause the reader to pause, making him read the passage over a few times to get it straight.

It may seem that sticking to one POV is an easy thing, but it’s actually a very easy slip to make. You can slip in another character’s POV without even realizing it.

An example:

Jason is the POV character. Ralph is his best friend.

Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled. His immediate thought was to have his fist ready.

This brings Ralph’s POV into the scene as his thoughts are being made known to the reader.

To eliminate it:

Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled, his fist ready to fly.

With this little change, you’re keeping the essence of the scene, while also keeping it in Jason’s (the POV character) POV.

Another example.

Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. And neither could Ralph.

When you slip into another character’s internal thoughts, you’re head-hopping.

See how easy it is to do this. Just four little words.

An simple fix:

Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. He knew Ralph couldn’t either.

According to Jerry Jenkins, “I avoid that [head-hopping] by imagining my Point of View or Perspective Character as my camera—I’m limited to writing only what my character “camera” sees, hears, and knows.”

The second element is whether the story is told in first, second, or third person.

The second element establishes how the story is told. In other words, is it told in first person, second person, or third person limited?

This is a powerful element of storytelling

A quick overview:

First person pronouns are: me, I, mine, and my.

The protagonist is telling his story. He’s the narrator.

Examples of this POV are:
Angry Ninja by Mary Nhin
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Second person pronouns are: you, your, and yours.

The protagonist is the narrator and talks directly to the reader.

Examples of this POV are:
How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
-Train Your Angry Dragon By Steve Herman
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

Third person limited pronouns are: he, she, they, it.

A narrator is telling the story through the perspective of the protagonist in the case of young children’s books.

The narrator is inside the protagonist’s thoughts, senses, and feelings.

According to MasterClass, it ”can give readers a deeper experience of character and scene, and is the most common way to use point of view.”

Examples of this POV:

Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
The Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Hope this helps you get a better handle on point of view.

Sources: https://theeditorsblog.net/2011/09/10/head-hopping-gives-readers-whiplash/

NEED HELP WITH YOUR STORY?

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

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

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself

The Author and Copywriting

What’s Stopping You from Becoming a Children’s Author

 

Jul 04

Writing the World Around You by Paying Attention

Contributed by writer-author D. Jean Quarles

Recently I spoke to a friend about paying attention. We were talking about being observant in relationship to her home and neighborhood, but how much do we as writers also need to slow down to ‘get it right’?

Here are some points to ponder:

Details: You’ve probably heard the adage, ‘it’s all in the details.’ And I agree. When reading another’s work, it’s the details that suck me in and take me on the journey with the author. When we as writers slow down and pay attention, adding those small details makes our writing that much more impactful.

Sensations: To get the details right, focus on smell, taste, and hearing as well as what you see. We have more than one sense, yet many times we forget that. Creating scenes where more than one sense is used gives a roundness to our writing that elicits connection.

Remember when: You were a child and the simplest things delighted you? The sound of crickets? The smell of wood smoke? The way the butterfly flits from one flower to the next? These simple things that once delighted you, can pull your reader back to a similar time and place and delight them.

Dialog: How we talk to each other in real life is, many times, not at all how we think we talk to each other. Often in my conversations with family and friends we are finishing others thoughts, interrupting, getting it wrong, or getting it right, but still not necessarily listening well and responding appropriately. Dialog creates conflict, and also creates connections between your characters. Slow down and listen to conversations. Pay attention to how people really communicate with each other.

Find your metaphors: Metaphors add so much to your writing, but sitting in a room in front of the computer may not be the best place in which to develop them. Instead, pay attention to the detail you are trying to convey in a different way and use those same senses above to find a connection that fits.

In this world that seems so much about hurry, hurry, hurry, it may not be easy to make the switch to slow down, listen, and feel, but your writing will be enhanced and your readers will appreciate the effort.

About the Author

D. Jean Quarles wife, mother, grandmother, and business coach, as well as a writer of Women’s Fiction and co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. She loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky’s Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception, and the co-author of The Exodus Series: The Water Planet: Book 1 and House of Glass: Book 2.

You can learn more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing, and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com. You can also follow her on Facebook.

This article was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2016/07/writing-world-around-you.html

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

 MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Children’s Writing and Information Dump 

6 Book Marketing Tips Sure to Boost Your Author Online Platform

Traditional Book Publishing – Contract to Sales to Career

 

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE!

Jun 27

Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself

Years ago, a client told me that I don’t write for the client; I don’t even write for myself; I write for the reader.

This was in regard to a picture book I wrote for the client and it’s the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

This is how every author should write.

Two key points when writing for children are: Write for the reader and take professional advice.

At this point in my writing career, I’ve probably written around 350 stories, between ghostwriting and rewriting. Most of them are ghostwritten.

That’s a lot of clients. And even though I’ve had a number of series clients and return clients, all-in-all, I’ve dealt with at least 300 individual clients.

And I’m most likely underestimating this.

My point, though, is that most authors, especially new authors or wanna-be-authors, don’t realize the importance of writing for the reader.

So, what exactly does this mean?

A perfect example of this is a young adult story I’m currently working on. It’s over 100,000 words and is engrossing, but it’s also very complicated.

