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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Laverne H. Bardy Clarify's Writers' Biggest Dilemma: Voice

I find that the concept of voice is one of the hardest things to teach. I shall forever use this little essay from Syndicated Humor Columnist Laverne H. Bardy to introduce the topic! Enjoy!



FINDING YOUR VOICE
By Laverne H. Bardy

Writers are repeatedly told how important it is to find their voice. For me, this was the most difficult part of writing. It took many years of stumbling, guessing, and emulating before that finally happened. I had difficulty understanding what, exactly, it meant. Now that I get it, I’ve devised a simple way to explain it:

You have a room with a couch, a piano, a coffee table, two arm chairs, an end table with a lamp, and an area rug. Other than knowing you have a room filled with furniture, it says nothing about who you are.

 On one side of the piano top, position several colorful ceramic pieces, and a group of family photos on the other side. Place long stemmed roses in a tall crystal vase on the end table. Arrange three pillows that pick up the rug colors, on the couch, and a large floral centerpiece on the coffee table. Create a unique window treatment. Set a tall green plant in a corner behind one arm chair, an arranged stack of books on one corner of the coffee table and a large, unique focal piece in the center. Drape green vines over one side of the entrance way and hang a large floral painting over the piano.

Now, I know who you are.

Finding your voice in writing is much like decorating a room. The room is your chosen genre. How you express yourself in that genre is your voice. Countless writers will start out with the exact genre, but each will end up with entirely different stories because each has its own unique voice.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Learn more about Laverne H. Bardy on her website: www.lavernebardy.com. Read some of her Huffington Post blogs at http://www.HuffingtonPost.com/laverne-h-bardy She is syndicated with: www.SeniorWire.net, the author of How the (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?
and a freelance writer. Read her fun book:  How the (Bleep) Did I Get This Old .


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Loving and Hating Rejection Letters


I'm sharing with you an example of the kind of rejection every author wants to get--with a reservation (of course!) 

Still, I’m hugely grateful for it and happy to put myself on the line so you may benefit from it, too.  It is a rarity among the finer and more established literary journals in the world. 

Most journals send canned rejections. But if you watch for clues, you can tell which submissions will reap the most benefit.  As an example, sometimes they offer a subscription to their journal with your entry fee.  Some say you will get input from the judges. And some, like Missouri Review, send you rejections that make you feel good instead of lousy!  Keep reading for info on one of their contests! 

But back to the rejection and my not-so-grateful reaction to it:


From: Missouri Review <submissions@missourireview.org>
Date: February 9, 2016 at 9:37:43 AM PST
To:
hojonews@aol.com
Subject: Your submission to Missouri Review
Dear Carolyn Howard-Johnson,

Thank you for sending us "The True Big Bass Story".

This is a delightful story with a great grasp of narrative movement, plot, and strong insights on the world of journalism.

Unfortunately this particular piece was not a right fit for Missouri Review, but we were very impressed by your writing. We hope that you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else.

We look forward to reading more.

Sincerely,

The Editors of Missouri Review

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We’re awarding a $1,000 first prize in Prose, Poetry, Audio Documentary and Humor categories in our 9th Annual Miller Audio Prize audio competition. Send us your entries by March 15, 2016.


The only additional thing I could have asked for (would it be presumptuous of me to ask?) is, why would a story with bigotry as a theme be “not right” for a literary journal in a state that still harbors much bigotry—and don’t all journals (states) fall into that category? 

I guess I am like everyone else. I'd rather get an acceptance in my e-mail box. 


Happy submitting!


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Thursday, April 14, 2016

F. Scott Fitzgerald Almost Made a Booboo You Can Avoid

This is short and it's a recycled  tip from my SharingwithWriters newsletter, but I couldn't resist sending it to subscribers and visitor to this blog because it's a reminder that even great writers can make dreadful mistakes--but for wives. Ahem!  

