Category Archives: Writing Addicts

Remembering God Has Already Read It: A Christian’s Take on Surviving Your First Draft

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[GUEST BLOG by Rachel Newman]

WritingI find great joy and fulfillment in helping authors learn to convey their ideas in clear and precise ways while still preserving their individual voices. When I first started editing, I wasn’t sure if I cared too much about penning my own stories. My heart was for others; and besides, I wasn’t sure I had a story to tell.

So it was with great surprise and excitement that my story came in the middle of my personal Bible study with God. I was reading a familiar passage when images, people, and places appeared in the world of my imagination; and I knew I had to write them down.

Delving into my own work in progress (“WIP”) has given me greater insight into the struggle that authors go through. By the time their manuscripts arrive in my inbox, they have poured months and sometimes years into bringing their pages to life. They have revised and rewritten multiple times and they are finally ready for a final polish. It is a vulnerable place to be—to have a professional handle your work with the intent on improving it.

But if you are still neck-deep in your first draft, you may wonder if you will even get to that point. Life can be full of obligations and responsibilities, and your writing can sometimes fall into last priority. Or maybe you have plenty of time to write, but the words you need are MIA.

The following have helped me survive the discouragement, the weight, and even the elation of composing that first draft. I hope these will help you too.

1. Don’t edit

Editing uses a different part of your brain than writing does. When you are in the creative mode, you don’t need to think about whether your sentence structure is correct or even if you are using the right words. Just tell the story. You will edit it later.

2. Write every day

You may not have the time to sit in front of the computer for hours every day; but if you write a little every day, it accumulates. All those days you would have said, “I’ll wait until I have enough time” turn into useful stepping stones to that finished product.

When I first started my WIP, I would allow weeks and sometimes months to pass before I would pick it back up. I was waiting for large blocks of time in which I could get substantial work completed. At one point, an author friend challenged me to write one page a day and I took him up on that challenge.

The problem was, I wasn’t always able to be at my computer long enough to hammer out a page. So I came up with a solution that worked for me. I carried around a diary everywhere I went and anytime I was able, I wrote down the story by hand. My goal was one page a day. That small diary page may not seem like a lot, but at the end of a very stressful, full day, it was doable. As each day passed, the story took shape and slowly, but surely, became a reality—all thanks to my friend who challenged me. That leads into my next point.

3. Find trusted friends

…who will challenge you, encourage you, and ask you about your WIP. These friends can be found in a writers’s group, at church, or in writing forums online. It is important they be trustworthy and want you to succeed.

4. You are not on your own

The last—and most important thing to keep in mind—is that you are not on your own with this draft. You have been made in the image of God, and He has given you this story. Since He is outside of time, He has already seen your completed work; He knows how the story ends, and how you are going to get there. Anytime you find yourself at a loss for words, return your mind to the place of His presence. Meditate on His love.

1 John 4:10 tells us: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

In His presence, your sins are erased. There is nothing between you and His love. He has opened His mind to yours and joined your spirits together. In that place, your story will continue. Your efforts fall away, and His strength becomes your sustaining force.

These are the things that keep me plowing ahead, excited to see how the story unfolds. What other strategies have you discovered to help you finish your WIP?

Pleasant penning,
Rachel Newman
Freelance Editor and Indexer
Certified Paralegal
MrsMatthewNewman@gmail.com

I would love to meet you! Join me May 1–2, 2015 in Austin, Texas at PENCON 2015, the only convention for Christian editors. Learn how to enter the editing field or enhance an already established business. Network with other editors, and meet with the speakers one-on-one. Visit: thechristianpen.com.

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Writers: How to Decide if You Need a Blog or Website

 Guest Blog by Robert Mening

 

I’ve been building websites since 2009 and I wanted to share my knowledge on that topic to help fellow freelance writers.

Lately, I’ve been helping a lot of writers, small businesses and even startups to set up their own sites. I’ve also received a ton of questions from my visitors.

One of the main question that is being asked a lot is following: “Is it difficult to create a website for myself? Or perhaps I should hire a web designer?”

In short, setting up a website is easy as boiling eggs these days. Fairly easy, but you can still get a couple of things wrong.

Decide: Blog or a website?

Blog is a type of website, nothing else. Blogs are built on CMS (Content management software), such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogspot, Drupal and so on.

I’m preaching WordPress since this is by far the easiest platform to add new content, images and even videos. So if you are a writer, go with WordPress. Or if you don’t like the interface for some reason, you could also try Blogspot.

WordPress has a big variety of different FREE themes, which you can easily change on your WordPress admin page. It’s very user-friendly and doesn’t have a huge learning curve.

