Dec 19

Writer’s Block – What Can You Do?

Got Writer's Block?
Contributed by Regina Montana

Just about every writer faces the inevitable: writer’s block.

You stare at the page and nothing comes. It can be debilitating and depressing for the beginning writer, but not just for them. The blank page stares back and dares writers at all stages of their career to fill it up, but with what? 

I would like to make the following suggestions that others have tried and found to be quite helpful.

1.	Take a walk. It’s amazing how a solitary hike or walk in nature can help the imagination run wild. When there’s no pressure, writers are free to let their thoughts roam where they will. You can take in all the sights and sounds around you and invite the Muse. I have even asked my main character for advice as I’m walking. What will you do next? How will you solve the problem you’re facing? 

2.	Change genres.  If you’re writing a picture book, try writing a poem or non-fiction article for a children’s magazine. It helps to lessen the pressure on your brain to let your thoughts change gears for a while. What stirs your imagination? What kind of animals do you find interesting? Do you have a green thumb? Try writing a free verse poem about the geraniums you planted that look beautiful.

3.	Try your hand at painting. I actually found myself transformed as I took out some acrylics and water colors and decided I would sketch illustrations for two poems I wrote. It didn’t matter that they were not great. I enjoyed seeing the bird I wrote about take shape and even got a few compliments when I shared my drawings.  I read an interesting quotation about how trying other forms of art can help inspire creativity, get the juices flowing and flex one’s creative muscle.  

4.	Pick up that guitar you used to play. I learned to play the piano as a teenager and, despite my very basic knowledge, I love to sit down and play a few tunes when the moment arises. I now have the opportunity to learn the organ which has been a lifelong dream. I met a music teacher and she has inspired me to pursue this path. I will be able to practice on our church organ with the permission of my pastor. Maybe I’ll be better able to hear my characters talking to me and telling me the path they want to take.   

5.	So do not despair. Here are a few memorable quotations for Overcoming a Creative Block

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. You cannot intellectualize creativity. You can think about something before or after – but not during.
—	Ray Bradbury

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.      
—	Isabel Allende

Hope these tips help you when the inevitable bout of writer's block hits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI.  Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree.  She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

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.


Writing for children tips
Working with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process

The Author Website – Keep It Simple and to the Point

How to Write a Story

Social media sharing
Nov 07

Book Marketing: SEO Basics

SEO Basics for Authors

By Karen Cioffi

As an author, it’s important to understand book marketing.

To understand book marketing, it’s important to understand the basics of SEO.

SEO may seem confusing and even a bit scary to some. But it needn’t be.

Just dip your toe in and learn the basics. It’s kind of common sense once you understand it’s purpose.

This acronym stands for search engine optimization and its fundamental purpose is to get you visible and build your authority through organic strategies (marketing strategies that are free).

This in turn will help you build your readership and help you sell your books and/or services.

And, it’s important to understand that having your website and content optimized isn’t only for the search engines; it’s also for searchers (the people using keywords/phrases to search for what they want), and visitors to your site.

Before I delve into SEO, let me talk a bit about author websites, as it’s a crucial part of online marketing.

You Need One

Every author and writer should have their own website. If you weren’t sure about this before, you can be now.

You can’t rely on social media networks for your only online address. For instance, having a Facebook author page is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be the only place people can find you for a number of reasons.

These networks are continually changing the game. Your organic marketing reach (the other users in your social network who actually see your posts) is shrinking more and more. To get more visibility you need to pay to ‘boost’ your post.

The last I read, organic reach for the average Facebook Page is below 5 percent. Roughly, this means that 1 in 50 connections will see your posts.

I think in some instances it’s even much lower. I saw the stats of an article I recently posted to Facebook and it reached 3 users out of around 1000 followers. Yes, only 3.

And, if a social network doesn’t like what you’re posting, they can remove it.

To establish a solid book marketing foundation, you need a website.

But, I’m getting off track here.

What is SEO?

SEO is kind of like a popularity contest. Certain actions by people can give your website a vote of confidence (authority). A few of these actions are:

  • Liking you
  • Sharing your content (blog posts)
  • Clicking on your link that leads back to your website (this is considered an inbound link)
  • Staying on your site for more than several seconds
  • Linking back to your site from their website (this is considered a backlink)
  • Commenting

Google considers these actions votes.

If a lot of people are giving you votes, Google will make your website and content more visible to people searching for keywords that are relevant to your site and/or article.