After F. Scott Fitzgerald’s editor and his wife Zelda warned him against using an obscure reference to a first century Roman fiction as his title (“Timalchio in West Egg”) he changed it to The Great Gatsby. This bit of information comes with a reminder to take another look at your own title; does it do what you’d like it to? 
PS: You can subscribe to my newsletter at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. There is a subscription box in the upper right corner of most every page! 
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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Friday, April 08, 2016

Prodigious Audio Publisher Shares Audio Books, Tips

My psychological thriller, The Prodigal Son, is now available as an audio book on iTunes and Audible via Amazon.com
The Prodigal Son is a story about a teenager's refusal to attend school which leads to criminal charges against his parents and disastrous consequences for him. His parent's recent divorce, his father's hasty remarriage, his brother's leaving for college leave Andrew Tibbet in a desperate whirlwind of emotions. Using revenge as his weapon of choice Andrew sets out to destroy his family emotionally and financially. Psychologist, Allyson Freemont, comes to understand the boy's anger and frustration when she learns the disturbing truth about what's been happening behind closed doors.
If you enjoy listening to books, contact me for a FREE coupon for The Prodigal Son. I'd like to hear from you. (Limited time.) 
You can find The Prodigal Son here Amazon.com/dp/B01BPGJNQO
In addition to The Prodigal Son, I've now published five other audio books all via ACX. They can be found here:
Suffer the Little Children 
Amazon.com/dp/B01369MDYC

Sins of the Father 
Amazon.com/dp/B016LH0XOI

Amazing Grace
Amazon.com/dp/B01974PXLU

'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection
Amazon.com/dp/B00VU39JSA

Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony 
Amazon.com/dp/B00HYO5X98

I do a 50/50 royalty deal with the narrator. This does not cost me any money up front and it also opens up an entirely new source of contacts. The narrators have their own network and are eager to promote the audio book to earn royalties and to grow their talents with more and more exposure within their theatrical world.
Audio books are my biggest sales revenue. The audience is a smaller but these folks are eager to find new books in audio format. Not too many authors publish audio books, thus, there is less competition for those of those of us who do.
It's an easy process via ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) and it's FREE. 
Find them at http://ACX.com .
Please tell your SWW subscribers to give it a try ~
--

~  Valerie Allen  ~
                                                ValerieAllenWriter.com                                                    VAllenWriter@cs.com

The Prodigal Son
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer The Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Volume One
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Write, Publish, Sell! 2 ed
Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Monday, March 28, 2016

Valerie Allen Shares Book Cover and Spine Essentials

Book Covers and Spines
by
Valerie Allen

The front cover can sell your book. It must invite the readers’ attention, encourage them to select your book, get them to hold it in their hands, move them to flip through the pages, and help them decide to buy. A daunting task!
Browse in bookstores, and observe patrons as they scan a book cover. How long do they view the cover before placing the book back on the shelf or carrying it to the checkout? Research shows it is about 30 seconds or less.
     The front cover must be clear and convey the theme of your book. A non-fiction book cover is usually straightforward information and often has a sub-title to provide more details.
A fiction title can be misleading; for this reason, the book cover is even more important to convey the story concept.
The two most prominent parts of your book cover are the book title and your name. The title should be easily read from a distance of three feet.
     The cover of your book is the first step in getting a buyer’s attention. Unless you are an expert in graphics or photography, it is well worth your time and money to hire a professional to design your book cover or allow the publisher to do so.
If your book passes the front cover test, the reader will turn the book over to scan the back cover. This is a good sign.
The back cover should continue the color scheme and story theme/summary. It should have the book title, your name, reviews or quotes. Additionally, the back cover displays the ISBN, price, and bar code.
Also, the back cover is the place to add something significant about yourself, your experience and your credentials to boost your credibility as an author. Such phrases as, award- winning, multi-published, or popular speaker, will add credibility.
The back cover is the place for your photo. Unless it's a memoir, use a current picture. The background in the photo can lend itself to further you or your book’s theme. Do not date yourself with clothing, jewelry, or hairstyle.
     Books with the front cover facing out on the display attract more attention, however, most books are shelved spine out toward the prospective buyer. The wider the spine, the easier it is to read. The spine should have the book title, your name, and the publisher’s name.
     When designing the outer parts of your book, remember, white space sells. It’s easier for the reader to find details about you and your book if the information is widely spaced. Use a standard font for easy reading.

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MORE ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER

Valerie Allen, psychologist, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, plays,  and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition. She is also co-founder of Authors for Authors, which sponsors book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars for new and experienced writers.
            Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB ValerieAllenWriter, Twitter, VAllenWriter@cs.com or ValerieAllenWriter.com.


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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .