Things I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving As A Writer

Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving as a writer.  There are many people and resources that I am so thankful for that make my writing life so much easier.

Things I Am Thankful For This Thanksgiving As A Writer.

My talent-I am so thankful I am blessed with the talent to write. I absolutely love what I do. When I write I feel like I am doing exactly what I was born to do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

Living in a digital age-We use the internet all the time and don’t even think about it, but I’m so thankful I live in a digital age. It makes it is so easy to write and publish a book and there are so many resources out there to help on the journey. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and it definitely beats the alternative.

Grammarly-I use the free version of Grammarly and I love it. It helps correct the  mistakes I don’t see or totally miss and makes my writing much more polished.

SelfPubBookCovers-I have bought six book covers from this website. My covers for Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise, The Safety of Objects, and Shadow Of Soul have all came from this site. It has tons of choices, is easy to use, and is cost effective. I love it and think the cover artists are very talented.

My Illustrator-Jeanine Henning is the illustrator that did the cover and illustrations for Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) as well as my upcoming children’s book, Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine). I’m so thankful that I found her because she is super talented, professional, and always fun to work with.

Things I Am Thankful For As A Writer.

Photo by Jessica Bristow on Unsplash

My Interior Formatter-Maureen Cutajar is the talented lady behind GoPublished.com and always makes the interior layout of my books look fabulous. I’m very thankful I found her because formatting my own books is rather daunting to me.

My Local Author Friends-I’m so thankful for my local author friends and love seeing them at events and keeping in touch online. Knowing you have someone who lives close by who is in the same boat can be very comforting. It’s always nice to share resources and bounce things off of each other.

Independent Bookstores-I love independent bookstores and how they value local authors. They are key to helping us get exposure locally.

Other Things I Am Thankful For In My Writing Journey.

Author Events-I’m thankful to live in an area where local independent bookstores value local authors. Many of the stores in my area have author events at least twice a year and some have open mic nights once a month for local authors to showcase their work. They are an amazing resource and I don’t know what I would do without them.

My online author friends-I’m thankful for my online author friends as well and being able to get feedback and share resources as well as building friendships.

Writer’s Digest-I love getting this magazine bi-monthly and keeping up on the latest in the writing industry.

My family and friends who support my dream-I’m not talking just monetarily. It’s great having people around that get excited when a new book comes out and that come to see me at local author events.

So, if you are an author, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving as a writer? I would love to know.

 

 

 

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Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Books

Every writer knows the importance of a great story, cover, and all the other elements that make up a good book. We spend hours writing, re-writing,  and editing. We make sure our cover looks perfect. We scan our interior to make sure every typo and punctuation mistake is corrected. Finally, we are done and we are ready to send our file to our interior layout person to be formatted for e-book and print. Not so fast. There is one very important part that you’re forgetting. This is called your back matter. What is back matter? Back matter is the information you add so your readers know what your other books are, how to get in touch with you, learn more about you, etc. There are various parts to your back matter. Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Books.  If you don’t have your own back and make sure people know where to find you and how to get in touch with you, then who will?

Got Your Back? The Importance of Back Matter In Your Books.

Examples of back matter.

About the Author-This is where you write your biography and tell people all about your writing journey.

Other Books-This is where you list your other titles.

Book Club Questions-A fun way to engage your readers is to add questions at the end of the book for discussion. By doing this, who knows someone may choose your book for their own personal book club  which can lead to several reviews.

Got Your Back? The Importance Of Back Matter In Your Book

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Recipes-If you have a passion for cooking and mention certain meals in your books, why not add some recipes too.

Checklists-If you are writing a non-fiction book, you may want to add a link to a checklist or personal assessment for your reader to fill out and get feedback on.

Social Media Links-Add all the links to your social media accounts from Facebook, Pinterest, Google, your website, your blog, etc.

Mailing List Invite-Casually invite your readers to learn more about you and your books. (Ex: Please sign up for my newsletter to keep up on my latest releases, enter contests, learn more about my characters and more.)

Request reviews-This is a great way to get reviews. Simply put, If you liked this book, please leave a review on Amazon.

