How to Hold a Book-Related Event

How to Hold a Book-Related Event

Sometimes when you write a book, you find yourself standing there—holding your beloved masterpiece in your hands—saying “Now what?”

If you want to reach an audience, to inspire or educate, then you can hold an event where you discuss your book. I just held a book-writing workshop this weekend (not related to my books), so here are some of the things I did to plan and get ready for the event. Continue reading

Tips for Writing Dialogue for Your Book

Tips for Writing Dialogue for Your Book

“Well, dialogue is easy!” you might think. “All I gotta do is write stuff exactly how the person says it. I mean, it’s so simple. Right?”

Not necessarily.

When you write dialogue, you have to be selective about what you’re writing, and you have to present it in a way that it is most engaging and easy to read. That can be tricky, but if you keep a few things in mind, you will be able to write clear dialogue with your purpose in mind. Continue reading

Author Interview: Kathleen Bowers, A Sacred Silence

Author Interview Kathleen Bowers, A Sacred Silence

My neighbor Kathleen Bowers is also an author, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with her and chat about her book. She actually said that she had no intention of writing a book until she knew she had to tell her unique story.

What lead her to discovering that she had a unique story was a unique series of events in itself. One day, she happened to email Oprah about her friend who inspires her because Oprah’s website asked for people to share that with them. The producer of the show contacted her and invited Kathleen and her friend to attend the show, which would be the twenty-fifth and final Favorite Things show.

Everyone who attended the show was gifted a Caribbean cruise! On the cruise, though, Kathleen noticed that several people had issues with their documentation. Even her husband ran into a problem when the image that popped up in the ship’s system for his ID wasn’t him. “When we got home, we started talking about what our next trip would be. I wanted to make sure our travel documents were in order, so we wouldn’t have any issues.”

Kathleen contacted the State’s Department of Vital Records for their original birth certificates. “This is when I found out that my birth record was sealed. I was 55 at the time, and I was surprised.” Phone calls to several other offices yielded the same answer. Even worse, no one was allowed to tell her why it was sealed. This led Kathleen on a journey to discover why the answer. “I had unearthed a buried family secret.” Continue reading

Keeping the Momentum When Writing

Keeping the Momentum When Writing

We have been living in our house for about six years now, and I have never seen grasshoppers on our porch until the past couple weeks. It started with one a few days ago that my daughter noticed on the bottom of my shoe (my legs were crossed, so my foot was in the air).

The girls were curious about the grasshopper and wanted to touch it and watch it. They wanted to know what he was doing, where he was going, and what he eats. Then my oldest wanted to put him in a jar with some food so he could hang out with us inside. She got an absolute “no” on that one.

He eventually hopped onto the patio sofa and then the wall behind me. The girls pulled up chairs and watched him hopping up the wall, pausing, and then hopping again. They got bored and played a little longer. An hour later, he was on the ceiling. Continue reading

Where Does Your Story Fit In?

Where Does Your Story Fit In

Imagine that every point of light, every star, were a book. It’s not hard to imagine, really. If you go into a book store, you will probably see thousands of books clustered together. And that’s just a slice of what’s available. Remember that many books aren’t available in book stores. They aren’t super popular. They are out of print. They have been lost to the ages. Or they are self-published, and the author opted not to offer them.

With all those book, scattered across the sky, you know that there is only one sliver you can see at a time from any place on Earth. There are only certain ones you can see from our galaxy or from another galaxy. How many do you really think there are? How many are you interested in reading?

Certain books resonate with us; they form a constellation of what we like to read. Your constellation would be different from someone else’s constellation and from another person’s.

Now, where does your story fit in? Continue reading

Overcoming Writer’s Block Caused by Fear

081617_Overcoming Writer’s Block Caused by Fear

Of all the different things that cause writer’s block, fear can be the most difficult one to hurdle. It’s not something you can get over in an afternoon. It’s not something that passes with a mood. It can be very real and paralyzing, and it can prevent you from ever starting your book, let alone finishing it.

Sometimes we freeze when we start thinking about what happens next. What will people think of me? Will anyone read this? How can I let myself be judged?

Being authentic is scary, and opening your soul to the world—whether you write fiction or non—requires some degree of bravery. Unless you are a narcissist, you likely care about what people think of you and your writing.

So how do you get over this seemingly insurmountable hurdle? Continue reading

Advice to Myself as a Young Writer

Advice to Myself as a Young Writer

I’ve been thinking a lot about nurturing lately, especially dealing with the kiddos. How do I direct them to discover their talents and follow their dreams? It’s easy to just say, “Hey, kid, follow your dreams,” but that really isn’t enough. You have to provide guidance and an environment that allows for exploration.

So how does this translate to writing? I went back to the first big writing project I did: a series of 14-15 page stories (hand-written on 8.5 x 11 notebook paper) back in middle school. I was a big mystery reader, and of course, I thought I had read so many books that I could easily write one myself. Continue reading

The Cost of Self-Publishing

080117_The Cost of Self-Publishing

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind when they think about writing a book is the cost of self-publishing. Can I afford it? Will I need a loan? How easy is it to sell a kidney?

I can assure you that I self-published all 6 of my books while working a regular job and that both my kidneys are happily scrubbing away in my own body. Really. It’s doable!

Because you’re a smart, savvy kind of writer, though, let’s take a look at the potential costs of writing through publishing. Planning is, after all, a huge step in making your dream a reality. Continue reading

The Right Energy for Writing

Have you ever noticed that when you have a rough day, you just don’t feel like writing? Maybe you sit down at your desk and push yourself anyway. If you actually type anything though and don’t end up tossing your laptop against the wall, when you go back later and read it, is it any good?

Probably not.

There is a good reason for this. You are in the wrong energy for writing.

When you aren’t in the flow of your best energy, then you aren’t going to write like you. It can feel forced, frustrated, angry. And worst of all, when you read it later, that energy shines through. You don’t want to read it, and no one else will either.

The best thing you can do is to actually put yourself in the mood for writing. Continue reading

When You Just Want to Get Your Story Out There

I was talking about the publishing process with a client recently, and we were pinpointing his goals. When I started out talking, I went straight to that “the-sky’s-the-limit” mentality and mentioned some different ways that he can use his book to reach the audience he wants to reach.

I stopped myself partway through this conversation, apologized, and asked him what he really wants to do with his book. Maybe he didn’t want to do speaking gigs and meet with groups of people to help them out.

He took a deep breath. (I think I had overwhelmed him a bit.) He wants to help people who have been through the same difficult situation he’s been through because he didn’t find many books to help him out at the time. Then he said, “Honestly, I’m not looking to write the next great American novel. I just want to get my story out there to help people. After that, I’m not sure. I just want others in this situation to feel like they aren’t alone. Other people have been through it, too.”

I’m sure that plenty of people want to do the same thing. You just want to help others because you felt alone, scared, or like you were the only person going through what you did.

And that’s beautiful. Continue reading