Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 4/11/14

OH MY GOSH! My hands are so full! The two-year-old just pulled the pile of clean laundry onto the floor where the dog threw up! My phone is vibrating in my pocket and the computer is dinging with incoming messages. The crockpot has run dry and the stew is burning. My coffee is cold and the snow outside is at least eight inches deep. Is it really vital that I shovel a path to the mailbox? Today?

I don’t suppose any other writer has experienced this conundrum. Right? Well, I’m guessing that most of us have at least a passing memory of such days—unless, of course, you might be an Ernest Hemingway who sat back and came up with quotes like, “Never confuse movement with action.” He may have been suggesting that it takes a lot of sitting and thinking to produce literature, yet I do wonder how he ever got those books written.

Time and time again I see the truth of another concept as stated in this quote from Lucille Ball (actress/comedian): “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” THAT is how I see my author friends in the midst of their creative process—BUSY with life and living! So, when someone throws a red flag in my direction and tells me that finishing their book is “just impossible,” they will see my hand raised in stop-sign motion. Don’t EVER think in that direction! There are just too many support avenues to help a writer over the speed bumps. SO…if you’re feeling weighed down with the “can’t make its” here are a few tips.

  • Pick up a BOOK! If you have a true favorite book (mine is the ROBE by Lloyd C. Douglas), pull it off the shelf and start reading! Not only will this alert everyone around you that you’re entering “quiet-time,” the story will take you to marvelous places.
  • IF your “hands” are really too full, talk to your family and ask for help. You are a very important person in their lives and I believe (and I’m rarely wrong-ha!) that they will step up and DO some of those chores—taking you out of the pressure cooker. That is better than any “bubble bath moment” you’ve ever experienced!
  • Call a writing friend. Don’t talk about the problems you might be facing! Talk about their book project. Not only will their efforts re-energize you, they will probably ask about your characters (or plot or setting) and you’ll find yourself making notes to use the minute you’re off the phone.
  • If you’ve reached the point of selecting a publisher, talk to your support team. Their inspired ideas for the production of your book will motivate you, too.

Finally, the best resource you’ll ever find is TOMORROW. There is only so much any human being can fit into one day. So get a good night’s sleep and remember that the giant trees of tomorrow (your books) are planted by the seeds of today.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 3/28/14

MENTOR! MENTOR!

From the first cave carvings, to the invention of paper, the printing press, computers, blogs, tweets and twitters, people have been simply driven to communicate. However, what we communicate and how well we do so can be “a horse of a different color” altogether. When the desire is there and ink is flying, sometimes clarity (or focus) is lost. That is why I applaud all writers who read as passionately as they write and who seek the mentorship of authors they admire. If you read my blog last week you know of my mentor and friend Lois Beebe Hayna, who has definitely made a big difference in my life! (Google her name and you’ll be inspired.)

One of the genres I love to read (and write when time allows) is Science Fiction. Two of the big names in that field are Isaac Asimov (biochemistry professor and science fiction author) and Gene Roddenberry (screenwriter and creator of the Star Trek phenomenon). I have read—and watched—the creations of both these gentleman, appreciating their differences while thankfully enjoying their individual expertise. Then I discovered that they had become fast friends and actually considered each other “mentors,” as science inspired imagination and imagination pushed science. However, that didn’t happen immediately. Mr. Azimov wrote a challenging letter to “show” where Mr. Roddenberry was wrong in the scientific portrayal of scenes in Star Trek. It was Mr. Roddenberry’s passionate defense of his TV series that caused Azimov to re-think his position. Eventually Azimov agreed that Roddenberry’s writing was “intellectually stimulating,” and through their close friendship, he served as an advisor on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yes, writers who seem to be at an impasse can (and do) mentor each other.

So, how do you find the best writing mentor? Here are a few tips:

  • Look for an author of your preferred genre, one whose books you sincerely appreciate.
  • Research that person, website, Facebook, Twitter, publisher, etc, and decide which avenue they have opened for “contact.” It is important to be respectful of that; it is also valuable to discover whether or not they’ve mentored other writers.
  • Write to them. You are a writer seeking writing help and the way you construct your request will speak beyond the words on the page. Be brief, be polite (not overly solicitous), and be ready to thank them for any reply even if it is “No.” This can be an email message; however, I highly recommend mailing a letter.
  • Mentors can also be found through genre-specific conferences and writing groups, such as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Science Fiction Writers of America and the Colorado (or Philadelphia) Christian Writers Conference.

One exceptional group of people who can and DO mentor fledgling authors are the self-publishing teams who are totally focused on helping authors see their books in print. If you are too shy to contact a “famous” author, research the self-publishing industry and select one or two businesses to contact. You will be quickly impressed by the benefits!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Other Writers Are Your Best Friend

In some industries, professionals are highly competitive, and they treat their fellow professionals as competitors rather than peers. Not in the publishing industry. Sure, it is competitive, but most writers respect other people’s work and want to see other writers succeed. When you considering publishing, befriending a fellow writer is the best thing you can do.

There are so many decisions that impact the success of your book: the cover, the price, the marketing efforts, and so on. Before you make those decisions, you should find out about other writers’ experiences. Most likely, they would be more than happy to share.

Look for writers in your writing group or classes, or reach out to a published writer in your area. You can also connect with other writers through online forums and social media. Most likely, the writers will feel honored to share their stories. Before talking with your new friends, come up with a list of questions. Here are a few to get you started.

Looking back, what would you do differently?

What was the best choice you made?

What were your goals?

What would you recommend to a writer considering publishing for the first time?

After your conversation, be sure to thank the writer for helping and consider staying in touch. It is great to have fellow writers to share ideas and stories with. It cannot only help you with publishing, but it could improve your writing.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.