Advice Writers Can Bank On

Beth Fowler headshot Beginning writers know that they’ll get bylines without bucks from time to time, free copies of magazines in which their works appear, and a few dollars here and there. No pay and low pay are typical during the apprenticeship phase of writing.

Following the advice of paid writers representing nearly 200 years’ experience can advance your career and compensation to the next phase.

Q: What separates paid, published writers from wanna-bes?

A: Discipline, persistence, hard work and the ability to “get back up on the horse” were common responses from the interviewed writers. Francesca Kelly, Tales from a Small Planet editor (www.talesmag.com), says, “You don’t have to have brilliant talent to be published, but you DO have to have incredible persistence.”

Lucy Clark, prolific medical romance writer for Harlequin Mills & Boon (http://www.eharlequin.com.au), is the personification of persistence. “I received the contract for my first book the same day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. Life happens! It’s hectic. It’s busy, but if we don’t make time for the things that are important to us, we might have regrets later on. I now have two adorable children who commandeer most of my time. I don’t have time for writers’ block. I don’t have time to waste. My stories have to be planned, the research done, so when I sit down, I can build up word count. There’s no such thing as writer’s block – just lack of planning.”

Q.What rumor about the business of writing turned out to be false?

A. Arlene Uslander, editor of The Simple Touch of Fate (www.uslander.net) which has one of my stories in it, discovered three falsehoods on the road to publication. “Once you have a book published, it’s easier to have the next book published and that when you send out a manuscript, no news is good news. And that having an agent accept your work means you’re going to get published.” Not true. Not true. Not true.

Karen Rose Smith (www.karenrosesmith.com) is a fulltime author with about 40 books to her credit. She sold her first book in 1991. “I thought after I sold the first few books, life would become easier! That’s not necessarily true.  After ten books, I remember being stalled and not selling for about ten months.”

Francesca believed that editors were unapproachable. “They’re usually really nice people who are just overworked.” She should know. She’s an approachable and no doubt overworked editor.

Q. What advice do you wish you’d received (or heeded) sooner?

A. Karen Rose Smith learned to “Write to the market. Study the line you want to write for.”

Studying the magazine she wanted to write for had a lot to do with an editor accepting one of Francesca’s articles. Being published in Redbook was a “sudden breakthrough” for her.

“It’s not enough that you have something to say,” is freelance editor and author Karen Schmitt’s advice. “You have to make yourself understood – connect.”

“Rejection isn’t personal,” counsels Megan Hart, an author whose been paid to write for decades. “They’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting the work.”

“ ‘To be a successful writer, you must write every day,’ ” recalls editor, Dan Case. “I heard this a lot, but really didn’t believe it. When I read Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and he said ‘write everyday,’ I believed it. (Hey, if the King of all writers says it, it must be true.)”

Q. What would you tell a beginner about writing for pay?

A. Writers’ answers ranged from “Don’t write for pay. Write because you love it,” to “Don’t write for FREE!”

Lynn Wasnak, a freelance writer for 25 years, explains that fulltime freelancers urge beginners not to write for free or too cheaply because it allows editors to lower the going rate. Go to https://www.writersmarket.com/assets/pdf/How_Much_Should_I_Charge.pdf.

As for me, I do the writing because I love it. I donate some works to organizations where I volunteer. Otherwise, I sell my work for dollars.

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Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

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Writing Your Writing Goals Makes a Difference

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

(This blog is based on a writers’ workshop conducted by Beth Fowler)

Do you normally set goals or let things just happen (or just not happen)?

What kinds of things (if any) have you set goals for in the past?

What are some of your beliefs about setting goals?

Which beliefs need to be re-tooled? For example, I was taught, “If you start something you should finish it.” I no longer believe that.

A goal is worthless if ________________(fill in the blank until you run out of ideas).

According to one study, people who write their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals.

Ruth, shown in the photo, set goals and has taken steps to reach them. See for yourself at https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany

Cite some examples of how God (or the universe or whatever entity you think runs the big show) has supported your writing goals so far.

Now, write your writing goal and steps you’ll take to reach it.