I’m working with the client for around nine months or so, and a running problem keeps coming up: he writes for himself.

He knows what every character’s backstory is – every little detail.

He knows the story’s backstory.

He knows the history of the story topic intimately.

He knows why Character Z is evil.

He knows how the enemy is getting their information.

He knows how the next two books in the trilogy will pan out.

The problem…

The reader doesn’t know. And, the client more than occasionally throws in something that the reader will get lost on.

The client can’t grasp that the reader can’t read his mind.

It’s easy to fall into this hole.

It’s super easy to get caught in this scenario, especially if it’s a long story and you’re writing independently.

Again, you know what you intend. You know what’s happening – you know the why to what’s happening. But this doesn’t mean the reader will unless you clue them in.

To give a more straightforward example, suppose a story has four brothers battling an enemy, but it’s mentioned somewhere that there are five brothers. The fifth brother is mentioned vaguely in a very brief scene, then just disappears.

The author knows who the fifth brother is, where he is, how he vanished, and why he vanished. The author thinks it’s important to mention the fifth brother because that brother will play a big part in another book. The problem, again, the reader doesn’t know any of this.

The reader will begin to wonder. Who’s the fifth brother? Why was he there and then vanished? What is his place in the story? She’ll possibly get annoyed that the author even mentioned the fifth brother.

You don’t want the reader to feel she’s left out of the loop or that the story is too complicated for her. Give the reader what she needs to be engaged in the story and on top of it.

LOL Writing this, I’m not even sure if I’m being clear enough. I know what I’m trying to say; I hope it translates over.

Readers are savvy and can read between the lines as long as the author provides enough clues or information.

Write with clarity. Don’t expect the reader to be a mind reader.

Finally, if you’re working with a professional editor, rewriter, or ghostwriter, take her advice, especially when it’s on something that just makes sense.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s 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 idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

7 Steps to Writing Success Through Positive Thinking

Writing Elements – Is One More Important Than Another?

Submitting Your Ghostwritten Book to a Children’s Publisher

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE IT!


Jun 20

The Author and Copywriting

Whether you like it or not, as authors and writers, you need to write compelling, even persuasive content.

You might ask why.

Well, if you’re spending your time creating a book, magazine article, essay, blog post, or content for your website, you have a purpose in mind.

That purpose is to create and build visibility and sell what you’re offering.

This is where copywriting comes in.

So, what exactly is copywriting?

According to American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), “Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.”

Writing persuasive content helps you create and build visibility, and it helps you sell your books, your services, or your products.

An article at AWAI, “5 Sales Copy Editing Tips to Double Conversions,” gives five tips on how to get visitors to your website and potential clients to say YES to your offer.

Five tips to make your article or blog post more persuasive.

Here are three:

  1. It’s always about the reader.

With all the content online, you need to grab the reader quickly.

Let the reader know what’s in it for her in the beginning paragraph.

Let her know how your article can help her.

An example: Last month, my article, The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript, had the most pageveiws of all my articles. It was posted over five years ago.

Based on this information, I went back to the post to make sure it followed this advice. It did.

Within the first paragraph, I explain what a one-sentence pitch is. And in the next, I explain why it needs to be only one sentence.

So, my beginning content gives the reader what he’s looking for.

I did have to add an updated call-to-action which is why you should check on your older posts.

  1. The So Whater.

This is a great tip and one that I learned years ago from children’s writer Margot Finke.

In children’s writing, the So Whater is about moving the character and story forward by continually asking yourself, so what.

Suppose Amanda gets a virtual reality headset. “So what,” says the So Whater.

Suppose the game she gets with the set is about scuba diving with sharks.

Again, the So Whater says, “So What?” And, she goes on to say, “So what,” every time you add something to the story.

Having to come up with answers for the So Whater motivates you to come up with what happens next that will make a page-turning story.

It’s the same with copywriting.

You have to think of where and when the reader may say, “So What?” “What’s in it for Me?”

Keeping this in mind helps you have the answer already in place to stop the So Whater before he gets started.

  1. Make your call-to-action (CTA) work for you.

Your CTA needs to motivate the reader to click on what you’re offering.

  • It may be to buy your book.
  • It may be to attend a podcast, webinar, or other format.
  • It may be to sign up for your mailing list.
  • It may be to take a survey.

Whatever you want the reader or visitor to do, make it clear and enticing.

  • You might add a guarantee: You’re going to love this or ask for a full refund – no questions asked.
  • You might offer an additional helpful tool or PDF or other if the reader takes the action you want.

In my copy for Become a Power-Blogger in Just 4-Weeks, I include helpful bonus information.

  • Compare the price to something else, making it sound cheap compared to the other product or service.

The article at AWAI gave this example: For the cost of a Starbucks latte each day, you can be enjoying …

  • Offer a how-to PDF that will simplify the reader’s life.

I recently created a DIY Self-Publishing PDF as an offer to join my mailing list.

It takes the author from an edited manuscript to publishing an ebook or paperback. I know this is a valuable offer because I tried to find the information when I was self-publishing How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.

