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:

 

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

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

 

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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.

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

 

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!]

 

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!]

 

Win FREE Proofreading at WiNS Conference

Feb-22-WINS copy

Win a FREE Proofreading Prize for 20,000 words!

HOW THE CONTEST WORKS:

To enter into the contest, share both Editing Addict and A Book’s Mind on Facebook (see details below).

The winner of the contest will be the person with the MOST  registered referrals who ATTEND the WiNS Conference (minimum of nine referrals required).

PROOFREADING PRIZE can be used toward your publishing package with A Book’s Mind, or by independent editing on your own, through Editing Addict.

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Share both EDITING ADDICT and A BOOK’S MIND

a) Share Editing Addict’s Facebook Page, (remember to tag Editing Addict in the share, so you are registered in the contest).

b) Share the A Book’s Mind poster of the WiNS Conference (remember to tag A Book’s Mind, so you are registered in the contest).

2) Register YOURSELF and FRIENDS for the WiNS Conference

a) Early register yourself for the WINS conference (see poster for details)

b) Have the MOST early registered referrals who attended the WINS Conference (minimum of nine referrals required)

c) If you have already registered for the contest, let us know, and do STEP 1!

CONTEST ENDS AT THE DOOR ON FEBRUARY 22!

Need A Writing Prompt?

[found on dailywritingtips.com; by Simon Kewin]

“Where To Find Writing Prompts Online

The internet is a wonderful source of writing prompts. There are sites dedicated to providing them which a quick search will turn up. Examples include :

There are also numerous blogs that offer a regular writing prompt to inspire you and where you can, if you wish, post what you’ve written. Examples include :

There are also many other sites that can, inadvertently, provide a rich seam of material for writing prompts – for example news sites with their intriguing headlines or pictorial sites such as Flickr.com that give you access to a vast range of photographs that can prompt your writing.

If you’re on Twitter, there are users you can follow to receive a stream of prompts, for example :

Another idea is just to keep an eye on all the tweets being written by people all over the world, some of which can, inadvertently, be used as writing prompts.

How To Make Your Own Writing Prompts

You can find ideas for writing prompts of your own from all sorts of places : snatches of overheard conversation, headlines, signs, words picked from a book and so on. Get used to keeping an eye out for words and phrases that fire your imagination, jot them down and use them as writing prompts to spark your creativity. You never know where they might take you.”

For more great information on writing from DailyWritingTips, click HERE.

[found on http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-prompts-101]

Finish Your Book…Already

[found on josephfinder.com; by Joseph Finder]

“1. Just write it. Fix it later. That means: don’t worry about word choice or grammar. Don’t worry about getting your facts right.

2. You do have time — if you really want to do it. You have a full-time job? A family? Carve out an hour or two early in the morning before the rest of the house gets up, or before you go to work. Or at night, if you’re not too wiped out to write. Try to make this a regular time slot — do it at the same time each day, for the same amount of time. Make it a habit. I know a number of writers who finally started making enough money from their writing to be able to quit their day jobs, only to discover that, as soon as they started writing full time, they suddenly became far less efficient. All that time stretching before them in the day — the two hours of writing per day they used to squeeze in here and there now took them eight hours. There’s something to be said for not having a lot of free time to write. It tends to make you more efficient.

3. Writing is a job. Treat it like one. I don’t work at home; I have an office, and I go there to write. If you don’t have an office, you should set aside a place that is just for you and your writing – the attic, the basement, a corner of the laundry room with a screen around it. If you treat your writing like work, your family and friends should do the same, and be more respectful of that writing time. No one thinks twice about interrupting a hobby, so make it clear that it’s not a hobby; it’s work. It’s your time.

4. Be ruthless in managing your time. This is the biggest problem most writers have. I have a big old hourglass on my desk for use on those days when I’m tempted to check my Facebook page. I upend it and don’t let myself get up until the sands of time have run out.

5. No e-mail! E-mail is truly our modern curse. It interrupts our attention span, fragments our concentration. Sign off. Do not let yourself check your e-mail or go online. Use an hourglass or a kitchen timer (if the ticking doesn’t drive you crazy) for 30 minutes or an hour, during which you may not do anything but write. In order to write you really need to get into the zone, and to get into the zone you need to be distraction-free. I love e-mail — but it’s the enemy!

6. Set interim goals. A full-length novel can be anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 words, or even longer. If you think about having to write 75,000 words – 200 pages – you’ll freak yourself out. But if you write 1,000 words a day, you can finish the first draft of a novel in less than three months, even if you take some weekend days off.

7. Work toward a deadline. Everyone needs deadlines. Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time allotted; among my author friends, I know only one who regularly turns in manuscripts before they’re due (she was probably like that in school, too). The rest of us need deadlines. My publisher sets mine, but even before you’re published, you will find that your own life gives you natural deadlines: finish that draft before you leave for your next vacation, before you turn 40, before your next high school reunion.

