Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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    • A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie
      Is there a story behind your book She Does Good Hair? [Laughs] There’s always a story behind our stories, isn’t there? I’ve moved a lot and have therefore had many hairdressers over the years. I also sold advertising and specialized in ads for salons. Hair salons are an interesting culture and each has their own mood. One of my hairdressers was young woman w […]
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      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. I know you want to know ... WHO WON?But before we announce our five winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:Laura Hilton who offered her  Amish Romance  Awakened Love.Valerie Goree who offered her  Suspense  Colors of Deceit. Annslee Urban who offered her  Romantic Su […]
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      Welcome back to the Book Loft, Lillian! Is there a story behind your latest book DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS?Three things happened within a few days of each other to inspire DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS. First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense […]
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    • NEW JUNE RELEASES for this month's CLASH of the TITLES
      It's a NEW CLASH!The best of summer reading - all in one list for you here. Find a New Author to love...I have.I'll apologize in advance...I could not cut anyone from the list, so we have MEGA LIST this month.You'll see what I mean: everything from spies, cloak and dagger to medieval to early Americana. Whew!The QUESTION ALWAYS IS:Based on the […]
    • O'Barr's Latest: Tender Shadows
      Author Ann Gaylia O'Barr visits today!She brings with her, in the form of her latest novel, all her experience as a Foreign Service officer in the turbulent Middle East. Tender Shadows is one of seven such novels and will appeal to lovers of foreign lands, culture, adventure, and romance.PURCHASEAmazonAbout Tender Shadows:When Beth Wilhite’s U.S. State […]
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    • Taking A Break
      If you are a regular reader you'll know I didn't post last week. We had just gotten home from vacation. Yellowstone National Park is fantastic. You know how things go when you get back. Well, that was the way it was for me. Add in an unplanned dental event and an 8 hour round trip to Chicago for a TV interview about Seeing The Life and you can prob […]
    • Sin Still Makes You Stupid and Your Stupidity  Ripples, Floods, or Tsunamis  
      A couple of years ago I wrote posts entitled Sin Makes You Stupid and The Ripple Effect. It's one of those truths that seem to be forgotten or glossed over. It's a truth we should be aware of and watch for within ourselves and others. The stupidity of sinning overflows into the lives of others. The consequences to ourselves is often increased expon […]
    • What's Next?
      Seeing The Life is off to a great start. It is garnering 5 star reviews and good publicity. Rhubarb Fest this year was good, even though I don't eat rhubarb. I left at noon on Saturday when the radar showed rain coming. I didn't want the books I had to get wet.So, what's next? I keep getting asked that question. When's your next book comi […]
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      Country  Memories Farm Christian Writing ConferenceAugust 8-9 in Manitowoc, WisconsinWe have wonderful speakers again this year: Becky Melby Ben Wolf  Kathryn SpringerFriday evening critiques by Susan Baganz  On-the-farm networking social "getting writers together" Please check us out at www.countrymemoriesfarm.com.Joy,http://LisaLickel.com […]
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      Hope DeferredBy Elizabeth MaddreyAbout the Book:Christian fiction for women. It's been a tough year. Twin sisters June and July and their husbands spent the last year trying to start a family. Now, as the sisters work with fertility specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, each must determine what treatment is right for them in the midst […]
    • Book Review: As Is by Wendy Oleston
      As IsBy Wendy OlestonA Wisconsin Author!.99 Kindle12.99 printISBN-13:978-1499781335Buy on AmazonFrom the publisher:Life is hard for Mara Shaw. One bad relationship after another has left her a single mother with no faith in anything. She is unable to trust in anyone . . . including herself. She decides to start afresh, and never allow herself to be hurt agai […]
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    • BOOK REVIEW: SHOUT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BY NICK ROSENER & ERIC LEHNEN
      A simple and straight forward approach for small business owners to defining your target market and using various marketing sources to reach it. With so many social media options at our doorstep, many small business owners/entrepreneurs may feel overwhelmed. Is more better?The authors pull from years of marketing experience to present an easily understandabl […]
    • Book Review—The Last to Know by Melissa Hill
      This women’s fiction book centers on three women whose lives intertwine as they look for happiness in love. Anna is engaged but can’t seem to set a date and then she finds out she’s pregnant.  Eve has lived with Liam for years and has children by him but isn’t married. All she wants is to be loved by Liam, be his wife and raise his children. Sam is a success […]
    • Book Giveaway: The Love Story by Stenetta
      Today I present children’s author Stenetta Anthony whose children’s book The Love Story released on May 6, 2014. This is her first publication; however, she is currently in the process of writing another children’s book.Stenetta Anthony resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She uses her talents as a dramatic storytell […]
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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘Written World Communications’

Blogging is the Devil

Posted by Ben Erlichman on February 9, 2012

Why do people blog? What makes them think that anyone else  in the world wants to know about the new recipe for mongoose flambe they just created? Who actually reads blogs?

