Colin Falconer, Family, Heidi Durrow, Liebster Award, Melinda Palacio, Michele Serros, Pat Fry, Women's Literary Festival, Writing

Writing to Feel Better


Heidi Durrow-Author

Boy did I have a great weekend. It started with  four ‘nominations’ of the Liebster Blog Award. That’s an interesting award, and I’ll explain that soon.


Next was the Santa Barbara Women’s Literary Festival where I was enthralled with the stories told by amazing writers. I was also lucky enough to take some photos with authors Melinda Palacio, Michele Serros, and Heidi Durrow. All of them were so sweet and I found them to be most engaging. Same as their fascinating stories. Of course, I came home with a bagful of books. And I won the beautiful centerpiece: a large terracotta pot filled with fragrant herbs and viola flowers.


Later I visited with my sister who took an unexpected trip into town, spent two nights dancing to a great band and gazed at the gorgeous supermoon on a warm coastal night. The one below is over our pier in Ventura, CA.

FjB63 Studio

I’m so glad for the amazing weekend because today I feel kind of lousy. Two of my three kids caught a stomach flu with resulting headaches, temps, and a bad case of the ‘ralphs.’ (throwing up). Ugh, I know you probably did not want to hear that last item, TMI for sure. 


I explain this because I didn’t want to do revisions on my WIP today nor blog but proceeded to read the blogs I follow instead. I’m glad I did because I came across Colin Falconer’s post. He tells a lovely story about his mother and the history of memories. After attending to the kids, making chicken soup, and cleaning up, I fell asleep. Then I got up and read more posts. Which led me to Patricia Fry’s blog on writing. 

Her question: What motivates you to write? 


It made me think. Although I still feel rumblies in my tumblie, I’ll feel worse (emotionally) if I don’t write something today. So now that the nap refreshed me and the aspirin kicked in,  I think I’ll jot my thoughts down. 

If I’m rambling, please understand. 

Now back to the Liebster Blog award, which makes me feel even better. 



The word “liebster” allegedly means dearest in German. I don’t know about that, but its a sweet idea. The writers/poets who nominated this blog were:

Michelle Pond, at MAPoet who was so kind as to say I tell amazing stories. She’s just published a book “I Keep You With Me-Looking at Grief with Verse.” 

Sarah over at Sarah Writes has a funny story on Beta readers that I completely agree with and took to heart.

I love Jennifer Chow’s description on her profile: “Like a fortune cookie, I’m twisted into dual selves, my Asian-American nature. This blog serves my words and my culture in a written delicacy.”  Captivating.

And lastly, the tagline on Bonnie’s blog, Just Ventures Coaching, is a twist on one of my favorite quotes from Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see.” Her unique twist is ” It’s Time to be The Change.” Here, here. 

Now, the awardee (me) is supposed to nominate 5 bloggers for every nomination. That would be 20 bloggers. Remember I said I’m not feeling too well? So you will forgive me if I nominate one writer-(pretty please)

Nomination goes to:

 Anne because she made me laugh so hard when I read about the Jersey Oompa-Loompa Mom. I’m sure she’ll have you ROFL-ing. 

(it’s not the ralph mentioned previously , but rolling on the floor laughing). 

Enjoy their blogs!

blogs, Ojai Wordfest, Pat Fry, Promoting your book, Publishing

"The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Book"-Part 2 of Wordfest workshop.

     Yesterday I talked about the first half of Pat Fry’s workshop. Today I’ll list her 10 ways to promote your book and include some information from other sources that fall into Pat’s listed categories. By now the newbie writer knows that promoting (selling) their book can be more difficult than writing their novel. That’s the purpose of blogging this kind of information. It’s not to discourage, it’s to educate one in the realities… not to beat you up but beef you up. It’s the author’s responsibility to promote the book.
     Okay, so celebrities of all sorts (movies, TV, radio) get an easy ride. All they have to do is show up at their own book signing, tweet about it, or hold up their book while on the Today show and droves of readers run to the bookstores or make a few clicks online. The book can be drivel, violate all rules of grammar, or shift in the point of view until the eyes cross, but it still gets the attention and the sales.
    But for the rest of us, there are some concrete things to do to promote your book, short of doing what the photo below suggests.

