Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Effective Book Promotion is about Building Relationships




Our local library asked me to speak on the topic of book promotion. The program covered such topics as:


  • Press releases
  • Websites and blogs
  • Virtual book tours
  • Video trailers
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Local events
  • Promotional items


At the end, we had a Q&A session. One person asked me what is the most effective type of book promotion. While I feel social media is the easiest way to reach the masses of people out there who might be interested in your book, it's most important to make personal connections.

Whether we are connecting with people face-to-face or online, promoting yourself and your work is about building relationships. We build relationships with readers, with librarians, with booksellers, and with other authors. Being authentic and relating to people builds those relationships that are so crucial to our success. No amount of time and money spent on marketing will make a difference if we don't build and nurture relationships.



Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Characteristics Used to Create Believable Characters


It’s noted that you should let the reader see your protagonist’s characteristics within the first few pages. This enables the reader to quickly identify with him. This connection will determine whether the reader continues to turn the next page.

Unless you’re writing fantasy or science fiction, your protagonist will have ordinary strengths (possibly extraordinary, but within the realm of reality); he will also have weaknesses. These qualities need to be conveyed early on.

Here are 15 characteristics that may pertain to a protagonist or main character (MC):

1. Intelligent: Is your MC smart? If so, how smart: is he a genius, did he finish college, does he get all As in school?

2. Handy or Crafty: Maybe your MC isn’t great at academics, but is he handy, musically inclined, or crafty?

3. Arrogant: Does your character think he’s better or smarter than others?  Does he let others know it? If so, how?

4. Trustworthy: Is your MC the kind of individual that others feel they can trust?

5. Determined: Does your MC know what he wants and strives to obtain his goal?

6. Greedy: Is your MC the kind of person who wants everything he doesn’t have? Is he the type of person who wants much more than he actually needs? Does he make it obvious?

7. Dependable: Is your MC the kind of individual that others know they can count on?

8. Brave: Does your MC do what he has to even if he’s frightened? Is he known for his bravery?

9. Cowardly: Is your MC afraid of his own shadow? Does he try to avoid any kind of confrontation or adventure?

10. Caring: Does your MC demonstrate kind and caring qualities? Does his family and friends think of him as a caring individual?

11. Selfish: Does your MC think of only himself? Is he known for this unsavory quality?

12. Strong: Does your MC have great physical strength? Is he strong emotionally?

13. Weak: Is your MC weak either physically or emotionally or both?

14. Athletic: Is your character into sports? Does he excel at it?

15. Artistic or musical: Does he draw or paint? Does he play a musical instrument?

These are just some of the characteristics you can give to your protagonist. There are many others though, such as: shrewd, cheap, a liar, a thief, a go getter, beautiful, awkward, loyal, kind, lazy, introvert, extrovert, irresponsible, and cruel.

It’s up to you as the creator to give your protagonist a set of characteristics that will allow him to connect to the reader – whether the reader loves him or hates him there must be a connection. This connection is what will cause the reader to keep turning the pages.

Be cautious though, if you are giving your protagonist unsavory qualities at the beginning, be sure to include at least one redeeming quality otherwise your audience may not find that connection and decide not to read on.

And remember, you can always have the protagonist change characteristics through the momentum of the story. He can start out as a coward and through various occurrences within the story he can evolve into a hero, or whatever you choose. That’s the amazing thing about being a writer – you create something from nothing. You give your character breath and dimension.


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, successful children’s ghostwriter, and online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. Check out her middle-grade book, WALKING THROUGH WALLS.

You can connect with Karen at:
Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/writingforchildrenwithkarencioffi/
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter  http://twitter.com/KarenCV



Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Burnt Offering Given 5 Stars by Readers' Favorite

  Burnt Offering 
reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

     Hadara is the daughter of a rich Egyptian and married to Tzabar, a cruel and conniving man. King Ahaz of Judah believed in idols and not the one true God. He and Tzabar, together in their evil ways, killed children by placing them in bronze idols and burning them alive. This caused many to flee and hide to protect their children and their religious beliefs. Hadara left the home of Tzabar in the middle of the night, taking her son and others of the household and she did her best to protect all of them. 
     Burnt Offering has much romance as each person finds love and marries but there is much danger as well. There are those worshipers of the idols and those who believe there is only one God and are ready to fight to prove that their beliefs are the right ones. When Hezekiah, who has been in hiding for many years, becomes the new king, many changes take place, but the fighting and killing still continue.
     Burnt Offering by Vivian Zabel takes place in the eighth century,
beginning in 720 BC. The story brings the Old Testament alive and depicts a way of life so very different than anything we can imagine. There are many characters in this book and each plays an important role in telling the story. Burnt Offering has enough suspense and romance to keep you reading long into the night.
     Vivian Zabel is a master of words and turns them into vivid pictures as she takes us very far back in time. Burnt Offering fits into so many genres that I can only say I do not think there is anyone who will not enjoy reading this book. It is a page-turner.



      After receiving the review shared above, I wanted to tell everyone. The novel is also entered in Readers' Favorite book competition, but I won't know the results until September 2020 -- Wow! What a long time to wait.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Vacation Inspiration

For some of us, writing is as much a visual experience as it is a physical task of putting pen to paper or typing on a keyboard. Thankfully, modern technology has enabled us to capture moments that can inspire our writing.