An Example of SEO in Practice

This site’s basic keywords are: writing tips, writing for children, book marketing, self-publishing, publishing

If my site and the content on it are doing a good job motivating people to take action with votes of approval, Google will list my posts higher up on its search engine results page (SERP).

This in turn will bring even more people to your website, giving us more votes.

How it works:

I write a post on book marketing. I share that post on my social network accounts. People see the post and click on the link back to my website to read the post. The visitors find the post informative, so they share it and maybe comment.

Then, let’s suppose Amanda comes along and wants to learn about ‘book marketing’. She puts that keyword in Google’s search box.

Google scours its millions or billions of tidbits of information and sees that Writers on the Move has an article that has gotten votes and is relevant to Amanda’s search keyword. So, Google puts the link to that article on the first SERP so Amanda can see it.

Amanda sees the title of the article and the brief description I included. She thinks it will be helpful so clicks on it.

See where this is going?

The more visibility, the more people come to your website. This in turn boosts your authority and ranking along with your chances of ‘conversion’ (turning visitors into customers, clients, and/or subscribers to your newsletter).

This is SEO.

Sharing and Commenting

Because of this cycle of sharing and visitors, and sharing and more visitors, it’s essential to get people to share your blog posts. It’s considered another vote.

Google pays attention to everything.

So, if you’re reading this post and find it’s helpful, PLEASE Share it. And, if time allows, please comment.

This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/12/seo-for-authors-series-basics.html

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?

Karen Cioffi will show you how to build your author platform

Build Your Author/Writer Platform

Along with being a children’s author and ghostwriter, I’m an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

This e-class is 4-weeks, in-depth, and interactive. 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

If you want to check out other classes I offer, check out:
https://thewritingworld.com/your-author-platform/

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing a Children’s Book Series – Different Types

Villain or Antagonist – Is There a Difference?

10 Top Book Marketing Strategies

Please Share!


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



Jan 10

10 Top Book Marketing Strategies

Top Book Marketing Tips

I say this a lot, but every author needs to know about book marketing, whether you’re self-published or traditionally published.

I want to bring this to every author’s attention, especially my children’s ghostwriting clients.

If you’re wondering if it’s really necessary to market your book, it is.

Well, it is if you want to sell your books. If you want to reach your intended target audience.

I would think most authors do.

According to Self-PublishingSchool.com, “Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective consciousness of the public.” (1)

This means if people don’t know about your book, they can’t buy it.

Here are 10 of the most important tips to bring you and your books visibility and credibility, boost your mailing list, and boost sales.

Pre-Publishing Tips:

  1. Write a quality book.

This should go without saying, but with the ease of self-publishing it’s worth mentioning.

Do it right and write a quality story. Be sure to edit it and if at all possible have it professionally edited.

  1. Have an eye-catching book cover created.

Your book cover is the first thing a potential buyer will see. You don’t want it to look unprofessional.

Research book cover illustrators or designers. Check pricing and quality, and check their portfolios. Find one you like.

  1. Price your book effectively.

For this you’ll need to do some research to see what similar books in your genre are selling for. You don’t want to overprice yourself out of a sale.

  1. Use a ‘good’ book publishing service.

You want a service that will take your manuscript and cover and build your ebook and/or paperback files to be uploaded to aggregators (Ingram Spark) or distributors (Amazon).

Services like BookBaby.com and 1106 Design.com do all this. But you should do some research and ask around for other services.

Find one you’re comfortable with and one that’s within your budget.

Now on to actually marketing your book:

  1. You really, really, really need an author website.

A number of authors believe that having space on social media is good enough, but it’s not.

Remember when Google+ was around? How about StumbleUpon? What about Yik Yak and Vine?

Aside from this, new networks are popping up all the time, taking users from older networks.

You need your own author website as the hub to all your online activity.

And, you can create one for free.

Here’s an article that explains more the author website:
Why You Absolutely Need an Author Website

  1. You need to be on social media.

Ha, sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not.

There’s a difference between using social media as your everything and using is to generate visibility and website traffic, and sales.

Social media is a main source of visibility – it should be used to drive traffic to your website and to make sales. Marketing experts recommend choosing two social media sites to work.

It’s the adage, don’t go wide and shallow, go narrow and deep.

I would also recommend using YouTube. If you don’t have an account, simply create one.