8. Reward yourself. In The Fine Art of Feedback, I write about the challenges of getting and processing feedback – but while you’re writing, it’s not unusual for your brain to second-guess everything you’re doing. Override this by promising yourself rewards for getting work done. “When I hit 5,000 words, I’m going to the movies,” or even, “When I finish this paragraph, I can have another cup of coffee.” It worked in kindergarten and it works for me now.

Go to it, and good luck. Next time someone hears you’re writing a novel and tells you that they have a great idea for one, you can just smile and nod and think to yourself, Yeah, but I’m actually writing one . . .”

For more excellent information on writing from Joseph Finder, click HERE.

[found on http://www.josephfinder.com/writers/tips/just-write-the-damned-book-already]

Don’t Worry About Other Writers Stealing Your Ideas

[found on avajae.blogspot.com]
“As most of you who follow me on Twitter probably know, I participated in #pitmad last Friday. For those of you who don’t know, #pitmad is Twitter pitch fest, where writers pitched their completed manuscripts to agents and editors in 133 characters (to make room for the hashtag).
It was a fun event, and a great opportunity for writers. If you haven’t participated in a pitch event before, I highly recommend you check it out the next time one comes around.

I noticed, however, that there were a few negative Nancies out there who would pop into the #pitmad stream ever so often and make a snarky remark to the effect of “I’m not sharing my idea so that another writer can steal it and make millions.”I’m not looking down on these people—in fact, I understand where their fear comes from. When I first started writing, I too shared a fear of having my ideas (or other writings) stolen online. For the longest time I didn’t participate in any sort of competitions or online critiques because my skittishness got the best of me.But then I started getting more involved in the interwebs, and wrote a lot more, and the ridiculousness of this fear became very apparent to me.The thing is, sharing your pitch is probably the safest, least-risk inducing way of getting your work noticed. Why? The answer is simple: your idea is just an idea.

I’m not trying to demean your work, but an idea isn’t copyrightable (and if you don’t believe me, the government says so). Truth be told, original ideas don’t exist, and even if your idea somehow defied that rule, it still wouldn’t matter if someone stole it.

Why? Because as anyone who has tried to write a novel before knows, an idea is just an idea. It’s the seed of a novel, but it’s just that. Even if someone stole your completely original, totally brilliant idea, they’d still have to write a book to match up to that brilliance. And hell, maybe they would. Maybe they’d write it better than you did. But their book wouldn’t plagiarize your idea any more than Richelle Mead plagiarized Stephanie Meyers, or Meyers plagiarized Anne Rice, or Rice plagiarized Bram Stoker.

You see, they all wrote books based on a somewhat similar concept, but they wrote their own novels. They each wrote something different, because they each had a different take on a similar idea.

Anyone who has taken a writing class ever knows this very well: if you give a room full of students the same idea to write about, they will all write something different. Will there be similarities? Sure. But does that mean they somehow stole from each other? Does that mean their work shouldn’t be considered their work, or that it shouldn’t be considered original? Of course not.

The thing is, even if someone liked your pitch so much that they decided they wanted to write a book just like it, it wouldn’t matter. You’re already ahead of the game: you have a completed manuscript ready for pitching and they’re just scraping together ideas for a rough draft. And whatever they come up with based off of those 140 characters, I promise you, will be verydifferent from whatever you wrote. And, there’s still the whole matter of getting it published, which, as you already know, isn’t so easy. So.

If you have to worry about something, worry about having your writing stolen if you post online. Worry about someone copying your blog posts and republishing them under their own name. Worry about people pirating your work and selling it for a profit.

But as for someone stealing your ideas? Don’t waste your energy.”

[found on http://avajae.blogspot.com/2013/01/dont-worry-about-other-writers-stealing.html]

Social Media How To for Writers/Authors

[found on pbs.org/mediashift]

“Wrap your mind around this: One of the most important factors that traditional publishers use to decide whether to acquire a book is the marketing platform of its author. You’d think that the main reason for approaching a traditional publisher is to reap the benefits of the publisher’s marketing, and you wouldn’t have to bring your own.

Life is full of mysteries, and whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you are an artisanal publisher (a.k.a., “self-publisher”), the potency of your marketing platform can determine your success.

There is no scenario under which thousands of social-media followers is not a good thing, so here are 10 social-media tips for authors of any kind.

1. START YESTERDAY

You must make progress along two fronts at the same time: writing your book and building your marketing platform. You cannot wait until you’re done writing, because a platform takes nine months to a year to build. Ideally, you started building your platform before you even began to write your book.