I’ve been pushing myself for the last year or so to blog once a week here at Reflections (occasionally I’ve missed a few weeks, but hey, one of them was on Thanksgiving, so there). In that time I’ve learned that, for me, blogging is the devil.

See? I told you it was.

What I mean is that like the devil, blogging distracts me from what I should be doing. Also, I hate the devil. likewise, I’ve grown to hate blogging. I have never enjoyed reading blogs, and I’ve always felt like I was supposed to blog as a part of my life as a writer because that’s what I’ve been told I’m supposed to do.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m attempting to write four novels this year. Correction: four GOOD novels this year, not just some garbage books that I don’t care about. In my mind, each word that I write on a Thursday morning (or before if I’m really prepared) is another word that won’t get written in one of my books because I’ve written it here. I’m not okay with that.

Perhaps this springs from my lack of interest in blogging as a medium of communication. The only time I read blogs is when a friend asks me to, or when I see something on Facebook that’s of interest to me and it happens to link to a blog post. I don’t go out trolling the internet for blogs. That’s not my idea of entertainment. I don’t enjoy that. The closest I come to that is Cracked.com, a site that I visit regularly because it’s funny and informational (but not always appropriate–you’ve been warned). That’s not really a blog sight, though.

Randy Ingermanson has sent out a lot of good stuff in his Advanced Fiction newsletters since I’ve been a subscriber (and probably before that too). In his last one he suggested that an author should ascribe a value to every business-related thing he does, as follows: $1 work, $10 work, $100 work, $1,000 work. The dollar amounts represent how much money you make from the various tasks you perform.

For instance, I run Splickety Magazine, which takes up a lot of my time. At this point I’m not privy to how much I’ll make from that rag, but I’m imagining it will be in the high $10s or the low $100s. I anticipate it will go up over time as I’ll get better at producing it as time goes on, plus I’ll hopefully make some money by selling some advertising for it. Compare that with my novel-writing: that’s definitely $1,000 work. Sure, it hasn’t actually made me any money thus far, but once I do get published, then I’m confident I’ll be in the $1,000 range.

This formula pertains more to marketing in my case than anything else. The idea is to focus either on A) what I’m good at/enjoy or B) what makes me the most money. I’m good at writing books, I’m good at running Splickety, and I’m good at Facebooking, plus I usually enjoy those things most of the time. I’m kind of good at blogging–of the top five most-viewed posts here at Reflections, four are mine (not including the Author page or the site’s homepage)–but I don’t like it. As of right now, it hasn’t made me any money that I can see, so it falls into the $1 work category. I think you can see where this is going.

I’m going to stop blogging. Over the next few weeks you won’t see me around here much anymore, and then eventually I’ll be gone, with perhaps an occasional guest appearance here and there. I just can’t justify the time I spend blogging anymore. I’ve already spent too much time on this one as it is to make it a decent post.

As such, I need to find a replacement. If you or anyone else is interested, comment on this post and the rest of the Reflections staff/administration will consider contacting you about it. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve benefited from this experience in ways that aren’t as tangible or measurable as money. I’ve made new friends and connections, I’ve learned to be more concise in my thoughts when blogging, and I’ve grown as a writer and as a person, but it’s time for me to move on.

This isn’t my last post here, but it’ll be one of the last. I’ll see you around, okay?

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Publishing, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Ben Erlichman on January 5, 2012

Well, it’s that time of the year again–the beginning. By this time a lot of people have already made and forsaken their New Year’s Resolutions. As for me? I’m just getting started.

I learned this nifty trick from Randy Ingermanson, a titan of fiction writing and teaching, and an all-around nice guy, too. It’s not so much a trick as it is a strategy to make sure you’re on task with your New Year’s Resolutions, especially if you’re a writer: create a writing business plan.

Randy talked about this in one of his past e-zines and I decided it would be a helpful tool for me. You can visit his website (just click on his name above) to search for the actual article yourself if you want all the details he included, or you can just read my summarized version in this post.

My business plan includes some key elements that you may want to put into yours. What follows is a list of what those are and a short description for each one.

Introduction: I used this section to articulate my major career goals as a writer. I listed five of them, the last of which is “To fully financially sustain myself and my family through writing-related revenues.”

Section 1 — Significant Achievements of 2010: This one is self-explanatory. I have yet to update it to 2011, but you get the idea. In this section I detailed the novels I wrote, connections I made with agents,  publishers, and other authors, achievements for my writing (in 2010 I was an ACFW Genesis contest finalist), the conferences I attended, blogging, short story-writing, stuff I did to work on my brand, and other stuff too.

I also took the time to list out every book I plan to write in a table by title. I included details like genre, production status (where I was in the process of writing these books), and whether or not it’s part of an intended series.

Here's a list of everything I'm working on right now...some more than others, of course.