 

 

There are various elements to back matter and you don’t have to use every one. If you are a new author and only have one book, make sure your bio, social media accounts, an invite to your mailing list, and a review request are included. If you have several books, make sure you list them all, add your bio, add social media links, mailing list invite and review request. Book club questions, checklists/assessments, and recipes are just fun extras to make it interesting. Whatever you do, make sure you add this simple page to your book. It makes you more ‘human’ and ‘reachable’ and your fans will love that.

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Word Count Fever: NanoWrimo

We are coming up on the the middle of November. For those of you who are not aware, November is National Novel Writing Month (NanoWrimo). Every  November, writers all over the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in a month.  That’s 1,667 words a day. Many authors have Word Count Fever: NanoWrimo.

Word Count Fever: NanoWrimo.

So, how is it coming? This year I decided to take a stab at it to see how far I can get on my next book.  As of right now, I’m behind. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was even attempting this in case I didn’t make it, but here I am.  I’m hoping to catch up this weekend. Is this you too? Don’t feel bad, sometimes life just gets a little distracting. Especially if you have kids or heavy workloads or a million things going on at once.  It doesn’t mean you’re not committed. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a great idea. Keep on writing, you may surprise yourself by month’s end.  Even if you don’t hit the 50,000 word goal, you will have a good start on your next book and that alone should make you feel good. That you made some progress compared to sitting in front of a blank screen. Be proud that you tried, take stock of what worked and didn’t work for you, and plan to do better next year. Just like trying anything new, you don’t know how it will go until you try and then you learn from your mistakes. As I told a friend of mine the other day, the only way you can fail at something is if you don’t try.

Word Count Fever: NanoWrimo

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

 

For those of you on the other end of the spectrum, I commend you.  If you are a writer who has completed or almost completed a novel during this month, congratulations. You know what works for you, you have a plan, and you stick to it.  That is awesome. I wish you the best on this round and know that you are going to put out one amazing book soon.

No matter where you are in your progress right now, take heart and keep writing. In the end, we will all win because we have a solid start to our books and can move onward and upward. In the meantime, happy writing.

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Are You An Emotional Writer?

Are you an emotional writer? Sometimes handling our own emotions can be quite difficult. The same goes for when we are building and fleshing out our characters, their emotions, and the situations they are in. Although I am just starting my first work of fiction, I know I’m going to be an emotional writer. I am already so attached to my characters and the story I am trying to tell.  I have a feeling that by the time I get to the end, I will be totally gutted and there will be nothing left. Kind of like an emotional writing hangover.  This is a good thing.

Are You An Emotional Writer?

Still, building your characters and working out their emotions can be difficult. You don’t want your characters to sound cardboard and cliched, but you don’t want them to sound boring either. Where is the balance? An author friend of mine recently received and awesome gift from her niece. It’s called The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist. This book features 75 different emotions and possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses to each emotion. Pretty cool, huh? I thought so.

Are You An Emotional Writer?

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

 

I definitely think this would be a great resource to help your characters really come to life  and ‘live’ on the page.  So grab a copy today or put it on your holiday wish list today to help your readers really feel what your characters are going through. Two other resources you may find helpful are The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws, The Positive Thesaurus:  A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Psychological Trauma.

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Have You Thought About Monetizing Your Skills?

As authors, we all take pride in our books.  While some of us have to pay for the skills we do not possess, there are many authors who do everything themselves. I’m talking about formatting, editing, cover design, book blurbs, marketing materials, etc. Have you thought about monetizing your skills?

Have You Thought About Monetizing Your Skills?

Formatting-For some of us, it is a complete mystery how to do this. However, if you have exceptional skills doing this, it can definitely be a way to earn some extra income.

Editing-We all have our strengths and weaknesses. If you are a stickler for grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and story flow, it could be worth offering your services.

Cover Design-Do you have a creative or artistic flair? Do you know what a great book cover looks like from designing your own?

Illustration-Love to draw? Offer your skills and have a lot of fun creating customized characters for your clients.

Have You Thought About Monetizing Your Skills?

Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurbs/Descriptions-Do you have a way with words or mad copy writing skills? Make your clients and yourself money by writing book descriptions that sell.

