Friday, September 26, 2014

Nail the Tagline.

Courtesy of Gualberto107 @freedigitalphoto.net
Ever hammered a nail into a board, only to have it bend half-way through the wood? And when you take another swing at the curved nail, it squashes flat against the board. It doesn't go deep to hold the construction together; it doesn't form a strong bond.

Part of building an author's platform includes creating a tagline.

A great tagline is a nail we can use as a connection piece across our social media sites, business cards, and email signatures.

Our tagline reveals who we are and what we do. It tells the purpose of our writing in a few concise words. 
courtesy of Arvind Balaraman @freedigitalphotos.net

A great tagline forms a strong bond with our readers.
 And we need to nail it in around three to six words.

I've been struggling to come up with the perfect tagline for the last month.

For my writing some of the keywords are
Courtesy of tiramisustudio @freedigitalphotos.net
              "writing"
                     "humor"
                             "encouragement"              
                                      "sharing"
                                              "God"
                                                     "love"
                                                            "uplifting"
                                                                     "strengthen"
                                                                                "renew"
                                                                                       "truth"

When creating a tagline,
be aware of the acronym it forms.

Here are some I rejected because of it:

Truth Written (to) Encourage & Renew People (T.W.E.R.P.)
Sharing Love Openly (to) People (S.L.O.P.)
Sharing Love Under God's System (S.L.U.G.S.)
God's Plan of Salvation (G.P.S.)

The list goes on.
What's your tagline? How did you come up with it?

Now on to
 
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
 
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

To recap what we've learned so far:
 
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
Week 4- Use "Invisible" Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences
 
This week- Clear out Clichés

Clichés are passé. We've grown up hearing them since we were knee-high to a grasshopper, but in writing they go over like a lead balloon. They stick out like a sore thumb. If we pull clichés out of the blue and use them in our writing, it throws a monkey wrench into our manuscripts. Make a last-ditch effort to show you aren't wet behind the ears. Don't let any grass grow under your feet--toss out those clichés like yesterday's garbage ASAP. Bet ya' dollars to doughnuts your readers will be tickled pink.

 
courtesy of rattigon @freedigitalphotos.net


 
 
See, most new writers don't realize clichés will either bore editors to tears, or make them madder than a wet hen. They'll throw your submission into File 13 faster than greased lightning. Your writing won't have a ghost of a chance at being read. So fix it in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Put your best foot forward and pull out all clichés to make your writing sharp as a tack. That'll stack the deck in your favor, and you'll hit the nail on the head every time.
  
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) still is create a tagline, which as you now know has been my lofty goal for the last month.

My latest idea is: Sharing hope, humor, and encouragement through God's love. What do you think? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our new free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It's easy--the button is on the right side of this page, near the top. And don't worry, we'd never do anything spammy like share your info. That would be lower than a polecat.

 
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in three Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a Bethany House compilation. She teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers. She's currently working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with Jeanie at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

7 Start Up Tips for Building Your Platform

You’re beginning to understand how necessary an author platform is, and after last month’s post, you realize it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to build one. But what now?

At this week’s Wordsowers meeting (that's tomorrow night, September 11), I will present Foundations for a Great Author Platform. We will explore 5 tools you need to get started. In the meantime, here are 7 things to keep in mind as you get to work:

Start. Don’t put it off or you may find yourself in a pinch.
Simple action plan. The more complex it is, the more overwhelming it can be.
Salient message. Don’t muddy your message with a bunch of peripherals.
Stick to it. Keep accounts active. Keep going, don't lose momentum.
Synergy. Connect and cross-promote with others. 
Savory. Make your message “tasty” and attractive.
Satiate. You cannot give out of an empty cup. Take care of the asset (that’s you).

And if you missed it, here is a short summary from my August post.
          Start early and work slowly to make it happen.
          Learn from the experts, then make your own way.

