Writers@Work: Getting Started with Graphic Novels by Lisa Walker England

July 28, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I’m getting ready for my annual August Internet sabbatical. I’ll be offline starting Sunday or Monday and (hopefully) won’t be tempted to tune back in until August 17th. During that time, you’re free to send me a note via email or social media—just know that it will take some time for me to answer you! While I’m offline, you’ll still receive my weekly Write Now! Tip.

Alethia-Grey-Vol-1-Cover-FINALToday’s tip comes from my friend and colleague Lisa Walker England. She’s a fantastic businesswoman and artist—and has stopped by to talk about one of her recent projects, a graphic novel that she’s releasing on her blog: The (Re)Invention of Alethia Grey. If you’ve ever thought you might be more suited to visual storytelling, read on! (And if you just want more tips about what graphic novels to read, you’ll find that below, too.)

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

 

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We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If that’s true, then a graphic novel must be priceless. Many writers consider visual storytelling intimidating, but transitioning from prose to pictures can be easier than you might think. I made the leap. You can, too. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Graphic novels have been called “the poor man’s movie.” To me, this is their biggest appeal. As visual media becomes ever more prevalent in our culture, the graphic novel format enables individual writers to capture new audiences without a huge production budget.

So what is a graphic novel exactly? At its simplest, it’s a novel-length story told primarily in visual format. Often the final product is a compilation of smaller comics (28 – 32 pages each) that each unfolded a piece of the running storyline.

Many, if not most, graphic novels are told in comic panel format, but increasingly, new releases borrow techniques from picture books, fine art, collage and even multimedia. Graphic novels can be in any medium, any genre and any subject matter. They can be written for any age group.

As you’re planning your graphic novel, keep one rule in mind. I call it The 80/20 Rule: tell your story 80% visually and 20% (or less) verbally. Never tell your audience what you can show them through pictures or symbols. While prose often focuses on a character’s thoughts and emotional arc, a graphic novel expresses these internal elements through action and facial expression, or sometimes through voiceover. The camera angle of each image and arrangement of images on the page also speak volumes.

Every graphic writer’s process is different; I can only speak for mine. Currently I’m releasing a steampunk mystery graphic novel called The (Re)Invention of Alethia Grey on my blog. I have no formal art background other than some lessons as a child, but I write and draw the story myself.

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Most graphic novels start out with a written script that looks similar to a screenplay. The writer’s artist partner then uses the script to plan all the necessary images or panels to tell the story. S/he also must decide how many panels fit onto each page. My case is a bit different, however. Because I’m both writer and artist, I skip the script step. The original story was captured in a notebook; I revise it during the drawing process.

 

In most cases I have a strong idea about how each page should look. Most of my pages have no more than 6 panels, sometimes as few as 2 or 3. Each two-page spread is a scene or a complete scene segment with conflict and a twist of its own. In a longer graphic novel, a scene might last for multiple page spreads.

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Personally I enjoy adding filigree designs, animals or other decorative elements onto the pages to communicate subtle meanings related to the story. All this sifts into the reader’s subconscious much more organically than the written word, which must be processed in the logical portion of the mind.

As I draw, each page comes together bit by bit with light sketches. Then I add the dark tones, midtones and light tones, “sculpting” each image as I draw and adding details where needed. Sometimes I have to start over—but very rarely. I work with the page as it unfolds.

 

IMG_9016One page per week might not sound like much, but every little bit adds up fast. I draw all the images by hand in charcoal and pencil on 11”x17” Bristol board. Then I import the image into Photoshop for cleanup and formatting. I add talk bubbles and narrative text (in rectangular boxes) right before releasing the page to my readers.

 

If you’re interested in trying a graphic novel, go for it! You don’t have to be a fantastic artist to communicate well. At the very least, you’ll learn to lean on visual cues rather than having your characters or narrator tell everything. If you don’t feel up to the drawing, barter services with an artist and tackle the project together!

If you’re looking for great graphic novels to inspire your work, try these:

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Watchmen by Alan Moore

Mouseguard (series) by David Petersen

Kabuki (series) by David Mack

Dark Tower (series) by Stephen King

Sandman (series) by Neil Gaiman

The Leaning Girl by Benoît Peeters

 

Also check out the many free web comics that run each week. I enjoy:

Boston Metaphysical Society by Holly Rosing

Girl Genius by Phil & Kaja Foglio

I hope you’ll stop by my site, too, and read The (Re)Invention of Alethia Grey.  I’d love to hear from you about your story and how your first graphic novel project goes!

 

Cameo_BlogAbout the author: Lisa Walker England is equal parts brand strategist and serial storyteller. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband Nathan and two cats. The (Re)Invention of Alethia Grey is her first graphic novel. Visit her online at her business site or her blog.

 

 

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Writers@Work: There’s Food in My Fiction by Amy E. Reichert

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FrontCover21 July 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

This past spring, I attended the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America conference. I loved it, and I learned a lot. Wisconsin author Amy Reichert presented a helpful talk on revision. Her debut novel—The Coincidence of Coconut Cake—was released today! She’s here to talk about how using food in fiction can engage readers’ senses. If you’re interested in winning a copy of her book, you can enter to win at the bottom of this blog post.

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

 

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When I write, I like to create boundaries. There are so many word choices available in the English language, it can be daunting to choose the perfect one, then do it again, then do it again—until a book is finished. By creating some self-imposed rules, I can limit these choices to a toolbox.

When I started writing a book about a chef and a restaurant critic I knew food would be a central part of my book. In fact, it’s what drew me to the subject matter—I love to cook and eat delicious food. So choosing words related to food, even when actual food was absent in a scene, seemed a natural fit.

Even if your writing doesn’t feature food-related subjects, don’t dismiss it – it’s a powerful toolbox you should use. Books are full of details meant to engage the senses. Authors describe the color of rooms, the texture of clothes, the smell of an alley. Appealing to the reader’s senses brings a book to life, making it both relatable and tangible. The beauty of using food in your writing is it’s universal. We all have to eat and drink, so writers can use that commonality to pull the reader into the moment.

