Monday, November 29, 2010

8 Steps to Take Before Submitting Your Manuscript

Writing is a personal experience. Each writer faces his or her own obstacles and processes. But, one common aspect of writing is it always starts with an idea. You may take that idea and turn it into an outline. You then take your outline and sprinkle it with letters and words and watch it grow. Words turn into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into chapters. The journey can take months and even years. But, the love of writing, the love of your story, and the hope of publication keep you dedicated.

Then, the day finally arrives. Your manuscript is complete. The envelopes are ready. All you have to do is submit, submit, and submit again. But, hold on a minute. Have you gone over all the necessary steps to ensure your manuscript is actually ready to be submitted to a publisher or agent?

The writing journey can take months and even years. But, the love of writing, the love of your story, and the hope of publication keep you dedicated.

Time passes, and finally your manuscript is complete. The envelopes are ready. All you have to do is submit, submit, and submit again. But, hold on a minute. Have you gone over all the necessary steps to ensure your manuscript is actually ready to be submitted to a publisher or agent?

There are eight steps that every writer, especially those new to the business of writing, should follow before submitting a manuscript:

1.    Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Then self-edit your story until it’s the best you can do.

2.    Make sure you belong to a critique group in your genre. Submit your ms for critique.

3.    Revise your story again taking into account the critiques you received. Here you want to use common sense in regard to which critiques you listen to. If all your critique group members tell you a particular section of your children’s story is age inappropriate, listen. If one member tells you he/she doesn’t like the protagonist’s name, use your own discretion.

4.    Resubmit the manuscript to the critique group again. See if you’ve revised or removed all the problem areas.

5.    Proofread and self-edit the manuscript until you think it’s perfect.

6.    Print the manuscript and check it again. You’ll be surprised at the different types of errors that will be found in this format. You should use a colored pen or pencil for these corrections so they’ll be easy to spot later on.

7.    Now, it’s time for the final corrections. Give it another go over.

8.    Have your manuscript professionally edited.

If you’re questioning why you need to have your manuscript professionally edited after going to the trouble of having it critiqued and worked on it meticulously and endlessly, the answer is simple: An author and a critique group are not a match for the expert eyes of a professional editor.

Did you and your critique group catch all the punctuation errors? How about knowing when or if it is permissible to use quotation marks outside of dialogue? Do you know about the Find function on your word program to check for over used words, such as was and very. What about ellipsis dots, or the over use of adjectives and adverbs? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Isn’t it understandable why it’s important to take that extra step, and yes, expense, to have your manuscript edited. If you’re undecided, ask the professional writers you know if they recommend it. You can also ask if they could recommend a qualified and affordable editor.

The powers that be, editors, agents, reviewers, and publishers, all know the difference between a professionally edited manuscript and one that is not. Every house needs a solid foundation, right? Getting your manuscript professional edited is the same thing - it will provide a solid foundation. The number of authors seeking publishers and/or agents is staggering. Yet, the number of publishers and agents is limited. Give your manuscript every advantage possible. One of those advantages is having it professionally edited. It can be the deciding factor in whether your manuscript makes it to the editor’s ‘to read’ pile or the trash pile.


This is a reprint from November 2009

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Related Articles:

Creating and Beefing Up Conflict

The Elevator and One Sentence Pitch

Writing, Submissions, and Working with Editors

Writing Tip: Great Backup Tool

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)

In fact, check out the sidebar for two free e-book gifts just for stopping by!


AND, if you subscribe by December 7th, you'll get a 5th e-book: Writing for Children One Step at a Time

Writing for Children One Step at a Time is a 100+ page e-book. It is a compilation of articles for children’s writers, along with writing exercises, marketing advice, and tons of writing and marketing resources to help you on your journey to publication. It’s kind of a GPS for beginner writers and beyond.

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Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for
4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Thursday, November 25, 2010

FREE Gifts as a THANK YOU

First off, I hope everyone has a happy, peaceful, and healthy Thanksgiving!

Now on to my personal thanks to you.