Formula for Building Your Platform:
Audience (know who they are and where they are) + message (content) + style (voice) + social media platforms (and there are tons!!!) + technique = Platform

Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts a finalist in the 2014 Grace awards. Her short story, More to the Story, was a genre winner for the 2014 Family Fiction short story contest and she is a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey and watch her video devotionals on her YouTube channel. She lives in Nebraska with her family and is active in Wordsowers Christian Writers group.

Connect with Angela:
Find her book on Amazon 

photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Interview with Angela D. Meyer: Foundations for a Great Author Platform

On September 11, 2014 Angela D. Meyer will present Foundations for a Great Author Platform, a workshop for the WordSowers Christian Writers at the Bookworm at 89th and Pacific. Time: 6 to 8:45. 

Angela has been a member of WordSowers Christian Writers in Omaha since
Angela D Meyer 
2005. To work alongside Angela is exciting. She’s a constant learner about platform building and social media. Her gift to others is sharing all she learned—not once, but over and over until they grasp what she knows. She’s a published author and an avid teacher. You won’t want to miss a hands on your keyboard night with Angela
*Suggestion: Bring your laptop

Lionhearted Kat: New writers might not understand the concept of platform building. Why is it important for a writer to know the term and how to become involved in building one for one self?

On Amazon
Angela: Michael Hyat says, “Very simply, a platform is the thing you have to stand on to get heard. It’s your stage.”  Everyone is trying to be heard and unless you have a platform, something to make your message stand out, your message will probably get lost in the noise.

Lionhearted Kat : How much time did you spend building your platform—two months, six months, a year?

Angela: I’m still building it. I don’t think an author can ever stop working on their platform if they want to get their message out. As the audience and online opportunities grow and change, an author has to be flexible enough to change with it. I do feel like I’ve gotten to a place where I have a good foundation and I’m starting to gain traction. That part of the process has taken over two years.

Lionhearted Kat: What is branding and how do I brand myself?  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Growing Your Bouncing Baby Blog



Courtesy of adamr @freedigitalphotos.net
At the August Wordsowers meeting our guest speaker, the wonderfully funny and encouraging Kelly Klepfer, shared her insights on co-authoring and platform building.
I started hammering away on platform construction last September, so I'm eager to incorporate her blueprints into my building plan, especially my blog.

The blogging rule of thumb is "narrow your focus to broaden your audience." I haven't nailed that down, but Michael Bunker has. He writes Amish science-fiction. Seriously. Talk about a narrow focus.

After the meeting I asked author Angela D. Meyer, "How do I narrow my focus?"
She replied, "What's your passion?"
Hmm. Family time? Reading? Gardening? Organizing? Dancing? Hiking?
I relish all those things, but my true passion is to let people know that, despite our blunders, God is crazy in love with us.

Courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net
I want my blog to encourage people. To give them hope.
And that focus is WAY too wide, like using a redwood for a toothpick.

So I looked back to an older post Angela and I co-authored. By "co-authored" I mean I answered a few questions, and she did all the work.
Here are a few highlights of her blog-honing advice. 
------------------------------------------------------------


In a March post Angela stressed:

Know your mission/purpose. Write a mission statement, or create a tag line. Reveal the purpose behind your writing in one sentence.

For example, Angela's tagline, “Stories of surrender, transformation, and hope,” reflects how she uses her writing to encourage women in their faith walk.

Know your audience. When you have a specific audience in mind, it is easier to get personal with them. Ask yourself:

            What is their age range?  Their gender? Their interests?

                         What life issue/problem are you going to help them solve/answer?

Know yourself. You are the heartbeat of your writing. It’s how you shine through and stand out from everyone else. People are attracted to YOU, not just the WHAT you write.

           What is your personality? Your passion?

                            What is your writing style? Don’t try to be someone else.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Great advice Angela.

Now on to

Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net
To recap what we've learned so far:

Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"

Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.

Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.

Week 4- Use "invisible" words: said, ask, answer, and reply.