2. SEGMENT THE SERVICES

There are five social-media services to choose from. You need not use them all, but each serves a different purpose. I call this the five Ps of social media: Facebook is for people — people who you went to high school or college with and your family. Twitter is for perceptions — perceptions such as “I feel an earthquake and I’m in Chile.” Google+ is for passions — passions such as photography that you cannot share with your Facebook people. Pinterest is for pinning — pinning pictures with little interaction. LinkedIn is for pimping — as in making business connections or finding a job. You can use each of these to build a platform, but your relationships on them are apt to differ.

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3. MAKE A GREAT PROFILE

Your profile page is an ad. Its purpose is to convince people to circle, follow, subscribe, or like you. It should communicate that you are a likeable, trustworthy, and competent person. Two details: First, ensure that your profile has a high-quality picture of your face (and only your face, not your spouse, dog, kids, and car). Second, use the text areas to simply and humbly describe who you are and tell your personal story. For example, Peggy Fitzpatrick has a great Google+ profile. (See image above.)

4. CURATE, DON’T CREATE

It’s hard enough to write a book, much less create content for social-media sites at the same time. So give yourself a break and focus on curating the content of others while you are writing. Link to articles, pictures, and videos that are relevant to your genre in order to establish your expertise. Power tip: Go to Alltop.com, a site I co-founded, to find content on more than 1,000 topics. For example, the followers of a science-fiction writer would find “How to Deflect Killer Asteroids With Spray Paint“ interesting (found via Science.Alltop.com).

5. ACT LIKE NPR

NPR provides great content 365 days a year. A few days a year it runs pledge drives. No one I know likes the pledge drives, but we tolerate them — and some of us even give money. Why? Because NPR has earned the right to promote its pledge drives by providing such great content. This is a good model for authors too: Provide such great content that you can promote your book when it’s done. If you do this very well, people may want to reciprocate for the value you’ve added to their lives by buying your book. So just imagine you are the producer of “Fresh Air” or “All Things Considered” and look for interesting content.

6. RESTRAIN YOURSELF

NPR provides another excellent example for book marketing: It doesn’t run pledge drives very often. Less than 10 percent of your social-media posts should promote your book or other commercial endeavors. It’s OK to pour it on when your book launches, but back off on the promotion after the first four weeks and do educational things like free webinars and Hangouts on Air. You need to make a transition from salesman to teacher.

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7. CANDY-FY

Social-media sites are busy places, so people don’t notice all-text posts or posts with small pictures. Every post should include a picture that’s at least 400 to 500 pixels wide or an embedded video from YouTube or Vimeo. Eye candy counts in the constant contest for attention — if you’re old enough to remember, it’s like the difference between a Yellow Pages ad and a Yellow Pages listing. Check my posts on Google+ to see what I mean. (See image at right.)

8. RESPOND

Social media is a conversation, not a one-way broadcast. Every time you share a post, respond to the comments that it generates. (If it generates no comments, you’re doing something wrong.) A big mistake that most authors make is that they think they are delivering a sermon when a conversation is what’s appropriate.

9. STAY POSITIVE OR STAY SILENT

Even if the topic is an issue that perturbs the core of your soul such as gun control, women’s rights, or ObamaCare, don’t show anger. On a practical level, if you only want to sell books to people who agree with your sensibilities, you should prepare for a life of poverty. If people attack you, ignore them. If they attack you twice, block them from seeing your posts. And don’t look back.

10. REPEAT

Social-media “experts” disagree with me on this, but I’m telling you it works: Repeat your posts. I repeat my tweets four times every eight hours — you don’t get 1,240,000 Twitter followers by not taking risks. This is pushing the edge, but the assumption that everyone who is interested in your posts will see it the first time is naïve. CNN doesn’t run a story once and hope that everyone has seen it or recorded it to see later. At least try sharing a post when your audience is awake, then 12 hours later, and see what happens.

One last tip: Do, don’t plan. Social-media experts will tell you that the first step is to develop a plan that includes highfalutin elements such as goals, strategies, and tactics. Let me simplify the process of building a platform. The goal is to get 5,000 followers by the time your book comes out. End. Of. Discussion. There is little “right” and “wrong” in social media — even what I say here! There is only what works for you and what doesn’t, so jump in and get going. You’ll figure it out along the way.

Guy Kawasaki has 3,821,000 million Google+ followers, 286,000 Facebook subscribers, and 1,240,000 Twitter followers. He is the co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, which explains self-publishing, and has written eleven other books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Enchantment. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from UCLA, and an honorary doctorate from Babson College.”

[found on http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/02/guy-kawasakis-10-social-media-tips-for-authors045]

What’s that word?

Dictionaries—every writer needs them! This is the absolute best resource that Editing Addict has found on the dictionary front:

ONELOOK.COM

This dictionary allows you to type in ONE place, and yet see EVERY dictionary’s varied results.
 
Writing a book that takes place in Britain? Better find out if their definition of words are the same as yours!
 
This tool helps you to do that.
 
Perfection. Enjoy. Write!