So, when writing about food, what are some things to keep in mind? Let’s look at each of the senses.

SmellScent creates strong memories, some of the strongest if the research is to be believed. It might trigger a character’s childhood memory providing a natural touch point for a flashback, or be the first sense engaged right before meeting a love interest – something you can play with throughout your story. When reading, scent isn’t often described, but it’s essential to tasting food, so make sure you include it when describe the smoky scent of bacon on a cheeseburger or the aroma of fresh strawberries bubbling on the stove.

TasteYour characters need to eat sometime, so why not have them do it with an audience. Use taste to echo the emotions of the scene. Maybe your two main characters are arguing over dinner, and their meatloaf tastes like the charred, crumbling cinders of their marriage.

SightAs writers, I think this is the first sense we explore. Challenge yourself when describing scenes. If you’re writing about food, find different non-food ways to describe it. For example, I could describe a hamburger as a hockey puck or broccoli as mini trees (you can do better, but you get the idea). You may ultimately not use these new descriptors, but it’s a good exercise for your brain. If you aren’t writing about food, try using food descriptions to liven up your prose, such as a sunset over a forest resembling a slice of watermelon. You get the idea.

Sound. You might not think food has a sound, but you’re wrong. Next time you’re cooking or eating, listen up. Your food sizzles in a hot pan, the knife snicks against the cutting board, celery crunches when you bite into it. How a character is chopping lettuce can add delightful layers to a scene. Is the knife making even, measured clicks on the cutting board? Or does it sound like a toddler just dropped marbles down the stairs?

TouchAim for something unexpected. Maybe your hero’s three-day scruff feels like a kiwi and your wizened cowboy has wrinkled skin like the apple you discovered in the back of the fruit drawer from last winter. Or a creepy character leaves your main character’s skin feeling like the slime on rotting lettuce.

So, dear reader, explore your grocery store for unexpected descriptions and useful tools to add layers to your writing.

 

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IllustrationsReichert0212-13About the author. Amy E. Reichert is a life-long Wisconsin resident with an M.A. in English Literature, a husband, and two kids. When time allows, she loves to read and collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use. Find her online: http://amyereichert.com

 

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#WritersRead: Books to Enchant You This Summer by Rochelle Melander

IMG_0106July 14, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

First, the news. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the middle of a website redesign. Later this week, my website designer will update her server, and my website will likely “break.” If you visit me at my online home, no doubt you’ll find many error pages. Fear not! I’ll be back online soon. Until then, feel free to email me with anything you might need.

Now onto today’s tip—my annual summer reads issue. Enjoy!

Happy Writing!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain. —Louisa May Alcott

Books are a uniquely portable magic. —Stephen King

I spent this past weekend in Spring Green with two dear friends from summer theatre camp at Michigan Tech University. We talked from early in the day to late into the night, watching first the Franklin squirrels and baby birds and later a spread of stars over our heads. On Saturday night, we saw a magnificent production of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at American Players Theatre.

Through it all, we told stories from our own lives. I’m not sure I can put into words how nourishing it was to hear the stories of their lives and share my own and then to watch the stories of very different lives unfold on stage. Still, with all that, I crave more conversations, more stories.

In the past year, I’ve read that reading reduces stress, may prevent Alzheimer’s, and can improve our ability to empathize with others. In addition, some people claim that bibliotherapy—encouraging reading for a therapeutic effect—can make us happier.

I don’t need a study to verify what I already know—books have a powerful therapeutic effect. Whenever I’ve needed to learn something—whether it’s technical information (how to cook), emotional (how to overcome fear), or prescriptive (how to build a life)—I’ve found the answer in books. And not just instructional, psychological, or self-help books. Judith Ryan Hendricks’s novel Bread Alone taught me more about baking than any of my expensive bread making books. My favorite manual on courage is A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle), where Meg faces her fears to save someone she loves. And whenever I’ve need to figure out what to do with my life, I’ve picked up novels like Catherine, Called Birdy (Karen Cushman) to remind myself: “. . . I cannot escape my life but can only use my determination and courage to make it the best I can.”

This list holds a few of the books I’ve loved in the last few months. Enjoy!

Mysteries and Thrillers

9264577-2Come and Find Me by Hallie Ephron. In this suspense novel, computer security expert Diana Highsmith hasn’t left her home since her lover fell to his death on a mountain-climbing trip. Instead, she does all of her work via a Sims-like virtual world. When her sister disappears, Diana must leave her safe cocoon to save her. What follows will shock you—and may leave you wondering who you can believe. Once you’ve finished this, go out and read Ephron’s other novels, including the latest suspense story, Night Night, Sleep Tight, set in the glamorous world of Hollywood during the 60s and 80s.

 

22240071A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders. Middle-aged London editor Samantha (Sam) Clair, is plunged into a puzzle when her star author goes missing along with the manuscript of his tell-all fashion book. Though the plot feels a bit clunky, I adored Sam and enjoyed the rest of the cast. And, of course, A Murder of Magpies is peppered with hilarious book wisdom like this: In the real world, no one kidnaps academics or journalists because no one wants them. It’s hard enough to get rid of them after dinner. Having them around all the time, drinking you out of house and home? Please. (p. 114, A Murder of Magpies, Judith Flanders

8804052The Bone House (Cab Bolton #1) and Season of Fear (Cab Bolton #2) by Brian Freeman (series). My dad got me hooked on Freeman, who also writes a series featuring Lieutenant Jonathan Stride (Start with Immoral). In The Bone House, Florida detective Cab Bolton is assigned to the case of a murdered teenaged girl Glory, found on the beach in Naples, Florida. The accused is Mark Bradley—who’d been fired from his teaching job because of a suspected affair with Glory’s sister, Tessa. When Mark and his wife Hilary return home to Door County, they receive a chilly reception. While Hilary fights to prove his innocence, the couple puts their faith in the quirky detective Cab Bolton—who believes in Mark’s innocence and seeks the truth. You can read both books in a weekend—but that may leave you wishing that Freeman would hurry up and write the next book in the Bolton series!