  • Add testimonials or other social proof.

Suppose you have 100,000 subscribers to your email list. You could use that as social proof: Join 100,000 other subscribers. Or, something like, A 100,000 subscribers can’t be wrong – jump on board.

I have testimonials on my Home page of my website. Testimonials work. I’ve had clients tell me they hired me because of my testimonials.

  1. Would you click on your CTA?

Once you have your article or content written and edited, read it as a visitor to your site or a reader. Then read the CTA.

Would the content motivate you to take action?

You might be thinking that all this takes time, and you’d be right.

But once you get into the routine of doing it, it will come easier and quicker. And more than that, it will work for you.

On top of all this, what you write online is there forever and reaches far. The internet is a crazy place; you just don’t know who will see that article, CTA, or other content you write.

It’s important to make your content effective. Make it do what you want it to, what you need it to do, to get the reader to click on your CTA.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM:

Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class I instruct through WOW! Women on Writing. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to check out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Create Strong Story Settings with Visual Prompts

Writing a Publishable Children’s Story: 12 Power-Tips



Jun 13

3 Ways Writing Builds Strength

Contributed by Linda Wilson

There are lots of ways to build strength in life: Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, be social, stay mentally active.

That last category? We writers have that covered in spades. After all, challenging our mental acuity is our game. I like to think for reasons beyond simply making an effort to stay healthy.

Tucked into suggestions to challenge our gray matter by the Alzheimer’s Organization, which lists such activities as attending lectures and plays, playing games and working crossword puzzles, is writing. With all that serious writing entails we writers must be way ahead of the game.

Subtle Strengths Reaped from Being a Writer

1-Don’t talk about it–DO IT: How often have you had this conversation with someone who wants to lose weight?

Weight Loss Challenger: I’m trying to lose weight.
You: Good for you.
Challenger: My goal is 15 lbs. but I don’t know if I’ll ever get there. I’ve tried every kind of diet and nothing works for me.

STOP!

Too often the person who talks about weight loss winds up in an endless weight-loss-weight-gain cycle and doesn’t reach her goal UNTIL she stops talking about it. Only then can she get down to business and DO IT. It takes strength to drum up the necessary discipline.

I use this example to illustrate the mistake I made as a beginner writer and the mistake other beginners might make: I talked about what I planned to write, even expounding on the details of the piece/story. Maybe I even started the project . . . but never finished it. Why? Talking about what you’re planning to write can take the wind right out of your sails–it can rob you of the energy you’ve put into coming up with your idea in the first place, so that when it comes time to write, your enthusiasm is gone.

2-The Zone. Now that you’ve leaped over one of your initial hurdles, pouring out your heart and keeping it between you and the page, you find that you soon enter THE ZONE–that magical place any serious creator occupies while working, be it an athlete, a musician, a homemaker who establishes a loving and pleasing environment–it doesn’t matter. The very act of creating will get you there. The world will open up to you. You’ll be in the candy shop, given carte blanche to pick any kind of confection you want: cake, ice cream, cookies; or hey, anything made with semi-sweet chocolate, my personal favorite (while being “strong” enough not to gain weight, mind you). You will begin to build or continue to build on your knowledge and skills and explore any and all aspects of life to your heart’s desire. A writing friend once told me one of the benefits she loves about writing is that you become an expert on many subjects and you carry this knowledge with you for the rest of your life. There’s a great deal of strength in that.

3-Learning your craft and sharpening your skills: This is a great accomplishment. You literally transform yourself into the ranks of successful people who have arrived at their success like you have, from their relentless efforts and hard work. A likely trajectory to becoming an accomplished writer can go something like this:

-Write for your school newspaper beginning as early as possible; then become editor.
-Establish a place to write and a schedule so that you write regularly every day, if possible.
-Keep a journal. Come up with subjects that are important to you and think of ways you can write about them.
-Take courses, read “how-to” books, join writing organizations and attend workshops and conferences. Share your writing with other writers.
-Explore publication outlets online, at the library, with writing organizations you belong to. Find a publication(s) that would welcome what you have to say.
-Learn photography, a handy skill to accompany your writing.
-Learn how to speak in front of others.
-Network, see what other writers are doing and learn from them. We are a sharing group .We have been known to go to great lengths to help and promote our fellow writers.

Before you know it you will have found your niche and if you keep working at it you will eventually reach your goals. Once you’ve reached your goals you can flex those buff writing muscles you’ve developed to benefit yourself, your readers and those fortunate enough to come in contact with you.

This article was originally published at: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2016/04/three-ways-writing-builds-strength.html

Children's author

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher, has published over 150 articles for children and adults, several short stories for children, and her first book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, which is available on Amazon. Publishing credits include biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and an article for Highlights for Children. Secret in the Mist, the second in the Abi Wunder series, is coming soon. A Packrat Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, and Tall Boots, Linda’s picture books, will be published soon. Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.
Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing Elements – Is One More Important Than Another?

Submitting Your Ghostwritten Book to a Children’s Publisher

Writing Tips from the Book, Story Genius

Writing and the Winds of Change

 

LIKE THIS ARTICLE? PLEASE SHARE!