Section 2 — Business Details: I didn’t write much in this section as most of my business isn’t happening since there’s not a lot of money coming in or going out at this point. I anticipate that it will grow as time passes, as will the amount of money I bring in. In 2010, I made a few bucks from selling my first ever short story, and then I made a few more in 2011 from selling a couple more short stories.

You can also put the amount of money you spent on your writing career in this section, and perhaps some spending you anticipate for the upcoming year. It’s important to remember that the money you spend is an investment in your writing career (it should be helping you make progress in your writing–if it’s not, then don’t spend the money on it next year).

Section 3 — Major Projects to Complete: This is for the upcoming year, of course. These are practical, achievable steps you can take towards fulfilling the goals you might list in the introduction. For me, I said that by the end of 2011 I wanted to have three publishable novels ready to present to publishers (meaning they were written and edited). To date, I have three novels and one novella (it would have been four, but one of them ended up kind of short).

At the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013 you can look back at these projects and assess  your progress on them and whether or not it’s a huge failure on your part that you didn’t accomplish or finish them. It’s also important to note that things like brand development and marketing projects can fall under this section too.

Section 4 — Continuing Education: In this spot I detailed the books on writing that I wanted to read and the ones that I read the previous year. I also mentioned critique groups/partners that I had and conferences I planned to attend in 2011. Then, of course, there were fiction books I wanted to read as well, so I started keeping track of those.

Section 5 — Conclusion: I wrapped the document up by making a statement of what I will look like by the end of 2011–it’s kind of another goal, if you think about it. I said I would be much closer to realizing my overall goal of becoming a published novelist in the action/adventure genre. I also promised to revisit it in 2012 and create an updated version.

I encourage all of my author friends to create something like this if they’re trying to make a career out of writing. It has really helped to focus my attention on what parts of my life and career I should be developing, and it provides a guide to follow for the course of the year. It provides self-accountability, which is huge when you’re a writer since it can be such a solitary endeavor. Will you be writing a business plan for your writing this year?

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Publishing, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Critiques: Friend or Foe?

Posted by Ben Erlichman on December 29, 2011

Writers fear rejection more than anything else (in my opinion). That rejection can come in lots of forms and will likely show up at multiple points in your career as a writer. You can’t avoid it.

Even best-selling authors get bad reviews on their work. Jim Rubart, best-selling author of Rooms, Book of Days, and The Chair, has a total of 305 reviews for Rooms on Amazon.com. Of those reviews, 89 are 1-star ratings (the worst), and 134 are 5-star ratings (the best). I know Jim fairly well (for only seeing him once a year at the annual ACFW Conference) and have had the privilege of listening to him speak at that conference a couple of times about marketing. One of the best things I gleaned from his talks was that it’s better to have people either really love your writing or really hate it because that means you’ve achieved the goal every writer is shooting for: you’ve inspired a strong emotional response in your reader.

Critiques can be helpful tools in getting you to that point, but frankly, they suck sometimes. As writers, we put ourselves out there. We empty our souls onto the page on a regular basis. That’s often a very messy process. Critiques help to clean up that mess so others can read it without cringing at our excessive use of adverbs or other goofs while creating our first draft.

Here’s my typical process for writing as far as critiques are concerned:

1. I do my pre-writing work (includes research, outlining, writing synopses, etc.)

2. I write the book

3. I edit the book at least once on my own (probably no more than twice, though)

4. I send it to someone I trust for a first peer critique

5. I implement the changes I like from the critique

6. I send it out for a second critique (either to the same person or to a different one, or sometimes both)

7. I implement the new changes from the second critiques

8. I write a book proposal and try to sell the thing.

More or less, that’s my plan. I’ve got a novella, Lions and Serpents, that I just got a line-by-line critique back from a good friend of mine. I haven’t looked at it yet, but we discussed it on Facebook chat for a bit and he gave me some overarching thoughts.

In short, he said that a big chunk of the story after a certain point really slowed down and wasn’t as enjoyable to read since not much was happening–the characters were all just plotting how to proceed next instead of just doing it. He also said my characterizations weren’t consistent in the two main characters, Paul and Marty. Also, my minor characters (mostly the evil henchmen) all seemed kind of bland and boring. On top of all of that, he thinks I may have invoked a form of Deus Ex Machina at the end (which I kind of disagree with, but I can see his point).

In other words, it stung to hear some of those things. Most of those things.

But that’s part of the process of making your work stronger, of making it more appealing to your target audience. It certainly is part of making your work more “publishable” through traditional mediums, as professional editors have responsibilities to their respective publishing houses, who need to make money off of your work. Sometimes you just have to do things their way, and a good critique can help you get closer to providing them with something that they not only can use, but also want.

As with all criticism in life, eat the lollipop but not the stick. In other words, apply the constructive criticism that you think will help your piece get better, and ignore the stuff you disagree with. I guarantee that I won’t implement every change my critique partner suggested, but I will use most of it because I trust his judgment and know that he’s trying to help. Ultimately it’s my story and I’ll do what I want to do with it.