Post weekly or bi-weekly videos centering around your book’s topic. Video is a powerful marketing tool. As you continue to post, you’ll eventually engage people and get subscribers.

Statistics vary on this, but according to Spark.Adobe, Instagram is the social media leader with YouTube then Facebook following. Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest follow Facebook.

To use social media properly, you need to post to your networks every day. If possible, multiple times a day. There are automated services to help you with this. You can post about your book’s topic, related interesting things, and about your book.

It’s important to remember the 80/20 rule, though. Give 80% entertaining or useful information and 20% promotion.

You should also share other users’ posts, and comment when time allows.

  1. Create an email list.

Email marketing is how you connect on a more personal level with your readers. It allows you to tell them about your new projects, services, and books you have for sale.

Just as important, it allows you to offer tips and help to your subscribers!

For more on email marketing, check out:

4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in

Email Marketing – 10 Top Reasons to BE Doing It

  1. Get attention.

A. Connect with influencers in your arena. Query influencers to get a guest blog post on their sites. Just be sure you know what they’re looking for and pay close attention to their guidelines.

B. Similarly, look for people who do author interviews and/or podcasts with authors. Chances are they’d appreciate having someone new on their blog or show.

C. Contact your local libraries and let them know you have a new book out. You can also contact your local newspapers and TV stations. They’re usually looking for new content, especially when it involves a local author.

  1. Work on getting book reviews.

Book reviews help sell books.

Do some research on bloggers who post book reviews. Reach out to them and ask if they’d be willing to review your book. Just make sure your book is a fit for their site.

Ask people you know for reviews.

There are lots of other ways to get review. A great source for this is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It’s jammed-packed with useable tips and advice.

Be sure to ask whoever reviews you book to put the review up on Amazon.

  1. Get into book clubs.

The more visibility your book gets, the more sales you’ll make.

A great way to boost your visibility is through book clubs.

The article below has great tips on how you can go about doing this:
https://selfpublishingrelief.com/2019/04/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-book-to-book-clubs-self-publishing-relief/

  1. Bonus tip.

Keep writing books. Don’t be a one-book author.

And, to help you with your publishing journey, author and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin has a very useful book. I read it and it’s worth the investment: 10 Publishing Myths by Terry Whalin

I hope these tips help you get your book visible and selling!

Need help getting your author platform off the ground or taking it up a notch or two?

Check out my 4-week interactive eClass through WOW! Women on Writing, Build Your Author/Writer Platform.

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE!


Jan 07

Walking Through Walls Book Trailer

Middle-grade fantasy adventure story

Walking Through Walls was honored with the Children’s Literary Classics Silver Award.

Set in 16th century China, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is about 12-year-old Wang. Not liking to work, it really bugs him that he has to help his father tend the wheat fields. Thinking he can bypass work and struggle (and become rich and famous), Wang sets off on an amazing adventure to find the Eternals, a legendary group of mystics who can perform magic!

The story is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

You can find out how the story came about at:
Writing a Fiction Story – Walking Through Walls Backstory

As book marketing is an essential element of an author’s life, here’s a book trailer I created for my book. I’d love to know what you think of it in the comments!

If you’d like to order your own copy of Walking Through Walls, please go to:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walking-through-walls-karen-cioffi/1104289817
4RV Publishing (the publisher): http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/calderwood—cioffi.php

I removed the Amazon link – find out why you should buy directly from book publishers:

As this site is for those wanting to become a children’s author and those wanting to learn about writing for children, I think it’s important you know that supporting book publishers is essential.

Distributors like Amazon may be convenient, but buying directly from the publisher puts more money in the publisher’s pocket and in the author’s pocket. This MATTERS!

And with Amazon allowing third-party sellers, you don’t know who you’re buying a book from or where they got that book. Some of them sell for well under retail and others sell for a crazy amount above retail.

Why not support book publisher and authors and buy directly from the publishers. The cost is about the same, so please support the book industry!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether 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!

Jul 30

Small Book Publishers Fill the Gap

Helping Authors Get PublishedOne of your primary concerns as an author is to get your book published. While self-publishing is a viable option, many authors still strive to be traditionally published.

The problem though is getting your manuscript past the acquisitions editor of a major publishing house. And, while I always say nothing ventured nothing gained, getting published by one of the “Big 5” publishers isn’t very probable for a new author. (Though, never say never.)