Another year just about on its way out - time is really going too fast. Oh, well. There's nothing we can do about that, but I do want to thank all my subscribers and followers for taking the time to subscribe and stick with me.

Going back to the time issue, I know how little there is to go around and we're all bombarded with info emails, newsletters, and marketers making our precious work time dwindle even faster.

So, as my way to say THANKS, in the December issue of A Writer's World (my newsletter) I'll be giving a 114 page e-book, Writing for Children One Step at a Time, as a thank you gift. While it's geared toward writing for children, it has tips for writing in general, as well as marketing tips.

Here is a bit of the contents from Writing for Children One Step at a Time:

Before You Submit Your Manuscript

Ten Tips Checklist for Self-editing: Tips 1-4 (Page 59)
Ten Tips Checklist for Self-editing: Tips 5-10 (Page 61)
Final Stages of Self-editing (Page 63)
A Guide to Hiring a Freelance Editor (Page 66)
Be Specific and Professional When Submitting Queries (Page 68)

A Bit About Self-Publishing

Before You Self-Publish Part 1 (Page 71)
Before You Self-Publish Part 2 (Page 72)

A Touch of Marketing

Creating Websites or Blogs: Plan First (Page 75)
Create Visibility Before Getting Published (Page 77)
4 Free Surefire Ways to Promote You and Your Book (Page 79)
6 Strategies to Promote You and Your Book for Free (Page 81)
Promotion (Page 82)

It also include Media Release examples, Exercises, and 10 pages of Resources, plus the the first 58 pages on writing.

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And, I also just completed two smaller e-books:

Book Promotion - the Bare Basics

SEO Marketing Tips that Can Help Increase Holiday Season Sales

I'm giving these two e-books to you as another GIFT of THANKS, just for stopping by. Look over at the upper sidebar, Free Gifts, and click on the links.

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So, if you haven't joined up yet, please take a moment and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter.

You'll not only get the two e-books: The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition and The Blogger’s Checklist for free, in the December issue you'll get Writing for Children One Step at a Time.

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Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for
4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Effective Titles for Articles and Blog Posts



Today, I have an informative post from book marketing guru Dana Lynn Smith. Since we all know the importance of having an active blog, as well as the benefits of article marketing to bring traffic back to our site, we also need to know the importance of having an effective title. This article explains exactly what's needed to create  effective titles.



How to Promote Your Book by Writing Effective Titles for Your Articles and Blog Posts
By Dana Lynn Smith

Writing articles and blog posts is a terrific way to promote your book. The title of an article affects its ranking in search engines and influences how many people click through to the article from a search engine results page or take time to read a post on your blog. Here are some tips for creating great titles.

1. Do your keyword research first.  Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for your topic on a search engine like Google. I use the Google Keyword Tool to create keyword lists for topics that I write about. For example, I have lists of keywords related to book marketing, book promotion, authors, book publishing, etc.

It's tempting to select the most popular keywords, but you may be better off selecting keywords with less competition (fewer searches and fewer competing pages.)  One easy way to find out how many other Web pages are using a particular keyword is to type the keyword (in "quotes") into a search engine and see how many pages it brings up.  For example, "book promotion" gets 118,800 annual searches, but there are 876,000 competing pages (seven pages for every search) while "promoting your book" gets 15,600 searches but has only 31,500 competing pages (two pages for every search.)

2. Determine the primary keyword phrase for your article and use it in the title of the article, and then use it again several times in the body of the article. You may want to select a secondary keyword to use in the article as well. For maximum search engine optimization value, use the primary keyword at the beginning of the title. The first three to five words are most important. Here is an example for the "promote your book" keyword: Promote Your Book With Facebook Groups

3. Consider using a compound title, containing two different phrases. This lets you get your most important keyword up front and perhaps repeat certain words. The experts at ezinearticles.com recommend longer article titles, with 50 characters or more. If you need to use punctuation in the title, use a hyphen rather than a colon. For example: Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard - 10 Strategies for Success

4.  Many people use the words "how to" when searching on search engines. Capitalize on those searches with a how to title.
How to Promote Your Book and Yourself on Facebook