Another thing to look out for is negative criticism. If you’re eating an apple and run across a big bruise, you don’t eat the bruised part, right? Eat around it. Get back to the stuff that tastes good and is nourishing you. Same with critiques or reviews: if someone says you’re a horrible writer because your characters are shallow and your plot has no structure so you should probably never write again, what good can you take out of something so negative? Well, ignore the insults and the meanness and get the actual critique content out of there: you need to work on plot structure and character development.

Don’t be afraid of critiques. They’re a good way to put your work out there just a little bit, and hopefully to receive some constructive feedback while you’re at it. Send it to someone you trust to be honest and give you a helpful review of your work. Doing this will help you develop a thick skin for when you finally do get published and someone writes a scathing review of your work that makes you want to crawl into a cave and hide forever. Go ahead, give it a shot.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Book Reviews, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Publishing, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My NaNoWriteMare

Posted by Ben Erlichman on December 1, 2011

Clever title, isn’t it? That’s about the only thing I accomplished this November as far as writing is concerned. Alright, I’m being too hard on myself–it’s not quite as bad as the title suggests. I actually logged 22,200 words on the nose in november, but that’s 28k shorter than the standard NaNo goal of 50k, and about 40-50k shorter than my personal goal of 60-75k. Ah well, life goes on, right?

The best thing I can do is try to figure out where I “went wrong” in my endeavor. If you caught my last post two weeks ago (sorry about the blank Liam Neeson post that showed up Thanksgiving Day–that’s courtesy of WordPress being devilish and deleting all of my content) where I sort of did a mid-course analysis and tried to make corrections, then you know some of my flaws already. I played too many video games, I focused more at work at my day job (that’s a good thing, though) and I didn’t do enough pre-research on my initial NaNo project, which I eventually abandoned in favor of returning to my previous work-in-progress (WIP) which is about a chapter away from hitting the book’s final act.

Yeah, I thought I’d be able to amp up my writing by switching to my old project, but my word counts actually didn’t improve–they decreased, then began to increase in the past few days. I wrote like a tyrant my first week, which was actually only five days, and in that time I put out 9,050 words. The next week (a full seven days) I put out 6,433, then a miserable 1,998 the week of that blog post. That was my rock bottom. I climbed up to 2,270, then reached 2,453 during the last four days of November. In short, I’m on an upswing, and that’s going to have to be good enough for now since I failed to complete NaNo.

In other words, my word count from October through November very closely resembles the stock market crash in 2008.

Here’s my new goal, and I think it’s manageable: finish my current WIP by the end of December. By my count I should have about 20-25k left to write. I have done over 50k words in a month before, so cranking out the end of the story (with the momentum of the entire cast of characters and the plot fueling my writing) should be a fun challenge. I’d like to have it done by mid-December so I can have an edited draft ready for my wife to read by January 1st, as I promised a few months ago.

Here are the things that will probably distract me: writing/preaching a sermon in mid-December for the main service in my church; running my church’s youth group; trying to acquire the biggest client for my dad’s company in its history (sooooo awesome, by the way); trying to acquire other clients at work; an old friend visiting my wife and me for a month or two; video games; getting the first issue of Splickety out and selling it to local stores; marketing Splickety nationwide; making time to spend with my pregnant wife; chaplain site visits to our client location three times a month; critique group stuff; potentially attending two funerals; meeting with a young couple about officiating their wedding; volleyball on Monday nights; workouts on Tuesday nights; Mayhem on Friday nights; and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember right now.

In other words, it’s exactly how I like it: stressful, packed, and short on time.

I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Parenting, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

NaNoWriMo Sound Off

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 3, 2011

It’s that glorious time of year again for those of us who write novels: NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know. You know what that means for me as an author? Isolation, a third of my regular social life, long nights awake at the keyboard tapping away to reach that ever-elusive word count goal of 50,000 words in one month (I’m actually shooting for 60-65k this year because 50k isn’t actually a full novel…).

In other words: I’m really looking forward to it.

We writers often like isolation, we don’t mind sacrificing our social lives for our work (to an extent), and chasing that challenge is a thrill enhanced even beyond what we usually get from writing our books. We’re weird like that, so just accept it and love us anyway, or you run the risk of becoming a character in one of our books. And then we may kill that character. Bwahahaha!

All kidding aside, I’m off to a different start and I have a different approach to NaNo this year than I did last year, where I had computer problems and struggled with a lack of focus, yet still somehow managed to get my 50k written in that time. The primary differences this year are that I know what to expect this time through, and I have a detailed outline from which I can work. Last year I had neither of those things, and the result was a 54k book (novella?) jam-packed with action but not long enough to sell to any publishers. (Don’t worry–I can always use it as a free giveaway as an e-book as a marketing/promotional perk for my readers to build a platform.)