With those platforms (WordPress & Blogspot) you are able to create a blog as well as a website or just a mixture of them. Problem solved. There’s absolutely no need to start learning HTML5 or any other coding languages.

Decide: Self-hosted or not?

If you have some money to spend on your website – go with self-hosted option.

If you don’t want to spend ANY money on your website – go with a free service.

When you go with a self-hosted version, you’ll also need a hosting and domain name. This will cost you approx. $40 – $80 per year. One of the best in the hosting & domain industry is HostGator and Godaddy. Here’s what you can get from them:

  • You get a personal e-mail address: john@YourAwesomeSite.com
  • You have your own personal domain name, rather than having a blogspot.com/yoursitenamehere
  • You have full control over your site. No one can take it down or delete it.

As an alternative, you could try free blogging/website services such as Blogger or free version of WordPress.

What should YOU add on your website

Now that you’ve got a website with a theme, be sure to add a couple of really important pages.

1) Add an “About me” page, so the people can check out whose stories they are reading. Just write a few lines about yourself – who you are, what you do and so on. This can get readers hooked up with your content very quickly.

2) Add a “Contact” page where the audience can reach you from if they have any questions regarding your writings. Be aware, though: If your website is starting to get a lot of traffic, you’ll get some spam as well.

3) Integrate email subscription service with your website so that you could gather your visitors email addresses and let them know about your new content, offers or even e-books. This email “marketing” software can be bought from MailChimp and Aweber. At first you won’t probably need it, but it’s worth adding at some point for sure.

Conclusion

As I mentioned above, creating a website is not a rocket science. There’s absolutely no need to fill a web designer/developer pockets with your hard-earned money. It’s easy – just try it out and see how far can you go. If you get stuck, you can always search information from Google.

Meet our Guest Blogger, Robert Mening:

Robert-Mening-251x300“My name is Robert Mening and I was born in Sweden, Malmö 28 years ago. All my life I’ve been interested in computers and web. I built my first website in 2004 and ever since then I’ve been a full-time web designer and web developer.”

 | WebsiteSetup.org | Email |

 

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Featured Writing Addict: Ingris Gonzalez

Ingris Gonzalez

 

WYANA-Front copyIngris Gonzalez was born in 1979 in El Salvador—a poor country, which was hit with a terrible war in 1980-1981. Her family escaped the war, and immigrated to New York City. She was raised in Union City, New Jersey.

At the young age of seven—her dad, consumed with drugs and alcohol, abandoned his family. Ingris began to write, dedicating journals to her dad and opening her heart to how exactly she felt, day by day, after he left. Ten years passed, and she met her husband and married at the age of seventeen. She and her husband, Chris Gonzalez, moved to Arizona.

Happily married to Chris, Ingris has been an X-ray technologist for many years at County Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Today, they have two amazing kids: thirteen-year-old Lindsey, and eight-year-old Joshua. As a family, they have grown a big passion to help orphans in Latin America; this has become their reason for their ministry, Alto Precio [High Price] Ministries. Through sales of their music and books, they provide meals to 150 orphans in Juarez, Mexico.

What is Ingris’s Genre?

Christian, Nonfiction, Inspirational

What is  Ingris’s Inspiration?

“Since my dad abandoned us at an early age, I would escape my pain in books and novels as a kid. In my teenage years, I started writing journals, which I dedicated to my dad—I thought one day he would come back, but he never did. Sharing my life story with other women in pain made me feel I had to share all of me with people who are, at this precise moment, living what I lived before.”

Ingris didn’t just write a book; she is dedicating her life—traveling around the world, giving marriage conferences and women’s conferences. She is also reaching female teenagers who are in need of an inspirational word of freedom. Being bi-lingual, she has the opportunity to reach many different ages, cultures, and genres.

What are Ingris’s books about?

Woman, You Are Not Alone
WYANA-Front
 “Ingris has just completed her first book in order to reach other women who are hurting at this moment. The book Woman, You Are Not Alone is a nonfiction book filled with true-life experiences lived by Ingris. Not only does she share her life with everyone, but she also teaches how to be free from hurt, pain, and disappointments from our past. With every book purchase, Ingris dedicates a percentage to feed orphans in Juarez, Mexico.
 

 

 

Amazon AltoPrecio.com | Facebook | Email |

 

| To book a conference or event: 480.262.5200 |

 

Tell Ingris you heard about her on editingaddict.com!

 

 

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How to…Write a Nonfiction Book in Ten Days (While crossing the writer’s block)

 Guest Blog by M. C. Simon

 

You have a blank page on your desk, a blank screen on your laptop, or whatever blank object you want to have in front of your eyes. You stare at it wondering how you will manage to fill it with words; wise, interesting, amazing words that will teleport the reader into a magical parallel world. While staring, you suddenly have a revelation; a deep one. And this revelation says that You, the Writer, are in the middle of a powerful and stubborn phase called a “writer’s block.”

