Saturday, August 19, 2017

A New Member for 4RV Books: Turning Mountains into Molehills

     Yvonne M. Morgan's memoir, Turning Mountains into Molehills, has  made its  appearance. Yvonne's story follows a path from personal devastation to personal triumph through God's call to mission and serving others through ministry. Her fears, disappointments, and heartaches are all detailed in this adventure about how God's calling beckons her to continue on her mission no matter what troubles arise. Ultimately, God shows her how to turn her mountains into molehills.

         Pre-publication reviews found in the book are copied below:

There is a universal truth in Yvonne Morgan’s unique story that reminds all of us that we don’t really create our lives, but that we are called by life. The discovery of purpose is not found inside us, but serving in the world around us. This story will cause anyone who feels lost in their lives to trust God and look for the direction He is leading to living beyond one’s self. -- Dr. Robyn Goggs, Associate Minister, Women and Mission, Church of the Servant

Every pastor should read this book. It will encourage and inspire you to deeper trust in the work God is doing in your leaders. Yvonne's journey is a tremendous example of how God honors obedience and transforms fear into confidence. As her pastor for a season, it was a true joy to watch God at work and an honor to join her and Bill in their ministry. -- The Rev. Dr. Tom Herrick, Executive Director, Titus Institute for Church Planting

Turning Mountains to Molehills is an honest and beautifully written account of obedience in answering Gods call, then moving out of the way in faith as He takes care of the details. -- Lynn Bouterse, Short-Term Ministries, Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders

     Copies of Turning Mountains into Molehills can be purchased from the 4RV Online Book Store as well as, B&N. com, and through brick and mortar stores.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Promote Your Book, No, Promote Yourself


Promote Your Book Yourself

         Before authors promote a book, they should promote themselves. Of course, if a writer hasn't promoted herself yet, doing so can occur after the book, but promotion should first be about the author. Before writers have books to promote, they need to build an interest in themselves. Allow me to share some of the tips the sources, listed below the article, mixed with a few ideas and thoughts of my own.
         Often writers wait too late to promote themselves. Joan Steward says authors should become "experts" and build a personal base before promoting a book. Nonfiction writers have a built-in topic about which to write articles or present workshops: the theme or sub-themes of the future nonfiction book. However, fiction writers can also be experts, if they have researched information for their books correctly. For example, research for a book dealing with kidnapped children can create an author who is an expert on the aftereffects of being kidnapped on the children and families; what steps to take to find kidnapped children; or how to survive being kidnapped or having a child kidnapped.

         Authors who have studied and developed their own writing expertise can share their knowledge of writing and become an expert on writing. But, that expert level should probably come after proving through being published that they know the subject. To gain more knowledge about writing, a person can attend classes, workshops, and conferences about writing. He/she can read articles and books about writing, keeping the knowledge that usable and deleting the rest.

         Another way authors can promote themselves and create themselves as experts is to create cheat sheets and checklists. Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, states the following: "Readers love chunks of information they can digest easily in just a minute or two. That's why they're wild about cheat sheets and checklists. These powerful one-page PDFs are like digital crow bars that can pry an email address out of a website visitor faster than any other lead magnet you might offer." She goes on to say:

                   Checklist/cheat sheets can be released before the book for promotion or used in a the appendix of a book or both. These lists don’t have to be about serious topics. Be helpful and have fun.

Five examples:
                   1. Create a checklist of advice from your main character on how to overcome a challenge or solve a problem mentioned in the book.
                   2. Offer a cheat sheet for tourists who want to visit the city, state, region or country where your novel takes place. If your book is about Venice, your cheat sheet could be titled, “Favorite Foodie Hideaways to Explore in Venice.”
                   3. Do your sci-fi characters have their own language? Create a cheat sheet of words and their definitions.
                   4. Create a checklist of “7 Most Romantic Places to Propose” that ties into your romance novel.
                   5. Does your children’s book include a fairy as one of the main characters? Create a cheat sheet of “What the 5 Most Famous Fairies Can Teach Your Child.” (The Tooth Fairy, Tinkerbell, etc.)

         Include a short blurb about your book at the end, with a link to the sales page.

