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Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

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How to Write a Book Review


Bette A. Stevens:

READERS: Read a great book, but don’t know how to thank the author? This post makes it easy by making writing a book review easy. Helpful hints for readers on how to write a book review! ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Originally posted on Susan Finlay Writes:

Before I became an author, I never wrote book reviews on Amazon. It never occurred to me that I should. I would read them, but I didn’t think it was my duty (or right) to write them. Since then, I’ve written numerous reviews. My husband has, too. What I’ve come to realize is that authors and readers need book reviews from all kinds of readers, not just from professional reviewers.

Authors look for reviews because they are putting their books out there to be read, and they long for feedback. They want to know that people aren’t only buying the books, but are actually reading them. Reviews also help the author (usually) because they help potential readers make a decision to give the book a chance.

I’ll give you an example: I recently got a Kindle Fire and started browsing for books on Amazon. That’s an eye-opening experience. The first…

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Guest Post by Charles E. Yallowitz: What I’ve Learned


Bette A. Stevens:

Great advice, Charles. thanks. Also, thanks for all you do to help authors like me. Best to you, my friend. Sharing! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

You probably remember author Charles E. Yallowitz, who’s become a regular visitor to this blog and fast friend. He graciously agreed to a guest post on the things he has learned since self-publishing his first book of his Legends of Windemere series. Take it, Charles!

Stuff I’ve learned since publishing my first book

Beginning of a Hero (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE) Beginning of a Hero (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE) Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

So, Nicholas and I were talking a while back and I said something that caught his attention. It was a simple comment about stuff I learned since I published my first book of Legends of Windemere back in February of 2013.

I’m gearing up for the 7th book of the series, Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue, and Nicholas suggested I write about what I’ve learned over the last two years — that happen to feel like a decade.

Though I’ve learned a lot…

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Author Lisa Mauro Shares Time Management Tips + Giveaway!


Author Pic LISA MAURO

Lisa Mauro, author of  The Places We Went to Yesterday

 

I’d like to thank today’s host, author Bette A. Stevens at 4writersandreaders blog for hosting, and 4Wills Publishing for organizing this amazing opportunity. I hope you all enjoy the tour!

One of the things I’m often asked—from both writers and non-writers alike—is how I manage my time. “You’re all over the place,” I’ll hear, “how do you do it all?” By day, I’m a pharmaceutical consultant with hours that vary greatly and by night, I’m everything else. That everything else includes being a girlfriend, an aunt raising a teenager, a writer, a reviewer, a singer, a photographer, a Board member for The Women Fiction Writers Association, an active member of Rave Review Book Club and a host of other oddball hats I tend to wear.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s not really a secret to it. We’re all given the same number of hours in a day, right? It all boils down to how effectively you do what you do. So then the question becomes “How can I do things better?” Here are some of my tips:

Answer Those Emails

I’ve read countless articles on time management, and most advise that you should allocate one or two times a day only to respond to emails. I tried that and all it did was make responding to emails even more overwhelming. By only setting time aside once or twice a day, you run the risk of not responding to things in a timely manner.

Instead, I stay logged into my primary email (I have multiple accounts) as long as I’m in work mode and respond to emails as they come in. I’ve set up labels in Gmail and I prioritize items as they arrive. For instance, I’m currently working on a launch project for the Writers Association, so those emails get answered above just about anything else. As soon as I’ve responded, I apply the label and move them out of the view of my inbox. I only keep things that need my attention in my main view; everything else is filed.

Also, remember that not every email needs a response. If something is sent just to notify you and doesn’t require an action, file it immediately so it’s not getting in the way of the things you actually need to get done.

Learn Those Programs

Having spent “A Very Long Time” as an administrative assistant, I had a lot of time to get familiar with MS Office. Because of this, I’m now an expert of sorts in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note and Access. All of these have their pros and cons, but they’ve made my life so much easier. I use Word for my writing (versus a program like Scrivener) because it’s so straightforward and I’ve learned the shortcuts. I use Excel to track sales and build ROI models for my promos. One Note is where I keep my project ideas. And believe it or not, my first stab at making my own book trailer was done in PowerPoint. They’re an integrated system and I’ve found that taking the time to master them has drastically increased my efficiency.

Be Honest With Yourself

If you’re not a morning person, then don’t try to set goals or schedule the important stuff in that time frame. This might sound like silly advice, but I know so many people who try to force themselves into a pattern that isn’t conducive to their own biological clock. And in the long run, it doesn’t work.

I am a morning person, so I try to get at least a half hour of writing done in the morning. During the weekday, that’s all I can spare. On weekends, that usually expands to no less than four hours. But the important thing for me is that I have a quiet time set aside to do it. By the evening, I can’t focus on the things that require the creative side of my brain, so I use that time to work on promotional plans and plow through my read/review list.

Go on Autopilot

This is probably going to sound crazy, but I eat the same exact thing for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Not having to stand in the cafeteria, faced with overwhelming choices and struggling to make a decision means that I can get in, get out and get fed as quickly as possible. If the idea of this bores you to death, then narrow it down to a few items so you’ll still save time making the decision. Also, I don’t bother making elaborate meals anymore unless I’m entertaining. Dinner is something quick or made in the crock pot. I’d rather invest that time elsewhere.

