Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Artist Unleashed: LEADING A WRITERS' CONFERENCE WORKSHOP by Madeline Sharples

Writing and getting a book published are really less than half the battle.

Since my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On was published in 2011, I’ve spent most of every day marketing to keep my book in the public’s eye. I maintain a blog, Choices. I tend two Facebook pages. I’m connected through LinkedIn and Twitter. I speak at book clubs and library events. I sign books at book fairs and at our local indie bookstore. I’ve participated in virtual and live book tours. I also write regularly for several websites. In addition, I’ve been on panels and led workshops at writers conferences.

I recently co-led, with Eleanor Vincent, author of Swimming with Maya, A Mother’s Memoir, a workshop at the Story Circle Network’s National Memoir Conference, Stories from the Heart, in Austin Texas. Once the conference was over, I reflected a bit about what we had to do to propose our workshop, the guidelines we followed in preparing our presentation, our workshop’s content and some of the pluses and minuses of the entire experience.

Hopefully these words will encourage other authors to participate in writing conferences, either as a panelist, lecturer, or as a workshop leader. It’s a great way to get your name and book out there and to network with other writers like you.

Responding to the Story Circle Network (SCN) Request for Presenters’ Proposals

First, Eleanor and I decided on our workshop title: Telling Healing Stories: Writing a Compelling Memoir. Then we did the hard work of responding to the proposal request. Since I had spent many years working on proposals in the aerospace industry, I knew the most important aspect to responding was to adhere to the request explicitly, to answer every item on it in the order given. Also, not to be disqualified, we had to get the proposal to SCN on the due date – September 15, 2013. SCN’s request asked for our presentation title, goals, method, and benefits. It was a short request that needed meticulous attention.

Happily, we got notice that our proposal was accepted on November 31, 2013. Only 20 were accepted out of 60 proposals received. We were also told they’d be back in a week or so with suggestions for changes. We didn’t receive any. The next step was to accept the offer to present via email in a week. We also were required to register for the conference by December 31, 2013 to confirm our presentation and get the presenters’ discount.

Responding to the SCN Presenters’ Guidelines

A few weeks later we received SCN’s guidelines to presenters that reminded us to:
  • Know our audience
  • Know what visual aids we’d need
  • Deliver on the promises we proposed
  • Maintain control of the group
  • Include writing and sharing by participants
  • Teach, don’t pitch
As we developed our workshop’s content we continually reminded ourselves to prepare a presentation that followed our initial proposal. The guidelines warned that our participants would be asked to review our performance, and if we deviated from our plan we would be marked down. Even on the morning before our presentation, Eleanor and I sat down and checked off every item on the guidelines and were confident we would deliver on our promises. As a result, we did not receive any black marks.

Our Workshop’s Content

We developed a workshop that consisted of:
  • Introductions – we introduced the workshop and ourselves and then asked our audience to each say their name, what they are writing and what they wanted to get out of the workshop 
  • Craft talks about plot and theme
  • Short readings from each of our memoirs 
  • Opportunities for our participants to write in response to prompts geared to their writing process and/or something important to their healing process
  • Opportunities for our participants to share in small groups and with the full audience 
  • A short question and answer period at the end
  • We also handed out a list of resources consisting of Books, Magazines, Blogs and Websites, Networks applicable to Telling Healing Stories. I’ve posted the list on my blog Choices. Click here to take a look.
Once we prepared our craft talks and lists of prompts we developed a timetable of what we and our participants would do in our hour and a half time limit. I think we revised the timetable four or five times – the last was in real time while we were in the workshop. The audience introductions took ten minutes longer than planned so we had to scramble immediately to make up for that time.

Pluses and Minuses of the Entire Experience

We received some great comments from our participants at the end: 

“It totally fulfilled what I wanted to get out of this workshop,” 

“The list prompt really opened up my writing,” 

“It was the best program of the entire conference.” 

Of course, kudos always feel good. However, I, for one, felt this was a good start. I still have a lot of work to do to perfect my presentation and delivery, and hopefully I’ll get some more practice. That’s another factor in book marketing. An author must become adept at public speaking – something I had never trained for. I had to wade right in.

Another big plus is the networking opportunities being at a writers’ conferences. It’s wonderful to be among other writers and hear their stories. I also personally met several people who I only knew online in the past.