This year I’m writing the first book in a dystopian YA series of three books. I have outlined the entire book, almost all of it in scene-by-scene detail except for one section where I totally just wrote a paragraph that’s supposed to sum up three entire chapters (give or take) of writing. The rest is pretty clear-cut, though. In my experience, outlining has proven to be 100 times (that’s an estimate) more useful to me than writing by the seat of my pants. I did that with my NaNo project last year and, well, you know how that turned out. I also did that with my first novel, and it’s taken me about 8-9 years to get it to where it’s actually ready for a publisher to consider. Never again, my friends. I am an outliner all the way, every day.

I’m off to a decent start. I wrote 3,000 words the first day and 1,100 words the second day, which, when you average it out, I’m sill a bit ahead of where I should have been by now anyway, even though I dropped the ball yesterday by about 500 words. Today/tonight will be different. I fully expect another 2,000 words, possibly 3,000, and I plan to be up late writing into the night with some AC/DC playing in the background.

Another key difference is that I’m waaaay busier this year than I was last year. Tell me if this sounds like a lot to handle: a full-time job, a marriage, a very part time job (5 hours a month) as a chaplain, co-leading my church’s youth group, editing and putting out the first issue of a new flash fiction magazine, taking a refresher course on hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) for a preaching mentoring class at my church, my wife is pregnant, running events for the youth group including a fundraiser coming up soon…

There’s more too, but I can’t remember it right now. Add NaNo on top of all of that and I have no life in November. But it’s all good. I usually don’t thrive unless I have a lot of things going on.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you know someone who is? Share with us in our comments section.

Also, give three cheers to Written World Communications, one of NaNoWriMo’s sponsors this year. :)

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Market Monday – the Small Press Part III, with Rowena Kuo

Posted by Lisa Lickel on August 29, 2011

Small Publishers, Big Choices

By Rowena Kuo

Small publishing houses, like small colleges, tend to encourage a more personal involvement or specialize in niche interests. Some focus on genre, such as inspirational non-fiction or speculative fiction. Others cater to the author, based on a work expected, to attract a great deal of success. In addition to print capabilities, small presses may also offer publications in e-formats and have marketing plans just as large as their bigger siblings.

At Written World Communications, we integrate the best characteristics of traditional, royalty-paying houses with the flexibility of smaller houses. Founded by Kristine Pratt, Written World deals with “in the gap” publishing: works that may be too edgy for strict Christian guidelines, but too Christian for the secular market. We consider ourselves a ministry that happens to be a publishing house, not a publishing house that happens to have a ministry. Our interests are in authors and readers who don’t fit into nice, neat little boxes.

Having said that, we have ten imprints and a new media division. A manuscript that isn’t published by one imprint may better suit the needs of another.

Harpstring:

Christian general fiction and non-fiction, short stories and full-lengths novels. General fiction includes, but is not limited to, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Action/Adventure, Historical, Women’s Lit, and Romance. Also considers Creative and Speculative non-fiction based upon individual projects. Creative non-fiction reads like fiction, stories that are based on truth, but names, events, and places may be fictionalized for protective reasons. Speculative non-fiction involves questions about science, nature, history, space travel, etc. that many Christians have and want to talk about.

OtherSheep:

Christian speculative fiction, short stories and full-length novels. Includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

Untapped:

Christian YA fiction, short stories and full-length novels. Also will consider non-fiction YA and YA speculative fiction.

Starsongs:

By kids for kids ages 9-19, short stories and novels, fiction and non-fiction. General market.

Patchwork:

Christian children’s stories and books through middle-grade, includes picture books submissions.

QuickTales: (editor – Ben Erlichman)

Christian flash fiction or articles 500 1000 words. Magazine only.

Timeless:

Christian authors and readers 55+, fiction and non-fiction, short stories and full-length novels, fiction and non-fiction.

WorldTalk:

International fiction and non-fiction, short stories, articles, and full-length manuscripts. Explores Christianity around the world, social implications, and cultural differences.

Wayside:

General market fiction, short stories and full-length novels.

Gambatte!:

Manga, general market. Artists, authors, graphic designers, illustrators.

WWC Media: Voice actors, film actors, sound and film crews. Christian productions.

For more information and the guidelines for each imprint, refer to our website: www.written-world.com. For all present and future WWC authors, I encourage three things:

  1. Keep writing: schedule time every day to work on your craft. Don’t give up or give in. Write with excellence.
  2. Learn as much as you can: go to writers’ conferences, build your networks, and do your research. Even multi-published authors never stop learning.
  3. Pray: not just for your own writing, but also for each other, for your readers, and for the world. Writers tend to isolate. This is not always a bad thing, but be aware of the relationship between you and your potential readers. You never know what impact the words you write or the prayers you say could have on somebody else.