This week-
Stop run-on sentences that keep going and going until the readers wish you would throw in a period or a comma or even an exclamation point or anything to stop the sentence before their eyes permanently cross and it's especially bad if the sentence is being read out loud because someone might pass out from lack of oxygen trying to get to the end of it and even if they don't by the time they get to the end they won't remember what the beginning of the sentence was about.

Courtesy of renjith Krishnan @ freedigitalphotos.jpg


Most new writers don't realize that Gertrude the Crossing Guard freelances for editors between shifts. When run-on sentences overrun your submissions, editors dispatch Gertrude to roadblock your verbal traffic jam. Use punctuation marks to stay up to speed.

Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) is create a tagline, which was also last month's lofty goal. I thought "Truth Through Fiction" was perfect. So did about 100,000,000 other authors who already use it.

What's your tagline, and how did you create it? I'd love to know...even though I might get so jealous of your amazing wit I send Gertrude to wreak havoc on your keyboard.

Sometimes when I write my blog I feel like I'm calling into an empty, echoing canyon. "Hello? Does anybody hear me?"
Have you experienced that? 
If so, don't lose heart. We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.




Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in three Chicken Soup for the Soul books: Miracles Happen, The Dog Did What? and Touched by an Angel, due out in October 2014. She's currently working on a Christian slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with Jeanie at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2 Myths about Social Media Author Platform Building

When things don’t work exactly like we want after following an expert's book marketing advice, we can easily become discouraged.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to listen to what they say and watch what they do. We need to read and grow and improve our social media skills. If we want to sell our books. 

A lot of what they have to say is on target and has broad principles that can easily be applied to multiple brands. However, there are a couple of things I have heard and seen implied by marketing techniques that can lead to quick discouragement.

#1 “If you’re spending more than 30 minutes a day on social media you’re doing something wrong.”
I actually read this one somewhere, but it is not a true statement across the board. It depends on your goals. If you are simply using it as a tool to make announcements or already have a large platform (or an assistant) then, yes.

HOWEVER, if your goal is to build relationships, then I have another version of the story. It takes time. Either a tiny bit at a time over a longer period or more time in a shorter period. It all depends on where you are in your platform building.

This is a good reason to start building your platform early. You CAN spend just a little bit of time each day and make it happen. But if you wait...and need that platform “yesterday”...then I hate to tell you, it will take more time than 30 minutes a day. It does not happen overnight.

Bad news: It takes time to build a platform.
Good news: A little bit every day can work if you have time to spread out your platform building, and start before you need it to be in place.

#2 “It worked for me and if you follow this formula you will have success.”
This one is more implied by all the ads for methods and classes and seminars out there. After a while all the blogs about building a platform start sounding alike. Really. But one size does not fit all. If it did – EVERYONE would have a quickly built, huge online platform. Granted, one size will fit a lot of people, but if you’re the one it doesn’t fit, it can be discouraging!

There is so much more to building a platform than someone else’s technique. Yes, there are principles that work across the board that you should keep in mind, but you have to personalize it. Make it fit your audience, your message and your style.

Here is a formula for you:
Audience (know who they are and where they are) + message (content) +style (voice) + social media platforms (and there are tons!!!) + technique = building a platform

Each element has multiple variables. And there are certainly variables I haven’t mentioned! This creates multiple ways to build your online presence. See how un-one-size-fits-all it is?

Bad news: you have to figure your own way to some degree.
Good news: this means you don’t have to be discouraged when someone else’s way doesn’t work for you.

What does this mean for you and me? It’s kind of like writing. You have to learn how social media works before you can make your own rules. Find your own voice in the world of social media so you aren’t drowned out because you sound like everyone else. I hope that encourages you like it does me.

Have you ever been discouraged be a piece of platform building advice you heard then applied to only find it didn’t work for you?

Have you found a way to truly connect with your readers that gets around the above two myths? I would love to hear from you. 