18465541The Water Rat of Wanchai (Ava Lee #1) by Ian Hamilton (series). I’m always looking for mysteries that feature female characters I can live vicariously through—and Ian Hamilton has created a winner in Ava Lee. This smart, resourceful Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant travels the world recovering lost funds for powerful people. Her partner, Uncle, is a formidable Hong Kong businessman. Together they right wrongs—often with Ava using her special Martial arts skills. Through it all, Ava remains stylish.

 

 

8686068The Devotion of Suspect X (Detective Galileo #3) and Salvation of a Saint (Detective Galileo #5) by Keigo Higashiro (series). In The Devotion of Suspect X, divorced single mother Yasuko Hanaoka has started a new life after escaping from her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he appears at her apartment to extort money, they fight, and he ends up dead. Yasuko’s neighbor, Ishigami—a mathematics genius who works as a high school math teacher—aids her in covering up the murder. Detective Kusanagi and his friend, physics professor Dr.Yukama (or Detective Galileo), participate in a battle of wits to discover who did it, how it was covered up, and why. I’ve also read Salvation of a Saint—and both books provide a satisfying puzzle.

Books for Young People

7889899Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes. The story takes place over a weekend in the fall of 1973, when Karl Shoemaker is just beginning his senior year. Ever since his dad died of cancer, Karl’s been a part of “the madman underground,” an in-school therapy group. But this year, Karl vows to be normal—and that means not attending therapy group. Never mind that his mother is a chronic alcoholic and cat-hoarder who steals his hard-earned and artfully hidden money. Or that his best friend and every other friend he has is also a member of the madman underground. The book is long and winding, but hang in there—these are broken, imperfect characters who you will love and cheer for throughout the book and beyond.

19156898The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. One day, 11-year-old Ellie Cruz’s mother receives a phone call from the police, asking her to pick up her father, Melvin Sagarsky. Ellie’s scientist grandfather has discovered how to reverse aging—and turned himself into a grumpy 13-year-old boy with acne and long hair. He moves in with Ellie and her mother, attends middle school with Ellie, and enlists her help to access his research, now locked in a corporate lab. Delicious and quirky, this book is perfect for tweens who love science and anyone who wonders what it would be like to be young again. Favorite quote, “To the possible!”

 

10481268The Apothecary (The Apothecary #1) by Maile Meloy. It’s 1952 and 14-year-old Janie moves to London with her parents when they’re accused of being communist sympathizers. There she meets a boy her own age, Benjamin, who is the son of the apothecary in the shop around the corner from her house. When the apothecary disappears, Benjamin and Janie join forces to rescue him and—oh my!—save the world from a nuclear bomb. I found this combination historical fiction fantasy novel to be both sweet and enchanting. (Also perfect for tweens and young teens.)

 

Sweet Reads!
12392479Joy for Beginners Erica Bauermeister. When six friends gather to celebrate Kate’s recovery from cancer, Kate issues a challenge. She’ll conquer her fears and go white water rafting with her daughter if her friends will each accept a personally chosen challenge from her. They agree, and the adventures begin. Each chapter tells the story of one friend working on her challenge. This touching book will leave you wondering what challenge Kate would have given you—or what challenge you can give your own friends!

 

23129712The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. On some days, the world feels violent and unkind. It’s hard for me to see the kindness that I know is there. If you’re having that kind of day, pick up Laurain’s delightful tale about a bookseller who happens to find an abandoned handbag—and uses the clues in the bag to search for the owner. While searching, the single divorced dad falls in love with the woman he imagines carrying the purse. Kindness, adventure, and love—what more could you ask for?

 

 

15811526The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. When Alba’s promising academic career stalls, she takes a walk and finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before: 11 Hope Street. The home’s caretaker greets her and offers her a room—with the challenge that she has 99 nights to restart her life. Alba receives wisdom from the other residents of the house as well as the former residents—who are now talking portraits on the wall. This novel provides the reader with a magical journey as Alba connects with famous women of history to find her life’s purpose.
“This house may not give you what you want, but it will give you what you need.”

Because I need someone to talk with about the book:
22545480The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. In this mystery by a popular Finnish writer, Ella, a young teacher at the local school, is invited to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society. The society is made up of 9 writers chosen and mentored by children’s author Laura White. On the evening of Ella’s induction into the society, White disappears into a surprise snowstorm. It’s up to Ella to figure out what happened to White, what really goes on in the society, and—what’s with the crazy book virus that changes events in her favorite books? This isn’t a traditional mystery but it will keep you wondering what’s happening and why.

Reading right now!

21558902Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper. When I read the premise of this book, I had to read it: 82-year-oold Etta has always wished to see the sea, and so she sets out on a 2,000-mile walk to the ocean, carrying with her some chocolate, extra underwear and socks, and a rifle. The idea reminded me of the novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, which I loved. In Etta and Otto and Russell and James, Otto is Etta’s husband, Russell is her deer-watching friend and neighbor, and James is a talking coyote (why, of course!) who accompanies Etta on her journey. Hooper tells the story through both narrative and letters, artfully weaving together events from past and present. Yes, the premise is tough to believe (Really? She’s walking more than 2000 miles?)—but beyond that, there’s so much to love: eccentric older people who face difficulties with grace, a war-time love story, an animal companion, and a cross-country journey on foot.

IMG_1552I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam. I was delighted to win this book from 800ceoread. As you know, I’m writing a book on productivity, and I’m curious to see what Vanderkam learned from her data—the time logs of about 1000 women who earn six figures. (I’ll keep you posted on my findings!)

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn. If you’re a reader or a writer, you no doubt have your own very long list. What stories have inspired or enchanted you this year? Please take time to share your favorite books in the comments below.

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When You Walk Through A Storm, Write A Book by Kathy Haueisen

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7 July 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Welcome to July!

As you know, I’m in the midst of a website redesign. If you stop by the site and find it offline—that’s why! If you need to connect with me, you can reach me by email.

14949394Today’s guest post comes from author Kathy Haueisen—and reminds us that for writers, our challenging experiences bring a special gift: material for blogs, books, and more! Haueisen’s book, A Ready Hope, is available in both paper back and e-book formats. You can enter below to win a copy!