I think the biggest minus was the hour and half time limit. I would have loved to have given our audience more time to share their writing. We sensed they were really opening up, and sharing experiences is so helpful to others. Otherwise the workshop went very well. Having over 35 people in the audience at nine in the morning on a Sunday made us feel it was all worthwhile.

Please, could you let me know your writers' conference experiences, and what you’d like your workshop leaders to pay more attention to?

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LEADING A WRITERS' CONFERENCE WORKSHOP by @madeline40 http://goo.gl/dU5h11 #Authors #Writing #WritingWorkshops
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During her 30-year professional career, Madeline Sharples worked as a technical writer/editor and proposal manager in the aerospace business and wrote grant proposals in the nonprofit arena. She started to fulfill her dream to work as a creative writer in the last few years. Her memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, was released in a hardback edition in 2011 and released in paperback and eBook editions by Dream of Things in 2012.

She also co-authored Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take on Men-Only Jobs (New Horizon Press, 1994), co-edited the poetry anthology, The Great American Poetry Show, Volumes 1 and 2, and wrote the poems for two photography books, The Emerging Goddess and Intimacy (Paul Blieden, photographer). Her poems have appeared online and in print magazines, most recently the Story Circle Network’s 2013 True Words anthology.

Madeline’s articles appear regularly at the Naturally Savvy and Aging Bodies websites. She also posts at her blogs, Choices and is currently writing a novel. In addition, she produced a CD of her son’s music as a fundraiser to help erase the stigma of mental illness and prevent suicide. It will be released this summer.

Madeline studied journalism in high school, wrote for the high school newspaper, studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin, and received a B.A. degree in English from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Artist Unleashed: FIVE TIPS TO NURTURE CREATIVITY by Janice Phelps Williams

Creativity abounds! Everywhere we look people are painting, writing, sewing, knitting, baking, and recording music from their homes. Still, there are parents who would like to encourage creativity, but they’re not sure how to go about it. Here are five tips to encourage creativity in your family.

1. NOURISH THE IMAGINATION

The creative home begins with parents who nourish the imaginations of their children. "Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable." ~Carl Jung

2. SAY “YES!”

Say yes to your child whenever possible. Children who hear yes most of the time develop a sense of optimism and self-confidence. Saying yes to my children has, now that they are adults, turned into them saying yes to me. I asked my youngest son, if he would write music to accompany a video I shot. He said yes, and I loved the results. One day he was visiting and suggested going out with our cameras and taking photos, I said, “Yes!” and treasure the photos of that day and our time together. There are so many situations and people throughout life who will say no to your child. Be the voice that says, “Yes!”

LucreciaGuerrero is the author of Tree of Sighs and Chasing Shadows. She writes, "My son Peter Wolf, a visual artist, was always so creative growing up. I simply provided supplies, and he came up with the ideas. Living with him was an unending joy and adventure. We are beginning to collaborate: this March I will read at a university from my novel, and he will design a visual piece for the audience to enjoy."
                                         
Angie Ledbetter, artist and photographer, is one of the most creative people I know. She writes: “Rearing children to become creative adults comes from encouraging them to explore the things in which they show interest such as sports, music, art, computer gaming, etc. These and similar activities filled the bulk of my three close-in-age kids’ days around school demands, but I cannot think of anything else that more grows the young imagination than books and library sponsored events. My three young adults today continue to enjoy, develop, and employ their creative natures through leisure pursuits and careers as a special needs teacher, an entrepreneur, and a tech support geek/bookstore gadget expert.”

3. BE PROACTIVE

Don’t wait for the stresses of life to leave you frazzled and questioning your priorities. By practicing creativity within your home you are sowing coping mechanisms within your child’s spirit.

LizThorensen is an artist. She shared this about creating an art space: “From the time our daughter could hold a paint brush, we always had an area wherever we were living that was a dedicated art station. Even when we were in a tiny apartment, she had an easel and as many art supplies as we could afford.  Being an ex-art teacher, I gave her projects and allowed her to explore her creativity with many different media.  She pursued a business career but is very creative, organized and self-directed and demonstrates creativity in all aspects of her life.”
                     
It is important that when you create a space and time for your child to be creative that you also allow them the freedom to make their own choices.

Lisa Edmond’s daughter Sydney Edmond is a poet and painter. Syd also explores creativity through dance and costumes. Lisa writes: "A person's first creative attempt is their self. If you love and celebrate your child for who they are, they will feel free to express themselves creatively."

4. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO BE ATTENTIVE

Inspiration is most likely to spring from an open, attentive mind. Take your child out for walks in nature or in town and point out all the interesting things to see. Give a camera to your child then, once at home, talk about what the camera “saw.” Children are born with their eyes, heart, and minds wide open. It is up to us to keep them that way.

Andrea Clarke’s daughter, Florentina, brightens the lives of others with her colorful paintings. Andrea told me, “My own writings are inspired through the creative genius of my daughter Florentina; a teen artist with special needs who found her voice through art. She creates daily, getting inspiration from how she sees the world around her.”

5. EMPHASIZE PROCESS, (BUT THE RESULTS MAY BE AWESOME!)

The process of creativity is worthwhile in and of itself. There are no right or wrong ways to attempt a creative project; there are only “successful” and “less-than-successful” outcomes. The creator decides.

Sometimes what begins as a way of seeing the world, or a way of communicating one’s feelings, or a way to spend time together as a family does turn into a way to reach out to the world for those who might otherwise find such reaching a challenge.

Tanya Smith-Mangold is the mother of Kaylin Mangold and writes how art has opened doors for her daughter who has autism: “We discovered our daughter's talent for drawing when she was very young.  Kaylin is autistic and was delayed with her speech. She was however, able to draw with great detail what was going on inside of her heart and mind. As she has grown, so has her talent and her creativity. What started as a way of communicating has opened the door for her to be able to use her talents to make a living and to share her work with others.”

SUMMARY

By practicing creativity within your home you are sowing coping mechanisms within your child’s spirit, bonding them to you through common interests, and giving them a tool with which to reach out to others and express themselves as unique individuals.

What steps might you take in the coming month to encourage creativity in your home? How might this benefit your family?
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FIVE TIPS TO NURTURE CREATIVITY by @JanicePhelpsLLC http://goo.gl/6HlEqS #Artists #Writing #Creativity
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Janice Phelps Williams has worked as a freelance book designer and brought over 250 books to life. She has illustrated 4 children’s books and is currently painting and writing an MG fantasy. Published Books: Sheldon, the Writer by Judy Dulberg; The Belly Button that Escaped by Charles Zigman; Two True Blue Dragons by David Boyce; Still Her Spirit Sings by Robert W. Kurkela.

Connect with Janice: Website | Blog | Twitter

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Artist Unleashed: WRITING A FRESH TWIST ON A CLASSIC TALE by Catherine Stine

I write YA and NA novels and also teach college lit part time. When I was assigned to teach Christopher Marlow's Doctor Faustus, I alternately balked and thrilled at the challenge. The story is about a brilliant college professor who, after earning what is now equivalent to a PhD, is bored and asks the medieval version of "Is this all there is?" He has noble ideas: he wants to enrich public education, find cures for dreadful diseases—even raise the dead. Hey, rewind ... you need superpowers for that, right?!

You sure do. Thus, he falls into temptation when he calls up Mephistopheles to grant him these superhuman powers. Dr. Faustus thinks he has nothing to worry about. He doesn't believe in the devil, or hell. He's a modern man of science. Damnation, piffle! He makes a vow with the devil's messenger and signs it in blood.

But Faustus soon learns that power corrupts, and there's no taking back his damnable vow. Hey, Mephistopheles warned him. What devil does that? A modern, enlightened devil, that's who! At any rate, the good, or I should say bad doctor gets his comeuppance.

I was worried about teaching this book because I don't believe in a literal heaven or horned devil in hell. I just couldn't find a way in. Then, I ran into a guy who teaches Doctor Faustus at Boston University—one of those freaky coincidences that seem ordained by higher spirits—haha. And this cool, witty man totally turned my head around. He chuckled heartily at my whining and said one doesn't have to be religious to get into Faust.