According to Book Business, the Big 5 are: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. (1)

And, while you may have a better chance with one of the Big 5’s imprints, getting published will still be a tough goal to achieve.

So, what do authors who want to be traditionally published do?

Simple, they submit to small publishers.

In an interview with her local paper, Edmond, Oklahoma, Vivian Zabel said, “There needs to be something between the major publishers who won’t accept anything and the vanity or self-publishing entities.”

Taking the ‘bull by the horns,’ Zabel created her own small publishing company, 4RV Publishing. It’s put out 115 quality books over the last 10 years. They publish from children’s books up.

Zabel went on to say, “4RV looks for authors who fall through the cracks at major publishing houses.”

Larger publishers look for the “marquis authors.” Because of this, 4RV gets to find some great stories.

To read about 4RV and get an idea of how a small publisher works, check out Zabel’s interview at: Small Publisher Fills the Gap Between Major and Vanity Publishing

(Sorry, the link above no longer works. I’m in the process of finding out why.)

Reference:
(1) http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/post/big-5-financial-reports-reveal-state-traditional-book-publishing/

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 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

Articles on writing for childrenWriting – It’s Not Wise to Revise Too Soon
Writing for Children – 4 Simple Tips
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict

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

Jul 17

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’

(What’s a ‘Wannabe’ Author to Do?)

Self-publishing is a ship everyone wants to sail on. And, for good reason. This publishing avenue is quick and cheap.

Yes, self-publishing is fast. There’s no more submitting to a publisher or multiple publishers and waiting for (possibly) months for a response. Will they accept your manuscript that you’ve been working on for months, maybe years? Or, will they send you a generic standard rejection letter? Either way, the time waiting for an acceptance or rejection isn’t fun. With self-publishing, as soon as your manuscript is ready to go, it goes.

There are lots and lots of places to publish an ebook. And, you can publish with more than one service. And, you can sell that ebook right from your own site. That’s pretty convenient.

In addition to being a quick process, ebooks are cheap to create and publish. If you do everything yourself (aside from editing), it will cost nothing. In the event you need help, services like Fiverr have people who will help you for a very, very reasonable price.

But . . .

While it’s obvious to see the benefits to self-publishing, these benefits have one drawback in particular: everyone thinks they can write a book and self-publish it, whether or not they have the skills to write a book and whether or not it’s a quality product.

Part of the problem, possibly the main problem, is the ‘I want it now’ syndrome that self-publishing lends itself to. New authors don’t want to take the longer ‘proven’ road of learning the craft of writing and having their manuscript edited before publishing.

This ‘problem’ does all authors a disservice. It lessens the validity of self-published books as a whole. Readers (buyers) never know if the book they’re buying was done professionally or if it was carelessly slapped together.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, there are three basic strategies to use when thinking of writing a book and self-publishing:

1. Learn the craft of writing.

The first thing a ‘wannabe’ author needs to do is learn the craft of writing. This isn’t to say you must get a MFA, but you should take writing courses. There are some online courses that are free. And, you should belong to writing groups.

Along with this, you should actually be writing. Practice does make better.

Finally, you’ve got to read and read and read in the genre you want to write and in lots of other genres also. You especially want to read recently traditionally published books.

This will help you get an idea of what publishers are looking for, what quality work is being published, and how it’s written.

2. Join a critique group.

The second thing is for the author to join a genre appropriate critique group. Having your manuscript critiqued by others helps with grammar, clarity, story line, characters . . . you get the idea. Critique groups help you write your book. Those extra eyes will catch things in your manuscript that you glaze over.

3. Hire an editor.

The third thing the author should do, after the manuscript is as ‘good’ as she can get it, is to find a reputable editor and have it edited. It’s easy for an author to think she’s found all the errors in her manuscript, but in actuality, this is almost impossible to do. As the author, you’re much too close to the work to see it fresh and with unbiased eyes.

Self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for authors, but it needs to be done responsibly. Authors need to take the readers and the industry into consideration when venturing into it.

Instead of being one of the “I want it now” authors, be one of the ‘I want it, but am willing to work toward it’ authors.

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

Focus, Determination, and Perseverance = Writing Success
4 Realities New Writers Need to Face
The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript
How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)

Jul 10

Writing with Clarity

How to write with clarity.

Writing with clarity can be a difficult aspect of writing. There isn’t a GPS for clarity. And, no matter how clear we think we are conveying a particular sentence, paragraph, or theme, we may not be able to see that we’ve missed the clarity mark.