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

 

 

When You Walk Through A Storm, Write A Book by Kathy Haueisen

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I know authors who are organized, goal-oriented, and disciplined. They commit to writing a predetermined amount of words, pages, or hours each day. I admire these traits and have aspired to have them. I’ve only been at this a little over forty years, so I might yet acquire that sort of writing discipline, but I have not yet.

My writing life is more like a river with constantly changing levels of water flowing along. At times the words flow so fast and furious I can’t type fast enough to record them all. Other times, wow—look at that—a cardinal. I sure do like the view out my window. Now what was I writing about?

My writing tends to be response focused. Typically, I experience some situation—either wonderful or devastating—and eventually write about it. Sometimes the writing is limited to my journal. Other times the experience leads to a magazine article, a devotional reflection, and on a few occasions even a book.

A Ready Hope about disaster response was like that. I got involved in some disaster response work following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita because they both wrecked havoc near where I live. I learned quickly how much I did not know about how a community recovers from a disaster. I soon also learned many of my church colleagues didn’t know either.

My bishop at the time, Paul Blom, asked me to help his office respond to the high volume of e-mails and phone calls coming in daily. People from all over the country wanted to come down to help clean up or send things to distribute to people flooded out of their homes and churches. The volume of such offers can overwhelm disaster responders.

Bishop Blom wanted to write about the storms and the power of the faith community’s response to them as a retirement project when he finished his term in office. Our church publishing house, Augsburg Fortress, wanted something released in time for the one-year anniversary date of Hurricane Katrina. He wrote. I edited. We collaborated and got God in the Raging Waters completed in time to meet the publisher’s deadline. (Thanks to my German father, I have a fear of missing deadlines that borders on obsessive compulsive disorder.)

In the course of preparing that manuscript and doing more disaster response work, I learned about the amazing faith-based organizations that come together quickly, calmly, efficiently, and compassionately following a disaster. Some individuals do this for a living; most gather as trained volunteer responders.

After about six months I returned to more typical pastoral work. I pitched the idea of a book about disaster response to Editor Beth Gaede, who was at Alban Institute at the time. The idea was that those who experience a disaster need to know what to expect for the first year. Those who want to help after a disaster need to know what they’re doing before they go. Spontaneous untrained volunteers can unintentionally add stress to an already distressed community. Since people frequently turn to faith communities for help following a disaster, I thought it a good idea for congregations to know how to prepare for and respond to a disaster when one impacts their community.

It wasn’t long before the project added plenty of stress to my life. Each person I spoke with gave me another amazing story or detail I wanted to include. Most also referred me to yet another person to interview.

Yikes! I was drowning in too much information. I didn’t want to abandon the project, as I truly believed this book needed to get printed. However, I soon realized I was in over my head. By now my daughter was working full time in the disaster response field. I asked her to help me write the book—mostly to help organize the overflow of information and to do the fact checking. Editor Gaede gave us permission mid-project to add Carol Flores as co-author.

I did most of the writing and all of the final edits. Carol helped sift through data I collected and organize the book in what we thought would be the most helpful format to learn about responding to disasters. I hit the “send” button on the e-mail containing the final manuscript at about 3 a.m. the day it was due. We did miss the original deadline though. I had to negotiate a new deadline when we stopped writing to deal with the threats and damages resulting from Hurricane Ike. The book is a fictional account of the recovery process following a Midwest disaster. Factual data we deemed crucial to know appears in sidebars and a detailed appendix.

The whole process was both the most challenging and most rewarding writing project I’ve ever undertaken. The things I learned often reduced me to tears—both because of the tragedies people had to endure and the creative ways total strangers responded to those tragedies. Through Carol’s contacts I met many dedicated, largely unknown heroes who make sacrifices large and small to help individuals and communities recover.

A Ready Hope: Effective Disaster Ministry for Congregations was released by Alban Institute in 2009. I’ve moved onto other projects now, but the lessons learned from writing this book have stayed with me.

Never in my wildest imagination could I have conceived of writing a book based on a series of natural disasters. Until I lived through three of them and lived to write about it. And that’s the way my writing life goes.

A friend once told me, “The great thing about being a writer is that no experience is ever wasted. It can always show up in a book some day.”

How true that was for A Ready Hope.

 

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Photo credit: Amada Faucett

Photo credit: Amada Faucett

About the author. Kathy (Kathryn) Haueisen sold her first story to the Cleveland Plain Dealer while a senior journalism major in college back in 1968. She’s been hooked on writing a publishing ever since. She is now retired after thirty years serving the Lutheran church as a pastor. She and her husband live in Houston but travel often to explore the world and visit with family and friends living all over the country. When not writing, she enjoys catching up with grandkids, gardening, cooking, reading, and staring out the window daydreaming. Visit her online at howwisethen.com

 

 

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#WritersRead: Addicted to Romance by Elizabeth Cole

30 June 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Can you believe it’s almost the 4th of July? My usual celebration includes my porch, a stack of books, and a glass of wine. But this year, I promised my daughter I’d celebrate by taking her to an Ed Sheeran concert followed by fireworks at the lake. Here’s to new experiences!

I’m in the midst of a website redesign, so if you stop by and find it offline—that’s why! If you need to connect with me, you can reach me by email. Speaking of the redesign, I’m happy to announce the winners of the Write Now! Coach Survey Drawing:

Better World Books $50 Gift Certificate: Stephen Ndubuisi

Starbucks Gift Cards: Dr. Kenneth R. (Ken) Cooper, Candle Drippings; Scott Uecker; Elizabeth Jaeger

Today’s tip from author Elizabeth Cole brings you plenty of material for an afternoon or a weekend of reading romance on the porch. Start with reading the first book in her Secrets of the Zodiac series, A Heartless Design. You can download it at no charge from all ebook retailers.

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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What lead me down the garden path to historical romance?

I’m here today to talk about the books I read as a younger person, specifically the ones that got me enthused about writing romance, the genre that I write today.