The panic attack is nearing. The deadline for your book awaits you behind the next corner of time. Your brain starts to fight like a real ninja who is suddenly attacked by an army of mosquitoes. The writer’s block bites you from all directions at the same time. The white page becomes even whiter. It almost shines.

How can you overcome all these sensations?

Listen! I found such a simple method. It is so simple that even my two super-smart cerebral hemispheres wondered how this could be possible. It was a miracle. And I realized that… miracles are, in fact, in our hands. We can handle them if we use our knowledge and we trust in our passion.

Not too long ago, I found myself in front of a shiny blank page while writing my first novel; wanting to give the reader tools to help their own life on this planet, I decided that my first novel will be a combination of Fiction, Romance, and Spiritual. It has roots in old manuscripts written by humans who have reached high spiritual levels, and though it I wrap the information into a romantic adventurous garment—the intention is to awaken the incarnated souls who are now on this planet to seek the hidden meaning of all that is said.

I was left completely bewildered in my chair, near my desk, when the writer’s block hit me. Whatever I was doing to bring my inspiration back, did not return any positive results. During the moments when I was crying on my own shoulder, like a super yogi who can twist any member of her body, I was looking with lost eyes around me.

The next revelation invaded my whole human being (I have to mention here that in my case, the revelations are coming like trains in a railway station…when they are needed, and never missing). I understood what was happening.

The problem was my desk. Yes, you heard it well. My desk was positioned in such a way, that all the creative energy was being blocked. Even if this creativity would come in huge waves surrounding me, the energy created by my desk would block everything. Do I need to mention the so-called “poisoned arrows” headed for me from several directions?

Having many fields of interests in this life, and most of them becoming passions, I started to apply my knowledge about Feng Shui. I changed the position of the desk, I improved sectors needed in a writer’s prolific life, and after this, I started writing again.

The words were flowing in my head like a mountain river in its channel. The ideas were coming in such an intense way that I almost couldn’t follow all because of their speed.

Unexpectedly, in those moments of total bliss, I felt something I could compare with guilt.

I asked myself: “What are you doing? Do you really want to keep these only for yourself? There are so many writers who need to know how they can influence the energy around them!”

I cannot stand any feelings of guilt; so instantly, a decision was made. I will write a book about handling the energies that affect a writer. And I started to write.

The completed steps are as follows:

(1)  At the end of the first day, I already had written 20 pages. I was doing this with such a passion that nothing could stop me.

(2)  The second day found me in the position of wondering how to organize all the information—if I am using a Word document. For a novel, it is easy to handle the plot, but for a non-fiction book, the situation is somehow harder. You need to have control over what you are writing in each moment. At that point, I was losing a lot of time scrolling up and down inside the pages.

I remembered hearing about the miraculous software used by the writers, called Scrivener. I made some online researches, but I was not prepared to buy the program. Therefore, I spent the rest of the day researching other options that could help my organizational process. I chose a free software also used by writers for its ease and efficiency. It is called yWriter and I never regretted using it.

(3)  The third day I spent studying what the software can offer my needs.

(4)  The fourth day was occupied with the book’s plot. I decided to split the ideas in 15 chapters, some of them having multiple subchapters.

(5)  I practically started to write on the fifth day. The chosen title for my non-fiction book is “Feng Shui for Writers.”

The next ten days kept me stitched to my chair. The ideas didn’t let me go too far away from my desk; they were practically invading my brain, so I had to rapidly take them out to fill the page in front of my eyes – a page that was looking like anything else, except a shiny blank page. I admit that I didn’t even sleep the regular eight hours, which I used to spend in my bed until that moment.

I noticed that during the ten days, my sleeping habits had changed, and what before was eight, now became six or even five from time to time. I will not develop the theme here of what is necessity for the human body, nor will I talk about passion and desires. My goal was only to talk about “How to write a Non-Fiction Book in Ten days.” The main idea was already said.

To make it short, because you probably already want to go and write, I will then conclude with a personal advice, which I will split here in several parts:

(1)  While having a writer’s block, forget about your novel.

(2)  Remember that you have knowledge from so many fields of interests.

(3)  Look around you and find such a field.

(4)  Develop ideas.

(5)  Put them on the paper, like a novel’s plot.

(6)  Use the proper software to help you organize all the information.

(7)  Do research based on your ideas.

(8)  Collect information and organize them.

(9)  Start to talk about your knowledge, about your passion.

(10)  Add your heart there, powder on some soul, and mix it with some love for the reader who needs that information.