When choosing a home for your work, you have unlimited options. If frustrations mount, but you don’t want to self-publish, a small house may be your answer. No matter what road you take, whether you publish with WWC or another house, I celebrate when a manuscript that’s been across my desktop sees the printed page. Perhaps, one day, I’ll get to celebrate with you.

Rowena Kuo
Executive Editor for
Harpstring Magazine and Books
BLISS on Amazon
OtherSheep Magazine  (new editor: Lisa Lickel)
Starsongs Magazine

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Writing | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Small Press – is it Right for You? Part II with Rowena Kuo

Posted by Lisa Lickel on August 22, 2011

Non-Traditional AND Royalty-Paying

By Rowena Kuo

With current economic trends and the rise of self-published best-sellers, authors now have even more avenues for publication but less aptitude for overcoming perceived limitations.  Investing thousands of dollars to self-publish your novel might seem too large of an investment without a  guaranteed return.  Keeping this in mind, I would like to present to you the emergence of the non-traditional, royalty-paying publisher.

Within the last eight years, small independent presses have been capturing the attention of authors, readers, and bigger houses alike. The rise of green awareness and Internet downloads has forced some larger publishers to change, down-size, or shut down costly print divisions.  Mega bookstores are facing bankruptcy unless they can come up with a business plan that results in profit. Yet these small independent presses aren’t just surviving; they tend to thrive.

Many non-traditional, royalty-paying publishers, or NTRPs, retain most of the benefits that more traditional houses offer: advances, editing, publishing costs, marketing, and distribution in addition to paying royalties. As with everything, these benefits differ by house, and doing your research as prospective authors will ascertain the fine print. But these general characteristics differentiate NTRPs from self-publishers, vanity presses, or subsidy houses.

What NTRPs have in their favor is the concept of Print on Demand, or POD. They publish what they need, when they want it, and in the quantities they require. There is no waste, fewer books collecting dust on shelves, and minimal returns from bookstores and distributors. With the capability to print anywhere from a few books to millions of copies, NTRPs are able to manage costs without the pressure that results from overstock.

Where larger publishers might save costs by printing books in other countries and shipping them in bulk, many NTRPs print in the US because POD is cost-effective.  An interesting activity as you do your research is to go through your books and see how many are printed in the USA.  In fact, I would not be surprised to find how little of what we have in our homes, items such as toys, games, gifts, clothing, is made in America. An NTRP published book may be one of the few things in your possession that is.

Now, I’m not saying imports are of less quality or anything like that. All I’m proposing is that you as an author, your work, your ideas, your book, might one day become a valuable export. What do we make that the world wants? How much of what is conceived in the US is manufactured somewhere else, only to be brought back and sold to Americans?  These are questions best answered another day, but when it comes to choosing a publisher, you might want to take these questions into account.

As you walk the path towards publication, consider the countless options you have. We are limited only by what we can’t envision. Whether you choose small or large, traditional or non, royalty-paying or self-publishing, may you find the best home for your creativity.

Rowena Kuo is the Executive Editor for Harpstring Magazine and Books

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Writing | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Market Monday – Choosing the Small Publisher with Rowena Kuo

Posted by Lisa Lickel on August 15, 2011

For those of you who thought you saw this last week, you’re right. Mea culpa, mea culpa…I’m quite mixed up with my Mondays in the middle of my vacation. But…this is such good stuff it bears repeating. Join us the next two Mondays for more of Written World, and find Sid Frost’s excellents pointers, the second half of his chat on how to get published, on Labor Day, September 5.

We welcome this month a special publishing mentor of both Ben and Lisa, Rowena Kuo, of Written World Communications. Join us as Ro talks about the Small Publisher.

Choosing the Small Publisher

Aside from the completion of a manuscript, an author’s most daunting task may be in finding it a home. Where do we start? Perhaps one of the key issues to consider before submission to publishing houses would be in knowing what’s out there. Of the thousands of publication companies in the world, your manuscript needs to find just one, and like choosing colleges for your child, you may find many factors fall outside of your control.

It is in this struggle to remain in control where it’s best to understand the available options. Each publishing house posts guidelines that will narrow your search for the right home. This can be exhausting and, in some cases, discouraging. Many places won’t take unsolicited manuscripts and/or authors without agents. In most cases, finding an agent can be just as hard as finding a publishing house. By comparing types of publishers, I plan to give you generalities that I’ve observed but may differ house to house, and though you still have to do the research, I hope to illuminate some issues and offer you encouragement on the road to publication.

The differences between large and small publishers are defined by revenue, market, and print runs. “Small” can mean anywhere between a few employees and a few titles published every year to many staff and several titles a month.  But “Large” refers to well-known, long-established, high-revenue houses with thousands, if not millions, of books produced and distributed worldwide. With current economic trends, most houses, large or small, choose authors and books that offer the highest potential for sales. Fame, returning authors, and agent-recommended manuscripts tend to generate success, and larger houses may accept these submissions over those without. Smaller houses, like smaller colleges, may give you more personal attention, more control over your manuscript, and may be more open in considering new authors because of niche or target audiences that may be more attuned to your particular work.