I read voraciously as a young child and as a tween. Anything was fair game, but I had a particular interest in history. And as long as book had an “educational” element, my parents let me read it. One of the series I remember fondly is Sunfire Romances. Each book told the story of a heroine forced to choose between two handsome suitors, and there was always a significant historical event that occurred in the plot. The revolutionary war, wagons west, the sinking of the Titanic…that’s how I soaked up my history!

RachelOnce, as a twelve year old, I wowed some adult because I knew all about the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (the sad impetus for some of America’s first labor protections). And I was like “Dude! I read Rachel!”

My parents read a lot of mysteries—and encouraged me to read the most challenging books I wanted—so whenever there was a historical mystery in the house, I scooped it up and read it before we had to send it back to the library. Agatha Christie? Of course. Arthur Conan Doyle? You bet.

But…Ellis Peters? Oh, my. Talk about a gateway Cadfael1drug. The Brother Cadfael mysteries blew my mind and introduced me to this medieval world that real incredibly real, not like the fairy tale fantasy version of medieval life that Disney and others offered. (It’s helped that in nearly every book, Cadfael helped a young couple in love!). Cadfael is absolutely one of the reasons I studied medieval history in college rather than something practical.

But while my parents were totally fine with me reading about murder, crime, blood and gore, they didn’t think much of sexy romance. So I had to get those books on my own. I’d bike to the library and go through the “free” rack by the door, which contained ratty copies of Kathleen Woodweiss, Johanna Lindsey, and Virginia Henley, along with those ubiquitous Harlequins (the ones with virtually interchangeable covers and authors. All I had to do was scan for the right look (flowy dress and tresses? Handsome man in the background? Sold!). I devoured those historicals, not caring how accurate they were in describing the time. I only wanted to immerse myself in balls, dinners, dress fittings, and passionate arguments about why the heroine simply hated the hero (right before they kiss, of course). My more mature, feminist self would cringe at those books today. But as a teenager to young adult, they were perfect and exciting…just like a first love.

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When I decided to sit down and actually write a novel, all these influences swirled around in my brain to inspire the setting and the mood. That one novel (A Heartless Design) became many! The Secrets of the Zodiac series is a historical romance set in the early 1800s, and — surprise! — includes a mystery subplot in each one. I’m also starting a new series later this year. You’ll be shocked to hear that it’s a medieval romance…set right around the time Cadfael was solving medieval murders.

I’m sure there are authors who now write in genres that hooked them as adults, ones that they never glanced at when they were younger. But I’m so grateful that I have years and years of “research” to help me dream up my stories. I feel like the characters I read about as a kid are still with me, good friends that I can consult when I run into a plot problem. So think carefully when you hand a book to a child. You never know what you might be getting them into.

ECAbout the author. Elizabeth Cole is an author of historical romance. She can be found hanging around museums, coffeeshops, and graveyards…but not after dark. She is a full-time writer now, but before that she worked in bookshops, libraries, archives, or anywhere there were books to be read and cared for. Learn more at www.elizabethcole.co Elizabeth Cole’s new book is Beneath Sleepless Stars (Secrets of the Zodiac #5). Or start reading the first book in the series, A Heartless Design, at no charge on all ebook retailers.

 

 

 

 

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Lights, Camera, Action! Tips for Making a Book Trailer By Julie Mata

23 June 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

A huge shout of thanks to all of you who completed the survey! You’ve helped me a lot. I’ll be notifying winners of books and coffee in the next few days.

Today’s tip comes from middle grade author Julie Mata, who shares tips on making a professional-looking book trailer! If you’d like to enter to win a copy of her brand new book, Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, you can learn HOW to enter below the post.

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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kate waldenBSMcoverMaking a book trailer has been compared to flushing a wad of cash down the toilet. It has also been called an absolutely essential component of book promotion. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. A book trailer may not directly increase sales but it can arouse interest and draw valuable attention to your book. Many authors find the cost of making a trailer too prohibitive, but there are ways to get a quality film without breaking the bank.

I made a book trailer for both my middle-grade books. In the interests of full disclosure, I own a small video production company with my husband, which definitely helped make the process easier. Nevertheless, I had to write the scripts and find talent, locations and props on a shoestring budget. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Finding actors. Unless you have a big budget, you will likely need to use non-professional actors. For my second book, Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, I went to a private school where I had previously done an author visit and asked if they would let me shoot in their building and work with interested students. They were amenable and I ended up with fifteen motivated but unskilled actors. Knowing this, I purposefully wrote a script with no dialogue. Dialogue is tricky and takes good actors to pull off. Done wrong, it quickly makes a production sound cheesy.

I’ve found it’s easier to get a strong performance from non-actors when they don’t have to speak. Try using a narrator or text to tell your story. Websites like Voices.com offer good voice talent for narrations at reasonable prices. Need music? YouLicense.com and similar websites offer economical licensing fees. If you absolutely need talent who can deliver lines, one option is to put a casting call notice on your local Craigslist.  There are plenty of nonprofessionals who love acting, are good at it, and enjoy being involved in a project even if they don’t make a lot of money. Just be sure to specify up front what you’re willing to pay, as well as how many hours or days of work are involved. You can also notify local theater groups about a casting call. Auditions are more work—they take time and you need a location to hold them—but it can be an effective way to find talent.

Choosing a crew. When choosing your crew, use an experienced camera operator if possible. My trailers didn’t need to look polished since my main character, twelve-year-old Kate Walden, supposedly shot and narrated them. Still, I had a professional shoot the all the scenes. An amateur’s footage usually looks…amateurish. If this is too big a budget item, consider approaching the film department at an area university. Students are often hungry for projects to add to their demo reel, and are usually willing to work for far less than a professional crew. Get recommendations from professors and view students’ demo reels to assess styles and abilities. Students can also be a great source for creative ideas.

Attending to details. Keep your book trailer short and simple—standard length is thirty seconds to a minute. A book trailer should be the visual equivalent of a query letter—a brief teaser that makes your book sound too good to pass up, but doesn’t give away the entire plot. As you’re writing the script, have a clear idea which images will accompany each line. It’s easy to write a great script only to find there is no reasonable way to show a mountaintop castle exploding, or a swamp alligator snapping at your MC’s leg. Stumped on visuals? Typography animation, where the audio narration is mirrored with text on screen, is a fun way to handle this problem. By using different fonts, sizes and colors, and by varying the rhythm, a good editor can evoke moods ranging from poetic to suspenseful to downright creepy. Do a web search for some creative examples.