5. Use the magic of numbers combined with keywords.
Top 10 Book Promotion Strategies for Fiction Authors
7 Secrets to Successful Book Marketing

6. State the benefit to the reader.
Sell More Books on Amazon by Increasing Your Book's Visibility in the Search Results

7. Identify your audience.
Top 10 Platform Building Tactics for Authors

8. Be clear rather than cute. It's important that your title convey what the article is actually about, and sometimes it's more important to appeal to your audience than to search engines. For example, instead of "The Magic of Twitter" or "Promote Your Book with Twitter," this title is more appealing:
5 Easy Ways for Authors to Build Their Twitter Network

Or, you could make this into a longer, compound title with keywords:
Promote Your Book With Twitter - 5 Easy Ways to Build Your Twitter Network
Next time you write an article or blog post, take a little extra time to craft a title that will appeal to search engines and to readers.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at www.BookMarketingNewsletter.com.
 

For additional book marketing articles available for reprint, see this list of book marketing articles by Dana Lynn Smith.

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RECOMMENDED TOOL



Article Marketing - Increase Website Traffic with Properly Formatted and Search Engine Optimized Content

Learn how to craft properly formatted articles that are search engine optimized. This is a must for all article marketers - this includes bloggers.

CLICK HERE for full details.



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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Headlines That Increase Website Traffic and Website Conversion Rates
Article Marketing – Reprint Strategies Pros and Cons
Ebooks are a Must

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To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author Online Presence Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer/Home Business Online Presence
http://www.karencioffi.com/author-online-presence-ecourse/

Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services
http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com/karen-cioffi-writing-services/

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Promotion: The Foundation

Every author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves, and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if he wants to sell his books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.



The Foundation

Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking. As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

Check out this article for more information about joining a critique group:

Critiques are Essential

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book. Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first. There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish, or use a Print-on-Demand (POD). The cover is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself. I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp or time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.

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RECOMMENDED TOOL



EDITING BOOKS LIKE A PRO - Self-editing Tips for Books and Articles

Lots and lots of tips and tricks to help you edit your manuscript before submitting.

CLICK HERE to check it out!





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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point
Don’t be Taken to the Website Design Cleaners
Do You Have an Online Marketing Focus?

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P.S. Want more of this must-know writing and marketing information sent right to your inbox, along with updates on instructional webinars? Join The Writing World. (It's all Free!)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Sneak Peak at STOLEN by Vivian Zabel


Wow, what can I say. I read Stolen and found it . . . Well, I actually wrote a review to express how I feel about the book, and here it is.

Title: Stolen
Author: Vivian Gilbert Zabel
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (http://4rvpublishingllc.com)
ISBN: 978-0-9825886-4-2
Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi



To have young children snatched from their home is inconceivable, inconsolable, and heart wrenching. It can destroy a parent, and the family. Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon.

Stolen, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel, is a story of the inconceivable. Based on a true story, Zabel conveys much of the agony and utter despair that is evoked from having a father steal his children from their mother.

The protagonist, Torri, leaves her abusive husband and finds refuge and comfort with her family. She even develops a loving relationship with an old friend. Life is good again; Torri and her two young children are happy.

Then it happens, the abusive ex-husband rears his ugly head, and for whatever reason people who commit such an atrocious act do so, he kidnaps the children.

The father and children have completely vanished. The FBI is on the job, but there are no leads to follow. The trail is getting colder by the minute. And, the aunt who took the children for an excursion to the zoo, and the only witness, had been drugged and lay near death.

In an interview with Vivian Gilbert Zabel, she was asked a poignant question in regard to her book: Being the subject matter is so personal and heart wrenching, were you able to say all you wanted to? Or, were some of the emotions just too difficult to convey?

The author candidly answered: “I couldn’t put everything into the book. Plus, there is no way to express the anguish we all felt.  I did feel as if part of my heart had been ripped out. How do I describe that so that another person could really ‘feel’ the pain? Also, some details couldn’t be used, even if the story were greatly fictionalized.”