Here are a few photos from our recent vacation and ideas they inspired.


1. A whirlwind romance culminates with a proposal near this elegant fountain.
2. A summer romance comes to a surprising end when one half of a couple invites the other on a walk through this beautiful garden only to find out that he is breaking it off to return home to another person.

  

1. A young elf lives in this enchanted cottage with her family where she struggles to find her place in the world.
2. A brother and sister step inside this abandoned cottage and find themselves transported back to 18th century America. 


1. A newly hired ecologist finds herself in danger when she discovers her employer is performing illegal experiments on endangered species.
2. Three friends are separated from their families during a hiking trip. 

What are some ideas these photos inspire for you? 




Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Read as a Writer

Every writer has been told to read, read, read. Read as much as you can to improve your own writing skills.

Well, I read an interesting article at Writer Unboxed that explained why simply reading to improve your writing won’t cut it.

According to the author, Julianna Baggott Faculty Director of Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing and Publishing, “I’ve found that some of my most thoroughly read students – the ones who devour and love every book they come across – are some of my hardest to teach. I believe that how one reads is essential. And if you don’t master reading as a writer, sheer quantity will be of little use.”

Baggott broke down reading as a writer into five categories: blueprint reading, territory reading, language reading, portal reading, singular lens reading.

Breaking them down:

1. Blueprint reading.

This goes back to read, read, read. While she kind of said this doesn’t work, she does agree that reading in volume does give you an idea of how a book is written to get published. (assuming you’re reading traditionally published books.)

For my writing, I like this type of reading. Seeing how the author puts the story together, how he builds his characters, how she keeps the conflict rising, how he ties up all loose ends . . .

It is a great tool to learn ‘good’ writing.

2. Territory reading.

This is reading to take ideas away with you. It could be from the topic, a chapter, a scene. At least this is what I think the author is saying.

I’ve done this. I’ll be reading a children’s book and an idea pops up. It may just be something I’m reading that takes me in a new direction. But, it can get the creativity flowing.

3. Language reading.

Reading with language in mind is to see the words that are used.

I do this often. While Baggott uses it for ideas and transitions into topics, I use it for the actual words. I love to see what words authors use to convey an emotion, a sensation, a description, and so on.

I also keep a database of words I find that I might be able to use down the road. So, just like the author of the article, I’ll have words circled or underlined in the books I read.

4. Portal reading.

I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure what the author is saying for this reading experience. As far as I can tell, it’s reading and through the scene be transported into your own story. The book somehow acts as a muse to give you insights into your story.

This hasn’t happened to me.

5. Singular lens reading.

This one is more about seeing everything through the story you’re writing. You look at book covers, titles, contents and how it relates to your story.

As Baggott puts it, “This reading is how you look at the world around you when you're so deeply involved in a project that everything you encounter gets filtered through that one lens.”

As a ghostwriter, I’m usually working on more than one story at a time plus my own stories. Because of this I don’t really get ‘singular lens’ anything.

But, it’s easy to see how this can happen.

Summing it up.

Being a writer, I notice how I read different than someone who doesn’t write. I see grammar. I see sentence structure, chapter structure, story structure, character building and sometimes all this is at the sake of the story itself. I’ll have to stop myself to actually just read the story.

But, this is what writers do consciously or subconsciously. We can’t help it.

And, now you have five reading styles to help you write your stories. Have you found yourself using any of these?

Reference:

5 Ways to Read as a Writer


This article was originally published at:
http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2017/08/13/read-as-a-writer/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, successful children’s ghostwriter, and online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. Check out her middle-grade book, WALKING THROUGH WALLS.

You can connect with Karen at:
Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/writingforchildrenwithkarencioffi/
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter  http://twitter.com/KarenCV

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Jodi Heaton Hurst - New Children's Book Released







      That wild prairie wind! It might blow Grandma Rose’s letters out of her hand. It might even pick up Grandma Rose and Grandpa Frank and Mollie Dog and blow them down the road! “Wa-shooh,” the wind chuckles as it plays its prairie-wind game.

      During her years of growing up in west Kansas, the author's parents often said, “This wild wind will blow you away,” which she adapted for this story. Jodi Heaton Hurt's story, illustrated by Jeanne Conway, will delight readers young and old.

    

          Jodi states on her blog (jodiheatonhurst.com): "Wild, Wild Wind blows you, the reader, from page to page with Grandma Rose, Grandpa Frank, and that crazy, wild wind. LOOK! It's blowing Grandma Rose down the road. Grandpa can't help Grandma. Neither can Mollie Dog or Gorby Goat. Will somebody, please, help Grandma?"


     Copies of Wild, Wild Wind can be purchased from the author contacting her on jodiheatonhurst.com/p/projects.html, by asking for the book at a local bookstore, or by ordering it from the online bookstore: 4rvpublishingcatalog.com


Friday, July 26, 2019

Group Book Signing: Wayne Harris-Wyrick and vehoae included



     The July 24, 2019 Edmond Sun carried an article about a group book signing to be held at Best of Books July 27. Two 4RV authors are included: vehoae and Wayne Harris-Wyrick. Hopefully, anyone in the area will attend the book signing and support Wayne and vehoae. A scanned copy of the article follows:

 
     Congratulations, vehoae and Wayne for being included in a well-written news article. May the book signing be successful.