How does this happen?

Missing the clarity mark may happen even if you have clearness of thought; if that clearness of thought or intent doesn’t translate onto paper, you’ve missed the mark.

As the author, we know what we’re thinking, what motives are involved, what we assume the reader should be seeing, or understanding—this knowledge may cloud our perception of what we are actually conveying. This clarity cloud can at times create a gap between what we think we’re saying and what we actually say. This happens because we are too close to our own writing.

Think of a color. Now, think of a very specific hue or shade within that color. Now, try to write what you see or explain it.

This is what can happen with our story. We can see what’s unfolding clear as day, the scene, the characters . . . the intent. But, our vision may not translate with clarity onto paper. We may think it has because of our preconception, but that doesn’t mean it actually has.

An example of this is a children’s picture book I reviewed. The content and illustrations were well done, but there was one problem. The story ultimately was about the main character having to go through a metamorphosis in order to be accepted by others. This is what a reader, a child, might take away from the story. While the story had a number of good points, this one flaw was problematic. The authors knew what they intended, but that intent didn’t show through. And, because they were so sure of their intent, they couldn’t see that the take away value of the story could be anything but what they intended.

Fortunately, there is help in this area: a critique group. Every writer who is writing a manuscript should belong to a critique group. Having three, six, or ten other writers, who write in the same genre, will help you find many of the pitfalls in your story. They are the unknowing audience. They have no perceived conception of your story, so they will be able to see where it goes astray and where it lacks clarity.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing Rhyme in Children’s Stories
The Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?
Getting to Know Your Characters

Need Help With Your Story

Let 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

This article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2010/11/writing-with-clarity.html

Dec 27

The Outlining Method of Writing (Are You an Outliner?)

Writing and the Outline MethodAre you an outliner or a pantser? I don’t know if there has been a study of how many writers prefer each, but I know there are many in both camps. You know the saying, “different strokes for different folks.”

But, before I go on, the definition of an outliner is a writer who creates a written (or typed) outline of the plot of their story. A pantser is a writer who creates the story as she goes along – no outline. The story unfolds as she is writing it.

If I had to take a guess though, I’d say the majority of writers/authors are outliners (plotters).

The reason?

Creating an outline of a story before delving into it provides a foundation. It’s something to build upon. It’s like a map. You mark out your driving route. You know you’re going from Point A to Point B. You see the highways, roads, and so on between those two points. And, they’re all written out in your outline.

It’s interesting to know that there are different kinds of outliners. Some create full detailed accounts of getting from Point A to Point B. Some simply have a rough outline of what the story will be about – possibly that John is at A and has to get to B.

Jeff Ayers (a top crime writer), in his article “Doing What He Loves,” in the May 2009 issue of the Writer, says:

Outlining allows me time to think. Does this ever happen to you–you’re in line at the market, some pushy person cuts in front of you, you mumble something ineffectual or stupid, then when you’re 10 blocks away the light bulb goes off, and you think “That’s what I shouda said!” Well, outlining gives me the 10 blocks to think of something better.

I think this is an excellent explanation of why writers use the outline method of writing.

In the article, Ayers explains that he spends lots of time outlining. In addition to coming up with ideas, it allows him to get better acquainted with his characters. This more intimate knowledge allows him to bring them to life.

As I mentioned earlier, outlining is like using a map. But, depending on how detailed you make your outline, it can be more like a GPS. It can lead you street by street from your starting point to your ending point.

Even if you run into a detour that was unexpected, as in writing can happen, you have a guided system in place to get you back on track. And, if it’s very, very detailed, you even know where the rest stops are, where to eat, where the scenic sites are, and so on. It doesn’t leave much to chance.

Knowing every step, every detour, all the characters . . . there is a comfort in this method.

I’m much more of a pantser, but I have used outlines now and then. And, it certainly does offer a sense of security. But, with that said, I love to watch my story unravel before me. I love to watch characters develop and move forward – they kind of write the story themselves. This comes with the pantser method.

It seems though that no matter which style you use, it’s not a guarantee of success or failure.

Gail Carson Levine has some good advice in regard to this, “Quality comes from word choice, plot, characters – all the elements [of a good story].”

Which writing method do you use?

Reference:
Outlining vs. Pantsing

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components
Finding Age Appropriate Words When Writing For Children
Editing a Children’s Book – 10 Tips Checklist for Authors

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