Whether small or large, a publisher usually falls into one of 3 categories:

  1. Vanity press or self-publishing
  2. Subsidy or author-complemented
  3. Traditional, royalty paying.

In a vanity press, the author retains all rights and pays for the publishing costs. You, the author, would be responsible for marketing and distribution, and you receive 100% of all profits. You hire your own editors, and you maintain full control. For some authors, this fulfills all their publishing needs. The stipulation that goes with self-publishing would be that in paying for your own publication, your book would be amongst other titles that may not have received professional editing, and unwanted or unwarranted stigma may categorize your work as sub-standard.

A subsidy publisher will pay for some of the publishing costs, but the author has to invest finances for completion, marketing, distribution, or an agreed upon expectation as established by contract. The author and the publisher pool together resources for the success of the book. This might seem like an ideal situation, but like a marriage, your project may stall should stalemates or disagreements occur.

The traditional, royalty-paying publisher is what many authors strive for to achieve their publishing dreams. The house accepts the manuscript and considers it worthy of investment for publication, marketing, and distribution. The author receives a monetary advance and a percentage of the royalties once the book earns back on the publisher’s investment. The author pays nothing, but the author is expected to participate in interviews and marketing for the book’s success. However, unlike the vanity press or the subsidy publisher, the traditional publisher owns the rights to the book, and the author may have little or no say in the book’s development.  Once the contract is signed, you may have some say if the publisher is willing, but final decisions reside with the publisher.

Although the desire for publication may seem overwhelming, it’s wise to consider the countless options available to you. Research your houses and what you would be willing to give up for publication. Decide how you measure success and what results you would expect from your book to achieve that. Although the types of houses I’ve described have benefits and challenges, there is a new type of publishing house that has been born out of the stress from our economic era that I will talk about next week: The small, non-traditional, royalty paying publisher.

Until then, I welcome any questions or comments, and blessings to you in all your endeavors.

Rowena Kuo

Executive Editor for

Harpstring Magazine and Books

Executive Vice President,

Written World Communications

Harpstring Magazine Summer 2011

Harpstring Magazine Spring 2011

Harpstring Magazine Winter 2010-2011

Harpstring Magazine Fall 2010

An Uncommon Crusade, Winner of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in Religious Fiction

Bliss, Finalist for the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the category of Humor

Find Bliss also at the publishers site

OtherSheep Magazine

Starsongs Magazine Winter

Scattered Thoughts

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writerscoach/2010/11/09/rowena-g-kuo-executive-editor-for-harpstring-magaz

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/harpstring-test

http://www.ustream.tv/user/Harpstring?inviteOverlay=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaBpt-ezBFc

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Writing | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Why General Fiction is Still Necessary and Promo Ops for You!

Posted by Lisa Lickel on January 29, 2011

I usually run screaming in the other direction

when I discover what the newest hottest “in” thing is, be it fashion, food, or entertainment. Usually I find out too late for the—whatever—to be truly vogue, but since I am an author, I must keep up with the trends in publishing. It’s been three years since I was informed that intelligent women aren’t the major force in book purchases. I know, I should get over it, but every once in a while that bitter pill comes back up, like bad sushi at a convention of literary booksellers. I happened to hear Karen McQuestion on public radio talk about her self-published work that is selling better than most traditionally published books; enough to sign a movie option deal. Since I also got involved with a couple different marketing groups that treat Amazon figures like stock futures, I had to notice. I immediately e-mailed Ms. McQuestion for permission to add her to my repertoire of Wisconsin Authors (http://wiscsonsinauthorreview.blogspot.com), and ask for a guest column on how she made the big time on her own. She agreed to the publicity but declined to share the secret of her success. (She’s interviewed a number of places you can search.)

With the genre talk this month, thanks to Grace Bridges of Splashdown Books (Mondays),

I decided to add my dime. Instead of refusing to follow a trend-setter, I purchased Karen’s book, A Scattered Life, and read it in two sittings. Yes, I write and read for a living, and yes, I am at a point where I am frustrated out of proportion at the insanely unfair and discombobulated formula for the particular genre of the book I’m writing.

As soon as I started to read Karen’s book I understood the reason why no big-name traditional publisher would take it. Karen uses flashback, different character points of view that in some cases are simply interesting and don’t bother to move the story along; the book doesn’t have a real plot, the characters don’t achieve much outside of some personal growth; the story is completely character driven, and, frankly, will make one of the least flamboyant movies of the decade. Oh, and uses my second favorite authorial convention: killing one of the best characters. At the end. In short, Karen uses techniques I love about writing, and don’t honestly mind reading as long as the people are relatively realistic and interesting. Karen’s people are interesting.