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 23 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, who is now a Marine. She loves God and her family. She enjoys good stories and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter here

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 6 pm Kelly Klepfer will present a workshop at the Wordsowers Christian Writers (WCW) monthly gathering. The WCW meets at the Bookworm, 89th and Pacific at 6 p.m.
Kelly's topic: Co-authoring fiction.
You want to write and get published. Traditional publishing is getting more complex requiring impressing agents, editors, marketing boards. Platform building is a huge component of future publishing, and don't forget about networking. Now is the time to be more creative than ever. Kelly Klepfer will share tips and suggestions from her co-authoring journey. 



Interview by the Lionhearted Kat:
It’s been many years since Kelly Klepfer and I met. What an absolute delight to get reacquainted with her—an empty-nested author, Kelly is from Council Bluffs, Iowa. Her fun blog, “Scrambled Dregs ~~ ~ tidbits on life, food, faith, and writing” is subtitled, Scrambled thoughts, experiments, snippets of fun –shaken together, stirred, whipped and kneaded. click here for the rest of the interview


Friday, July 25, 2014

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off to Workshop We Go

  
Part of platform building includes face to face human interaction. Some people love it, others would rather huddle in their jammies behind the safety of their computer screens.
 
 My most memorable non-writing presentation involved a 5' Mexican King snake with his fangs embedded in my hand...but I digress.
pic courtesty of gubgib @freedigitalphoto.net

Since my baptism in the publication pool this past year, Chicken Soup for the Soul bought two stories, and the James Scott Bell team bought one for an upcoming Bethany House compilation. That encouraged me to help other new writers.
 
I created a workshop to share what I'd learned, called, "Turning Writing Dreams into Reality. Tips, tools, and encouragement for beginning writers." At its debut last month the room was filled with people I knew. And liked. Talk about putting a speaker at ease.
Even with my years of public speaking, here's what I've re-learned:
 
1) Practice in the mirror. You'll identify quirks, like squinting, repeatedly pushing up your glasses, wild gestures, or a zombie-like expression.
photo courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
 
2) Start on time even if people are still straggling in. 
 
3) Remember to introduce yourself and your subject. Pretty helpful for those folks who sat down in the wrong workshop.
 
4) Bring your supplies. Have handouts, pencils, extra paper, business cards, books you're selling, etc. Author Angela D. Meyer has a great post on what to bring to make set-up attractive and easier.
 
5) Factor how much time it will take to set up, and add at least an extra 1/2 hour to it. For example, before my last workshop I checked out my designated area. Everything looked perfect. But when I arrived Saturday morning, the event coordinators had reassigned my room due to technical issues.
pic courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS @ freeigitalphotos.net
 
6) Instruct your audience to jot down any questions or unfamiliar terms, and assure them you'll take questions at the end. They'll have relevant questions and comments, but if you stop to address them you won't have time to cover your material.
 
7) Reinforce it when they interrupt. "Great question. Please bring it up when we get to the question portion at the end." And make sure you allow adequate time for questions.
 
8) Be honest. I explained at the beginning of my workshop that I'm a new writer sharing what I've learned so far. If you don't know an answer, point them to another resource. My last class asked fabulous insightful questions. I referred them several times to Wordsowers. If you have no clue, admit it. No need to elaborate, "Unfortunately, at present I'm unable to address the specifics of your query." A simple, "I don't know, but Wordsowers will," should cover most questions.

Now on to

Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

To recap what we've learned so far:

Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.

This week-  The Invisible Man(uscript) Words

Said, ask, answer, and reply.
  

CeC Murphey puts it this way:
"...To keep the emphasis on the dialog itself, you can use four different verbs—I call them invisible—because they are so common, we hardly notice them. They are said, ask, answer, and reply."


Sol Stein concurs in his holy grail, Stein on Writing. So
 
Use "Said" for most of your writing.
 
Most new writers don't realize the Green Bay Packers train with editors during the off season. When editors see,

                 "I don't think so," she giggled.

                       "I do," he sighed.

                           "I still don't think so," she exclaimed.