It’s really more about our shadow sides—how we handle temptation and dark urges when no one’s watching. It's also about the irony that what people are secretly attracted to can often be the same things they publicly condemn! It’s about our deep terrors as well, the ones involving the so-called sins of the day: promiscuous sex, arrogance, urges to follow our “bad angels” into nefarious activities. I’ve grown to love this novel so much I wrote a modern twist on it, for the Internet generation called Dorianna. Here are some of the many twists over time, inspired by the original Faust myths: 
  • In the time of the medieval Faust myths it was a literal fear of the devil
  • In Goethe's version, one could actually be redeemed of dreadful sin through love
  • In Marlow's time the sin was intelligence and arrogance over God.
  • In Oscar Wilde's day the sin was pride of beauty and sexual promiscuity.
  • In Will Self's day (Dorian, 2002) it was the terror of contracting AIDS
  • In Dorianna's day (2014/15) it's our obsession with Likes and Internet followers

A summary of Dorianna:

Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.
Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop.

Dorianna is a dark twist for the Internet generation on A Picture of Dorian Gray. When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.

Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and warns her the pledge has downsides. Dorianna thinks he’s joking. She has no idea of the dire consequences.

She’s thrust into the spotlight, and an incomprehensible nightmare. Not only is she prettier, she’s gaining harmful powers of manipulation. When her powers grow beyond anything she can control, she’s desperate but clueless as to how to stop it.

If you were to do a fresh twist on a classic tale, what might it be and why?
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WRITING A FRESH TWIST ON A CLASSIC TALE by @crossoverwriter http://goo.gl/H4QqQF #Authors #Writing #Classics #LiteraryAdaptations
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Catherine Stine’s YA novels span the range from sci-fi to dark fantasy to modern horror. Her futuristic thriller, Fireseed One was a finalist in YA and SF in the USA News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader Approved notable. Its companion novel, Ruby’s Fire was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Awards. She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare, and her Art of Love series (Model Position and Private Internship) is about Sienna’s artistic perils in NYC. Dorianna is her new YA horror fromEvernight Teen.Catherine’s love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her when she was a child. She was also addicted to science fiction as a teen. The freakier the better! She teaches workshops in writing speculative fiction and is a member of RWA, SFWA and SCBWI.


Connect with Catherine 
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Monday, 10 November 2014

Online Chat with Bestselling Authors: November 15th!




On Saturday, November 15th I'll be taking part in a Goodreads online chat about the heroines we love, unlikely heroines, and stereotypes of women in fiction, alongside the following ALLi award-winning authors ...



We’re also giving away paperbacks in a variety of genres: suspense novels sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, contemporary literature to warm your heart and literary gems from authors across the globe!

You can sign-up to the event HERE, and follow me on Goodreads HERE.

Hope to see you there! We're very much looking forward to chatting with you all!



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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Artist Unleashed: HOW MUCH ARE WE INFLUENCED BY WHERE WE LIVE? by Jan Ruth

The only historical event I can remember with any accuracy is good old 1066 and The Battle of Hastings. At school I was hopeless at dates, in fact anything to do with numbers, but I used to love history because sooner or later it usually involved writing a lot of essays. Now though, I suspect there may be more to it. The longer I live and the more places I visit in the world, the more connected I feel to my roots, or more specifically my spiritual home, Snowdonia.

Seventeen years ago we moved from Cheshire to North Wales. Although Cheshire has its history and pretty rural surroundings aplenty, Wales is far more extreme in both aspects. The castles and the rugged hillsides scattered with stone settlements, druid’s circles and Roman roads bring out the historical muse in me. To think that I am treading the same path as someone who lived in the Iron Age, is both fascinating and humbling. Snowdonia kick-started my stalled obsession with writing in a very positive way.

All this whimsical talk of the past makes me sound as if I write historical based fiction. Far from it. Much as I admire many other genres I tend to be very much rooted in current times and my work reflects a lot of my own life experiences. But this is where I find the two ideas merge a little because I am most certainly inspired by this Ice Age landscape and the idea that what has gone before, shapes what we see today, but does it shape what we feel, too?

I am certainly in my creative comfort zone tramping up the hills on a moody day. There’s no better way of plot busting. The tiny church of St. Celynin (sometimes known as Llangelynin) is a great find for historians, spiritualists, all kinds of artists, and a certain weary walking writer! It’s quite a climb, some 900 feet above the village of Henryd, but sheltered from the Irish Sea by the comfortable bulk of Tal-Y-Fan. It proclaims to be the most remote church in Wales and due to its location, it is actually better accessed on foot or on horseback, but that’s just me wearing my whimsical hat again. I guess you could ride a quad bike or get a 4x4 along the green lanes and tracks up from the village, but that would spoil the experience considerably. Someone said that ‘The centuries of men’s hands on the same stones put the feeling into a place’. I can relate to this and there’s no better way of making that connection than scrambling over those very same walls and finding a way across the hills. Even the names of the mountains are laced with enough magic to fuel the effort.