Now… Start to write the best non-fiction book that you ever wrote. You can do it!

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, M. C. Simon:

 

Snapshot_20140803_9-revised2

“Writer, translator, researcher, engineer, happy mother, and beloved wife. What more can I want? :)”

To read M. C. Simon’s full bio, click here.

 

| Books  | MCSimonWrites | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Email |

 

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Support Your Habit

You’re a writing addict. Wear the proof.

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[Reserve your T-shirt or hoodie today]

 

Support EditingAddict.com, and wear your profession with pride! And then, share with all the other authors you know. What a perfect Christmas gift!

 

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How to Submit Poems for Publication

 Guest Blog by Dr. Katie Manning

 

Every time I teach Creative Writing: Poetry to college students, I spend some time going over how to submit poems for publication, and then I require them to send out two batches of submissions to literary journals at the end of the semester. I set them up for the reality of disappointment by talking about acceptance rates (often lower than 1% of submissions to journals) and by showing them my own Excel spreadsheet record of acceptances and rejections. I’ve actually had a handful of students get poems accepted on their first try with submitting, and my own acceptance rate has improved greatly over time, so we must be doing something right.

Here’s the quick and dirty version of my publication lesson, which is based on tips my poetry professors gave me, on my own experience of submitting poetry for several years now, and on my previous experience of editing literary journals. Of course, the first step is actually writing and revising some brilliant poems, but being brilliant isn’t enough to get poems published.

 

1) Find literary journals.

Check out the literary magazine databases on Poets & Writers and New Pages. Look over calls for submissions on CRWROPPS. Stalk (metaphorically, of course) the poets who seem to be your kindred spirits by looking at the acknowledgments pages of their books and submitting to the same journals that published them. Most importantly, be a good literary citizen and support the publications you most enjoy: purchase a print subscription, follow online issues, and invest yourself. You can’t do this with every journal you ever send a submission to (or at least I don’t have the time and money for that), but being an active reader of a handful of publications will likely make you a more savvy submitter of your work. When you have a better sense of which publications might prefer which poems, then you’ll be more likely to have work accepted.

Also, connect with real, live poets and editors as much as possible at local readings or national conferences or wherever else you can find them, even on Facebook and Twitter. The more you network with other people in this community for the sheer joy of having their company and experiencing their art, the more you’ll hear about publication opportunities and find readers and publishers for your own work.

 

2) Follow directions.

You MUST follow the guidelines for each specific journal when you submit your poetry. Each publication’s website will likely have a tab for Submissions (sometimes housed under About or Contact Us). If they say to send 3-5 poems, don’t send just 1. If they say not to put your name on your poems, then don’t do it. If they want you to paste your submission into the body of an email, don’t send an attachment. Nothing will get your work tossed aside more quickly than ignoring simple directions.

 

3) Cover letters matter (sort of).

If you’re submitting in hard copy, then your cover letter should be in business letter format. If you’re submitting by email, then you can be a little more casual with the formatting, but you still want to be somewhat professional. If you’re submitting via an online system, then you might only have a tiny box for a cover letter, so keep it simple.

If you want to show your familiarity with a journal, it is appropriate to address your submission to the poetry editor by name. If this information is not available to you, then it’s okay to stick with “Dear Editor.”

Keep the letter brief! You might tell them what you enjoy about their journal, but don’t go overboard. A simple “I’m submitting three poems for your consideration” with a “thanks for your time” is often best.

Many journals want you to send a brief (2-3 sentence) third-person bio; this is customary in a cover letter unless otherwise specified in the guidelines. There are different ways to approach this: some poets are strictly business (notable publications, current job, location), and some mix in more casual and fun details (hobbies, family info). If you’re able, see what the journal’s bio notes usually look like and match them. If you’re not able to do that, then do what makes you happy. Just be sure that your bio isn’t more interesting than your poems…

One final thought: I was told as a student not to say that I was a student in my cover letter, and I caution my students about this as well. Even editors who think that they love undergraduates might be inclined against a set of poems if they assume that the writer is especially inexperienced. Your bio should be honest, of course, but it can’t possibly include everything about you, so be strategic with what you reveal.

 

4) Keep good records.

Find a system that works for you. As I already mentioned, I keep an Excel spreadsheet with columns for the journal title, the poem titles, the date of submission, the date of response, whether or not it was published, and any fees or payment. I also like to note how I submitted—online system, email, or hard copy. I had a professor who kept records on notecards in recipe boxes. Do whatever makes you feel organized and happy.

Keeping track of submissions is important. If you’re submitting in earnest, then you can’t possibly remember when, where, and what you sent. Keeping some kind of log will ensure that you don’t send the same poems to a journal that already passed on them. It will also ensure that you don’t submit another batch of poems to a journal that is already considering a submission from you…that’s a sure way to annoy editors!