Obviously, while there is no way to fully convey the emotions involved in this type of situation, Zabel comes as close as possible. She weaves a riveting and engrossing, and well structured story of tragedy, fear, despair, longing, hope, and life. She uses wonderful descriptive details that will bring tears to your eyes – be sure to have a box of tissues next to you when you read Stolen. It is a story that will have you anxiously turning each page – it is a must read.


*****
The novel will be available soon (December) through any bookstore, the 4RV Publishing website book store, plus other online book providers such as Amazon. Pre-sales are open on the publishing website now:
http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Novels.html

And, please be sure to stop back by on December 6th; I'll be featuring Vivian and her new book, Stolen.

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Other Reviews You May Find of Interest

Family and More, Enemies or Friends?

When Teachers Talk

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If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for 4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing with Clarity

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines clarity as lucidity, clearness of thought.

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.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Related Articles:

Writing with Focus


Aim for Writing Success

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for
4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do You Need a Writer's Vision Board?

Today, I have a great guest article from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach.

Use a Vision Board As a Writer's Tool
By Suzanne Lieurance

Typically, a vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board used to display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. But a vision board can also be used a little bit differently as a writer's tool.

I often build a vision board with images of the characters, settings, and other elements I wish to create in a new book or story. I'm a very visual person, and seeing my characters and settings in pictures helps me write about them in greater detail so I'm able to more fully bring them to life for my readers.
Before I start writing a new novel, I make a chapter by chapter outline of the plot. As I'm creating this outline,

I learn who my characters will be and where the action will take place (the setting). As I'm working on the outline, I also leaf through magazines for pictures of people and places that look like the characters and settings I've envisioned in my mind for the story. I also search for pictures of other objects that might belong to my main characters - a car, for example, or a beautiful house on the beach, or a run down apartment. I cut out these magazine pictures and put them in a project folder. Once I finish my outline, I tack up these photos on the bulletin board that hangs on the wall over the computer where I write each day. Sometimes I put the pictures up on the board in a particular order. For example, once I cut out pictures to represent each of the buildings on Main Street in the fictional town I created for a story. This way, as I was writing, I didn't have to remember if the bakery was next to the dry cleaner's. I just looked up at the vision board to see where everything was located.

 As I write my story, I glance up at this vision board occasionally to remind myself of all that I know about my characters and the setting. When I'm writing about my main character, a look at my vision board reminds me that he drives a Mini Cooper, for example, and not just any old car.

A vision board also helps me get a "feel" for the setting I am writing about. When I write a scene that takes place on the beach, and I look up at a picture of the beach on my vision board, it's much easier to include a variety of sensory details to describe the beach in my story.

Creating a vision board for a novel can be both fun and productive. The trick is not to get so caught up looking for interesting pictures in magazines that you never get the novel written!

For more writing tips and other resources to help you build your freelance business, subscribe to the free twice weekly newsletter, Build Your Business Write at http://www.fearlessfreelancewriting.com
Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 22 (at last count) published books, and the Working Writer's Coach.

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Related Articles:

Writing Tip: Great Backup Tool

Aim for Writing Success

Determination, Focus, and Perseverance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3 e-Books for the Price of ONE
Writing for Children One Step at a Time
The other books included are:
Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It
The Self-Publisher's Guide

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for
4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing with Focus

You have a wonderful idea for a story. Maybe it’s a mystery novel, a children’s middle grade story, or a picture book. You know what you want to say, or convey, and you start typing away. This is the beginning of every story.

But, we should backtrack a moment and go back to the idea. The idea: your protagonist has a problem or conflict, and you can see how each chapter or section will be worked out. You are sure you can bring your idea to full fruition—without the use of an outline. Okay, that’s fine; many writers use the by-the-seat-of-your-pants writing method. So, off your mind and fingers fly . . . creating something from nothing . . . well, not exactly from nothing, from an idea.

This is the beginning. You type a draft of your story. How long this process will take depends on how long your manuscript will be—whether a novel, short story, or children’s story. Take note, though . . . even if your story is as short as a children’s picture book, you still need focus in your writing.

