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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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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lois Stern Shares Back Story Secrets for Presentation and More

It’s Easier Than You Think to Become a Winning Author: 
Give Us Your Back Story

Guest Blogger:
Lois W. Stern

As authors, we work so hard to polish our stories to perfection, often devoting years to polishing ourmanuscripts before they go to press. Hopefully, our readers enjoy the fruits of our labors. But as a presenter, I often find that sharing my back story is one technique that really engages my audience, helps them identify with me on a personal level, ultimately  resulting in the sale of more of my books.

I’m probably best know as the creator of Tales2Inspire, anAuthors Helping Authors Project/Contest, as it’sbeen going strong for the past seven years.As a result, most people are surprised to learn that my first full length book had nothing to do with inspiring stories. Its title, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery,was a groundbreaker in many ways- even meriting a few paragraphs on a front page of the Sunday Style section of the NY Times. 

So here’s how my ‘Back Story’ begins. I tell my audience that it took me five years to write this book. I had a premise that cosmetic surgery was more than skin deep. . . that there was a strong correlation between cosmetic surgery and sexuality, and set out to confirm or negate my theory. I began with serious research, guided by articles in professional journals. I noted that many were written by Dr. David Sarwer, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pa. School of Medicine, who pretty much confirmed my premise. (Dr. David Sarwer liked my work and ultimately wrote the preface for Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery - one coup for me.)

But I wantedempirical data as well. Through the able guidance of Denise Thomas, premier NYC Cosmetic Surgery Consultant, I was able to interview over 100 women, often touching on some of the most intimate aspects of their lives.

But I wasn’t finished yet. I wanted input from some respected, highly credentialed  plastic surgeons. Dr. Leo McCafferty, clinical Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburg School of Medicine, and later president of the most  prestigious organization for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, was one of them. He was so impressed with my manuscript that he endorsed it with a wonderful blurb for its back cover.

Well, it took me another year before I secured a contract with a NYC agent, but despite a lot of publisher interest, ultimately they all turned it down. Why? Word was that I didn’t have a strong enough platform, (and I was so green, I didn’t even know the meaning of that word at the time!).

That’s just the first part of my back story, the wake-up call that started me on my search for alternate paths to publication. It seemed a no-brainer that this must be happening to many other talented authors who were not being given a chance, simply because they lacked that elusive author platform. That’s when I began to envision creating an alternate path for all of us, seeking ways to help strengthen our opportunities for discovery and name recognition. 

So when I tell my back story,I often start with the reminder: “When one door shuts, another one often opens.” My open door led me in a new direction - to create Tales2Inspire®, an Authors Helping Authors contest/project all in one. We critique one another’s work and the best stories get published in one of the Tales2Inspirecollections, now seven books and counting. And did I mention it is FREE?

So now it’s time for you to share your back story. What compelled you to write?
And if there is a particular event that happened to you, so memorable that you needed to write about it, tell us about it. Who knows, you might even have an inspiring story to submit to Tales2Inspire. If so, check out the  submission guidelines at www.tales2inspire.com/contest.and learn why I call this an Authors Helping Authors project that pays multiple dividends. 


Lois W. Stern generously contributes to this blog on a regular basis. Learn more about her Tales2Inspire project at the tales2Inspire website: www.tales2inspire.com/contest.

MORE ABOUT THE SharingWithWriters BLOG

Carolyn Howard-Johnson runs this SharingwithWriters blog and writes 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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