This brings us to the topic of simultaneous submissions. Most literary journal editors are now comfortable with the reality that poets will send the same poems to a few different journals at a time, meaning that most journals will accept simultaneous submissions. (Note: Some publications still say in their guidelines that they won’t consider simultaneous submissions. You will have to decide if those publications are worth your time.) The deal here though is that if a poem is accepted for publication in one journal while it’s under consideration at other journals, then it’s the poet’s job to be a good poetry citizen and withdraw the poem from consideration with those other journals. This might be done via email or within an online system; again, follow the directions in each journal’s submission guidelines for best results.

 

5) Keep submitting.

If you’re not one of those rare, lucky poets who have poems accepted on the first try, don’t worry. Most of us took a long time to get a first poem published, and sometimes even well-published poets have dry spells. Submitting poetry can be discouraging, but keep doing it. To pass along advice that was given to me, this is a numbers game. The more you send out, the more likely you’ll get something published. When I was first trying to get poems published in literary journals, I would try to keep around 40 submissions out at a time (usually sending a batch of 3-4 poems to 3-4 journals at a time). Your poems have to find the right editor in the right mood, so give them the best shot possible.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, Dr. Katie Manning:

Katie-25Dr. Katie Manning is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman (Point Loma Press, 2013), and she is an Assistant Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com.

 

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How to Organize and Develop Your Writing Ideas

 Guest Blog by J. D. Scott

 

You may have had ideas come to you in a flood, or you may labor over them until they’re fully delivered, but they all have one thing in common: they need to be developed into literature. So let’s go over some techniques to help you make the transition from a great idea into a great piece of writing!

ORGANIZING YOUR IDEAS:

  • Do you have a lot of creative ideas for writing?
  • Have you thought of more than you have time to develop?
  • So what do you do with them all?

~ Write them down: An outline or a paragraph for the more complicated ideas, or a sentence describing the simpler ones, will help you retain your thoughts later.

~ Keep them organized: Index cards, filing cabinet, files on your computer, a binder. If you have multiple categories, you may want to divide them by color-coding the subject files.

~ Choose a subject: Now you have to pick! Consider the big ideas first. You may be able to combine a few into one story, but too many will confuse your reader. More is not always better! Consider your target audience, and focus in on that one idea. I would not recommend starting several writing projects at once. You could bounce from story to story, never finishing anything—or worse, get discouraged and give up all together.

DEVELOPING YOUR IDEA:

Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get writing! But how can this small seed develop into a thriving story? Here are some ideas…

Find a Writers Group: In person, or online.

Talk it out: One of the best ways I’ve found to develop a story is to talk it over, then talk it over again, and then some more! Have lunch with a friend or spouse, and share your ideas with them. Call another writer; you could be a sounding board for each other’s work. Using a tape or digital recorder can also be helpful. The idea is that sometimes listening to your thoughts out loud can be enough to get you moving forward in your plot.

Try Visualization: Play your story out in your mind like a movie. This is a powerful and creative processing tool. Picture your characters—what they look like, the environment they’re in, and what your senses are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. If you can picture it, it will be much easier to write. Photographs that represent settings or characters that you’re working on can also inspire you.

Sketch or Doodle: Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this can be very helpful. You could draw anything from a character, a setting, such as a castle or house, or even an aerial view of the land your work is set in. They don’t have to be worthy of publication; they’re simply to help you “see” your story better.

Charts and Graphs: This could come in many forms, from: a family tree showing genealogy, a timeline with a sequence of events, a chart with the climactic moments of your story, or a graph of your characters’s personality traits. The point is, it has to make sense to you and help your writing to move forward.

Storyboarding: This is simply using still pictures (photographs or drawings) to tell a story. Screenwriters and cartoonists commonly storyboard, however, it can be a very effective tool to lay out the storyline of a book. This could also be done in small sections on a dry-erase board. You don’t have to be great at sketching; you are simply creating images that are significant to you, or using words or word groups to keep track of where you are in your story. Including character descriptions, geology, dialog, or location can also be helpful.

Puzzle-making: This method consists of writing down storylines on strips of paper so that you can shuffle events around until you’re happy with the sequence. It can also be used to arrange a family tree, show relationships between characters, or just to keep track of your ideas. This can be time-consuming, however, it’s a great way to show the flexibility in your plot.

In writing, the hardest obstacle to overcome by far—is SITTING DOWN AND DOING IT! Our lives are busy, and we have many demands on our time, but if you are able to carve out a time each day—or even a couple times through the week—you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I hope these ideas have been helpful to you, and have sparked your creativity.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, J. D. Scott:

 

1398565_625686540810471_203956950_oJ. D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.