Writing Focus

Focus is the path from point A to point B. It’s the path from beginning to end that keeps the story together and wraps it neatly up. An example might be an ice skater whose goal is to become good enough to get into the Olympics. His focus will be to train vigorously to accomplish his goal. Another example might be that of a school bus on its route to pick up children and bring them to school. The shop is where the bus begins, point A; it will end up at the school, point B. But, between point A and point B, the bus must deviate from the direct path to pick up each child.

The same holds true for your story. There is a path the story needs to follow to accomplish its goal. If you deviate too much from this path your story becomes diluted or weak. This is not to say you cannot have subplots, it means everything needs to be tied together moving forward on the same path toward the same end.

Using an outline can often help with maintaining focus, even with a short story. It’s kind of a writing GPS that guides you from point A to point B. It allows you to stray here and there with the comfort of knowing that you need to be at certain points throughout the manuscript. It’s a reminder to keep you focused.

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Related Articles:

Aim for Writing Success

Finding Children's Story Ideas

The Elevator and One Sentence Pitch

What Makes a Good Fiction Story: Plot Driven, or Character Driven?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for 4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bullying - Government Takes Steps to Intercede

I received an email from Sylvan Dell Publishing today. It discussed the Government's the new guidelines for educators, initiated October 26th, in regard to bullying:

If school administrators fail to properly deal with repeated discriminatory harassment based on gender, race, disability, or ethnicity, they risk being cited for contributing to a pattern of civil rights violations that could, in extreme cases, lead to a cut in federal funding.

While this is very good news, I'm wondering why if the incident of bullying isn't related to one of the above scenarios it doesn't warrant attention and repercussion for the bully. Any form of bullying is atrocious and should be handled quickly and effectively.

But, in any event, in connection with the new guidelines and to bring attention to bullying, Sylvan Dell is featuring and allowing everyone access for all of November, to How the Moon Regained her Shape, a children’s picture book by author Janet Ruth Heller.

Heller was a victim of bullying throughout her childhood. When she began writing for children, Heller wanted to help other kids cope with bullies. Drawing on her own experiences, she wrote How the Moon Regained her Shape. 

Teachers can use How the Moon Regained Her Shape to help their children understand bullying and learn ways to cope with bullies.

Just visit Sylvan Dell's HOMEPAGE: http://sylvandellpublishing.com/index.php

To read the entire article about the Government's new guidelines visit:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/26/schools.bullying.discrimination/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3 e-Books for the Price of ONE

Writing for Children One Step at a Time
The other books included are:
Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It
The Self-Publisher's Guide

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:

The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist
(The books offered may change periodically)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://DKVWriting4U.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for 4RV Publishing

http://KarenCioffi.com
http://DKVWriting4U.com
http://Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple as ABC: Writing for Children - Six Basic Tips Part 2

Part 1 of Simple as ABC: Writing for Children - Six Basic Tips  covered tips one and two. Today, is Part 2, covering Tips three through six. So, off we go:

Simple as ABC: Writing for Children - Six Basic Tips Part 2
By Karen Cioffi

3. Show the way for success

While description and a bit of telling have their place, today’s publishers want you to show your story. The technique for ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ is to use your character’s five senses, along with dialogue.

The day’s of, “See Dick and Jane walk down the lane,” are far gone.
Showing allows the reader to connect with the protagonist. The reader is able to feel the protagonist’s pain, joy, fear, or excitement. This prompts the reader to continue reading.
If you’re stuck, and can’t seem to be able to ‘show’ a particular scene, try acting it out. You can also draw on your own experiences, TV, or the movies. Study scenes that convey the ‘showing’ you need to depict.

4. Create synergy

Joining the story together in a seamless fashion is probably the trickiest part of writing. The characters, conflict, plot, theme, and details all need to blend together to creat something grander than their individual parts; like the ingredients of a cake. This is called synergy.

It doesn’t matter if your story is plot driven or character driven, all the elements need to weave together smoothly to create the desired affect you are going for: humor, mystery, action, fantasy, or other.

If you have an action packed plot driven story, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, you’re story will be lacking. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement, it will usually also fall short.