Marketing materials-Can you create a gorgeous Facebook banner or post image, Pinterest graphic, business cards, or other marketing materials?

Author Coaching-Do you have a passion for teaching others the process of writing and publishing a book? This is a great way to help others and supplement your income at the same time. If you are looking to hire an author coach, here is the link to my coaching services. https://www.fiverr.com/crazy4books/answer-your-book-publishing-questions

Being an author doesn’t mean you need to rely solely on book sales.  You can put the skills you use everyday to work helping others and building new relationships as well as marketing your talents. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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Coming Soon: Brock’s Bad Temper And The Time Machine

I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I released Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green). Oh, how time flies.  Working on that book was so much fun for me and I knew that there would be more in the series. Today I’m excited to announce my next upcoming book in the Boys Will Be Boys Series, Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine).

Coming Soon: Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine)

Brock's Bad Temper (And The Time Machine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brock has a bad temper. His sister, Brenda, is known as the kindness queen. She warns Brock that if he doesn’t get it under control, he is going to take a trip in the bad temper time machine. Brenda herself used to have a bad temper too, but one trip in the time machine and she got her temper under control. Brock thinks she is just telling him this to scare him. However, later that night as he is getting ready for bed, he is mysteriously transported back in time to experience an old-school punishment. Can Brock get his temper under control? Will he realize his modern day punishments aren’t that bad? Find out in Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine).

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Looking to Spend Some Time with Your Kids And Help Others?

Looking to spend some time with your kids and help others? I have found a very unique way for you to do so. Introducing the Ha-Ha Color Me Joke Book, the world’s first social coloring book. Author Neesha Mirchandani has a passion for both reconnecting kids and parents amidst a busy lifestyle and for helping foster kids.  She decided to combine these two passions and created the Ha-Ha Color Me Joke Book.  It is a great way for kids and parents to spend time together, telling each other jokes and coloring, as well as growing important developmental skills. It also helps foster kids in need because for every copy purchased, a child in need receives a copy also.

Looking to Spend Some Time With Your Kids And Help Others?

Here are some benefits both parents and children will get from the Ha-Ha Color Me Joke Book.

  • Growth in hand/eye coordination
  • Growth in fine motor skills
  • Growth in social interaction and self-confidence
  • Improved reading skills
  • The ability to break the ice by telling a joke if a child is shy
  • Having lots of fun jokes to share
  • Parents get to spend quality time with their children
  • Busy Moms will be guaranteed five minutes of peace. (I can hear you all running for the bathroom now.) 🙂
  • Parents can make a difference in another child’s life. For every copy sold, a child in need receives a copy. It’s a total win-win for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you waiting for? Grab a copy of the Ha-Ha Color Me Joke Book  to help your child laugh, learn and help another child today.

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I Think Of You

I think of you

And I smile because it feels good to have you on my mind

I think of you

And feel the suffocating pain from the knives in my heart

Due to your noncommunicative side

I think of you

And I ignore the worry

That plagues my mind

I think of you

And am reminded

Of my tears

Leaving me emotionally drained

And the insomnia

Leaving me so tired

I think of you

And feel a chill in my bones

I think of you

And feel an empty, hollow space inside

My soul

I think of you

And how I’ve been trying

My best to keep

This friendship from dying

I think of you

And wonder

What would you say?

If you knew how I felt

Would you do the same?

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What Was Your Catalyst To Start Writing Professionally?

As writers, we are often seen as having this pie in the sky dream and ambition. We believe we can sell 1,000 copies of our book in the first year. We believe we can build a tribe of fanatical, dedicated readers. We believe that someday we will make the New York Times bestseller list. And we can accomplish all these things. However, for some of us it hasn’t always been this way.  For many of us, we have been dreaming of being a published author for years, but it took that one catalyst to get us to actually sit down and start.

What Was Your Catalyst To Start Writing Professionally?

I have wanted to be an author since I was nine years old.  I grew up with a lot of naysayers on my Dad’s side of the family, but I pretty much let it go in one ear and out the other. As I got older, I had to figure out how I was going to do this. Not so much write, but get published. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go the traditional route, but I also didn’t have money to pay a vanity publisher either. I didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to have 100+ copies of my books  that may or may not sell. So I kept writing and sat on it for awhile.

