Writing a novel in a month during Speedbo

Speedbo participant

Well, I took the plunge. I signed up for Speedbo. It is Seekerville’s version of NaNoWriMO. Seekerville is a group of writers helping writers. I love their daily blog posts. Lots of helpful tips and great giveaways. Speedbo takes place in March. Which is better for me because there are no holidays to interrupt me and only one birthday. NANOWRIMO takes place in November and I have three birthdays in my family as well as Thanksgiving that month. My life is not any less hectic in March. It will be full of caring for elderly parents and helping with grandkids like always but only one birthday. I know there is no logic there.

Why Speedbo

I have wanted to attempt writing a novel in a month for a while. And you know—there is no time like the present. I love that Speedbo has no rules. The theme this year is No Limits. You can have goals of rewriting or editing every day or to write only one or two days a week. Your goals can be hours a day. And it doesn’t have to be a novel. Whatever you need to help you focus more seriously on writing. My only goal is to write 2,000 words a day on a new novel.

Preparation

I have my twice a week blog posts ready to go for March and whatever other writing inspiration I get will have to wait on the back burner. I may get delayed when my editor sends me her edits for my present novel. But most of my free time (what there is of it) will be committed to writing the worst possible novel in 31 days. No stopping to correct just getting the words down. And if it comes out half as good as I hope for vomit on the page I’ll spend the next several months rewriting and editing and getting critiques to whip it into shape. I might even submit the first pages for a critique at the Write To Publish conference in June. The month is for beginnings. No one in their right mind would submit that mess to a publisher.

My novel idea has been ruminating in my mind for a few years. A few rough chapters rest in my PC. I will be using Scriviner for this project. A software program designed for writers. I took a course to learn how to use it but then I haven’t used it much. I even have Scriviner for Dummies to reference. Scriviner helps organize my chapters, outlines, notes and stuff. I just need to use it daily to feel more comfortable with it.

I need to do a little research this week and map out my settings before I begin on the first. Get the characters faces firmly planted in my mind. I have already filled out DiAnn Mills’ character sketch template for my hero and heroine. I’ll let you know how it all turns out whether I succeed or fail. Even if I fail I am sure I will have made some progress toward a first draft. I am going to purpose to have a glass half full attitude. I’ll get some help from Seekerville’s daily encouragements and comments from other Speedbo participants. Now that I’ve revealed my plan to you I will feel more compelled to get the job done. After all you will be waiting to hear the results. :)

Want to join me? There’s still time. Check out Speedbo rules.

Have you ever participated in NANOWRIMO or Speedbo or attempted to write a first draft in a month? I’d love to hear your story. Please, please post it below.

 

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An Interview with Author John Turney and a Giveaway of His New Crime Thriller Whiskey Sunrise

John Turney and I at the Write To Publish Conference. Glad to have him stop by my blog today.

John Turney and I at the Write To Publish Conference. Glad to have him stop by my blog today.

Glad to have you back. I enjoyed Whiskey Sunrise. I found my heart racing as I watched the story unfold. This crime thriller explores so many aspects of life beyond the horrendous crimes. Please, please make yourself comfortable. Sit down and help yourself to some Ceylon tea while we chat.

Whiskey Sunrise is much different than your first Innocent Blood. Share why.

The two places that really interest me are the American West, especially the Southwest, and Ireland. In both places, people have struggled to live. Struggled against nature—the deserts of the Southwest and the rocky soil of Ireland. Struggled against invaders—various native groups, the Spanish and the Americans in the Southwest, and the various invaders from continental Europe in Ireland. In my Innocent Blood book, while it actually takes place in my hometown of Cincinnati, there are huge elements of Irish folklore. In my latest book, Whiskey Sunrise, I deal with another invasion—the invasion of drugs, guns and people across our southern border. So why the change? Just two things that interested me that I wanted to explore.

Fill in my readers about the premise of your new book.

My second book—Whiskey Sunrise, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—takes place in the fictional small town of Whiskey, Arizona. The protagonist is the police chief who, with a small staff, has to take on an emerging and violent drug cartel and a gun running citizen. (I began this project before Fast and Furious.) The chief is separated from his wife and wants to reunite. I added a touch of Navajo mysticism.

What makes Arizona work as the setting for your story?

With all that’s going on in the southwest region of the US, Arizona seemed to be an ideal setting for Whiskey Sunrise. It also allowed me to give it a modern day cowboy feel to the story. So instead of cowboys fighting Native Americans or aliens, this allowed me to explore the themes related to issues of border security.

You touch the surface of Navajo mysticism in Whiskey Sunrise. Why?

The original peoples have a deep religious connection to the world. Although I don’t hold to their traditions, I want to respect it. If only to make my faith in Christ more real to them. I mean, if you disrespect someone’s core beliefs, you can’t expect them to honor yours. We tried that in the 1800’s and it didn’t work. So, I contrast the Navajo beliefs with a character’s deeply held Christian beliefs.

The last sentence of your book tells the reader there is a sequel. Can you tell us what we might expect?

In the sequel, I deal with a terrorist organization working with a drug cartel to wreak havoc in the southwest. Just how…I can’t say.

 

Don’t be such a tease, give us a little more.

(Taps feet and frowns) If you insist. The drug lord from WS returns. His focus is to kill the police chief. Meanwhile, human trafficking is being committed by the terrorists, buildings are being set on fire or exploded and a rare snowstorm sweeps through the southwest

Wow! Sounds intriguing. Writers read. So tell me what’s are you currently reading?

You would ask that. I just finished reading Independence Day by the authors of the film. If you liked the movie, the book follows right along with it. It adds very little to the movie, but it does explain some of the science behind the events. In my meek opinion, the movie is better than the book. Too much telling and not showing. I just started reading Gallows View by Peter Robinson. An interesting mystery combining a peeping tom with a murder and break-ins all taking place in rural England. I am also reading The Writer’s Guide to Psychology by the late Carolyn Kaufman. As a psychologist and a writer, she understood both worlds. A great book for writers to understand why people do what they do, and to take a peek into the world of a psychologist. It’s truly a shame she passed so young in her life. My ebook read is called Division of the Marked by March McCarron. A fun speculative read. Hope to read more from her.

What other things are you currently working on?

I am currently working on writing blogs for my website (www.jturney.com), which was designed by one of the fabulous people at Lighthouse Publishing, Meaghan. I am working on a short story which is a combination of science fiction and police procedural.

What is one thing you learned from writing this book?

Understand, I do not support illegal immigration or amnesty. However, for many who come into our country without going through our normal channels, there is drive of desperation in them to try to escape to a better life. The crossers risk financial loss, humiliation, rape, beatings and even death during their trek. Yes, there are despicable people coming across our borders, but there are also hard-working decent people as well. Perhaps a better immigration policy would help those enter our country who seek a better life and prevent the criminal and terrorist element.

 

You know you want me to ask so here goes. So you think terrorists have come across our borders?

Most definitely. And if the leaders of our country can’t find the resolve to protect our borders, America is in for a world of hurt. Let me give you a “for instance.” I own a house and the small piece of land it sits upon. If I turned a blind eye to people jumping my fence and squatting on my property, it wouldn’t take very long before I wouldn’t have anything left. That is what is happening on a much larger scale in the US.

Now it’s my turn to ask the question I always like to ask at the end of an interview. What advice would you offer other writers?

For writers, I’d say the three important things are: 1) learn the craft of writing. It’s not unlike trying to learn a musical instrument. Practice to get good. 2) Network. Build up a body of friends who are writers. Then help those other writers. 3) Learn some marketing techniques. This is a business, so be serious yet have fun. For readers, I would advise that you support your local writers. If you find one, two or more that you enjoy, email them encouragement. Ask your local library to stock their book. Friend them on Facebook. Give them good reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. If a few readers would do those simple things, it would make a huge difference in a writer’s career.

Author John Turney

Spot on advice. I believe I see a copy of Whiskey Sunrise peeking out of John’s brief case. We are going to give a copy away to one of my commenters. Leave a comment with your email. I’ll contact the winner to get their snail mail address so John can send an autographed copy.

Here is the link:51SDe6990EL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_ 

Whiskey Sunrise

 

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Guest Blog -Birthdays always a time to reflect

New-Birthday-Balloon-Clipart

While I spend time with my father who is recuperating from surgery Charlotte Snead has graciously agreed to fill in. Loved her candor.

Many folks my age are retired, traveling the world or content with their laurels. Some of my friends have died. I’ve reared five incredible children who are making contributions to society, and one foster daughter, who says she wouldn’t know Jesus if we hadn’t been her mama and papa. (She’s my best salesperson, as a beautician, she talks my books up to her customers!) I’ve had a good life, and if I die tomorrow, I’ve had it all, but I can’t be content. I published my first book, His Brother’s Wife, in 2011 and two more last summer (2013). My husband is an orthopedic surgeon. He will be 75 in April, but he studies, goes to conferences, and operates. (He has cut back to four days a week.) Every day we pray he has the opportunity to lift up Jesus to his staff, his patients, and his colleagues.

Is something wrong with us? I think not. Something is very right with us. We are abundantly blessed, and we continue to be on fire to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, each of us in our own way, and both of us agreeing for one another. I write from my experiences—fiction, but novels that contain conversations I have had in my work in Pregnancy Care ministry, as the mother of a Special Forces soldier (who has been in dangerous situations), and as a MOPS mentor, teaching women to revere Life and to love their husbands.

My first book and the second one, Invisible Wounds, deal with our brave young warriors and the wounds, both physical and psychological, that they carry. Recovered and Free, the first of a 4-book series, about a recovered alcoholic and his musical family, is set in my beloved West Virginia, where blue grass music and the Christian faith are alive and well. It’s been a journey, going to writers’ conferences, writing seminars and critique group, but I want to write well to touch hearts.

I believe the best writing comes from personal experience. Married 52 years, I know the choices that improve or hurt a marriage. My mother was alcoholic—I’ve lived that, too. As the mother of a son who has buried over 60 close friends, I know the pain of serving in war. I founded and directed a pregnancy care ministry and still serve on its board, so I know the heartbreak of unplanned pregnancy and abandonment. As a MOPS mentor, I deal with the struggles of young married women. Some might say I go over the edge, speak too frankly, but I have had these conversations. I am earthy and Real–a real Titus 2 woman, teaching about real issues, and praying my little stories will enable others to face their lives, holding tightly to God’s hand.

As long as readers tell me my books are healing or saved a life, or someone found Christ. I’ll keep writing.

Charlotte Snead pic

Charlotte Snead, published by Oak Tara, has three romance novels in print: His Brother’s Wife, Invisible Wounds, and Recovered and Free. Married to Dr. Joseph Snead, they have five adult children and one foster daughter. They have seven grandsons and live on twenty acres in rural West Virginia.

A reminder to all commenters. Your name will be put in a drawing for Charlotte’s novel Recovered and Free: The Prodigal Father. Just leave a comment with your email written in this format- myemail at myserver dot com. I will contact the winner for a snail mail address to forward to Charlotte.

Here are the links to her books.

His Brother’s Wife

Invisible Wounds

Recovered and Free

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An Interview with Author Charlotte Snead: The Why behind her Novels

Charlotte Snead pic

I am pleased to have my friend Charlotte Snead as a guest on my blog. I meant Charlotte a few years ago at the Write to Publish Conference. I was impressed with her enthusiasm about life. She had a novel written and she was going full speed ahead. She was new to the writing scene after retiring from a nursing career and raising a passel of kids. Her idea was gritty and she shared her storyline with passion.

Charlotte has published that novel His Brother’s Wife, and its sequel Invisible Wounds. She has begun her new series with Book one of the Sing Over Me Series. Each with a controversial topics, romance and redemption. She keeps it real in a tasteful and fun way.

Charlotte when did you decide to take up this writing life?

I took up writing at the urging of an elderly aunt, who loved our Christmas letters and my stories about my various ministries, urging me, “You ought to write a book.” My first book, an imperfect offering, self-published in 2008 was a response to a need I saw in the prolife community. Called Missy’s Choice, it portrayed a young Christian teenager who was raped by three boys and chose life for her baby. I was unwell at the time and hurried to complete it, thinking my time was limited. As flawed as that book was, I heard from those who chose life and even some who found Christ. Now that I am a better writer, my publisher has suggested a rewrite, so it will be published as Gracie, Goodbye, the first of a 5-6 book series called The Hope House Girls.

What’s your writer’s day like?

My perfect day begins at 6 or 7 AM, down in my basement. I have a hide-away I call “The Salt Mines,” because I work hard, and I desire my writing to be salt and light to the world. When no one is home, I work uninterrupted until lunch, and return after a break. Unfortunately some days I must attend to social media and a blog—marketing is the bane of my existence! One day a week is set aside for Mothers of Preschoolers. (I serve as the mentor mom.) I love being snowed in because errands wait and I do what I love.

What ministries are you involved in and how does that experience play into your novels?

I consider my writing to be my ministry, but I also serve on the Board of the Central West Virginia Center for Pregnancy Care, which I founded in 1985. I no longer volunteer on a daily basis, but I remain in close contact with our director and share in decision-making. I am also the mentor mom for the Mothers of Preschoolers group that meets in our church and devote every Thursdays to them. I give devotions at our meetings and when the team has its monthly meeting. I often speak at women’s gatherings.

His Brother's Wifeinvisible wounds_comp (2)

 

In your first book His Brother’s Wife and Invisible Wounds you set your story in the midst of wounded warriors and wounded women. Where did you get the ideas for these books?

My military books flow from my life experience. My son served in the Army for 22 years. My husband was in Viet Nam, and his brother was as well. My dad was a career military officer. When my daughter-in-law had two surgeries, I was in and out of Walter Reed. Seeing those Wounded Warriors getting on the elevators, struggling with their missing limbs, I wanted to tell their stories. Our son, now retired from Special Forces, carries a burden of grief for the over 60 close friends he has laid to rest in Lot 60, that part of Arlington Cemetery set aside for Iraq and Afghanistan fallen. I tithe the proceeds of His Brother’s Wife and Invisible Wounds to the Wounded Warriors Project.

Enjoying intimacy in marriage and understanding our sexuality are issues you address in these first two books as well. From a Christian perspective why is this important?

As the MOPS mentor, I have helped many women with marital intimacy. Their favorite presentation—we usually have guest speakers, but I take the helm each February to give my “Sex Talk.” We are crowded that day! Married 52 years, I know how important a healthy sexual relationship is in marriage. Tragically, the church doesn’t portray the joy God intends in his sacred gift. I want my books to encourage women to enjoy the gift God has given us.

Your settings are beautiful and often rural. Do you use photographs? Are they places you’ve been to?

You have given me an idea here. I should use photographs. Yes, these are places I know and love. I live in West Virginia on 20 beautiful wooded acres. West Virginia is a beautiful state, and Arlington Cemetery is a sacred place where my father and uncle lie. I have lived in the D. C. area as an “army brat,” and I have bowed my head at Lot Sixty to honor those who have laid down their lives so that we might be free. I have researched other places—I’ve never been to an opulent penthouse in New York, but to write His Brother’s Wife I went on line with real estate sites and took virtual tours of various properties. What a great age to be a writer!

Recovred and Free  book cover

Your newest series Singing Over Me focuses on a musical family. Book one Recovered and Free: The Song Of A Prodigal Father is about a recovered alcoholic. Tells us the why behind the story.

Recovered and Free also flows out of life experience. My mother was alcoholic, and I know the pain of the child of an alcoholic. I had to understand the disease to forgive. Sadly she surrendered to Christ on her death bed and I did not enjoy life with her “recovered and free.” I processed my forgiveness after her death, realizing she loved me to the best of her ability, given her handicap.

Is it a spin-off from another story?

The Singing Over Me series spins from my first book, Missy’s Choice, picking up with a healed, grown up Missy who helps her father return to the family he abandoned. Through his music, she finds her way to her own ministry.

When I am in Your Arms_comp(1)

What is the next topic you will be covering in this series?

The next book in the Singing series, due out soon, is When I Am in Your Arms, also a song title. The hero of this book is the incorrigible producer of O’Malley Productions, a Hispanic man who survived years of abuse in foster care. His healing, like Ian O’Malley’s, comes in the arms of his wife, where he feels God’s love.

Charlotte is giving away a copy of her book Recovered and Free: The Song of a Prodigal Father to a lucky commenter. Leave your comment with your e-mail address written as follows: my email at server dot com.

I will notify the winner to get your snail mail to send to Charlotte. I am running this give away until the end of the week. Wednesday  Charlotte will return as a guest blogger.  My father is having surgery as this blog is posting and will be hospitalized for the week. I will watch the comments. Please feel free to comment on Wednesday’s post to be added to the same give-away.

Charlotte Snead, published by Oak Tara, has three romance novels in print: His Brother’s Wife, Invisible Wounds, and Recovered and Free. Married to Dr. Joseph Snead, they have five adult children and one foster daughter. They have seven grandsons and live on twenty acres in rural West Virginia

Book links.

His Brother’s Wife

Invisible Wounds

Recovered and Free

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My Favorite Magazine for Serious Writers

cc mags 2

Often I am asked what I would recommend for writers to help them with their craft. I have a book list I give out. Today, however, I am going to share with you a magazine I love. When it arrives, I devour it cover to cover. Christian Communicator is my magazine of choice for those who are serious about writing. It is a monthly publication produced by American Christian Writers (ACW). The cover isn’t glossy but the content glows.

I contacted Lin Johnson, managing editor to tell me why writers should subscribe. Her answer was very insightful.

“Subscribing to Christian Communicator is like having a writers conference come to your mailbox each month. It helps you improve your writing craft and speaking ability, provides practical information about the business/publishing/freelance side of writing, keeps you informed about markets, and encourages you in your ministries.”

I love receiving advice and tips from well-established professionals. There are monthly columns by industry leaders. Dr. Dennis Hensley shares the many aspects of professional writing. Jerry B Jenkins keeps readers up-to-date on publishers’, agents’ and editors’ needs. He also informs readers of changes in the Christian Marketing Guide including the page numbers where the corrections can be added. There is a Q & A column by Sally Stuart. You’ll find book reviews, author interviews with a little poetry and humor in the mix. Lots and lots of helpful information in every issue.

Lin Johnson is always looking for content and you don’t have to be a best-selling, award-winning author to appear in Christian Communicator. She is open to consider well-written pieces on writerly subjects that meet the current need of Christian Communicator. Check out the guidelines here.

Ordering info, including a form to download and send and paypal link, is at acwriters.com. Follow this link and subscribe today.

Do you have a favorite writing magazine or resource you would recommend? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.

 

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Guest Blogger Author Rebecca Waters : Aerobics For Your Pen

Today my friend and fellow-writer Rebecca Waters is my  guest blogger.    Enjoy her words of wisdom. 

Author Rebecca Waters

Author Rebecca Waters

Remember the writing exercises you had to do in your English class? You may have moaned and groaned in high school, but as you grow older you come to realize exercise is important in every area of your life.

I have said this before: Good writers become better writers when they write, just as good tennis players get better by playing tennis. Talking about writing isn’t enough. Do it. Get started every week with an exercise that would make your high school teacher proud.

I keep a list of exercises by me. Sometimes if I am struggling with a writing project, I will turn to one of those exercises to get the creative juices flowing.

Stretch and Flexibility

Like any good exercise program, start with a few stretches. Get out of your comfort zone to add flexibility to your writing muscles. For example, I agreed to write an article for a home health journal. Trust me, this was totally out of my comfort zone.

The article was to inform home health aides about medicines their clients may be taking while in Hospice care. I had to research both the medicines and the audience. I used the freelance writing assignment as an exercise in researching and writing.

The article was accepted for publication, but more importantly, learning about the role of the home health aide answered a problem I had while writing Breathing on Her Own. Writing in a home health aide character to engage in conversation with my main character when she came home from the hospital provided a wonderful solution to my dilemma. I’ve now written several articles for Home Health Aide Digest.

You would never write a children’s book? Then stretch yourself by drafting a children’s picture book. Learning how to communicate to a different audience will strengthen your writing skills. Why did I choose “children?” To write for children you must convey your ideas in precise and understandable words. Not a bad idea for writers.

I’m sure you will be able to come up with exercises of your own. If not, look for prompts elsewhere. I took the list of proposed topics for Chicken Soup for the Soul and decided on a few for which I had personal experiences to share. I used the prompts as exercises to practice my writing. Two of those stories were subsequently accepted and published.

Aerobics for Your Pen

I hear authors talk a lot about word count. Some argue that setting a word count goal for each day or week doesn’t improve your writing. I disagree. I try to write at least 500 words a day. Having an attainable word count goal helps me write daily. I usually exceed that goal, but if I don’t, I feel good about writing at least 500 words. Again, the more you write, the better you will get at crafting your story.

Want to engage in a bit of aerobics for your pen? Try completing a free writing exercise. This is when you write for five or ten minutes without stopping to read, revise, or edit what you are putting down on paper. You will be surprised at the bold, courageous words you craft in a free write. Somehow, being released to write without fear of editing also releases you to pour out your innermost thoughts.

Strength Training

Do writing exercises really require strength training? You bet. The strength for a writer is in the power of the words you use. There are many ways to achieve maximum strength for your words. Here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. Build your vocabulary. Some authors use crossword puzzles or play word games to build vocabulary. Some advocate reading more. Those are great ideas, but I’m thinking in terms of using a thesaurus. How many different words could you use to convey your message? And try this one for real word power: Use fewer words to convey your message.
  1. Hone your self-editing skills. You may want to subscribe to a blog about writing and editing. For example, I have found the short posts on A Little Red Inc. provide great reminders of common editing issues I should watch. (http://alittleredinc.blogspot.com)

 

Cool Down

  • Read something inspiring. (Dare I suggest a sweet little novel called Breathing on Her Own?)
  • Post inspiring pictures on your computer or by your desk.
  • Get up and take a short walk.

Note: Do not use your social media as a cool down. Your cool down needs to inspire you and allow you to think. Social media will distract you. There is a time for Facebook or Twitter or whatever you use when you are not writing.

Above all, if you want to be a writer, exercise your craft consistently. If you want to lose weight…well that’s a different blog.

About the author:

Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released on March 24, 2014 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It is available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions and is also available through Barnes & Noble.

BOHO front cover

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103154/ print

Barnes and Noble Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breathing-on-her-own-rebecca-waters/1118968997

A Novel Creation:

http://rebeccaawaters.blogspot.com/

Thanks for sharing these great tips and words of wisdom.

If you have any questions for Becky she’d love to hear from you.

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10 Tips for writing book reviews and how it hones your writing craft

These are some of the books I've reviews in 2014. I have many more on my Kindle.

These are some of the books I’ve reviews in 2014. I have many more on my Kindle.

I began writing book reviews first because I love books and second because I wanted to help other authors promote their books. In the small secret place in my heart where true motives lie, I hope others would return the favor for my future books. In the process of writing 100 reviews I discovered it hones lots of writing tools writers use often.

Writing book reviews helps improve your writing overall and can help improve queries and proposals. If you want to try your hand at reviews whether for a paying market or retail sale sites such as Amazon or websites like Goodreads I hope you find value in these tips.

Tip # 1 When writing a novel review don’t give a spoiler. Whether you loved the book or hated it don’t give away the end. Don’t reveal who done it or the dramatic plot twist. This isn’t fair to the author or future readers.

Tip # 2 A review is not a book report. You don’t have to take paragraphs to retell the story in your own words. A brief sentence or two about the plot is fine. Your goal is sharing your take on the work as a whole. Retelling the whole story before adding your opinion makes it overly long and may cause readers to skip or skim it. Publishers don’t take the time to read overlong query letters either.

Tip# 3 A book review is a great way to practice writing tight. Try to give your review using the least amount of words to make your point. Flowery adjective can distract. Hundred dollar words that require a dictionary (unless this is an academic book for an academic audience) are also not recommended. Keep it simple but intriguing. Publishers want plot summaries for your book in various lengths to use for marketing. Writing other people’s novel summaries gives you good practice.

Tip # 4 Point out what you like about the story, how it spoke to you. As a writer I notice clever phrasing and creative use of time and place. As a reader I notice if I am drawn into the story or not moved by their dilemma. Tell the reader if you related to the hero or whether the setting was well-written. Publisher’s want to know how you feel audiences will relate to your book.

Tip # 5 If you didn’t care for the book be gracious. There are some authors who will be so offended by a bad review they will continue to argue with you in the comments. Being snarky may be fun but it creates nothing but bad feelings. Trust me, season your criticism with the salt of grace.

Tip # 6 Non-fiction reviews need to speak to the theme of the book and its value to the reader. Why was the devotional encouraging? How is it different? Why would you recommend it? Is the subject matter in a dog training book different or the same as those already in publication? The ability to compare and contrast is needed when writing a book proposal. The publisher wants to know how your book compares to others in the same genre. How is your subject matter different?

Tip # 7 On Amazon your review appears at the point of sale. So you don’t have to mention the name of the book and author in the first sentence of your review. The author’s blurb is handy too so you can focus on your opinion of the work rather than rehashing the story line.

Tip # 8 Use a catchy title to draw attention. Writing attention-grabbing titles is another great thing to add to a writer’s toolbox. A catchy title is the key to draw readers to your articles and blog posts/

Tip # 9 Magazines and e-zines have specific format that need to be followed. Look through your favorite periodicals. There is usual a book review section. Read the reviews for style and above all read the guidelines. Most of these reviews require the basics: book title, publisher and author information in the first few sentences. Send a query explaining the slant of your review and why you are a good fit to write it. For example if you are a baseball coach reviewing a book about coaching little league would be a good fit.

Having some knowledge of a field gives you the opportunity to write a book review for a specific audience. If you are an expert in fishing let’s say. You can approach Field and Stream about doing a review on some new fishing book. Or even a classic you feel has value. If you are not an expert but have an interest in the subject matter you can still do a review. Your book propels will need to tell the publisher why you are qualified to write your non-fiction book.

Tip # 10 Take your time and approach your review whether paid or unpaid like any other article. Be sure there are no typos or grammar errors. Present your best work. A publisher may see your review and it might open doors for future work so be sure it’s your best.

Do you have any tips about writing reviews or questions for me comment below.   One of my commenters will receive a $10 amazon gift e-card.

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