 Let’s get started:

1. Build promotion into your non-fiction: interview people, name them and they will want to see your book in print. Involve products with permission and promote book in that type of business: i.e. motorcycles, computer software, tourism bureaus or tourist locations.
2. Public speaking: Yes you may have to brush up on your presentation skills and step outside your comfort zone. Be flexible, be an actor, be ready to go this route as part of promotion.
3. Build a meaningful blog, website or both. Did you catch that word “meaningful?”  Keep up the site, do regular maintenance, keep it fresh and professional. There are so many writers, agents, and publishers who share valuable information. Get into that spirit of generosity. Blogs are an integral part of the writing community, participate.
4. Connect with your audience: join a club, group or several blogs that write in your genre. Collect contact info from writing groups, bookstores, other authors.
5. Get book reviews: An agent can help in this area or you can send out your book to get reviews before you are published. Use those contacts from clubs, groups, Publisher’s Weekly, and other sources.
6. Book signings: Go to writer conferences, book festivals, cultural events that relate to your subject or genre, contact independent bookstores, local colleges, professional organizations if the subject relates to their group.
7. Write articles and/or stories for local or national magazines.
8. Use social media: use this for special prices or pre-sales of your book, virtual booktours, and give-aways.
9. Join organizations that are specific to your genre: historical fiction, mystery, romance, Christian and all sub-genres.
10.Spy on other authors: how are they promoting their book, what conference are they attending, read their blogs.

     If all this seems too daunting, not your style, or you don’t want to be bothered, your book may die a quick death. Not necessarily because it’s not a good story, but because it didn’t get noticed.

     Or you can get out the megaphone, put on the red shoes, go to a talk show and stand outside waving your book, until a security guard escorts you away. You have to get publicity some way, right?

     Tomorrow, I’ll go over the third workshop I attended, “Working with the Media.”
                         

Agents, Ojai Wordfest, Pat Fry, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writers conferences

"Simple Steps to Successful Authorship" workshop-Ojai Wordfest

     Laptop, coffee, pajamas, more coffee….that is some of what it takes for me to sit my butt in the chair and write. So say you are now finished with your manuscript (MS), one, three or ten years later. How do you prepare that MS for publication? Pat Fry of S.P.A.W.N (info below) has written since 1973 and has hundreds of magazine articles and 33 books to her name. I think she’s qualified to tell us how we can do that. Her introductory line, “Publishing is not an extension of your writing. It’s a business and fiercely competitive,” got my attention. So you finished your manuscript, now what?
     These are your choices: The big 6 publishing houses, small presses or choosing the booming industry of self publishing or as she called it, the ‘pay for publishing.’ (I’ll call it P4P). But first, be aware of the daunting 2009 USA stat which cites 76% of all published books fail. Failure is defined as selling 100 copies or less. Over 1 million books are published per year, yes per year. The Big 6 and their subsidiaries published 288 thousand, with 756 thousand self published. There are more than 90 thousand P4P’s. You want to be in that 24% who publish, right, so how do you decide?
     First, what is your genre and how does it fit into the big 6 or small presses? Pick up a book in the genre you’ve written, look inside for the publisher and determine if your MS falls into their scheme of things. Second, find an agent. Many writer’s found an agent by participating in writer’s conferences, use http://www.allconferences.com or http://writersconf.org to find conferences. They often have a pay for review of pages workshop where you can meet face to face with an agent. Get a referral from an associate. Another source is from blogs. Follow agent or publishers blogs (I follow three) to see what they’re about and whether you want to send them a query. They all have instructions on how to send the query and what genre they accept.
    Let’s say you’ve decided to go with a P4P. Don’t just Google ‘self publishing’ (remember there are thousands of them). A book by Mark Levine, “The Fine Print of Self Publishing,” is now in its 3rd Edition. He lists the outstanding ones (Aventine Press, Booklocker, and 8 more), then the good, the bad, and the ugly (Authorhouse, Publish America, Trapper, and more). I’m sure Amazon has more of the same type of books.
   Finally, educate yourself about the business of publishing: read, read, read. A place to check, or a ‘warning site’ for unscrupulous publishers are: http://www.writersweekly.com/whispers_and_warnings.php, http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware or for specific companies or individuals use Google, keyword ‘warning’ plus name of person or company.
     Bottom line, Pat says, you have to approach the publication of your finished MS like a business person with a business plan. Daunting yes, but very important if you want to be in the 24%. The workshop was valuable and I’d probably go to another one just for the educational refresher. But for now, excuse me, I have to go brew another pot of coffee.

Pat is the President of Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network (SPAWN): http://www.spawn.org and she owns Matilija Press in Ojai, CA.

Tomorrow I’ll go over the ‘Ten Best Ways to Promote Your Book’ also by Pat Fry. Until then,
Write On.