In 2013, J. D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

Before being bit by the writing bug, J. D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth-group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.

She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | JDScottNovels | Blog | 
 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Email |

 

[See what J. D. Scott had to say about our editor!]

 

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Featured Writing Addict: Benjamin Phillips

1931365_1084550834666_7953_nBen Phillips is a 35-year-old father of four remarkable and rambunctious children. He has been married to his loving and patient wife, Katie, for 16 years. Ben’s lifelong passion has been writing and creating music to lead people into a better understanding of God’s pursuing love for them. By God’s grace, for the past ten years, he has led people in worship as a full-time career at Calvary Community Church, a non-denominational, 13,000-member church located in Phoenix, Arizona. During Ben’s time leading at Calvary, he has written more than 40 songs, and published two albums. His band, North Element [formerly North Worship], is available through iTunes, cdbaby.com and other major music-based websites.

Ben began his love for reading at the young age of eleven—he enjoyed tackling novels by authors like Stephen Lawhead, Terry Brooks, J.R. R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. Ben began creating fictional characters in early childhood, and progressed to writing short stories in high school. He found the same love and interest in writing fiction as in music. For years, as God led him to use music for His glory, Ben’s love for writing was focused on songwriting lyrics. In 2010, following a back injury, Ben was forced to lay low from his busy, musical lifestyle. During that time, a desire to communicate God’s beauty, plan of salvation, and love through fictional stories was rekindled.

Ben was becoming aware of the growing divide among American subcultures—and the general lack of interest in hearing the gospel of grace. These two realities, combined with his children’s love of reading, sparked the idea of joining others who have portrayed Christian ideals and spiritual truths through fictional characters. He had a sincere desire for his children to understand the honor, strength, and lifelong wonder found within a relationship with Jesus, and knew it could be communicated through stories and characters in ways other than theological non-fiction—a genre widely unread by the majority of the world’s children and adults. During the past three years, Ben has worked on a fantasy trilogy: The Shadow Champion. His new sci-fi novel, Eonian, will be published and released in the fall of 2014.

Ben’s Genre:

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-fi; Heroic Fantasy

Ben’s Passion for Writing:

“My passion for writing began years before I could read or write. It was a love that stemmed from a vibrant, wide-eyed amazement of all things make-believe: bedtime stories, picture books, theater productions, movies, backyard pretending—it all embodied the possibility of an otherworldly escape to my impressionable, pre-school mind. As a boy, I would get lost in books, privately placing myself as a character within those fictional tales. Before I was ten years old, I had begun dreaming up my own worlds, complete with larger-than-life characters, and deadly archenemies. It wasn’t long before I attempted to write down the adventures from my mind, often in storyboard form. Somewhere along the way, while I grew farther into adulthood, the wonder was lost to me, as I think happens to many of us.

In my early twenties, I came into a saving faith in Jesus. Soon, when reading authors like Lewis and Tolkien, the idea of writing fiction with the intention of incorporating analogous truths that hold an eternal value became romanticized in my mind. As I matured in my faith, the make-believe of my youth—that had once been lost—began to reemerge.

Without necessarily intending to do so, I found myself dreaming up new, elaborate, imaginations that I would share with my sons. I have to confess, the actual act of writing has always been more of a burden—a means to an end. Dreaming of the story, in all its grandeur and beauty, comes easily…typing the words on a page, to convey the depths of those dreams, is daunting to say the least.”

What is Ben’s book about?

Eonian

“Death, blindness, and chaos—this is the reality that the 22-year-old military subcontracted courier, Gavin Marksdon, awakens to discover. It’s been nearly six months since a meteor storm pummeled one of the largest cities in America, causing a mysterious plague to spread throughout the world. The unknown bacterium is saturating every living organism with a contamination level that is bringing all civilization to a halt—technology and organic life are both struggling to survive.

Gavin regains consciousness in total darkness. Recovering from a grievous wound received by a meteor fragment, he learns there is a tangled web of his own government’s knowledge—deceit as well as a war—that has raged for countless eons from beyond Earth. While battling powerful changes to his physical form, Gavin and his handful of allies find themselves on an expedition that holds the balance of their world—a world wavering between a dark evil, and a new light. Journeying their way through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America, to find and save Gavin’s 13-year-old sister, Lenora, they stumble on a deeper conspiracy of a global alien presence…and their own government’s betrayal.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
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Ben’s Published Music:

 

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This Dust
by North Worship; 2008 | Spiritual / Alternative

 

“Slow and peaceful tones collide with driving rock to create a worship project that glorifies Jesus Christ with the honesty of humanity.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
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North Element
by North Element; 2009 | Spiritual / Christian Rock

 

“A seven song EP with music that ranges from songs of wonder and praise to heart-wrenching cries for God to intervene in seemingly hopeless situations.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

Upcoming Events:

Book Launch:

Eonian is scheduled to be released in fall of 2014 through A Book’s Mind publishing. The official book launch is scheduled for October 2014. Watch for the date!