It wasn’t until January 1, 2014 that I saw this segment on CBS This Morning and it totally changed my life.

Did I want to write steamy romances like Jasinda Wilder? No, not at all. It was the inspiration of her story and the realization that I could self-publish on my own that blew me away. I wasn’t even familiar with self-publishing or knew what Smashwords (an e-book publishing platform) was. I made up my mind that day that in a year I would publish my first book. Like with most things, there was a learning curve, but a year and three months later I published my first book of poetry. Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise was published on March 21, 2015. It was a proud and humbling moment for me to see my first book go out in the world. Still, I think ‘What if I never saw that story?…” Would I still have published a book eventually or would I still be sitting on my laurels and dreaming? I would like to think not, but who knows?

 

So, what is/was your catalyst to start writing professionally? I would love to hear your stories in the comments.

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Interview with the Illustrator: Jeanine Henning

Interview with the Illustrator: Today I am featuring illustrator and book cover designer, Jeanine Henning. Jeanine is the amazing talent behind my book Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green). Aside from being talented, she is a true professional with lots of personality and is so much fun to work with. I look forward to collaborating with her in the very near future for my next children’s book. Take it away Jeanine. 🙂

1. How did you get started illustrating and doing book covers?

I’ve always been busy drawing. From as early as I remember. One of my first jobs was as a Conceptual Designer at a gaming company. I worked my way up to Creative Art Lead where I was in charge of creating worlds, characters, and storyline. When I left the industry I made a very smooth transition to books – where my job is to create worlds, characters, and storyline.

2. Did you have to have any formal education to learn how to do it?

No. I’m self-taught. I was accepted into art schools and colleges but I didn’t like the ‘strictness’ they were imposing on CREATIVITY. So I taught myself and to this day I’m still learning. The experience I’ve gained throughout the years is a million times more valuable than the formal education I was considering.

 

3. How long have you been illustrating books? How long have you been designing book covers?

I’ve been illustrating books for 13 years and doing book covers for the same amount of time.

Interview with the Illustrator: Jeanine Henning

 

4. What is your process for finding out exactly what a client wants in an illustration or book cover?

I have a very specifically designed questionnaire. I get to know ‘who’ my client is first. Then we progress to his or her vision, their tastes and of course their ideas. From there a ‘picture’ stars forming in my head and, well, the characters sort of just pop on out of my pencil!

 

5. What software do you use to draw your illustrations?

I start with traditional pencil on paper (shock, horror, I know!). I then go on to inks (again, traditional), then I scan the final line art and color with Photoshop. No apps are used in the making of my art 

6. Have you always been creative?

Yep, from as far back as I can remember!

7. When you got started, how did you advertise and gain clients? What is your favorite way to advertise your business?

I began by advertising on Indie Author News and writing articles for them. Eventually, interest trickled in and soon we had lift off! And as I began working with clients, the word of mouth spread. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are also great tools. But word of mouth is still powerful.

8. Do you have any tips for those who want to set up their own illustration business online?

You have to become your own brand. You’re in competition with sites like Fiverr. That’s huge. So get your brand out there, as well as considering what can you offer your clients above and beyond just the art. This industry has something very special – team work. A successful author-illustrator team can achieve amazing things.

9. What projects are the most fun for you to work on?

That’s hard to say… The books I work on are so diverse that each and every author and book bring something really special to it. I really am very lucky when it comes to my clients and the wonderful characters they entrust to me.

10. What do your clients mean to you?

A lot. More than just the income. I learned through my clients, I make dreams come true with them, I get to touch kids’ lives all across the globe with my art. So yes, my clients mean a lot to me.

Interview With The Illustrator: Jeanine Henning

11. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Bringing dreams to life. And touching lives. I worked on a very touching project not too long ago. An aunt created this character and wrote this story for her very ill niece in the hospital. The book’s intent is to be distributed throughout children’s hospitals. But when I saw a photo of that little girl’s face when she saw her beloved character come to life – it made my year!

Do you want to get more info or hire Jeanine?

Then check out her web site at: https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/

Thank you Jeanine, for answering my questions. I look forward to working with you again soon. 🙂

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