Batch Similar Tasks

I try to batch similar tasks. For instance, I’ll block time specifically for writing and I try not to have to switch to something analytical immediately afterwards. Since I have a long commute, I try to do the majority of my calls in the car – whether they are work-related or simply connecting with friends. If I’m headed out for an errand, I try to do them all at once.

The exception to this—for me—is that I can be involved in social media throughout the day and still manage to deliver my other projects on time.

How Does It Actually Look?

When my consulting job falls into the 40-hour a week range, here’s how my week typically looks:

  Task/Item  Hours Per Week  Weekly                  Balance
  • Work
     40     128
  • Sleep
     56      72
  • Commute
     15      57
  • TV
     25      32
  • Writing (Novels)
     10      22
  • Writing (All others)
      5      17
  • Read/Reviews
      5      12
  • Music
      5        7
  • Photography
      2        5
  • Miscellaneous
      5        0

Now, there are weeks when my consulting schedule is more than 40 hours and I have to “steal” time from some other bucket. There are weeks when I don’t do photography at all. There are weeks when my time for music (i.e. practicing, etc.) is done during my commute to maximize the time. And yeah, I could spend less time watching television, but I don’t feel guilty about it because (a) we all need downtime and (b) I use the excuse that it helps me be a better writer and build more believable characters so really, it’s research, right? And sometimes, I’m reading such a great book that I take that time away from my “sleep” bucket. We’ve all been there.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to understand yourself and how/when you work best. Then create an environment in which you can thrive so you can get the most out of your time.

Author Bio:
Book Cover THE PLACE... by Lisa Mauro

Lisa Mauro is a novelist, blogger and pharmaceutical consultant.  She is the Secretary of the Board of The Women Fiction Writers Association.  The Place We Went to Yesterday is her first novel, published by Heartless Press.  She lives in Boston, MA with her better half, Brian, and an obnoxiously cute kitten, Harper.

Author Links:

4WillsPublishing Links:

banner 4WillsPublishing HOST“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

 

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Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers


Bette A. Stevens:

Awesome advice from one of the greats! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Jens Thoughts:

CA: Premiere Of Paramounts' Remake Of "The Manchurian Candidate" - ArrivalsWant to know what Stephen King says about writing?

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time…

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#FREE help For #Authors


Bette A. Stevens:

Excellent writing and marketing tips for authors. ~ Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

It’s come to my attention that some of you lovely authors out there need a little help with reaching your audience.

2012_0622 rose for rosie smaller

Now I’m no professional in the matter, just a mad blogger who loves books, but this is what I’m seeing more and more of and it alarms me greatly.

When someone offers to help an author with some FREE publicity, some of you run for the hills in the opposite direction. “FREE that can’t possible be right! What’s the catch? What do I have to do? I haven’t got the time for that? It’s sounds scary, better not bother” Hands up if a bit of FREE publicity frightens you.

How many of you have a one page draft ready which can be used as a base for any publicity piece? All you need is a bit about yourself, where you’re from, when you started writing, what genres you write in…

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22 tips from Stephen King


Bette A. Stevens:

king_fearGreat advice on writing from The King! ~ Thank you, Kim Hooper. Reblogged on http://www.4writersandreaders

Originally posted on Kim Hooper:

As one of the most successful and prolific writers that’s ever lived, I’d say Stephen King is a pretty good source for tips.

Source: Business Insider
(My thoughts in italics)

1. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.

If you’re just starting out as a writer, your television should be the first thing to go. It’s “poisonous to creativity,” he says. Writers need to look into themselves and turn toward the life of the imagination.

To do so, they should read as much as they can. King takes a book with him everywhere he goes, and even reads during meals. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” he says. Read widely, and constantly work to refine and redefine your own work as you do so.

Steve (can I call you Steve?), you’re killing me with this…

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The Queen and I: Working with your Editor


Bette A. Stevens:

Great writing (editing) tips! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on San Giacomo's Corner:

According to Stephen King’s On Writing, “The editor is always right.” My editor never misses an opportunity to remind me about that quote. Therefore I’ve created a system for editing, revisions, et al that prevents arguments about the placement of a comma or about the start of a new paragraph.

pen

Editing a Paper by Nic McPhee used under CC License

I #write out my first draft and look it over for something glaring like misspelled words. Then I save the document to a memory stick and pass it off to my wife, a.k.a the Editor and Queen (Grammar Nazi is too over-used).

She will read it over and type in notes and comments with Word’s highlight tool. For suggested omissions, she’ll change the text to blue and will use red when she wants a stronger verb. I think you’re getting the idea.