                                 " I think so," he shouted.
 
they dispatch the Packers, en mass, to break down your door, tackle you to the floor, and kick your manuscript into oblivion using you as a field goal.

The entire mess can be prevented by using "said."
Enough said.

 
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) is create a tagline.


How about you? Are you working toward a goal? If not, is something hindering you? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.
 

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen, and their upcoming, The Dog Did What? due out in August 2014. She's currently working on a Christian slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with Jeanie at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Questions to Determine if Your Author Event was Successful

Only 2 people showed up at my book signing. At the craft fair, only a handful stopped by my table. At my first book signing at a store I sold 7 books.

It’s easy to wonder if it was worth my time. Did it really make a dent in my marketing?

At the first event I mentioned I shared chocolates and chit chat. I gave away free homemade beaded bookmarks. I shared about my writing journey and answered questions. We laughed and created some memories. I connected with my readers.

I arrived early and met the author who had an event prior to mine. She bought my book and I bought hers. We traded contact information for a possible future guest blog post.

One of my other guests took a stack of bookmarks to place in her church library. She also planned to check with them about carrying my book. She took my contact info because she is part of a group that occasionally needs speakers.

The third guest was a friend and fellow writer. She had already read my book, but bought another one for someone else and talked to me about my donating a copy of my book for a worthy cause.   

Before the event started, I passed out invitations to around 100 people. I invited everyone I knew through my social media. The bookstore had it up on their FB page as well as a listing in the local book news spot of our Sunday paper.

My 2 new friends signed up for my newsletter. One was already signed up.

Even with only 2 guests, was my event a success? You bet. Here are 5 questions I use to determine if an event was worth my time.

·         Did I connect with my readers? Was I generous and kind to them?        Did we have fun and make memories?
·         Have more people heard about me and my book through this                event and the advertising for it?
·         Did I sell anything? Even if it’s only one person who likes my                  book, they can make a big difference sharing with their friends.
·         Did my email list grow?
·         Did my contact information make it into more hands?

It’s important in the process of building our platform,that we don’t forget the face to face moments.

Have you had a successful author event?

How did you determine if your event was worth your time? 

Angela D. Meyer, author of Where Hope Starts, lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of more than 23 years. She homeschools their daughter and recently graduated their son, who is now a Marine. She loves God and her family. She enjoys good stories and connecting with friends. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. 

Connect with Angela on her website or on Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter here

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Planning for Speaking Success by Jill Hart July 10, 2014


Info about the July WordSowers Workshop:

July 10, 2014  Jill Hart—from Christian Work at Home Ministries: 

Planning for Speaking Success: 

Jill has designed this workshop from her experience in coaching several speakers around the US, South Africa and Finland, helping them build their ministries from the ground up—the same principles work worldwide. The speaker in Finland now has a strong speaking career, two books in the market and a third in the works. She gave up her leadership placement with Mary Kay to write and speak full time. Jill knows firsthand, if you are a writer, speaking in public helps sell your books. You won’t want to miss this night with Jill.

 Jill started CWAHM in 2000 and knows the ins and outs of how to find and keep and audience. She is a speaker, Writers Workshop Teacher and an author. Her latest book is Do Life Different.
In January 2006 Jill walked through Parables Christian Bookstore to the Wordsowers group meeting in a back corner. She looked scared. She says her knees were knocking, afraid she’d never be able to measure up, and yet knew she need to hone her writing skills.

Jill is comical. The Wordsowers writers don’t bite even those who have never written a short story. 

Once we knew Jill, we found her already a confident business woman. However, like others, Jill’s first meeting with Wordsowers scared her. Today Jill’s CWAHM continues, she’s a radio personality and she's a published author. 
Jill's latest book

Don't miss Thursday July 10 Wordsowers meeting with Jill Hart at the bookworm at 89th and Pacific.
We begin at 6 p.m. and close before 8 with an Afterglow at the Starbucks in the same mall. 

Lionhearted Kat:  Share a little about your idea to begin a business at home and how you chose Christian Work at Home Ministries.