         Writers need to become familiar names on social media, familiar in a good way. They can post encouraging comments on other people's blogs, social media posts, etc. They can post reviews of other authors' books on their blogs and the other authors' blogs. Posting bits of information on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other media helps to build interest in the writer and in his/her topic. The more readers are interested in a writer as a person, the more they will be interested in reading the writer's book.

         Every writer needs a blog and a website and have an account on Facebook and Twitter. Some like to have accounts on other social media, also. However, accounts, websites, and blogs should be started before a book is released. If an author hasn't become active in social media, he/she should immediately begin.

         I hope to share more tips about promoting and marketing in the future.

Sources: Joan Steward, The Publicity Hound [blog and various email Tips of the Week]; Brian Feinblum [The Writer, September 2017, page 16-19,
“Promotional Pitfalls”]; 

Kirkus Reviews []; Author Unlimited [];
Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Writing – What Areas are You Strong In? Weak In?

By Karen Cioffi

Writing is such a unique journey for each and every writer.

Some find it easy to meld their chapters, one into another. Others find it easy to get just the right ending, with some kind of twist or surprise that gives it a great edge.

There are also other authors who find it easy to jump right into a story, writing a grabbing beginning.

No matter what aspect of the story, there will be some writers who can breeze though it effortlessly while others may struggle. That’s the nature of writing.

I find it relatively easy to start a story. I can create a beginning that jumps into the action, which is what most stories, especially children’s stories need.

But…yep, there’s a BUT… I often found it difficult to end my stories. I have no idea why. I can start it, bring it along toward an ending, but, then I fizzled out. My endings were initially weak and definitely lacking.

I first noticed my weak spot when I submitted a chapter book to 4RV Publishing. I pitched the story to the publisher during an online writers’ conference. The publisher allowed me to submit a synopsis and the first three chapters, which was also a bit lacking, but that’s another story.

The editor who read the chapters and synopsis liked the storyline, but was confused about my ending in the synopsis. As I mentioned above I have trouble with my endings. Aside from that, the editor recommended the publisher request the manuscript so they could look it over. They did advise I edit it first and work on the ending. I created an entirely new ending and sent it to a professional editor to be reviewed . . . and edited.

It’s funny, but I think there are at times some form of inspiration that can take us where we don’t usually tread...that helps us overcome our obstacles or mountains and take us beyond what we think we’re capable of.

In the case of my story, Walking Through Walls, I came up with a pretty good ending that tied everything together and afforded a surprise. I worked on this story for around two years and finally when it counted, I found the right path for the story to take.

We writers must pay attention to our writing weak spots and work on them. I was fortunate that an editor and publisher looked beyond my weak points and gave me the opportunity to improve my story. This is not always the case.

So, what’s a writer to do?

Well, the very basics are simple:

1. Make sure you’re a part of a critique group with new and experienced writers. The critique members may be able to help you over the hurdles. At the very least, they’ll catch a number of mistakes in everything from structure to grammar that you missed.

2. If you have to, write a few different scenarios in the section you’re having trouble with, to help you open up. And, if you’re still having trouble with your story, put it away for at least a week, preferably more, and then go back to it. It’s almost like magic; you’ll see it differently, with a newness and awareness. And, listen when inspiration comes knocking!

3. Read a lot of quality books in the genre you’re writing and even copy sections of them word-by-word. Make sure to include recently published books by top publishers. This is a trick to get your brain to think and write ‘good writing.’ Just be sure to only do this for practice purposes. Never, ever use someone’s work as your own – that’s plagiarism.

4. Practice your writing – hone your craft. I’ve gotten better at my endings through working and practice. This is why there’s a saying, “practice makes perfect.” Well, if not perfect, at least much better!

5. If nothing else works, hire a developmental editor or ghostwriter to help rewrite the sections you’re having difficulty with.

So, the tips of the day: Pay attention to where your writing weak spots are and work on them. You have options to help you get your story right.

And, listen when inspiration comes knocking!

So, back to the title of the post: What's your writing forte?

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, children’s ghostwriter, and online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. For must-know writing and marketing tips, get free access to The Writing World.

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