Be specific when setting your writing goal. Include dates, amounts, numbers, names. Someone else would be able to measure if you achieved your goal because of the objective, concrete way you state it here.

 Example: Send out a query a week for 8 weeks to print magazines that pay freelance writers.

 Example: Submit my story about adopting a baby from China to YorkFest Literary Competition, Spring 2015

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What steps will you take to reach your goal?

Example: 1. Write rough draft query “template.” 2. Read submission guidelines for magazines. 3. Read articles in targeted magazines. 4. Tailor query to magazine’s guidelines and audience.5. Send queries. 6. Log queries sent and responses received.

 

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Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved, coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

Tips for Writers Working at Home, But Not Alone: Part 2

Interruptions!

Interruptions!

 

 

 

Blog readers sent heartfelt comments about Tips for Writers Working at Home, But Not Alone: Part 1….it seems carving out writing time is a challenge, especially during the summer and for  writers who have kids, spouses, houses and a life.

  1. Write to write. Beginning writers spend more money than they earn from writing. This economic fact can be a source of guilt. Comments like, “You spent how much for ‘Writer’s Marketplace’?” weigh heavily. Invite your family to discuss their feelings. Does your writing really strain the budget, or is something else bugging your family? Meanwhile, keep writing.
  2. Write about it. Writers experience heavy demands on their time and emotions from family members. In an ideal world you might be spared this, but if you were, would you have as much to write about? Every experience is an idea for writing.
  3. Be honest. Some writers use outside circumstances as excuses to not write. This is dishonest. Putting the burden on others with comments like, “You trim the hedge so I can write,” is unfair. Hedges need trimmed, regardless. Say, “It’s your turn to trim the hedge,” and then go write. (You did trim the hedge last time, didn’t you?)
  4. Streamline and economize. Writing takes time and money, so I’ve streamlined and economized. I moved to a smaller house near two libraries and sometimes serve stir-fried rice instead of complicated meals. I swap magazines with writers’ circle members and buy used books.
  5. Search for nuggets. Angela Raeburn, a beginning freelancer, has two sons, a part-time job and a home to run. “I search for nuggets of time for my writing in between the school run, play group duty, taking the dog to the vet and delivering hubby’s suits to the cleaners,” Angela said. She added that she doesn’t feel guilty when ironing piles up because “I get paid for writing, I don’t get paid for housework.”
  6. Manage time. Susan Wilson, another freelancer, shared her time management technique. “Time mismanagement can be turned into positive control by actively noting daily what you do, when you do it and how long it takes over a period, say two weeks. Draw up a chart showing the chunks of time and concentrate the activity into that time.” Susan is partially paralyzed, but her determination takes her from England to Asia gathering ideas and material for writing.
  7. Divide and write. Horror writer Mark Morris shares domestic chores with his wife Nel, an artist who also works from home. “I work in the mornings and look after our one-year-old son in the afternoons, and Nel does it the other way around.” While one parent bathes and beds their son, the other cooks supper. Evenings and weekends are free for relaxing and socializing.

Making adjustments and finding solutions to meet each other’s needs—that’s what living and working together is all about.

“They lived happily ever after” is not a trite story ending. It’s the beginning of your story.

 

ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

TURNING BACK TIME by Tara Fox Hall

The struggle for enough time in any standard day of a successful, proven author is a given. Yet it pales in comparison to the frenzy of a new, yet-to-be proven author. There is advertizing, promotion, reviews, deadlines, book covers, links, blog posts, and a million other details that need to be at your fingertips with a few clicks. You’d need a Time Turner from the Harry Potter Books to get it all done. But Time Turners that really work seem to be in short supply. So how does a struggling author handle the stress?

Answer: get very, very organized.

First off, you’ll need to make friends with spreadsheets, either Excel or another type. Spreadsheets are not just for accountants; they are very a useful, necessary tool you will need to keep track of a minimum of things, such as the publishers and agents where you have submitted your book. If you’re past that stage, and have been published, you’ll still need spreadsheets to successfully promote your work, which is expected of all authors, both famous and not-so-famous. Even if you’ve published only one book, and you’re not sure if there will be a next one, this is important to do. If you plan on being a writer, there will be other books in your future at some point. Copying an existing spreadsheet of places to submit, complete with emails and feedback from your last round of submissions, is much easier than sorting through a ton of emails in your sent box to compile a fresh list of possible places to submit. If you have more than one book a year coming out, you’ll need to have multiple tabs on the spreadsheet, one for each book.

