Tell me what you really really want

Question Marks

Since I started this blog in 2010 I’ve shared a variety of writerly things and interviewed some fantastic authors. Today I decided to open it up to my readers to give me suggestions. What writerly things would you like to see on my blog? Are there favorite authors or upcoming authors you’d like to see on my site? I want to always be relevant so share with me your ideas.

What is one or a few things you’d love to know more about as a writer? Do you have some writing tips you’d love to share?

 

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Secrets & Charades has won three awards

 

Post your ideas here and I’ll get on them. I’ll bring guests aboard to address things that I lack knowledge.

I hate to post a blog for the sake of posting one. There are times I only post once a week rather than twice because I didn’t have something of value to share.

 

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New Duet is more than just a romance.

 

Asking you all for input will continue to bring value to Jubilee Writer.

I want to be the best encouragement I can for fellow-writers. Tell me what you need.

If you would rather email me or message me on Facebook you may. Please don’t ask me to post negative things about anyone in the writing field.

 

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Secrets & Charades audio version is doing well. Meghan Kelley is a wonderful narrator.

 

 

Looking forward to your ideas.

If you’re not a  subscriber and want to be you can receive a new post in your email when they are available.

 

 

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Tips for Publishing in the 21st Century Part 1

My guest today is author and editor Linda Yezak. Her newest novel Ride to the Altar, the final book in the Circle Bar Ranch series is available. I’m so excited, I’ve already preordered it. I’ve asked her to stop by while on her blog tour to talk about the publishing biz both self-publishing and traditional  She’s a wealth of information so I’m posting part two on Thursday. There’s an exciting giveway too. Look for the specifics later in the post. Linda Yezak

Take it away Linda.

Got your book written? That’s great! Edited? Even better. Now, what are you going to do?

We authors have so many choices these days, but we have to weigh our options carefully. First thing we have to determine, however, is what our goals are.

Common Goals

 

To get rich/famous quickly: This goal is usually based on the misconception that wealth follows publication. On rare occasion, it does. But for 99% of us, it doesn’t. If this is what you’re hoping for, here are a few tips that might up your chances:

  • Write a nonfiction book on a topic in which you are an expert. Even in self-publication, those who sell the most are those who have something to offer. In traditional publication, though, having something to offer isn’t always enough. You have to already have a name for yourself. Prove to the gatekeepers that you have a following, and you’re likely to get a big-name publisher’s trademark on your book’s spine.
  • Prepare to spend money on a publicist. If you don’t already have a big name and your goal is to become rich and famous, you’ll need exposure. A publicist can help you with that. Depending on who you are and who publishes your work, you may not see a lot of promo dollars being tossed out on your behalf. Chances are, you’ll have to make that investment yourself. It takes money to make money, so be prepared.
  • Also be prepared to validate your claim that you have something new and useful. If your publicist does a great job for you, you’ll have plenty of exposure—TV, radio, speaking engagements. You’ll have to prove that #1, you’re an expert, #2 you have something different to offer, and #3 your viewership needs what you have to offer.
  • There are all sorts of cyber-means of attaining the same results, albeit a bit slower, and there are all sorts of experts to teach you how. SEOs, funneling, etc. are things you can learn, often at a price but not always. The best time to learn how to do this is right now—whether you’re finished writing or not.

To snag a big-name publisher: These days, this one is only marginally more attainable than becoming rich and famous overnight. If you think about it, it makes sense. There are only so many well established publishers in existence, and with the advent of the computer, there are exponentially more wannabe authors waiting in the wings for their turn. Gaining a huge publisher on the first go-’round isn’t easy, and the first step in the process is to gain an agent. Try these tips (all based upon the idea that you have already studied the craft, written something amazing, and submitted it to critique partners and freelance editors):

  • Find an agent that specializes in your genre. Often you can discover this through the acknowledgment page of books in your genre. Writers Digest also features different agents.
  • Join professional organizations in your genre. Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America—and tons more. Every genre has an organization, and each organization provides an opportunity to network with the professionals in your field. ACFW, for instance, holds agent and publisher panels, during which these pros introduce themselves, what they’re looking for, what they expect from you.
  • Study the agent’s website so you can learn exactly how to present your manuscript. Agents have preferences as to how they are to be approached. Make sure you’ve studied their guidelines, then follow them carefully.
  • Also, make sure your genre is one that agent represents. No point sending a horror novel to someone who specializes in sweet romance. Agents are only as good as their connections. cover size 250 x 386(1)

Stay tuned for part Two on Thursday. Linda tell us about your giveaway. There are two chances to enter. Today and Thursday. How cool is that.