 

 

Tell Ben you heard about him on editingaddict.com!

 

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Bound by Fear

 Guest Blog by H. Squires

 

I am a writer, an author, and storyteller. It took me a long time before I could utter those words either on paper or in conversation. I was bound by fear—afraid of being judged, ridiculed, laughed at, or simply disregarded. My voice climbed only as high as the paper stacked.

From the time I was a child, I enjoyed writing. Rarely, did I share my work with others—or even let people know my love of words. I only allowed family members to read my stories.

After I wrote my first novel, I fantasized about being published—which actor(s) could star in the movie, and the potential revenue it could generate—but I didn’t spend too much time in “La-la-land”. Instead, I got busy writing the second novel, and by the third, I felt my work should be published. I was ready to share it with the world. However, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough to move forward.

I knew my husband and daughters enjoyed the stories, but I felt their opinions were biased. After all, they were my family. I needed others to give me their honest opinions. I had many unanswered questions pertaining to grammar, continuity, and the lack of clarity when it came to editing. Even though I considered myself [somewhat] good at grammar, I wasn’t sure if I remembered everything from school. Does the story make sense, flow right, and keep the reader engaged? You can do only so much research from the privacy of your home. I needed help—actual, human, face-to-face support.

One of the first things I did was join a writing group. It was an all-women’s group, so the tension seemed less nerve-racking. The group meets three times a month—one of which is a teaching class on grammar and other helpful tips. The second meeting, we are instructed to read our latest work out loud to the others. This was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in a long while. Reading to a bunch of strangers—a story that I concocted—sent me into a shaking-fit, so much so that I decided to hand my pages to another lady to read for me. I was astonished by all the positive feedback, something I hadn’t expected. They helped, reassured, and gave me honest advice. It propelled me farther.

Last year, I accomplished my goal. My third novel was published, and, for the first time, people were reading my work. It made me realize that others struggle with the very same issues as I did—not willing to share their stories. Some people are satisfied letting close friends and family read their work. For example, Emily Dickinson—a world-renowned poet—wasn’t discovered until after her death. Her younger sister found a lifetime of collective poems in Emily’s attic. Later, she sought the publication for her sister’s work. Imagine how different Emily’s life could have been if she had become published?

If you are a writer and have written poetry, short stories, or novels that serve as dust-bunny habitats, it’s time to consider sharing beyond family. Trust me, I know how hard it is, like bearing your soul to the world. Research local writing groups or go to online writer’s forums. You will get a lot of advice, constructiveness, and learn a lot. Who knows, you could be considered as the next Hemingway, Rowling, or Dickens?

Take care, my friends.

How to Find a Writer’s Group
Online Writer’s Community


Meet our Guest Blogger, H. Squires:

 

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Heather Squires’ life calling to be an author began in 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona. As an editorial writer on staff at the Utopian Newspaper, she decided to seek further review and publishing. The first project to be completed outside of the journaling world was To Desecrate Man, an action novel; completed in 2005, it became over shadowed by the second project: Rogue, a young adult fiction-adventure novel.

Upon completion of Rogue in 2009, Squires’ place in the young adult fiction world became clear. The Sphere of Archimedes began to take shape, and was finished in 2011. Currently working on the sequel, The Omphalos of Delphi, she continues to create anticipation for the future of young adult fiction.

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[See what H. Squires had to say about our editor!]

 

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Marketing: The Work After THE END

Guest Blog by Ginger Scott

Your manuscript is done. You’ve typed THE END. You’ve self-edited and have had your mom, best friend, sister, cousin, aunt, and the neighbor proof just in case. You’ve hired an editor to make it perfect, and you’ve gone through formatting and various platforms for self-publishing, or have handed everything over to your publisher to take on the remains of the process.

Phew!

All done.

Oh, if only it were that easy. I know I am not sharing anything original in saying that being an author was always my dream. It’s a shared dream—a wonderful dream. But for me, achieving that dream was always just out of arm’s reach. I was stymied by fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear that I would write something deep and personal and nobody would care. And getting over that first hurdle, the rejection one, was enough to keep me stuck in pause for a long time.

