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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Lois W. Stern Offers Writers Opportunities for Growth

I asked Lois Stern to share the opportunities she provides for writers with her Tales2Inspire series of anthologies and contests. It is important because it helps authors--newbies as well as experience authors--a chance to build their platforms.  

Lois W. Stern Brings You Tales2Inspire®

A Great Opportunity for Both Seasoned Authors and Talented Newbies

Tales2Inspire was a kernel of an idea that I started in 2012 as both an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project and a contest. It has since grown to proportions even I didnt dare to envision. My innate curiosity about potentially fascinating human interest stories was the spark that ignited this idea, but it was the confused state of traditional publishing that propelled me forward.

The Tales2Inspire® Contest

Tales2Inspire is a non-fiction short story contest with a new theme each year. The theme for 2018 is MAKING A DIFFERENCE (either a Kid Making a Difference in this World or Someone Making a Difference in the Life of a Child)

* FREE to enter
* Winning stories get published in a Tales2Inspire anthology.
* Deadline date: May 1, 2018
*  Winners get lots of positive rewards - (Click here to learn ‘What’s in it for You’ (or copy and pastehttp://tales2inspire.com/contest/awards/ into your browser.)

The Tales2Inspire® Project

Step 1. Each year I read through every submission and give that author initial feedback, sometimes even with a suggestion to tighten their story, sometimes to thank them while explaining that it doesn’t seem a good fit for this project.

Step 2. Stories accepted into this competition are judged by a jury of three peers, using a click, click, click automated form. Each judge also offers a brief critique to include at least one suggestion for improving the story - unless of course they gave it a perfect score.

Step 3. I compile the anonymous critiques and return them to each writer. They then have the opportunity to consider their fellow authors’ suggestions, edit their stories and resubmit.

Step 4. Most of the time there is basic consistency in the three judgesscores. I total those scores, divide by three and assign Winner, Finalist and Honorable Mention awards based on those score averages. But when  judges disagree, I call on members of my writers’ group for further input.

Guidelines For Writing a Winning Story

* I think it would be really helpful to first read a few of the Tales2Inspire winning  stories from past years. You can get a FREE sampler for you Kindle, Nook, iPad . . .. Just click here (or copy and paste www.tales2inspire.com/gift into your browser). Read them to get a sense of the type stories that have won in past years.

*  The Guideline for Writing a Winning Story are detailed at: http://tales2inspire.com/contest/guidelines/. Once you have read them, polished your story to perfection and are ready to submit your story, click here for details (or copy and paste: http://tales2inspire.com/contest/submit/ into your browser) to learn how to submit it.
Author Rewards

* Tales2Inspire authors get some significant platform building boosts as being named a Tales2Inspire award winner is impressive,.

* Savvy authors display the T2I seal on their websites, include it in their media kits and more.
* Tales2Inspire goes to great lengths to promote their authors by highlighting each in turn on the T2I website and monthly newsletter and pitching them to several social media venues. Some of these stories even make video appearances on our YouTube channel: https:/www.youtube.com/WinningTales.
Click here  to watch the video Whats In It For Me or copy and paste:

And while you’re there, you might want to catch some of the video ‘tale’ production on our YouTube channel.

Why Tales2Inspire Authors Love to Participate

Tales2Inspire delivers exactly what it promises as both an Authors Helping Authorsproject and a contest. Winners get their stories published in print, e-book and some even in video formats, with their names, headshot photos, and mini-autobiographies.

A number of my Tales2Inspire winners are repeat performers, with winning stories published in two or more books. Not only are they talented writers, but they know a good thing when they see it, and have used their awards to advantage in furthering their careers.

But less seasoned participants soon learn that T2I is a great place to test their wings. When I see a nugget of gold hidden in a submitted tale, I can’t resist. I will work with that author to help them polish their story to perfection. Although these stories can’t be designated winner, they still can get published after final drafts are approved. It’s win-win for both of us. I am able to help these authors strengthen their writing skills, and if that carefully fine tuned story gets published in a Tales2Inspire collection, further them on their paths to discovery.


Can you tell I’m a retired teacher and current workshop leader? Bet you’d never guess!


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )

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