I’m offering a giveaway package during the blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. It includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.  Visit the next blog on the tour tomorrow for an additional chance to win.  Cecilia Pulliams: https://ceciliamariepulliam.blogspot.com/ 

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

 

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What a great prize package.

Be sure to comment below to be entered in the drawing. Comments on social media where I’ll post this blog won’t count. And don’t forget to follow her tour and enter on those sites as well. You’ll get a chance to win and learn a lot more from Linda too.

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You Gotta Ask

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Marketing tip #1  Ask

I absolutely hate to ask. Because I hate rejection more.

If you’ve been building a network with other writers, the asking is easier.

When my publisher asked me for a list of possible endorsers, my knees knocked. Then I recalled all those whose books I have reviewed and promoted.  They said anytime they could help me out they would and to just ask. So, I asked thinking I might get one or two. I got seven. Seven endorsers. Seven people who got a pdf copy to read and can easily do a review when Secrets and Charades is out. I secured Beta Readers the same way. Those awesome readers who look for typos and other weirdisms before it went to press. They too can post Book Reviews.

Phew! That wasn’t so hard.

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Another asking hill to climb

Ask people to be part of your launch team. That was a scary thought for me.  What if they say no. What if they say yes and really mean no. Helping other people promote their books is easy for me, but, promoting myself, not so much.  But I’ve been talking about my writing life with others on social media and in the real world. Gulp! Could I do this?

The easy way is to follow the good advice, the hard way is doing it my way.

I had to try my way.

An experienced author told me to send personal PM to Facebook friends. A personal ask.  But I was sure sending it out as an FB post would get better results. I got two. I got another at church because I asked her. That was three. I knew that was not enough. Fear of rejection nettled in my mind. I had to do this because well, I need help and my novel comes out March 15th.  So recently I sent out a lot of PMs and got 30. Wow! 1000% increase. Why? Because asking gets results.

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The scripture says “you have not because you ask not.” And as a mother, I often tell my children “Well, I can’t read your mind.” Often people think if you want my help you’ll ask for it. While those who need help, think people should just volunteer. We don’t want to volunteer and get rejected. (Do I see a theme.)

I’ve done the do-it-my-way before, and it hasn’t had great results in other ventures in my life.  Yet, I still struggled getting out of my comfort zone and doing things differently. It does take a village of helpers to raise your new novel up through the rankings on Amazon and other retail sites. It takes stepping out of our comfort zone and asking for help.

 

How many do I need on my team

Another wise author said you can never have too many team members. I think it is because as in any volunteer endeavor there are the doers and the joiners. The doers are reliable. The ones who will go above and beyond to help you reach your goal. The joiners do less, but without them, everything would fall on the few.

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Keep asking

Ok, I asked for endorsements, beta readers and Stage Crew (What I am calling my launch team.) Now I’ll keep asking my publisher, acquisition editor and other authors what is my next step and how do I do it. I’ve never done a launch party of any kind. I’ve never done a book signing.  Podcast and building a speaking platform are foreign to me. I read articles and blogs on these subjects. I listen to others talk about their success. Mostly, I ask lots of questions. I’m not done asking questions. My plan: stay teachable and step out of my comfort zone and ask. After all I want to sell my novel. And asking for help with marketing is one way to reach that goal.

How are you about asking for help when it comes to marketing? What wisdom can you pass on? I really want to know, that’s why I’m asking.

 

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A Bit of History Behind Mail Order Brides

I thought I’d spend this blog talking about mail-order brides. Evangeline, my heroine in my upcoming Historical romance is a reluctant one.Brides71

Mail-order brides throughout history have had one thing in common—the big question. Is this potential future mate anything like his claims on paper? And the second most important question, will the strangers make a happy lifetime match?

The Matrimonial News, a San Francisco paper, was sold all over the country during the mid to late 1800s. Many a single woman and widow traveled west to marry strangers.  The paper was chock full of ads from lonely men or hopeful women looking for a chance at love, financial security,  or a new mother or father for their children.

Some advertisers misrepresented themselves, causing lawsuits and broken promises. There were rocky relationships and joyously happy ones. More often than not, the prospective groom would write the bride for several months before arranging passage for the woman of his dreams to come to him. A few women came with dark secrets, fears or—surprise—children not mentioned in her correspondence.

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Actual disclaimer accompanying the ads.

One woman, a con artist, was quite surprised when her intended mark had misrepresented himself and was poor as a church mouse. The ads were often filled with exaggerations regarding wealth and physical appearance. A smart woman made sure she had sufficient traveling money to return home or provide for herself if necessary.

The first group of woman to come to the new world as brides arrived in the Jamestown colony in the 1600s. But advertising for wives was in its heyday after the Civil War. The male to female ratio after the war, especially in the south, was one to five. Spinsterhood or remaining a widow for the rest of one’s life was an unappealing prospect.

Many young men had gone west in pursuit of gold, land, and other opportunities. Missing the comforts of home, they were anxious to find wives. Thus the Matrimonial News presented many willing men to the single female population back east. Even the homely woman had no problem finding a husband out west.

Many papers during the period after the Civil War carried columns dedicated to these paid announcements. Ads warned women against misrepresenting themselves by the use of false hair, padded bosoms and legs risk legal action. (Why would a woman pad their legs?)

There were articles posted of men who were arrested for trying to fake marriages or marrying women under false pretentions. The newspapers ran a disclaimer with the classifieds reminding readers they were not responsible for any falsehoods in the ads.

The length of the advertisements was surprising considering it cost $1.50 a word. The average wage at the time was between 18 and 34 cents an hour. These were desperate men. There were no weekend free opportunities like on dating sites today.

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Women also placed ads focusing on their finer qualities. Some included pictures. One woman, however, advertised herself as fat and 45. She was a businesswoman of means looking for a man over forty. Wonder how many lonely older men responded to her advertisement.

This bit of history opens the imagination to many plot lines. Secrets and Charades began as an idea in my imagination while I explored this interesting bit of history. In later posts, I’ll be sharing other interesting trivia on uncovered while exploring the lives and times of my characters.

What historical tidbit, news item or personal experience became the basis for one of your novels or WIP? I love to hear from my readers.

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Ten years in the Making: A Book Contract

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If you follow me on Facebook, you saw my recent announcement. I received my first book contract. It only took 10 years to get there. Oh, let’s not forget 20 rejections, many rewrites and several edits. Years of improving my writing skills through online writing courses and writing books.  Ten years of attending conferences. Submitting to magazines and websites with both success and failure. I’ve made the acquaintance of many writers, both newbies and seasoned pros. During my ten year journey I have added agents and publishers to that list of acquaintances.

Help others on the journey

I’ve written over a hundred book reviews and supported my fellow-writers anyway I can. I enjoy helping promote their books and sharing words of affirmation when they were discouraged. I have purposed to invest in others while I worked toward the illusive contract.

Keep learning

Actions such as joining critique groups, following writing blogs and reading a lot propelled me toward the goal of publication. This has been ten years of perseverance and determination. I’d confess “I am a writer” when I wanted to keep that proclamation to myself. Established writers encouraged me to learn how to use social media.  Then I started this blog, Writer’s Patchwork, where all these writerly parts are sown together into the bigger quilt of gaining a contract. (Clever play on words.)

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My award. I am so blessed.

Never give up

Anyway, the point I’m trying to press home is don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged and keep helping others in the industry. Keep focusing on your goal and over time you’ll get that book contract.

Come follow me

It will probably be a year before my novel will be available for sale. During that time, I will be posting the next stretch of my journey. Even though I have a contract, a mountain-load of work remains to be done before I see my book in print. I’ll share my experiences in hopes of inspiring all of you to keep going. And give you a glimpse into the process of contract to book shelf.

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An Interview with New YA Author Debra Coleman Jeter

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Today I want to welcome Debra Coleman Jeter to my blog. Debra’s debut novel The Ticket has been tagged as a # 1 release by Amazon. Its release date was June 9th and it continues to receive 5 star reviews. Not bad for a newbie, Debra. Take a seat on my slightly lumpy couch and help yourself to some chai tea. While you get settled let me share the book blurb on your book.

Cover-The TicketTray Dunaway longs to be part of the popular set at school, but she’s growing too fast and her clothes no longer fit. The only person who understands Tray’s need for acceptance is her grandmother, but when Tray wears Gram’s hand-sewn clothes to school, the kids make fun of her tall, boney appearance. Tray’s luck improves when Pee Wee Johnson, a down-and-out friend of her father’s, buys two lottery tickets and gives one to Mr. Dunaway as a thank-you for driving him to Hazard, Illinois. When her father’s ticket turns out to be the winner, Johnson demands his cut of the proceeds, but Tray’s dad refuses. What seems like a stroke of good fortune suddenly becomes a disturbing turn of events as Johnson threatens to cause problems for the family and Tray.

Check out the book trailer for The Ticket at: vimeo.com/50187275.

Debbie, what prompted you to write this novel?

That tea’s delicious! Cindy, first, I want to thank you for having me on your blog. As a newbie, I’ve just started one of my own, but I’m not sure anyone has found it yet. http://www.debracolemanjeter.com/blog.