The church is named after a 6th Century prince, Celynin, and it is a widely held belief that the remains of the settlement close by was also his home. Inside, there are inscriptions on the white-washed walls of The Ten Commandments and The Lord’s Prayer, and strangely enough a skull and crossbones. The Welsh language, being the oldest (still spoken) language in the world, lends so much more romance and intrigue to any story, even though I don’t understand all the words. One of the well-preserved benches is dated from 1629 and dedicated to Reverend Owen Bulkeley, former rector. Oh, I’d love to go back to those times just for a few hours, to maybe listen to the man reading his sermon and sit with the congregation. Instead, we have to be content with mere historical recordings and the remnants of those times, in whatever form they present.

So, I fling myself down on the rough grass, or if the mountain weather is inclement, sit awhile in the porch to drink coffee and just… fall into the dreamscape. I love the way ancient history here is often blurred by myths and legends, shape-shifters and superstitions. Rich then, in history and romance and easy enough to blend both, with a touch of fantasy and suspense. Especially so when the winter sun is low in the sky, sending out early shadows to creep across the crooked stones of derelict homesteads and graves. And late sunsets in summer, when the scudding clouds floating in a fiery sky take on the shape of dragons and rearing horses. Or maybe, when the druid’s circle is shrouded in mist and… can you hear something? Like the clink of marching armour and the clash of swords…there’s something moving out there, or is it just my imagination?

So, as a writer are you heavily influenced by your surroundings? And, as a reader are you drawn to books with vivid backgrounds, or a strong sense of place?


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HOW MUCH ARE WE INFLUENCED BY WHERE WE LIVE? by @JanRuthAuthor http://goo.gl/4bVnq3 #SelfPub #SelpPublishing #IndieAuthor #Authors
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Jan lives in Snowdonia, North Wales, UK.

This ancient, romantic landscape is a perfect setting for Jan’s fiction, or just day-dreaming in the heather. Jan writes contemporary stories about people, with a good smattering of humour and drama, dogs and horses.

Full-length novels by Jan Ruth include Wild Water, Dark Water; Midnight Sky, White Horizon and Silver Rain. The Long & The Short Of It and A Long Way from Home are short story collections. (Is it too soon to mention the C word? Her latest title, Home For Christmas, will be released this month and consists of three festive-themed stories from the Welsh Hills).

Please note: these books are written in British English. Spellings and grammatical conventions are conversant with the UK and appropriate for the setting.

Jan has been writing for more than 30 years and despite various dalliances with the more traditional publishing routes, she is now pleased to be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors: http://allianceindependentauthors.org/

Connect with Jan:
Author page (Amazon) and book links | Website
Jan Ruth is an Awesome Indie | Facebook | Twitter
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Monday, 3 November 2014

An incredible writer. An incredible person. An incredible book. This deserves some incredible support, dontchya think?!

Today, I'm really excited. Why? Because an incredible friend of mine (and partner in crime at Vine Leaves Literary Journal), Dawn Ius, is revealing the cover of her debut YA novel, Anne & Henry!

This has been in the making for a long time and I'm so thrilled for Dawn that the day has finally arrived so she can flaunt her astounding storytelling talent. She is an AMAZING writer, and I can't wait for everyone to experience what I have been experiencing for the last (almost) five years when beta-reading her work ... extremely severe writing envy!!! Oh, and of course, a bloody excellent ride in a world outside our reality. :-)

Without further ado ... here it is! (And please scroll down to the bottom to enter to be in the running to win an ARC which will be available in January, 2015.)


ANNE & HENRY

A love worth losing your head over

ANNE
Wild, brazen, mischievous, bewitching

HENRY
Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

ANNE & HENRY
Apart they are bound to destroy themselves. Together, they are bound to destroy each other.

HENRY TUDOR’S LIFE HAS BEEN mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s.

But ever since the death of Henry’s brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who’s not Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash, and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, ANNE & HENRY reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.

Add it to Goodreads!

About the Author

DAWN IUS is a short-story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is an active member of the International Thriller Writers association, co-founder and senior editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the author of nine educational graphic novels published by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she’s geeking out over fairy tales, Jack Bauer, Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. Dawn lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English Mastiff, Roarke.

Connect with Dawn:



a Rafflecopter giveaway
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EASY TWEET: Cover reveal for ANNE & HENRY by @dawnmius! Enter to win an ARC! http://goo.gl/CCjUMR #YA #MustRead #contestalert


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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Artist Unleashed: WHY YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK NEEDS AN EDITOR, by Amie McCracken

That fine line between art and product is difficult to draw, but it’s essential to protect your sanity. It’s not news that artists are highly creative people, typically with a teensy bit of mental instability (it comes with the territory). I mean, doesn’t everyone have a bit of the crazy when our imagination comes into play? When you were a child, those shadows wouldn’t have turned into monsters without your brain being on the fritz. And that’s exactly why when we create something we are inherently attached to it. We love it. We hate it. But overall, it is a piece of us.

In order to get your writing out in the world though, you need to separate yourself from the art and view it as product. Your book is something for consumers. It’s a thing for customers to buy and read and then put away to pick up another book. In theory, you want them to pick up another book by you. That means you have to have the story right, but it also means you should have the presentation of your product perfected. That means hiring professionals to help you make it that way.

If you publish with a publisher, they will provide the professionals. Traditionally published books look good on the shelf for a reason. They sell well for a reason. Some of that is because the story is right; it fits what the reader wants; it attracts the right audience; but a big part of that is packaging.

If you are self-publishing, you need to find those professionals yourself. Maybe you hire them by bartering services for services. Maybe you end up paying them in installments. But you should do what you have to in order to make certain your product is worthy of being out in the world.

Let’s talk specifically about editors. Editors are not here to rewrite your book. We are your partner. But your book is a product and it needs to shine. There is a use for our expertise. Of course the market of editors is flooded just like the ebook market, which is why you have the right to search out and interview your editor. But you definitely need an editor. Just like you can't get good feedback from your mom, having your sister's cousin's friend proofread for you when she isn't actually an editor by trade, might turn out the same results as proofing it yourself. So don't waste your, or your reader's, time.

Choosing the right editor can come down to a lot of things. But here are three that should help you decide:

1. Does the editor have a professional (and edited!) website?

2. What types of books has the editor worked with before?

3. Will the editor work for free on a sample for you so you can get a feel for their style?

There are tons of sources out there for finding editors. Perhaps you’re already part of a network of writers and you can post on a forum or Facebook to find out if anyone has recommendations (I always find networking and word-of-mouth to be my best business).

You can also use sites like writer.ly—a marketplace for hiring professionals to work on your book. They make bids, you pick the one you like best, and then you both get down to business on finalizing your work.

And then there’s just good old Google. Search for editors in your area (maybe you can meet in person), but don’t rule out those of us who live the nomad, telecommuting life. You can specify the search by looking for editors who work in your genre or maybe who have edited a book you loved reading. Which brings up another great source—the books you’ve read. A lot of authors thank their editor in the acknowledgements. If you were particularly impressed by the absence of typos, look in the acknowledgements or consider emailing the author directly to get a recommendation.

Once you’ve found that person that clicks, the one who seems to fit your vision like a puzzle piece, make sure you sign contracts and have something in writing stating what you both expect. It helps even if you have already become best friends. You don’t want to be in a pickle if things get messy.

The editing process itself will be at times difficult and at other times more enjoyable than the writing. Either way, I believe it is an essential thing to get the perspective of someone who understands story and consider their feedback. Even with an editor you don’t have to implement every piece of advice. We aren’t gods. But most of us know what we’re talking about, and if we work well with you then we can help you mold the masterpiece you set out to create.

Have you had experience with an editor? Share away so others can learn what it’s like, even if it was not so glittery.

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EASY TWEET:
WHY YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK NEEDS AN #EDITOR, by @AmieMcCracken http://goo.gl/HDMxTD #SelfPub #SelpPublishing #IndieAuthor #Authors
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Amie McCracken is a voracious reader. Her calling in life is editing. She is ambitious and strong, but shy and likes to sit in the background. The world calls to her, and she carries with her a laptop, camera, and a lot of ideas floating around in her head. They tend to take over (the ideas), and most of the time you’ll catch her staring off into space.


You can find her on:
 amiemccracken.com | Facebook |  Twitter


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