But one day I just had a moment. I refer to it as my “Jerry McGuire” moment, where I realized if I didn’t try, just once, to push through those barriers that terrified me, then I would regret it a little more every day until eventually I ran out of days to live with regret. So, I rolled up my sleeves, finished my first manuscript and decided to take a crack at self-publishing. (Confession: this cut out that first layer of rejection, and that’s what drew me to self-publishing initially.)

Writing was the fun part; dare I say, the easy part. Then the marketing began. My debut novel was a coming-of-age romance titled Waiting on the Sidelines, and before I hit publish, I read blog after blog on indie author dos and don’ts. I sent messages to some of my favorite indie authors, many who have gone on to become best sellers. And here is the cool thing—they all wrote me back. Every. Single. One of them. Colleen Hoover. Katja Millay. S.C. Stephens. Abbi Glines. Jamie McGuire. They are enormous names in my genre of YA and NA Romance. And they all took time from their busy lives to give me a boost when I truly needed one. I used their tips, went to many sites they recommended, and when it really counted, took to heart their advice to breathe and stay calm, remembering to enjoy the ride.

Marketing my first novel was a trial by fire. I pushed publish and went with the grassroots method, using my personal Facebook account to recruit word-of-mouth. The next week, I started to reach out to book bloggers. My goal was to write a personal note to a dozen every night. My list has grown to more than six hundred, and I spend time tailoring each email to the needs of each blogger. It’s that extra touch, I feel, that is vital. Book bloggers are the biggest ingredient in an indie author’s marketing plan, and I respect them greatly. So if I need to block out enough time every day to write with them personally, to create guest posts for them, to answer their questions, and to send them copies of my book in a format that works best for them, that’s what I’m going to do. This practice has proven most effective, and my first two novels, Waiting and its sequel, Going Long, have remained in the Amazon top 100 for sports romance books for more than a year. I know I owe the blogging community for this outreach.

My next emphasis was on social media. It’s one thing to be present, to post things and to share your own agenda—AKA pushing your book. But social media is just that—it’s social. You need to engage, having conversations on Twitter, reaching out to other authors and bloggers. Retweet for others, and guess what? Down the road, they will do so for you. We’re all in this together, and we’re stronger working together. The same goes for Facebook, posting and sharing for others, and asking your followers and fans questions so they feel inspired to engage in your posts. The more they interact with you, the more likely they are to come back. And really, as readers—powerful ones who share their opinions—keeping them happy, and coming back for more, should always be a top priority.

I’m on my fifth novel now, and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. I still adhere to the lessons from above, but I’ve found a few other things that work. I’ve also found some things that don’t—at least, not for me. Advertising is tricky—Goodreads ads for indie authors aren’t very expensive, but the click-through rate is difficult to increase. At least, it has been for me. I invest very little in paid advertising here, because I have found that my own elbow grease and social-media strategy tends to have a bigger reach.

I’ve also incorporated things like YouTube book trailers (it helps that my background is digital marketing, and I’m fairly handy at video editing). Then I add things to the mix, like Spotify playlists to share the music that I listened to while writing, as well as regularly posted graphic teasers and excerpts from the book. I’ve learned that planning these various elements beginning a month out from a book’s release-date helps to build excitement, making your first day of sales far more successful.

Finally, for me, I have found the best paid-resource to be a service called NetGalley. This is a service that allows authors to make their books available to readers of influence. It costs me $399 for a title, and my book is available to reviewers, librarians, educators, and bloggers for six months. They can read the book for free under the honor system that they will leave me a review somewhere. Reviews are like marketing gold. Are there people who will check out your book in NetGalley and never leave a review? Yes. There are flaws in every system. But I would rather have one more reader and the off-chance that they will tell someone, even just one person, about my book, than not try this service at all. So the flaws, I suppose, are worth the pay-off in my eyes.

This is just a quick tour of some of the things that have worked for me. And every recipe for every author is just a little different, and that’s okay. It’s best to keep your mind open, and to try—especially things with little risk and low monetary outlay. Because once something works, it can become a powerful tool that will help power your dream.

If I can ever offer a tip or advice, or be one of those “boost” emails for you, please feel free to drop me a line. Check me out online at www.littlemisswrite.com, and in the meantime, thank you for reading!

Meet our Guest Blogger, Ginger Scott:

 

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Ginger Scott is a writer and journalist from Peoria, Arizona. She has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals, and towns.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her 10-year-old field pop flies like Bryce Harper, or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scott is married to her college sweetheart, whom she met at ASU (fork ‘em, Devils).

Her debut novel, Waiting on the Sidelines, is a coming-of-age love story that explores the real heartbreak we all feel as we become adults throughout our high school years.

She now has five books in YA/NA Romance. Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling (coming soon).

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[See what Ginger had to say about our editor!]

 

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