I think the idea for this novel came to me in stages. First, I wanted to write something to show how little importance wealth really is, though we often spend way too much time thinking about money. Once I decided to write about a family with financial troubles winning the lottery, then I thought it might be interesting if someone else bought the ticket and gave it to them … which leads to a lot of the twists in my plot.

I’m admitting my age here but I was a teen in the early 70s. The setting resonated with me. Why the 1970s? Why not present day?

I wanted to pick a time when a fourteen year old was more naïve than today’s teens typically are. Also, I wanted a time before cell phones and social media. Finally, I chose a period when the states of Kentucky and Tennessee (the states where I’ve spent most of my life) did not yet have a lottery, and so the idea of winning a lottery was particularly novel. You had to cross into another state just to buy a ticket.

There are some edgy scenes in The Ticket. One in particular caught some flak from some readers. As a YA book many parents may read it before their teens. Tell me why you felt the scenes needed to be there.

First, it provides an opportunity to round out the character of Pee Wee, the man who buys the ticket. Up to this point in the novel, his behavior makes him seem ominous. This scene shows that he isn’t evil or beyond redemption. But, more importantly, The Ticket deals with some tough, realistic issues. The situation referred to in the controversial scene is one that arises all too often, and I think it’s important for young women or boys who might face something like this in their lives to know that it’s not their fault. They are not alone. They should not feel ashamed. Ideally, I’d like for my book to open a dialogue within families about how to handle such a situation should it arise.

How do you hope Tray’s story will impact your YA readers?

I hope they will be moved to cheer for Tray, to be alternately glad or sad with her, depending on what is going on. I hope they see the good that can come out of difficult or trying circumstances. No matter how bleak things get, there is always hope in the morrow. I want them to see a girl who, like so many of us, struggles with self-confidence and to see they too can emerge stronger and more confident in the end. Also, I hope they will figure out that Tray is making some mistakes and resolve not to make those same kinds of mistakes in their own lives.

Debbie, what’s next on your agenda? A sequel for Tray or a different direction?

A different direction. I have two adult novels almost ready to go; they are set in a small Southern beach town. I am also currently writing an ambitious saga about my grandmother’s life, which is based on the facts that I know, but fictionalized. I start when she is twelve and cover fifty years of her life.

Tell us a little about Debra Jeter. What are you up to when you are not writing?

I love to spend time with my family. My daughter has a three year old and a new baby, just a month and a half, and they are incredibly precious. I also teach and do academic research at Vanderbilt University. I find my way to water every chance I get—to the ocean or to Kentucky Lake, especially in these hot, humid days of summer. I start to dry out like a fish if I am away from water too long. There is nothing quite like the ocean to show us God’s power and to teach us we cannot rely on our own. I also love to collaborate with my son on film projects (when he will let me)!

One last question. The one I love to ask every writer I interview. What words of wisdom would you give new writers?

I have a colleague at Vanderbilt whose signature on his emails reads “Never, never, never give up.” I think this is what I would tell writers. That, and write what you care deeply about, rather than what you think the market is ripe for.

Before you go let’s do a give-away. Commenter’s names will be put in a drawing. The winner will receive a copy of The Ticket. I’ll give everyone until the end of the week to comment. The winner will be announced in the comment section on Saturday. If you have any questions about Debra’s book or her writing journey Debra would love to answer them. As an extra incentive each commenter will be sent a link for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Include your email to receive the link.

 Click here to order The Ticket

Visit Debra on Facebook and Tweeter

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Picturing Your Character: The Heroine

Monday I shared a new technique I was exploring to create my characters for the novel I’m working on during Speedbo. I shared a compilation of pictures I found on the internet to create my hero Dan Sweeney.

Now I want to show you a collection of pictures I found to help create my Hispanic heroine.

At the Start of the story Isabella has waist length hair

My character had waist length hair

My character had waist length hair

She is five foot two from Guatemala, adopted as a young girl. Isabella Wilson is starting over after the death of her husband. She gets a make-over cutting her hair short.

She becomes more stylish

Shoe Shopping

She enjoys wearing three inch heels. I am a practical footwear person myself so I went virtual shoe shopping to find what Isabella liked. Fortunately she doesn’t go for too outlandish of a style. Three inch heels help her feel more in control because she is so short.

I found perusing photos on the internet really was an interesting way to get a clearer picture of my characters. Keeping the photos handy as I tell my characters’ stories. References to their appearance chapter by chapter remains the same.

What techniques do you use to help create a character? Do you virtual shop for their clothes?

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