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If I Could Give New Writers Advice, I’d Start With…

I’ll cut to the chase:

1. READ, READ, READ – You learn from the great writers. For dialogue I learned from Hemingway, figurative language from Richard Wright & to name a contemporary author, Janet Fitch. The point is that certain authors have certain strengths & you can learn from them by reading, from Shakespeare to The Odyssey to Zora Neale Hurston. READ!

2. WRITE, WRITE, WRITE – I have observed many writers focusing on marketing, discussions on social media about writing, illustrations, maps, plot synopsis (over & over again) – just write the book already. Write it without continuously editing it as you write (even I have trouble with this). Get it out of you, then worry about other things. Marketing is meaningless if you wrote & published a crappy book.

3. Find a great, supportive but honest critique group. Develop thick skin. If you put out a sample chapter for people to read be ready for any level of criticism. Do you want people to lie to you & pat you on the back or help you make it better? Decide. If you want the lie, please don’t ever ask me to critique your work. Also, give & take in critique groups. In other words, you should not be receiving more critiques than you give. It should be balanced.  Nothing annoys me more in critique groups than members who always want others to read/critique their work but never do the same for others.  The basic Golden Rule principle comes to mind here. Scribophile is a wonderful site for having your excerpts critiqued because they work on a karma point system & you can’t present your work to others unless you first gain karma points by helping other writers first.

4. DO NOT under ANY circumstances, publish a book that has only been edited by you, no matter how good you think you are. You’ll never catch all of your own errors.Some editors don’t catch every single error. Hire a good editor who is able to give you references & is familiar with your genre. It is my personal opinion that editing speculative fiction (for example) is different from other genres, so I advise getting an editor who has worked with authors in the genre you are writing in. Everyone may not agree with that and yet, the world turns. Don’t go for the “full editorial services for $99-$199” type of people – no serious, credible editor will edit an entire manuscript for so little money because it’s not worth their time – it’s a scam that too many writers fall for. Real editors don’t troll & spam potential clients to the point of ad nauseam, clients come to them.For those cheap prices, they’ll do little more than a spell check, which you can do yourself.

5. If you don’t have the money to pay for editing, wait until you do to publish the book or present it to literary agents and/or publishers. The same can be applied to self-publishing.Now some will disagree with that, citing the fact that an agent or publisher could see potential & offer a contract, even if the manuscript is not perfect. While they might have a point, I say, if you care about your work, you invest in it to polish it as if you only have one shot. If you are in the one percent of querying writers whose partial and/or full manuscript is requested (keywords: one percent), it needs to be error free as much as possible.  Why would an agent or publisher choose your story with errors when Jane Doe submitted a story in the same genre with an equally compelling plot & proper editing? You are competing with every other writer for the coveted 1%. It amazes me how many writers think that if they just put the book out there without professional editing (usually for .99) it will catch on. They think it will sell enough copies to pay for the editing for the sequel or make them rich. Shullbit. Amanda Hocking’s story is rare & most .99 books don’t turn writers into millionaires. Most regularly priced books don’t turn writers into millionaires.Get an extra job, ask your family for the money, sell an egg…or sperm, start cutting grass for $$$. Don’t sell crystal meth in a basement lab in your home. Or, do what I did – I raised money via Indiegogo. Fellow writer Dianne Gardner is doing the same via Kickstarter now. It’s worth the wait.

I’ll be back next week with more advice for writers.

#myrantfortheday

Consevative blogger Talitha McEachin

Talitha “TK” McEachin

TK McEachin is a political/cultural blogger and up & coming writer of fiction. Her first novel, THE ELEMENTS is the first in an epic fantasy series.To learn more about her fictional projects visit www.theelementsbooks.com. You may donate to her campaign on the home page as well, if you missed the deadline for her fundraising campaign.

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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Fictional Writing

 

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Toni Morrison Becomes the 1st Author to Host a Digital Book Signing

Toni MorrisonToni Morrison once again makes history, this time as being the first author to host a digital book signing via Google Hangout. She is the author of novels such as The Bluest Eye, BelovedJazz and many others, including her newest book, Home. The award winning author has received such honors as the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature. Additionally, she is currently the last American to date, to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Ms. Morrison was live from the New York Google office to talk with fans about her latest novel, Home. Her latest novel tells the story of Frank Money, a 24-year-old African-American veteran of the Korean War, and his journey home a year after being discharged from an integrated Army, into a segregated homeland. A few lucky fans got the privilege of speaking directly with the author via live video streaming, asking a question they submit ahead of time, selected by Google. The questions were wonderful and her answers even better. I especially liked the question regarding banned books of hers. Ms. Morrison also literally digitally signed the e-books of those who joined her on the panel using the Google technology. It was a delight to see her & hear her poignant answers to questions. I look forward to seeing more authors using this technology via the Google Hangout. Here is the video (the event lasted only 23 minutes) if you missed it:

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Fictional Writing

 

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McDonald’s Set to Become the Biggest Children’s Book Distributor in the UK

child readingI don’t eat McDonald’s but this is a nice move. Restaurants in the UK will begin giving out a book (or the child can choose a voucher & get a book from certain booksellers) in their Happy Meals instead of toys, making McDonald’s the largest book distributor in the UK. According to critics: “However, the UK’s Children’s Food Campaign is criticizing the campaign, calling it an “inappropriate marketing strategy at a time when there is an epidemic of childhood obesity.”

Now I’m not sure what obesity has to do with a book & if you want to fight obesity then don’t feed your children McDonald’s in the first place. McDonald’s already offers fruit in the place of french fries & Milk or juice in the place of soda, so as far as I’m concerned they’ve done their part in the fight against obesity. Currently, there are no plans to bring this “Happy Readers” program to the U.S but given the literacy rate here & low test scores when compared to other countries, this wouldn’t be such a bad move for U.S. McDonald’s restaurants.

From Jessica Ferri of Yahoo Shine:

McDonald’s branches in the United Kingdom will include a book with each Happy Meal sold as part of a promotion called “Happy Readers,” starting Wednesday.

With one book per Happy Meal in the U.K., McDonald’s estimates that they will become the largest children’s book distributor in the country, with a total of 15 million books handed out by the end of 2014.

International test shows United States falls behind in education

The initiative was inspired by data complied by Britain’s National Literacy Trust, which recently revealed that out of a group of 21,000 children, only 50 percent of them said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “a lot.”

For the next five weeks, Happy Meals in the UK will feature non-fiction books from DK Books’ Amazing World Series, with categories of Stars and Planets, Big Cats, and Oceans. Children can also redeem a voucher from their Happy Meal if they’d prefer to choose their own book at bookseller WH Smith.

“Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children’s future success in life, so it is very concerning that one in three children in the UK doesn’t own a book, and half of kids don’t really enjoy reading,” Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust, told Britain’s Telegraph. “Initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children, and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive pastime.”

Children in the United States would undoubtedly benefit from the encouragement to read as well. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. is ranked 14th in reading tests, with many children reading below their grade level and only one-third of 13 year olds are daily readers. England’s ratings are even worse. They come in at 19th in international literacy tests.

15 million free books might seem like a big number, though it’s paltry compared to mega bookseller Amazon.com, which sells more than3.1 billion books a year worldwide.

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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in In The News, Pop Culture, Society

 

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