Editing can be the most expensive part of a trailer but it’s also the most critical. This is where I would advise spending more money, if possible. A professional editor can add music, special effects, text, and play with the pacing to substantially raise your project’s production value. Experienced student editors can also do a very good job.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be picky (as long as you’re nice about it). It’s your project and your vision, so enjoy sitting in that director’s chair!

You can check out my book trailers here:

KWD: Night of the Zombie Chickens

KWD: Bride of Slug Man

 

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Julie Mata hi-resAbout the author. Julie Mata grew up in Barrington, Illinois, where she loved to read books, write stories, and watch movies. After receiving a B.A. from Oberlin College in English Literature and a master’s degree from Northwestern University in Broadcast Journalism, she worked for many years as a news reporter and then as a freelance writer. Currently, she owns a video production business with her husband. Her middle grade novel, Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens, was published in 2014 by Disney Hyperion. The sequel, Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, released May 26th.

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com.

 

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Writers@Work: An Interview with Gretchen Carlson

IMG_011016 June 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Thanks so much to all of you who took time to fill out my survey last week. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the scoop! My goal is to serve you better. To do that, I’ve created a survey for you to fill out: Write Now! Coach 2015 Survey. And, as my thank you, everyone who fills out the survey can enter to win:

+A $50 Gift Certificate from Better World Books (Yeah, books!)

+A $10 Starbucks Gift Certificate. (Mmmm. Coffee.) (And, I’m giving away 3 of these!)

Thanks in advance for your help!
 Today’s Write Now! Tip is an interview with author and anchorwoman Gretchen Carlson. After the interview below, enter to win a copy of her new book, Getting Real!

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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I’m delighted to welcome fellow Minnesotan Gretchen Carlson to the blog to talk about her new book.

9780525427452_large_Getting_Real. Gretchen CarlsonFirst, here are the details about the book. In Getting Real (Viking), celebrity news anchorwoman Gretchen Carlson opens up the conversation of what it means to be an ambitious career woman in America today. From her childhood in Anoka, Minnesota, where her family’s life revolved around the Lutheran church that her grandfather led as minister, and where her bright future as a violin prodigy both thrilled and burdened her, to college at Stanford, her win as Miss America in 1989, and her first in-the-trenches years as a cub reporter on local television stations in Richmond, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dallas, Gretchen Carlson’s rise to anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson is a story of dedication and perseverance.

Here’s what Gretchen Carlson had to say about her new book and more:

Q: Why did you decide to write GETTING REAL?

A: When people watch me on TV they see part of my life. I wanted to let them know the real me behind the scenes. The child who was a concert violinist from the age of six. The young woman who took on the challenge to compete in the Miss America pageant. The television journalist for twenty-five years. The mother of two who, just like most women, struggles to balance work and family. The battles I’ve fought. How I’ve come back from failure and disappointment. Thanks to my upbringing, I always believed in myself and worked as hard as I could to get where I wanted to be. Nothing was ever handed to me. My hope is that when people read my story, it will inspire them to reach for their goals and not give up. The real story is this: if I can do it, you can too.

Q: It’s been said that women don’t help one another out in the workplace. Has that been your experience? Why do you feel it is important for women to support each other professionally?

A: No—just the opposite. I was fortunate to have two strong female role models in the early years of my career. One gave me the chance to be a political reporter when I was inexperienced, and for me it was sink or swim. The second gave me the opportunity to be part of the first two-female anchor team in prime time television and, when it ultimately failed and I got fired, she ended up giving me a second chance in a whole new city. I believe strongly in being a mentor myself, and I seek out young women and interns and try to help them. Women mentors were important to me, and I want to do that for others. I’m thrilled when I am able to give someone an early boost in her career.

Q: Have there been any moments in your career in which you felt like you had failed? How did you overcome this? 

A: It’s the time I got fired from my television anchor job in Cleveland. A week after returning from my honeymoon, the general manager told me they were going in a different direction but that I’d be okay because I was now married. I was humiliated and depressed. I never talked about my firing until recently. One of life’s most important lessons is truly appreciating success through failure. I teach my kids that no one wins every time, and it’s the lessons you take from failure that will shape your success.

Q: In Getting Real, you also describe getting “mean tweets.” What is your reaction to the constant criticism you receive on social media?

A: Sometimes the comments over the top—really ugly. Many of them are critical of my looks, like the one that criticized my “thunder thighs.” I get that a lot. Some of the tweets are too vulgar to repeat. At my age I can handle people writing junk about me on social media, but I sometimes air “mean tweets” on my show to highlight how destructive this meanness and bullying is to young people. I know how devastating it is for a young person to be the victim of such ugliness. I shine a light on it because if people feel comfortable saying it to me, then they must feel doubly comfortable saying it to one of their friends. I can only imagine how it affects kids who are so vulnerable.

Photo used courtesy of Fox News Channel

Photo used courtesy of Fox News Channel

Q: You believe that people should continue to challenge themselves with new goals, no matter how old they are. So, what’s next for you?

A: The future is wide open. I may actually go back and get that law degree someday. Maybe I’ll be in the pulpit. Who knows? I might even pursue a career in politics. If I do, I will have had great practice dealing with the avalanche of daily criticism from working at Fox News and being a former Miss America. I’m ready for anything!

Q: What books are you reading right now?

Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer and The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.

Q: And what books inspired your memoir?

One Call Away by Brenda Warner and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

 

 

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Help Me Serve You Better (and Enter to Win a Gift Card)!

Hello, Writers!

As many of you know, I’m working on a website and business redesign. As I work to better serve you, it’s important for me to understand what you need. You can:

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“But how?” you ask.

“Easy!” I reply.

The Details:

I’ve created a survey with some juicy questions! And, listen to this: every one who completes the survey can enter to win:

+A $50 Gift Certificate from Better World Books (Yeah, books!)