Jill: I knew that when I had kids I wanted to be at home with them full-time. Unfortunately we also needed a second income – there was no way that we could live on my husband’s then-military income alone. So, I decided that I would find a way to work from home and began researching all of the different options.

I ended up compiling my research on CWAHM.com and it took on a life of it’s own. Now I get to work from home and I also am able to help others find ways to do the same.

Lionhearted Kat:  How did your upbringing or your years at Grace University influence you to attempt a home based business?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Platform Building-Who to Trust?


 
Years ago I taught my daughter, Patty, "Don't take financial advice from poor people."

The same holds true for building your platform. Be cautious when taking advice. Be extra cautious when paying for advice. There ARE legitimate places to spend money, but Bill Gates could go broke buying all the courses offered.
Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee @ freedigitalphotos.net
We need to make sure the experts we're following are the real deal.
Dynamic Duo Jeff Goins and Tim Grahl go together like peanut butter and jelly. But more helpful and not as calorie-laden.
 
Jeff's an author and uber successful blogger with a following of 100,000. He's about "writing, marketing, creative business ideas, and making a difference in the world."
Tim's the Founder of Out:think, and author of  Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book. The tagline at outthinkgroup reads, "We help authors build their platforms, connect with readers, and sell more books."
 
My current budget for writing is $0, but I sign up for their free emails, books, courses, and webinars.
They whet my appetite for the awesome material they're selling, but I still get a free mini-feast from their sampler platter. For example:

I've learned the #1 most effective book sales tool is (drum roll please)
Grow your email list.
(Mine's jeaniej@cox.net if you feel a sudden irresistible compulsion to sign up.)

Tim Grahl gives this platform building advice:

  • Focus on the few things that work really well, instead of spreading yourself thin across a dozen platforms
  • Develop a system to figure out what is working and what isn’t, so you can keep doing the former and stop doing the latter
  • Connect with other authors and influencers who can help you quickly grow your platform
  • Create content that will attract new readers

Jeff and Tim both give away a good deal of free material. They're worth checking out.
 
 
Now on to
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

To recap what we've learned so far:
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
 
This week- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
The exception is dialogue. Sometimes.
Most new writers don't realize that editors keep Godzilla on retainer. When a submission arrives with words like
 
                                    "just"
                                         "really"
                                                "very"
they text him. Godzilla arrives, eradicates your manuscript with a blazing blast of fire, and collects his fee.
Play it safe and pull out the empty words yourself.
Read Grammar Nazi David Williamson's great post on the subject to protect your work...and possibly Tokyo.
            Like Mothra says, "Only you can prevent foreign fires."
Last weekend I hosted a workshop at Bible Truth Ministries church. I shared tips about getting into print from a new writer's perspective. My writing journey began 13 months ago, and so far I've sold stories for three books, two for Chicken Soup for the Soul, plus a Bethany House compilation.
If I can do it, so can you.
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off)
Make my website "prettier."
How about you? What are you working toward? I'd love to hear.
 
 

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen, and their upcoming, The Dog Did What? due out in August 2014. She's currently working on a Christian slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with Jeanie at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Watch the POV and Talking Heads

When the term POV comes up in the critique group I cringe. At least I did until recently.  Last fall when I attended Heart of America Christian Writers Conference in
Angela Hunt 
Kansas City, Angela Hunt talked about POV—Point of View.

There is First Person POV. The “I” person is sharing their personal story. This is often used in memoirs.

The Second Person POV: you, yours, yourself is used in letter writing or possibly a speech.

In the Third Person Omniscient POV an all-knowing narrator not only reports the facts but may also interpret events and relate the thoughts and feelings of any character. Charlotte’s Web by EB White is a good example.

Much of what I read is written in Third Person Limited POV. My problem—my fiction work often has talking heads or someone sticking in their thoughts where they shouldn’t be.

Angela Hunt's Facebook
I’ll admit I’m not the best teacher on POV, but I’m beginning to recognize when I’ve interjected words where they can’t be if the material is written correctly.