If you are asking for book reviews, you’ll have to keep track of who you asked, what they said, when this happened, and whether or not the book actually got reviewed. Trust me, this is very useful, especially when you last send out requests six months ago, and are wondering if you should bother submitting a new book to a review site that sounds familiar. You’ll want to know if they reviewed your last book, or never replied to a query you spent an hour or two crafting.

All promotiom—whether ads, blogging, interviews, or giveaways—also need to be tracked, the last just so that you don’t miss sending out a prize to a winner on time. Nothing alienates a fan like a coveted prize that never materializes. Have a file for all your frequently used files, such as book covers, so when one is needed quickly, you don’t have to try to pull it off the internet, or look through email. Customize your organization as needed when you discover what works best for you and what needs more organization.

At first, this will seem daunting. But when you’re rushed to finish a blog, hours from your deadline with your publisher, and you get that emergency email asking some random bit of information, like the word count of your second book, you’ll have it at your fingertips. Sometimes something small makes the difference between publishing and not publishing. Being organized will give you more time to write. And it’s far more reliable than trying to mystically turn back time.

Blurb: Grieving Krys Markman has come to lose herself in family memories at Letchworth State Park, and try to figure out her next step. Yet the unearthly beautiful music she hears each night stirs her soul to romance. Can its creator, the attractive vampire David Helm, heal her broken heart?

 

Excerpt: Krys sipped her wine flight, while looking around at her setting, marveling that so much was still the same, and still so beautiful. She’d been in these same surroundings so many times, yet they were still magical to her, even as their familiarity soothed her…

“Will you want dinner?” her waiter asked delicately. “Or would you like to try one of the wines you sampled?”

Where had the time gone? Krys had finished all three samples already. While another flight and more reminiscing sounded wonderful, it was better not to tempt fate, not when she had a hell of a climb in the dark to reach her rented house. “Yes.” She chose an entrée at random from the menu, then one of the wines she’d sampled.

As the waiter walked away, Krys noticed a tall man sitting by himself off in the corner. He was writing something by the light of the table candle. What was compelling was he was doing it in longhand in a small paper book instead of via electronic device. The act was so uncommon that she stared at him. Within a few seconds, the man raised his eyes and caught her staring, his dark eyes meeting hers. Krys immediately looked down, flushing. By the time she gathered enough courage to look up again, the man was gone, his seat empty.

The waiter came back, her wine on a tray. “We’re all out of the salmon, Ma’am,” he said apologetically. “Would you like to choose something else?”

The only craving Krys had was to find out who that handsome man had been. Food could wait. “There was a man sitting out here. Do you know who he was?”

The waiter shifted uneasily. “We’re not allowed to give out information on guests, Ma’am. Sorry.”

“So he is staying here?” Krys said hopefully. “Will he be here a few more days?”

The waited leaned down slightly, his expression secretive. “Aren’t you staying for a few days in Caroline’s Cottage?”

“Yes,” she answered conspiratorially.

“Then I’d advise you to get to know your neighbor during your stay,” the waiter said meaningfully.

Krys looked at him in puzzlement. “What?”

The waiter straightened, then set down her glass of wine. “Will you have another entrée, Ma’am?”

Comprehension dawned. “No,” Krys said, hastily grabbing her purse. “Put my drinks on my bill.”

 

 

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445178

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Music-Tara-Fox-Hall-ebook/dp/B00KRTHDVS

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Music-Tara-Fox-Hall-ebook/dp/B00KRTHDVS

Melange Books: http://www.satinromance.com/authors/tarafoxhall/nightmusic.html

 

Author Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W/

Website: www.tarafoxhall.com

Email: tarafoxhallATgmail.com

 

Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog

 

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall

NightMusic