+A $10 Starbucks Gift Certificate. (Mmmm. Coffee.) (And, I’m giving away 3 of these!)

Of course, ALL of you will receive bunches of my GRATITUDE!

Complete the form here: Write Now! Coach 2015 Survey.

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#WritersRead: Books That Inspired Me by Laura Templeton

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9 June 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I just got back from the Write to Publish conference, where I spoke about Increasing Productivity and Conquering Social Media. I’m currently putting together a book of my very best social media tips. If you have something you’ve always wanted to know about social media—no matter how simple or complex—send me your questions. You may be chosen to be a beta reader for the book (which means you get it first and at no charge)!

COVER FINAL_Summer of the Oak MoonThis summer I’m welcoming guests to the blog to share their favorite writing tips and summer reads. And the best news: they’ll also be giving away books. Today’s tip is packed with book recommendations and comes from one of the members of my list, Laura Templeton! Laura’s novel Summer of the Oak Moon has just been released. You can enter to win a copy of that book below. There’s also still time to win last week’s book. Enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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With an eye toward offering some great summer reading suggestions, I’d like to talk about five books that inspired me as I worked on my newly released novel, Summer of the Oak Moon. The book, a Southern Gothic romance set in the marshes of North Florida, tells the story of Tess’s and Jacob’s budding interracial romance—a relationship that sparks violence in their secluded small town. Spanning two time periods, the early 1980s and the 1950s, Summer of the Oak Moon explores changing societal views toward race, prejudice, and love.

I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and so many books have been an important part of my life that it’s hard to pinpoint a few. Even when narrowing my options to books that pertained to writing this particular novel, I had to do some serious picking and choosing. Ultimately, I couldn’t take the pressure, so at the end of the post, I’ll list a few more great reads that didn’t make the final cut.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. I first read this YA novel in my early teens and immediately fell in love with the characters and the captivating story. I read it again with my son some years later, when it was required reading for school. Then, of course, I saw the movie a few years back. So, the story has been a recurring one for me. The Tucks and their magic spring in particular caught my imagination. I had the spring in mind as I wrote about Tess’s spring in Summer of the Oak Moon, which also has it’s own brand of magic, albeit a less dramatic one!

The Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt. I spent a good deal of the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s with my head stuck in Gothic romances and historical fiction. Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Rosamunde Pilcher fed my imagination and my desire to write my own stories. Recently, I discovered that a number of Victoria Holt’s books are available on the Kindle, so I nabbed The Pride of the Peacock, which I remembered as one of my favorites. Opal mining in Australia, a missing jewel, romance, murder, and mystery were all there, just as I remembered. I loved it as much as when I first read it!

Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis. Okay, a change of pace here, but I must mention this book in any conversation about my novel. I’ve read a number of books about the Civil Rights Movement, and it was this reading that influenced the underlying theme of racial prejudice that I develop in Summer of the Oak Moon. But Representative Lewis’s book stands out from the others. After reading it, I felt that I had a much clearer understanding of the challenges faced by civil rights workers and the horrors that prevailed in our country’s not-so-distant past. The story he tells is one of courage, sacrifice, and vision. I can’t recommend this book enough.

The Lost Hours by Karen White. The Lost Hours was the first Karen White book that I read. I was thrilled to discover a new writer who mingled mystery, family secrets, and romance so skillfully, and I’ve since read most of her books. (She’s pretty prolific so it’s a bit hard to keep up.) I’d already finished an early draft of my novel when I read The Lost Hours, and the similarities in theme to my book, particularly with regards to race relations in the South, struck me immediately. I especially like the way that Ms. White layers her novels to weave the complex stories of multiple generations together into one seamless, can’t-put-it-down novel.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I read this book while working on final revisions of Summer of the Oak Moon. My first impression of it was that it was pure genius. The story of how the lives of Nao, a Japanese schoolgirl, and Ruth, a novelist in British Columbia, intertwine is remarkable. With breathtaking, and sometimes disturbing honesty, we get a firsthand look at Nao’s unhappy life through her diary, which Ruth finds on the beach. When Nao’s Buddhist nun great-grandmother and the ghost of her kamikaze great-uncle enter the mix, the results are magical. I can’t really say exactly how this book influenced my writing. I just know that it did. I think—I hope—it made me a tad braver and more daring (as Ms. Ozeki’s prose certainly is) as I struggled to get that last draft of my own novel just right.

Finally, as promised, I’m going to cheat and mention several other books that have certainly influenced my writing: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk-Kidd (I love this book), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (the Voodoo woman in the story gave me the idea for the character of Lulu in my novel), and—back to nonfiction here—A Year in the World by Frances Mayes (her gorgeous, full-bodied prose always inspires me…at least, when it’s not making me feel totally inadequate!)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a happy, book-filled summer!

 

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Laura Templeton - author photoAbout the Author: Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals. She spends her days heading operations for a laboratory equipment manufacturer. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys gardening, kayaking, ice skating, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home. Laura is the author of Summer of the Oak Moon released May 5, 2015 and Something Yellow published in 2013. You can contact Laura by email at LauraTempleton12@gmail.com or visit her website www.Laura-Templeton.com to connect with her on social media.

 

IMG_0091Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com.

 

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Managing Blogs, Submissions, Interviews, and Other Deadlines By Shauna Aura Knight

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2 June 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Happy June!

My kids are still in school and the weather remains chilly in Wisconsin, but I’m already in the summer mindset. I keep wishing I could skip work, sit on the porch under a big fluffy blanket, and write.

This summer, I’m planning to write as much as possible. I’m also beginning a website/business redesign. For that reason, I’m taking a break from weekly blogging. I’ll be welcoming guests to the blog to share their best writing tips and favorite summer reads. And the best news: they’ll also be giving away books.

If you happen to be a lucky book winner, I ask that you spread the joy by giving one of your gently used books to a local little free library. If you can, send in a picture of you making your donation, and I’ll include you in an upcoming blog post.