The memory stick comes back to me…

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ESTABLISHING A WRITER’S PLATFORM by Nonnie Jules


It’s my delight to have author Nonnie Jules here today to celebrate her Blog’s (WATCH NONNIE WRITE!) Birthday. Nonnie is also the founder and president of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. Readers and writers, if you’re not a member of this amazing book club yet, it’s time to jump on board. Nonnie Jules is here today to talk about Establishing a Writer’s Platform. Take us away, Nonnie…

New Book Club & You're Invited!

Today is the first day of my 15 day “HAPPY BIRTHDAY: ARE YOU WATCHING NONNIE WRITE?” Blog Tour and I’m kicking it off with a very supportive lady whose passion for children is equal to mine. Bette, thank you for having me and I hope that you and your guest enjoy me sharing the happy birthday.

This month marks the one year anniversary of my burst onto the social media scene and during that time, I have published three REALLY GOOD books, and have learned so very much about the industry. Although I’ve been a writer for most of my life (actually, I was born one), I only just became a published author in 2013. Some might say “In that short amount of time, what does she know?” Well, I’m here to tell you that “SHE” has learned a lot! “SHE” has taken the time to hone her skills in the writing department as well as her knowledge. “SHE” has taken the bull by the horn and run full speed ahead in building her author platform and establishing herself in the writing industry. “SHE” is making her name KNOWN.

On each stop of my tour, I share with you tips on writing, publishing and support, all topics equally important to the writing industry. I hope that what I am imparting, you will take, mull over, and then act on in the best interest of YOU.

With that being said, here is…

ESTABLISHING A WRITER’S PLATFORM

We, as writers, write and blog about many different things. We blog about our family and friends, exercise, politics and even the food we eat. But, unless you’re a family therapist, a fitness guru, a politician or a foodie, none of these are your platforms UNLESS they are all you speak about, the majority of the time.

Many writers pop onto the scene and want the world to know them as being “good in everything” and although there is a strong possibility that they are, readers don’t care to know this. Readers want to think that they are reading material from EXPERTS, and in the minds of most, we can’t be EXPERTS at everything. So then, you need to establish a writing platform.

I actually have two main platforms and they are CHILDREN & SUPPORT (although I must admit that I’m pretty good at writing about a multitude of things). If you were to mention my name to any number of people and ask: “What is her platform?” They would, nine times out of ten, give you the two that I’ve just mentioned, and in the exact order that I mentioned them. WHY? Because these two areas are what I write about, talk about and live the most.

So, if you’re not already, I’d like for you to watch me write as I will continue to offer more tips to help you begin establishing your writer’s platform. (My blog links are listed below). What is it that you’re most passionate about? What is the one thing you’re actually KNOWN for? That could very easily serve as the medium you need to establish your credibility with your new-found platform.

Bette, thanks so much again for having me!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nonnie Jules BookNONNIE Jules grew up loving books and everything about them.  She has traveled the world, jumped out of planes and climbed many mountains, all thanks to the wonderful world of literature.  She lives with her husband and two daughters on a very quiet strip of land in Louisiana, where red dirt roads and pick-up trucks go hand in hand.  She is the Author of three great reads at present:  “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love!; “Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend” (a novel);  and “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!” Nonnie is also Founder and President of the widely-known Rave Reviews Book Club, as well as being a sought-after book reviewer with a strong “eye” for perfection.

NJ Cover Design-1-1

She continues to write from many different genres and hopes to teach and touch minds and hearts alike with her very unique style of writing.  She loves positive feedback on her writing and personally responds to each and every email.  Nonnie can be reached at nonniewrites@yahoo.com, on Twitter @nonniejules, and do follow her blogs WATCH NONNIE WRITE! {nonniewrites.wordpress.com}  and ASK THE GOOD MOMMY {askthegoodmommy.wordpress.com}.

Nonnie’s feet are firmly planted in her two most important platforms:  Parenting & Support, where she continually invites the masses to join her.
BUY LINKS:

“THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love!amazon.com/dp/B00CP62056createspace.com/4355124
“Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend”amazon.com/dp/B00GLM2VVMcreatespace.com/4386308

“SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!”amazon.com/dp/B00IRIA0I4

 

 

 

 

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How to Avoid the Dreaded Dialogue Tag


Bette A. Stevens:

Thanks for the great writing tips! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Writers In The Storm Blog:

by Laura Drake

medium_3281242614Okay, I admit it. I’m prejudiced against dialogue tags. Yes, I know they say, ‘He said/she said’ are invisible to the reader.

They’re not to me.

Even if you don’t share my pet peeve, why settle for something so boring? You write a sparkling line of dialogue, and slap ‘he said’ on the end? Why not continue the sparkle instead?

But first, a few rules of dialog you may or may not be familiar with:

1. The ONLY time you need a tag is if the reader wouldn’t know who was speaking otherwise. I’m always surprised by how many NYT authors have tons of unnecessary tags. If there is only a man and a woman in the scene, and someone says, “Excuse me, I have to go to the ladies room.” do you really need a tag? Many times the dialogue itself cues the reader.

2. Names.

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Do You Write by Heart or Head? Technique Overload


Great Writing Tips! from Cate Russell-Cole

 

Do You Write by Heart or Head? Technique Overload

 

 

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