There is a new novel buzzing around in my brain. Sometimes I fall asleep thinking about which character said what. I’ve decided the story is told by the ex-wife and her teenage son. Two people using third person limited POV.

Sound asleep I woke up, sat up in bed with a blazing revelation. “They can’t say that. No one can know what happens in the hall. The wife is in the restroom and the son in a hospital bed.” Wow!

Today I picked up a book, I’m assuming should be third person limited POV. The stilted dialogue might not bug me if I could figure out who is where and when. A young single woman is sharing her story. When a young single man comes along she thinks he couldn’t possibly like her for more than a friend, he’s good looking and she’s homely.

The single story teller gives lots of back story before she meets the guy. While they are talking we get his thoughts. “Wow, her smile is gorgeous and she doesn’t wear a ring.” Then back to her sharing her life history with him—much of what we know from the back story.

He thinks, “Wow, maybe God sent me here to marry this woman.” (Hallmark I understand—at least they give a few days instead of minutes.)

When the young lady suggests he have lunch with her family he accepts. When the two young people walk out of the restaurant, we have the dialogue from the parents. “They’re going to get married aren’t they?”

Okay, so maybe the author is writing in Third Person Omniscient—but I don’t get it. Think I’ll try and learn the Third Person Limited well before I put my novel in the computer.

My random writing thoughts for today. Lionhearted Kat 


 
The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From theEyes of Joyful Widow.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Avoid Bookkeeping Drama

I don’t know about you, but every year I dread – and I mean DREAD – tax time. As the appointment with my accountant draws near I lie awake at night worrying about whether or not I’ve messed anything up and what might possibly be coming my way.

I wasn’t always afraid of my accountant, but several years ago, when I was transitioning CWAHM from “hobby” status to “business” status, I got caught off guard when tax time came. I had made quite a bit more income than the previous year, but it had never dawned on me during the year to send more in to the IRS along the way. I sent in to the IRS what the accountant told me to each month and assumed that would take care of it.

That year I left the accountant’s office in tears, nearly hyperventilating, promising myself it would never happen again. We owed several thousand dollars in taxes and I had no idea where it was going to come from.

God provided for us, but it was an incredibly difficult time. And now each year at tax-time I’m reminded of my previous mistakes and I begin terrifying myself about what I may have done wrong this year.

Calculater Photo from Free Digital
I learned a few tips along the way – maybe they will help you, too:  
 .     
If possible use an accountant. I would have missed a lot of deductions these last few years if it weren’t for mine.

Keep all business receipts. I have a folder in my filing cabinets specifically for business receipts so that I can simply plop them in there in case they are ever needed.

Ask your accountant or tax professional exactly what you need to be tracking throughout the year (mileage, utility costs or other things depending on your business) and make sure that you understand how to calculate any monthly or quarterly payments that need to be made to the IRS.

The difference this year is that God had people in place to call me on my attitude. My husband repeatedly reminded me to stop worrying and lay it at God’s feet. Several friends also realized that I was struggling and encouraged me to look not at my mistakes, but at God’s provision over the years.  He has never failed me. Even in the messes I create for myself, God is there and He is faithful.

The day of the tax appointment has come and gone and (praise God!) all was pretty much fine this year.  Going forward, I am committed to focusing on God’s faithfulness instead of my mistakes.

If you struggle with worry – about taxes or anything else – here are some things I’ve learned the hard way over the years. Maybe they will save you from some of the struggle:

1.                  Tell someone you’re struggling and ask them to pray with you.
2.                  Be honest with your spouse or significant other about what’s bothering you.
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3.                  Be careful not to take the stress and frustration out on your kids.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God. Phillipians 4:6  NIV

Jill Hart will present the WordSowers Workshop at the Bookworm July 10th 

ABOUT THE OUR GUEST AUTHOR: Jill Hart‘s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries author of Do Life Different and the co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Connect with Jill on Facebook and Twitter.