DreamworkCoverToday’s tip comes from Shauna Aura Knight and will help you keep track of your writing and submissions! She’s also giving away an ebook copy of Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path. According to Shauna, “If you’re looking for some creative inspiration as a writer, working with your dreams may be of use. Dreams are a great resource for your creative process, as well as for personal transformation work. Dreams will tell you a lot more about yourself than you might expect!” You can read an excerpt at her blog and enter to win the copy below.

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

 

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Are you overwhelmed with writing deadlines? I am. I’m a recovering procrastinator, and I’ve often run right up to a deadline or sent things in late. I’ve also read a call for submissions and thought, “Oh cool, I should write an article for that,” and then totally forgot about it. What are some ways to get deadlines under control?

There may be smartphone apps for this, but 1. My smartphone isn’t very smart, and 2. I’m more of a laptopper. My simple working tools here are Word documents, folders, and Google Calendar. Plus the occasional hand-written to do list on a piece of notebook paper, though I’m starting to try out Google Calendar’s to do list for some things.

Content Inventory First, it’s important to take an inventory of what projects you’re managing so you can categorize things. These are some things that I’m working on.

Nonfiction Writing:

+Books

+Articles for magazines

+My main blog on leadership, personal growth, facilitation

+Regular guest blogs

+Blog hops: Part of my blog, once every 3 months

Fiction Writing:

+Novels

+Novellas, short stories, and poetry for anthologies and magazines

+My fiction blog

+Blog hops: Part of my blog, 1-2per month.

+Guest blogs

+Interviews

Then add to this other social media, newsletters, podcasts, webinars…overwhelmed yet?

What Do You Get? If you’re not being paid to write an article, you should be getting something out of it. Blogging keeps your audience engaged. Writing articles or guest blogs, or getting short stories published, gets you exposure to a wider audience. You’ll want to know what return you’re actually getting on your articles, blog posts, short stories, etc. It’s another article entirely, however, to explore the art upselling and tracking your impact.

Tracking System I was already using tables/spreadsheets, but I was inspired by a marketing class offered by Kayelle Allen to create a few more, as well as additional folders, to help manage my writing. Then I began adding in important deadlines into my Google calendar.

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Word Documents: The backbone of my submission tracking system is creating a Word document for every call for submissions. In the title, I have the publisher or publication name, the theme (if any) for a call for proposals, the deadline date if there is one, and the word count. In the document I have the further submission requirements.

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Filenames: I use various notations to indicate if the submission pays or not. Or, if unpaid, I will sometimes research an online publication’s Alexa rankings. Typically I’m going to first submit my work to paid markets, or higher-ranked markets.

+“Strange Horizons Submissions 5k-9k”

+“Loose Id Holiday Oct 15 30K”

Folders: I keep these calls, and works in process, in subfolders of my “Working” folder. Subfolders include “Fiction,” “Poetry,” “Leadership,” “Metaphysical,” “Interviews” and more. When a piece is published, I have another set of folders under “Published.”

Spreadsheets: I have spreadsheets for different types of submission as well. I track what I send out, what gets rejected, and what gets accepted. I track publication dates, and I also track if I’m giving up any future copyright. Most magazines or anthologies require you credit them when reprinting the article/story elsewhere. Some require you to wait six months to a year before publishing the piece elsewhere. When I reprint something, I make a note of that in the spreadsheet. In other spreadsheets, I also capture links to interviews, podcasts, and reviews of my books. Pro Tip: When I update my spreadsheets, I also update links to these on my main website.

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Online Calendar: I put any important submission deadlines on my Google Calendar, or any deadlines to return edits. Google Calendar events are useful as a reminder for interviews, guest blogs, and podcasts so that I can promote them on my own social media. Similarly, if I’ve signed up to be part of a book giveaway event or Facebook party or other social media event, I put that on my calendar if I’m expected to participate.

For weekly blog hops or promotional opportunities, I create an event on my calendar with all the relevant information about the hop. I write paranormal romance so there are a few weekly blog events like “My Sexy Saturday” that can be a great way to get exposure for my books. I frequently forget how fast these sneak up every week. Creating the Google Calendar event means that I not only can see it coming up on my calendar, but I can also just move it to the next week or month that I plan to participate and all the info stays put.

Now—putting all of this onto my Google Calendar does make my calendar pretty useless for anyone in my personal life. You may want to create a secondary calendar just for writing and promotion deadlines if you use this function to synch schedules with friends and family.

Pro Tip: I also attend festivals, conferences, and I vend my artwork, along with having the occasional social obligation, so I make sure that I have those live events on my calendar too so that I won’t schedule myself to do a podcast when I’m actually going to be vending at a festival, or I won’t be stuck writing an article in my hotel room or on a tablet at the airport.

Other Documents. I also have a document for each of my books with my blurbs, buy links, excerpts, and social media links for easy copy and paste. Similarly, I have another document with the dozen different versions of my bio and all my social media links. I use a different bio for promoting my metaphysical nonfiction, like my Dreamwork book, than I do for my paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels.

Adapting Your System Whatever system you use, make it consistent. Observe your own behavior over time and what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t try to swim upstream. My spreadsheets are actually all tables in Word documents because I hate working in Excel. Work with a system that is closest to your own habits and you’ll have the most success. If your method isn’t working for you, use that to tweak your system.

*This article was previously published on the Author Entrepreneurship magazine.

 

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Bio2About Shauna Aura Knight. 
An artist, author, and presenter, Shauna travels nationally offering workshops on facilitation, community leadership, and personal growth. Her work is inspired by the mythic stories of heroes and the shadows we each face. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, and Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path. She’s a columnist for several blogs and magazines and her writing can be found in several anthologies.

She’s also the author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels including Werewolves in the Kitchen, Werewolves with Chocolate, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, A Fading Amaranth, and The Truth Upon Her Lips. Shauna’s mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many walls, shrines, and other spaces. Shauna is passionate about creating rituals, experiences, spaces, stories, and artwork to awaken mythic imagination. Visit her online at: http://www.shaunaauraknight.com

Leadership Blog: https://shaunaaura.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShaunaAuraKnightRitualist
Portfolio: http://shaunaknightarts.wordpress.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Shauna_A_Knight

 

 

 

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com.

 

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