All this must be done in an engaging manner, along with easy to understand content.

5. Keep it lean.

According to multi-published children’s writer Margot Finke, today’s children’s publishing world is looking for tight writing. Choose your words for their ability to convey strong and distinct actions, create imagery, and move the story forward.

The publishing costs for picture books over 32 pages is beyond what most publishers are willing to spend, so word counts should be well under 1000, and be sure to make each word count. Keep in mind that the illustrations will add another layer to the story and fill in the blanks.

When writing for young children, the younger the children, the leaner the writing. This means if you’re writing for toddlers or preschoolers, you should limit your word count to a range of 100 to 250 words.

6. Be part of a critique group

This is a must for all writers, but especially for children’s writers. There are so many additional tricks of the trade that you need to be aware of when writing for children, you’ll need the extra sets of eyes.

Your critique partners will no doubt be able to see what you missed. This is because you are too close to your own work. They will also be helpful in providing suggestions and guidance. Just be sure your critique group has experienced, as well as new writers.

If you missed Part 1 here's the link:
http://karenandrobyn.blogspot.com/2010/10/simple-as-abc-writing-for-children-six.html


~~~~~

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

How to Write a Children’s Book in 14 Days . . . or Less!

Get in the game! Write your own children’s book. Mel McIntyre can show you how. Even writing coaches recommend this book to get a children’s book done.

Mell will show you how to write books for ANY audience, with a particular emphasis on that “golden age of reading” – 8 to 12 year olds, in a 180-page secret system.

Expert speed writer Nick Daws also praises this book, “This guide unveils EVERYTHING you need to know to write your own children's book - in just two weeks.”

Become an author or add another book to your creations. Get your own copy of How to Write a Children’s Book in 14 Days TODAY! Just CLICK HERE.

~~~~~
MORE ON WRITING

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing
Writing Fiction: Character Believability and Conflict
Writing a Middle Grade Novel (Part One)

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P.S. Want must-know writing and marketing tips? Then get free access to The Writing World. It includes instructional webinars: CLICK HERE.

Karen Cioffi Children's Freelance Writer
Don't want to write a book yourself? Let me write it for you!

~~~~~



Monday, November 1, 2010

An Unexpected Benefit from Self-Publishing with Nancy Famolari

I’m so pleased to begin a new author’s tour this month with Nancy Famolari. Nancy is a talented writer and is offering a great article on some of the benefits of self-publishing. But, before we start, let’s learn just a bit about Nancy.

Nancy Famolari lives with her husband, five horses, two dogs and five white cats on a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Her stories and poems have appeared in Long Story Short, Flash Shot, Fiction Flyer, Lyrica, Alienskin Magazine Clockwise Cat, and Matters of the Heart from the Museitup Press. She received an award from Fiction Flyer for one of her flash fiction stories.

Doesn’t Nancy’s home sound like a bit of heaven. Living in New York City, it sure does!

Okay, on to the good stuff:

An Unexpected Benefit from Self Publishing
By Nancy Famolari

Self-publishing has many benefits:

• Control of the text of your book.
• Control of the cover design.
• Ability to make the book available in both digital and traditional formats at the same time.

For me, these were important reasons for using this flexible publication medium. However, with the first book I published, I found a benefit I wasn't sure I wanted. Having complete control of the text, I had to take full responsibility for the final product.

I had avoided thinking too much about the mechanics of getting a book ready for publication. I thought my editor would smooth out the text and make it salable. Editors do a great deal, and I had a superb editor, but when I was forced back on my own resources, I found I could do things I should have done before the book ever went to an editor. These included:

• Assuring the grammar and punctuation were correct. I thought I knew enough grammar to get by, and whatever I didn't know would be supplied by the editor, or surely the copy editor. Controlling the grammar and punctuation myself made me conscious of what each sentence conveyed. It led to a lot of rewriting. Punctuation is a valuable tool that can be used to enhance the images you are trying to convey.
• Making sure each speaker's the body language is correct. I favor description of the speaker's actions to elucidate the text. After several a careful reads, I realized there were many instances where I could use description to increase tension and reveal character.
• Checking the facts to assure each link in the chain of evidence works. When working for myself, trying to assure that each scene made a contribution to the story, I found myself making time lines and synopses. It was a lot of work, but when you're writing a mystery, it's necessary.

Perhaps I was naive when I started writing novels. I felt like an amateur, and I prepared my manuscripts that way hoping professional editors would correct the problems. When I became my own publisher, I became critical of my work and took responsibility for the finished product.

I don't mean to suggest editors are unnecessary, or that everyone should take up self-publishing. What I do suggest is that we should each view our work as though we were the publisher. I'm sure our editors will thank us, and we'll have a better chance of finding a publisher willing to spend time and money on our books.

*****
Nancy, thanks for these great insights into self-publishing. It’s a publishing route a number of authors are looking into today.

Now, let’s take a look at some of Nancy’s books:


When fifteen-year-old Meg discovers that a beautiful Swedish student with designs on her boyfriend has come to spend a year on her beloved horse farm, she decides to act. None of her plans to force Katrina to leave work. During foaling season, disaster strikes. Will the girls cooperate to save the mare and foal?

Available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1448697123



