Book Signing at Holy Spirit

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book signingBook Four! Sucked into Cyberspace. I’m finished. Writing is exhausting and exciting at the same time. Looking back on the journey I’ve made, the predominent feeling is definitely exhaustion. That’s until you get a chance to take your paperback to a book signing or author night. What a rush! I’d have to say, the most exciting part was seeing the line of young people lining up to buy my book. Needless to say, I sold out. Thanks to everyone who made my dream a reality. And thanks to Holy Spirit for allowing me to come and share my work.

The Writers Journal

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journalThe act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

I often find a sense of peace after I write even a few thoughts down on paper. Whether I’m making a list and checking completed tasks off, prewriting for a book, or sharing thoughts in my spiritual journal, pen to paper brings mental harmony. Let’s face it, I’m a word guy!

Oh the Pain

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SnoopyWriting“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

If you’ve ever had the urge to write and get a story out of your system or tell the world about an important topic, then you know the pain. The ideas of your untold story ruminate inside you until the urge to share overwhelms you. You do have a choice. You must sit down and write.

Writer’s Block

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7e1de-sevenbasicplotsWriting fiction or nonfiction is not for the faint hearted. It takes discipline, determination, a lot of time, good ideas, and of course–talent.

Like many writers, I have a hard time finishing writing projects. When I say writing project, you know that statement can be relative. Truth be told, I have a lot of irons in the fire as most writers do. I have a middle grade novella done that is resting, an early reader chapter book finished and waiting on pictures, and many other writing projects surging through my consciousness. But the current project has taken longer to get started than I anticipated. I usually get stuck on one aspect of the story and this manuscript is no exception, but my persistent gene will not let me down. Pushing aside the subtlety, I’m still working on what the character wants. In the draft I’m writing, the main character loves adventures because of a prize at the end.

How do you handle writer’s block? What are some of your tricks?

Here are some tips I’ve found that work for me. The idea is to get your brain working and to stop the cycle of writer’s block.

1. Go for a walk or exercise

2. Talk it out with a friend

3. Evaluate your plot plan

4. Develop your character’s backstory

5. Write anything

6. Research an aspect of your story



Writing for Children

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One of my passions in life is writing for children. The itch to write started when I was in college taking classes to become a teacher. I decided that I wanted to do a bit of writing for myself. Up to that point I’d written a lot of lessons, papers, and done exercises, but for teachers and classes. That was when the words started flowing and the genre was children’s literature.

Many years later, I find myself writing fiction for children. Now I have a blog and website, a pen-name, a few books to my credit, and even a few speaking engagements. There’s nothing quite like writing for children because most young children love to read. Reading is just part of what you do when you’re growing up. The other thrill about writing for children is that kids love unusual stories and wacky characters.

My newest story is called Dot and Scribble Fall into AdventurePicture 2A final

Hudson rubbed his eyes and looked again at the strange looking stick girl, who definitely was not his mother. Then he looked at his hands—gloves. He stretched out his long arms and clumsy legs through the branches and leaves. He had landed in a tree. Hudson grabbed for anything and held on.

The realization hit him. Somehow, he’d fallen into his own picture. But who was he? What was he?

“You come down here right now, Scribble,” the stick girl ordered.

“Did you just call me Scribble?” Hudson asked.

“Yes, I called you Scribble, and my name is Dot.”

“No way.”

Dot stomped her foot. “You come down, this instant.”

Hudson, now Scribble, shook his head. Was he really a stick boy up a tree? Was he really about to take orders from a bossy stick girl named Dot?

“I’m not gonna fall,” he said.

“I’m warning you.”

“I’m fine,” Scribble said, lifting up his hands.

The next few moments happened too fast for him to react. First, he heard the crack of the limb, and then he was falling to meet the ground.



Building a Fanbase

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Continuing with the theme of book promotion and your web presence is the idea of building a fan base. How do you build your fan base? What are some of the day-to-day things you can do to increase fans. First you need a book and a presence on the internet through a blog, GoogleFacebook, and other media outlets.The rest just takes work. Here are some ideas to help you get and keep fans for your book.

Build your fan base:

  1. Start a FB campaign to increase your fans
  2. Start a Google Campaign to increase traffic to your site
  3. Start a controversial web series
  4. Link up with other writers
  5. Start weekly twitter chats with readers
  6. Keyword your blog posts
  7. Create a monthly newsletter
  8. Create an affiliate program
  9. Host guest bloggers
  10. Become a guest blogger
  11. Create business cards with your web address on them and hand them out
  12. Put your photo on your business card for stronger branding
  13. Start commenting on other blogs (early and often)
  14. Host regular author hangouts on Google+
  15. Host regular author interviews on Google+
  16. Record your Google+ hangouts and put them on YouTube
  17. Get social media coaching

Cultivate Community:

  1. Create an online community with a forum
  2. Say thank you to readers with special incentives for being a fan
  3. Ask your reading community to design merchandise for your store
  4. Create a fan page for your main character (works well if they are in a series)
  5. Ask fans to create their own book trailers and post them online
  6. Offer core fans advanced copy of future books
  7. Ask fans to post pictures of “character spottings”
  8. Offer “extra features” on your website
  9. Use Twitter hashtags
  10. Poll your readers and listen to what they say
  11. Answer all your blog comments
  12. Engage with your fans on FB
  13. Ask your fans to post pictures of them reading your book

Writing Off Writing Expenses

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I recently had my taxes completed by my step-daughter who is a CPA. Thanks so much, Amy for all the hard work. Moreover, we got a refund. Yippee! I’m getting money back….wait, it’s my hard-earned money to begin with. Let’s just say the IRS came to their senses. Anyway, as part of having my taxes done, I attempted to write off my writing expenses.

Writing expenses can definitely pile up, and since we are taxed on our earnings, we should be able to write off the things that we purchase to further our careers.

Let’s begin with those who are writing solely as hobbyists, and are not running their freelancing as a business. This is me. Common sense suggests that you keep track of your expenses (contest fees, reams of paper) in order to offset any earning that you might have. One caveat for hobbyists is that you can never write off more expenses than the total amount that you bring in. Let’s say you won $500 in a poetry contest in one year, you will not be able to write off a full $1000 laptop that you bought to write your poetry on because this exceeds your earnings.

Those who have established their freelance writing as a small business have an advantage in that area. You can write off expenses that are more than your income in some of the years of operating your business. However, you must make a profit in three out of the last five years, or your business will be taxed as a hobby.

What can you write off?

Officially, your laptop or other electronics can be written off if they are solely used for your hobby or business. A computer purchase that is subsequently used as a family machine will not pass as a business expense.

If you’re submitting manuscripts and poetry to magazines and anthologies you could indeed write of concrete expenses like reams of paper, stamps, envelopes and the like. Memberships in unions and similar organizations are also allowable. I even write off business lunches, fees for assembly materials, and the cost of gas if my trip involved book promotion.

Next year, my goal is to make even more money so that I can claim to be a freelance writer.

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