Apparently a lot of people like to read this kind of stuff: readers who obviously are willing to gamble with a buck on a computer book and who have reading time to burn. These people were happy enough with their purchase that they told thousands more how much they liked it. Huh. Word of mouth: the best marketing tool on the planet—for a book that won’t go on a physical shelf in a bookstore, which is a good thing since A Scattered Life isn’t literary (not enough big words or issues); it’s not a formulaic romance, mystery, thriller or fantasy; it could settle in as women’s fiction, but works better as general fiction so that a guy can read it without feeling weird.

Why do we still need this category? Most buyers don’t care or understand about genre, and “general” is a non-threatening bigger niche than, say, buggy punk. “General” lets me decide without prejudice if I want to read a story about a woman who gets married to a stalker persnickety school teacher with a controlling mother, who becomes friends with a flake, and who falls into the perfect job without trying, rather than think I can’t stand another modern romance or best friend story or dealing with cancer story. And selling a well-edited book for a teeny little non-threatening price (it’s now 2.99), doesn’t hurt, either.

A Few Announcements for the Writers in the Group:

First of all,

Rowena Kuo of Written World

tells me she plans to have issues of Harpstring Magazine coming out in March, May, August, and November.

Themes like Spring, Mother’s Day, Father’s day and Summer would be good for the next 3 issues, while Christmas and holidays would be good for the November issue. I feel a bit awkward about sending in more stories, but then again, how cool would it be to have a story in every issue? I challenge you, Ben!

Next:

The Donald himself, Donald Maass, that is,

 is coming to our humble Wisconsin. This is what I know:

 FIRE IN FICTION with New York literary agent Donald Maass March 11-13, 2011 – Madison, Wisconsin Holiday Inn at the American Center

Based on The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, this practical writing workshop will demonstrate in detail how to: • Create ordinary protagonists with extraordinary appeal. • Make heroic protagonists profoundly human and involving

. • Craft villains more compelling than most heroes.

 • Ensure that every scene is a scene that can’t be cut. • Generate high-impact, unforgettable plot developments.

 • Connect character to place.

 • Make setting a character in the story.

• Conjure a milieu as real as the world around you.

 • Develop a unique voice for this story.

 • Ensure that even far-fetched plots are utterly plausible

. • Generate high tension in every line and transform low-tension traps into captivating moments.

 • Infuse every story with high purpose, write with passion every day!

 Tap into The Fire in Fiction, and supercharge your story with originality and spark! Optional Speculative Fiction Master Class with Don Maass and bestselling author Nalo Hopkinson

In this full day course, Don Maass and bestselling author Nalo Hopkinson will teach you how to first foster a deep understanding of the speculative genre (science fiction and fantasy), and then go beyond the expected to create a truly original breakout work. You’ll learn how to merge elements of literary and genre fiction, how to assure reader investment in the credibility of your world and characters, how to create a palpable voice on the page, how to create a resonant theme, and much more.

Registration Details

March 11 and 12 – Fire in Fiction Workshop Core course: new students $399 or returning students $369 Includes lunch both days, workshop materials, and more! March 13 – Optional Speculative Fiction Master Class Stand alone master class: $199 Combo core course with master class (discounted rate!): new students $549 or returning students $519 Either option includes lunch, workshop materials, and more! Registration and more information: www.free-expressions.com

EXCLUSIVE WRITING GROUP DISCOUNT: $30 OFF the price of this Fire in Fiction workshop only, if registered by January 31, 2011. Use code FIF30 when registering.

And thirdly,

 a free online conference—yippee, Karina, one of my favorite people:

CONTACT: Karina Fabian karina@fabianspace.com Ann Margaret Lewis annlewis@joesystems.com For Immediate Release Carolyn Howard-Johnson Conducts Seminar at Free Online Conference World Wide Web–Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the free fourth annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, featuring veteran presenters like Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi-award winning novelist, poet and book marketer. The online conference will run from March 21 to 27, 2011 and is sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild. It is free and open to writers of all levels who register before March 1.

 Writers needn’t be Catholic.

It is conducted in an online forum at http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Workshops and live online chats cover the gamut of writing topics from idea generation to marketing a published novel; traditional and self-publishing, article writing and fiction, and much more. In addition, prominent Catholic publishers will hear pitches, giving authors an unprecedented opportunity to chat personally regardless of their ability to travel. The Catholic conferences draw hundreds of participants and more than scores of editors and writing professionals. Conference organizer Karina Fabian says, “Even in good economic times, it’s hard for writers to attend live conferences, but this year, we think it’s even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We’re so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent.” Previously publishers considering pitches have included well known Catholic and secular publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. This year, Fabian hopes to add some agents as well. The conference features presenters from all aspects of the publishing world.

Although the conference is offered at no charge, donations are accepted; proceeds go toward future conferences. To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Book Reviews, Life Experiences, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
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