~~~~~~~~~~~~

The lake house has been empty for ten years – the scene of a brutal murder. Undeterred by the story, Mark and Tory buy their dream house, but when they move in strange things happen. While exploring the house n the first afternoon, they find a hunting knife wedged in a closet under the stairs. Could this be the murder weapon?

Tory, a romance novelist, becomes fascinated by the unsolved murder. The owner's beautiful, young wife was found stabbed to death. The police say it was a burglary gone wrong, but she doesn't believe it. Alone at the house during the week, while Mark works in New York, Tory feels the presence of the murdered woman. When she asks questions, the townspeople become antagonistic Only Andy, the newspaper editor, tries to be helpful. After someone shoots at her, Mark tells her to stop the investigation. But she has to know: is she crazy, sensing the presence of a ghost, or is the town covering up a brutal murder? As her investigation continues, more accidents happen. Is someone trying to frighten her away, or is she the killer's next target?

Available from: http://www.amazon.com/Lake-House-Nancy-Famolari/dp/1452817944/

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Fearful that her husband, Peter, is having an affair, Sara haunts the woman's street. When a white car like Peter's roars down the driveway narrowly missing her, she's had enough. Determined to face her rival, she enters the house and finds the woman sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood. Suddenly, she's the primary suspect, but what if Peter committed the murder? Chess Devon, Deputy Police Chief, thinks Sara's innocent, but Chess has romantic problems of her own. The man she dumped in San Francisco is now Chief of Detectives in Scranton, and he wants her help. More than murder is going on in Montbleu, and he's committed to finding out what it is.

Available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Montbleu-Nancy-Famolari/dp/1453764240/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288307338&sr=1-1

*****
To learn more about Nancy you can check out her site links:

Website: http://sites.google.com/site/nancyfamolari/

My Space: http://www.myspace.com/nancyfamolari/

Facebook: http://www.new.facebook.com/friends/

Blog: http://nancygfamolari.blogspot.com/

Blog: http://nancyfamolari.wordpress.com/

*****
Nancy, it’s been a real pleasure featuring you today. I wish you great success with all you books.

To all my visitors, please be sure to stop by Write On Online tomorrow, November 2nd, for a great post featuring Janet Ann Collins.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter, A Writers World, and get TWO FREE eBooks:


The Self-Publisher’s Guide, 2nd Edition
The Blogger’s Checklist

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you want to get that idea turned into a book? Do you want to write your memoirs? Do you need editing, proofreading, or a professional critique? Do you need an e-book to offer as a Freebie on your site? Do you need blog or article visibility for your business? We’re experienced, professional, and we cover a number of writing services. So, please stop by and check us out. Go to: http://dkvwriting4u.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter-for-hire, Freelance writer, Reviewer,
Acquisitions Editor Intern for 4RV Publishing

http://karencioffi.com
http://dkvwriting4u.com

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KarenCV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcioffiventrice