August 7, 2018



Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer


CALL ME ISHMAEL OR BOSSY

Some people may call me a know-it-all.

They misunderstand.  Truth is, I love sharing my knowledge with people.  And that could come across as bossy or pushy.  I like to write how-to pieces because people are hungry to discover ways to solve a problem or learn something new.

I'm not alone.  Lots of people write how-to articles.  Go ahead, and goggle "how-to" and you'll find

how to learn a language,
how to work with unprofessional people,
how to do laundry,
how to walk in heels,
how to make a car repair,
how to fix a toilet,
how to mend a broken heart,
yada yada yada it's all there on the Internet—anything your little heart desires to know.

Writers who want to build their bio can write a how-to article.  These pieces are not difficult to write.  It takes some research and good writing skills.  Here's how to get started:
  • Read your favorite publications to see what techniques writers use to write a how-to article.
  • Choose a topic that interests you and one that will address your audience's needs.
  • Research the topic using reliable sources.
  • Outline the piece keeping important points grouped together.   
  • Begin the piece with a hook:  an interesting fact, a startling statistic, an inspiring quote. 
  • Use a conversational tone. 
  • Tie the ending to the beginning.  
  • Have a second reader have a look at the article and check for grammatical errors.
  • Edit the piece.  

I'm always thinking about new topics for a how-to article.  From my experience, I could advise writers on publishing with an indie press or finding marketing ideas.

But I wouldn't have to narrow my how-to topic to just writing.  The saying goes "write what you know."

Therefore, I could write about:
  • trying to talk a police officer out of a ticket (it didn't work)
  • playing racket ball in a dorm room (I don't recommend it)
  • teaching a cat boundaries (don't waste your time) 

I've lived these experiences; therefore, I would have plenty to write about.

So call me what you will, bossy or pushy, a know-it-all, whatever.  It won't hurt my feelings.  My mission is to inform the hungry reader.



July 25, 2018




Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer


YOU SAY CABELA'S AND I SAY CARRABBA'S  

Last holiday season, I gave my hairdresser a gift he didn't expect.

You would think that since I'm a creative sort of person that coming up with presents would be up my alley.  But it's hard being creative year after year.  Though I've known Antonio for a long time, I'm never sure what he likes as a gift.  Since he seems to enjoy eating out at restaurants, I get him gift cards.

This time, I decided to choose something different other than the usual American food restaurant chains like TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesday, and O'Charlies.  I thought he'd like Italian cuisine so while at the grocery store, I bought him a gift card.

A week before Christmas, my husband delivered the card to the salon for me.  Antonio opened it before Jim left.

"Why, thank you Jim," said Antonio.  "I've never shopped here before."

Jim looked at him curiously and peeked at the card.  He had to hold back the laughter until he came home.

At dinner time, Jim told me he gave Antonio his gift.

"Did he like it?" I asked.

"Do you remember what you bought him?"

"Of course.  It was a gift card for Carrabba's."

My loving husband waited for me to say more.

"You know, the Italian restaurant."

"Ah...no you didn't."

"But I always get him a restaurant gift card.  I wanted to get him something different this year."

"You did.  You bought him a Cabela's gift card."  Jim burst out laughing.

"What's so funny.  Isn't it an Italian restaurant?"

"It's an outdoor sporting store.  A place for people who like to hunt, fish, and boat."

I felt so embarrassed.  Antonio is not an outdoorsman.

He wouldn't wear plaid or flannel outdoorsy clothes.  I've only seen him in black polo shirts, black jeans, and black tennis shoes.  He would never shop there.  Well, there goes that gift card.

The next morning, I called Antonio to apologize, but he said don't worry about it.  But I felt horrible.  I wanted to get him another gift.  I drove to Bella Notte (I've eaten here—I know it's an Italian restaurant) to purchase a gift certificate.  Finally, Antonio would have a gift he could use.  Jim delivered it to him a few days before Christmas.

"Did Antonio like the new gift?" I asked.

"He did," said Jim.  "Antonio said we didn't have to buy him two gifts, but to tell you thank you...

and that he loves his plaid shirt from Cabela's."


CWW is published twice a month.

À la prochaine! 












July 12, 2018



 Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer 



THE DEADLIEST CRAB 


"Want to go crab fishing?" asks my husband.

That's my cue to join him to watch an episode of the Deadliest Catch.  Or as I like to call it, the Deadliest Crab.

Deadliest Catch follows six sea captains and their crew as they hunt for elusive Alaskan crab.  Viewers can always count on drama.  Sea captains battle:
  • arctic storms with hurricane-force winds and 40 foot waves
  • ice floes
  • snow blindness
  • crew management 
  • accidents that cause serious injury or death 
  • fatigue
  • health issues (back issues and conditions brought on by stress)
  • equipment failure which may lead to fires, oil leaks, power outage, or loss of steering 

Deadliest Crab
On top of all that, the captain must find crab. That's tricky because radar doesn't detect crabs resting upon the bottom of the sea. 

Many captains must rely on intuition to locate the crab.  Others refer to logs which indicate the location and numbers of crabs caught in years gone by.  And captains will use  devices that mimic the sound of a crab-feeding frenzy or rely on smelly crab farts to lead them to rich crab grounds.



Crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.  It seems like once a season, Deadliest Catch airs footage of the United States Coast Guard searching for crewmen of capsized vessels or retrieving injured fishermen from a deck—a feat in itself as swimmers lower a rescue basket from a helicopter through rough wind onto a rocking ship.

Sea captain Josh Harris says, "It's not a sport for the weak or the weak-minded."

From time to time, a little levity peppers the show with the crew pulling silly pranks like filling a fisherman's boots with water and then freezing them or moving a captain's boat (unbeknownst to him) to another dock.

When an episode gets bloody
however, (say like when a steel crane smashes a forehead) or gross (or when a wound is lanced or part of a finger is lost), I'll look away while my husband replays the scene to be sure he hadn't missed any gore.

I may have writely challenges (marketing Maggie, submitting to agents, producing Kid's Imagination Train, writing two blogs) but these are nothing compared to fishing the Bering Sea.

Writing for children is demanding (ask any children's author) but it's not usually deadly.  With writing, you may face rejection, but you don't run the risk of getting bloody and gory...

and you never have to be on the lookout for crab farts.  

CWW is published twice a month.

À la prochaine! 



July 2, 2018

 

Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer




ONE AND NOT DONE 


I never used to be a Wildcat fan.

Pretty shameful being that I graduated from the University of Kentucky.

But over the last few years, I can't get enough of UK basketball.  I think what attracted me to the game is our charismatic coach John Calipari.

Though Calipari has taken six teams to the NCAA Final Fours and led UK to win the championship (2012), many criticize him for supporting the principle of one and done—having a basketball player play one season and then be eligible to get drafted for the NBA.

According to the wildcatbluenation.com "The one and done situation is good for players whose talent is certainly ready for the NBA. Kentucky Basketball has allowed many players in the last 7 seasons to fulfill a dream. They are able to support their family by playing the game they love.
No one should question a decision made by an 18 year old kid that is NBA ready to leave school and get paid to play. Kentucky has offered these types of players the opportunity for a fast track to the pros."

But because of this doctrine, Calipari has his work cut out coaching a team largely comprised of freshman.  

For that, I admire him.  He seems to care about his players and wants them to do well, despite his frequent rant "OUT"—meaning have a seat on the bench and contemplate what you did wrong.  Time-out on the bench is usually not for long.  Players always get multiple chances to get back into the game.
That's the way I wish writing was like, having multiple chances to think about what went wrong (with a submission) and then go back and get it right.  Usually a writer gets one chance and one chance only.  Rarely do writers get a second chance to submit an edited version of their work to a publisher or an agent.

With Kid's Imagination Train ezine however, writers get multiple chances to edit their manuscripts.  They learn how to revise their work so that it can be published.  Like Calipari, I want them to do well.

Kid's Imagination Train writers are not one and done's.  Our writers submit again and again to KIT after their first acceptance.  In fact, some writers have been with our little ezine for over five years.

I admit some writers publish once with us and move on to the pros (Highlights, Ranger Rick, Boys' Life).  They exemplify UK's latest slogan: succeed-and-proceed which now replaces the three-word mantra.  But most of our writers are loyal and recognize they get a privileged opportunity to work on their game.





CWW is published twice a month.

À la prochaine! 











June 15, 2018

Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer




DOPEY AND SLEEPY, BUT NOT HAPPY OR LITERALLY LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG  


I never should have never tried to drug drugged a stray cat.

Putt-Putt is the black and white stray cat that we feed and care for.

Our family thought it would be a good idea to take him in for a check-up with our veterinarian.

The big question was, how do you catch a cat that doesn't want to be caught?  A friend suggested that I give him a sedative.  I thought that was brilliant.

I explained the situation to my vet and he approved a mild sedative.  The following morning, I crushed only a quarter of the tablet and put it in his food.

Within five minutes his eyes were glassy.  I gently slipped the cloth laundry bag over him and pulled the drawstring.

Well, that was easy.  Putt-Putt only had to sleep for a few hours until his appointment.

And then, Putt-Putt must have realized something was not quite right.  No ground beneath his paws. No blue skies overhead.  He went berserk.  Lord have mercy, this cat was on a mission to escape faster than Harry Houdini.

I called my husband's cell.

It was 6:00 am.

"Jim.  Hurry.  I need you to go get the pet carrier."

"What?  Where are you?"

"I'm on the deck with Putt-Putt.  He's trying to get out of the bag."

Putt-Putt was not trying to get out of the bag, he was DETERMINED to get out of the bag.

My loving and devoted husband knew ahead of time what I had hoped to accomplish.  He scrambled out of bed and dashed into the garage for the carrier and began to climb the steps to the deck where I had one unhappy supposedly-drugged cat.

He arrived just in time to see Putt-Putt slice the bag and tear it to shreds with his claws.

No problem, he'll probably calm down and sleep it off.  I mean, he's doped up.  Right?

Putt-Putt took off like a bcat out of hell.

I hadn't counted on him getting agitated and scared.  I expected him to take one long cat nap.

Then an enormous amount of guilt swallowed me up.  Here was this sedated cat that I love disappearing to who knows where and it was all because of me.

I had visions of my beloved stray being hit by a car.  Chased by a dog.  Carried away by a hawk.
If you've ever seen the movie The Proposal with Kevin the dog (replace Kevin with Putty) you'll know what I mean.

I searched the neighborhood and called for him throughout the morning meanwhile swearing I would never ever try this stunt again.

By early afternoon, Putt-Putt returned to sleep on our deck. Unharmed.  When he awoke, I had a big dish of sedative-free cat food waiting for him.

As for getting him in to the vet and having his health checked out, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

All ideas sound good theoretically at first.  The same is true with writing or any other task.  Some ideas work, others don't.  You've got to try and see.

But if the idea sounds questionable from the very start and it includes a cat, it's probably best to scratch it.

Listen to Randi Lynn read Dopey and Sleep, but not Happy...

CWW is published twice a month.
À la prochaine



June 6, 2018


Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer





AND THEN CAME VELAZQUEZ 


I'm a bit of a French Impressionist art snob.  Nothing can compare to Monet and Renoir, and my favorite, Van GoghThen came Velázquez. 

I didn't mean to fall in love with his work.  His work came to me.

When my husband and I arrived in Spain last April, we dropped off our luggage and began exploring the  neighborhoods of Madrid.  As we wandered around, we discovered vibrant statues placed all over the city in honor of Diego de Velázquez.

Velázquez (1599-1660) was the royal painter in the court of Philip II in Madrid.  He sought to capture the reality of things and people rather than follow the classical standard of ideal beauty.    

The Maids of Honour by Velázquez were placed in streets, squares and recognisable settings. According to Meninas Madrid Gallery - Turismo Madrid  the statues "express the vision of the city of their creators, diverse personalities from the world of art, film, sport and celebrities in general. 

The initiative reinterprets each of the Infant Margarita’s maids of honour in the famous painting 
Las Meninas (The Ladies in Waitingby Velázquez in the form of a sculpture. The aim is to portray the plural identity of the Spanish capital through a street museum made up of more than 80 Maids of Honour.  Two metres high, each one will carry an individual message and, together, they will help to reveal Velázquez’s 'infinite message.'”   

The painting of Las Meninas is enormous—10.5 ft x 9 ft.  Imagine the undertaking that fell on Velázquez's shoulders:  deciding the viewpoint, the colors, the composition, how to add symbolism and mystery, and even where and how to insert himself in the painting!

So these little maids got me thinking about writing.  And how writing is like art.


painted-smeared hand holding pen and paint brush
Writers paint with words.

We wrap our words in symbolism and mystery.   We consider viewpoint.  We color our work with alliteration, assonance, simile and metaphor.  We observe the world around us.  We notice details.  

Our styles are as different as the canvases of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Velázquez.

Our voices are unique.

We are artists.

And sometimes whether we're in the throes of writely bliss or in the despair of writer's block, or on vacation, or doing whatever it is we do daily, the universe brings us something we don't expect.  Something significant is put in right in our path...

to notice, observe, admire, and inspire. 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/68209/14-things-know-about-velazquezs-las-meninas

 À la prochaine



May 30, 2018

Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer 



LEARNING WITH THE MANUSCRIPT ACADEMY 

My new manuscript was sh*t. (My husband tried to warn me the piece needed more work). 

Thinking it was good enough to submit, I had a 10-minute conversation with a literary agent, where I heard for a second time the story needed help.  

This short phone call with a member of the  Manuscript Academy saved me from submitting a poorly developed manuscript.  Without having this conversation, I would have submitted my work to agents and gotten rejections (and been in the dark about why it was rejected).   

I stumbled across this amazing online conference when I searched for agents.  I read that for a low price, you could have a consultation with an agent to discuss a manuscript and a query letter.  

I'm glad I did. 

The Manuscript Academy is a unique online instruction can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home.  All you need is a computer, a tablet, or even your smartphone to log in and you will receive advice and instruction from some of the best minds in the literary community.  

Here is what is available: 
  • Access to exclusive recorded classes and panels, designed to educate you about need-to-know topics such as how to submit your work, what agents and editors are looking for, how to craft amazing novels and books, the business of writing and promotion, and much more. You will have access to many high-quality recorded video presentations for 30+ full days—so you can pause, rewind, and notes at your own convenience. See the full schedule of classes here.
  • Opportunities to pitch agents and editors one-on-one online. Using just your computer, you can arrange one-on-one pitches with literary agents and publishing house editors who are actively seeking books and clients right now. (Pitches are optional. You can sign up for as many pitches as you like.)
  • Critique opportunities for your work. If you want a professional critique of your work, then Manuscript Academy has opportunities for you. Our awesome faculty of agents, editors, and published authors offer detailed critiques of manuscript pages, query letters, synopses, and nonfiction book proposals. This is an amazing opportunity to get expert feedback on your work. Plus, Manuscript Academy members also gain access to our Academy Forum, which allows writers to connect with each other and form online writing critique groups.
  • Live query and first page workshops and discussions (in groups of up to 10) on topics ranging from Publishing Law to How to Be A Trendsetter, Not Trendy. All of these are designed to be introvert friendly.
For under $50, I had a ten-minute consult with a well-known literary agent.  For me, it was a little nerve-wracking because she was late calling.  I was nervous to begin with and then...my computer went to sleep.  

I clicked and moved my mouse frantically.  

I got panicky.  I wanted it to wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!   

Luckily, I had jotted down my questions in advance so it was easy to continue.  Halfway through our short conversation, the agent told me that the middle of my manuscript was weak.  OMG, she suggested how to improve it!  

The Manuscript Academy was right for me.  And it may be right for you.  Poke around on the website and discover how the classes and consults work.  Read the testimonials.  Imagine talking about your manuscript with a professional and learning how she feels about it.  Find out if your work is ready to sent out agents. 

$49 + 10 minutes =  priceless knowledge


À la prochaine
 

May 15, 2018


Where We Write

Ernest Hemingway wrote in a study surrounded by big game trophies mounted on light sea-green walls.  Samuel Clemens penned many of the stories we know today in a billiard room.  Robert Frost composed his poetry in two or three-room farmhouses that overlooked stone walls, apple orchards and sugar maples.  Oh, to have a fabulous writing place.  
    
I’ve yet to try writing in a café or coffeehouse, as suggested by Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones.  According to Goldberg the atmosphere of a café can improve concentration.  She states that writing in cafés keeps the sensory part of you busy and happy and enables the quieter part of you that creates and concentrates free to do so.  Though writing in a café has its benefits, she advocates using a writing room filled with your writing tools.  “Creating a writing space is another indication of your increased commitment,” says Goldberg.
  
My first writing place was the kitchen.  I wrote on a legal pad at the kitchen table, where it was warm and sunny.  But, it didn’t take long to see the advantages of using a computer and finding a quieter place.  I moved to the guest room which has an antique desk close to a sunny window.   

It would be enchanting to have a writing place like Virginia Woolf’s lodge at Monk’s house—a small cottage nestled next to a garden.  I’d personalize the interior with bookcases lined pictures of my family and all of my favorite reference books and novels.  Open windows would allow fragrant lilac and magnolia to perfume the room.  Curtain-less windows and French doors would let sunshine flood in.      

Oh, a fancy writing place with a beautiful view would be wonderful.  But, I’m happy writing where I write and feel blessed to have my own space and time to write.  Sometimes though, I gaze out the window and daydream.  I wonder what it would have been like to have been Chekhov composing his plays in his a country retreat by the Black Sea, where he could glance up from his page and look out over the rocky bay.  Outside my writing place is a dogwood, now in bloom with cream-colored blossoms. In the morning, sunlight glistens off the leaves and petals.  It's beautiful, stately and serene.    

Breath-taking views and lavish work spaces are not part of my writing life.  My little guest room suits my needs.  I'm happy and comfortable in my little den.  Because for me, writing is all that matters. 



April 22, 2018

Recharge Your Writing Battery: 
Pay Attention to the Squirrels 

Children's Writer's World warmly welcomes a post 

by children's writer Regina Montana

Believe it or not, squirrels can provide an introduction to your publisher and mentor.  I know because a poem about a squirrel helped me gain entrance to the wonderful world of Kids Imagination Train, our online magazine.  I owe my squirrel a debt of gratitude.  

Here is his story.  During a class picnic at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. about five ago, my husband and I decided to help our daughter with the school outing for her third-grade class. At one point, an unsuspecting boy decided to put his ice cream cone on the ground by a tree to join a baseball game that had just started up. All of a sudden, I noticed a squirrel scamper down the tree, grab the ice cream cone and high tail it back up the tree to enjoy the treat of his life. I quickly reached for my phone just in time to take a picture. 

Over time, I knew there had to be some kind of story, or even a poem about my squirrel.  And so “A Squirrel’s Lucky Day” was written and accepted.  I believe there are so many “squirrel” stories all around us if we remain open to them and pay attention.  Mother Nature is always ready and willing to provide ample material when we look and listen for what she has to offer. Just like our phones need charging, we writers must also recharge our batteries. 

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends going on an artist’s date weekly in order to “replenish our inner well of images and inspiration.” Taking a solitary walk outdoors might provide the perfect opportunity to feed one’s soul and become inspired and who knows, you might even encounter a squirrel performing an amazing feat. 

Regina Montana is the Promotion Manager for Kid's Imagination Train ezine.   She has a Master of Education Degree and has tutored and taught privately.  Regina contributes pieces to KIT, is a member of SCBWI and subscribes to Children's Book Insider, where she enjoys taking webinars on writing picture books.  She has been on the journey of writing children's picture book stories for approximately eight years. 

You can visit Regina's website: www.reginamontana.wordpress.com

April 15, 2018

12 Ways to Have a Fabulous Career Day Presentation 



Last spring, I was invited to the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, Kentucky for a Career Day school visit.  My goal was to tell students what it's like to be a writer. 


As giggling students entered, I asked them to have a seat and scoot closer so that we could interact better. Then we discussed education paths, salaries, a daily routine, how to get published, and the pros and cons of being a writer. 

The session ended with a question and answer period.  The students had been prepared and asked thoughtful questions.  They really wanted to understand the writer's life. 

I had fun meeting these young writers. I hope you will consider doing a school visit, too.  Here are some ways to guarantee your Career Day presentation will be a hit.  
  • Communicate with the career day coordinator beforehand about when to arrive at school.  Find out how many students will be in each session.  Find out how long each session lasts.
  • During your presentation, keep an eye on the time.
  • Allow a few minutes for students to ask questions at the end of the presentation.
  • If students don’t have any questions, ask them questions.  For example, ask them what they like to write.
  • When students ask a question, tell them that’s a great question before you answer it.
  • Jazz up your table. Bring writing books, a fancy fountain pen, framed writing quotes, pictures of your writing space. Make your presentation inviting and interesting.
  • Invite students to scoot chairs close to your presentation table. 
  • If students prefer to sit to the side, be sure to address them as well as the students sitting in front.
  • Keep note cards of your presentation handy in case you need to glance at them.   
  • Be aware that the school intercom may interrupt.  (This happened two times during each session for me)
  • Have something on the desk that is interactive and will make students curious.  I had a box with a card on it that read: What’s the secret to getting published?  When they opened it, they found the answer: be unique and never give up. (Their faces lit up when they read that)
  • Thank the students for coming and give them your business card to contact you if they have more questions or hand them a bookmark. 



April 1, 2018

10 Tips on Handling Disgruntled Workshop Participant 

Last year, I gave a workshop at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington, Kentucky on publishing with a small press. The turnout was great and the group was attentive and eager to learn.  

Throughout the lecture, most people asked thoughtful questions—with the exception of one individual.  His comments were unnerving.  He put me on the spot.  He challenged and put down my ideas and recommendations.  

I had never experienced anything like this in other workshops I had given or at workshops I had attended.  It was shocking to me that anyone could be so bold.  Luckily, my thoughts were on the lecture, delivering important information and sticking to the schedule, so his rude behavior did not distract me too much. 

Most people who attend workshops are eager to learn.  But sometimes, there's an individual who is provocative.  Here are some tips in handling a disgruntled participant:

  • Be aware that not everyone is going to like you or your workshop.
  • Be aware that an argumentative participant may be present.
  • Take note that your expertise may be challenged.
  • Don't argue. 
  • Take a drink of water to calm your nerves and to gather your thoughts.
  • Listen and be polite.
  • Give a short reply and move on.
  • Defer comments to the end of the presentation.
  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Take solace in knowing the majority are present to learn, not challenge. 

Don't let a bad experience keep you from giving workshops.  Presenting valuable information is a win-win situation because you can teach other writers and it allows them to get to know you and your work.  Consider presenting a workshop to build your writer's platform.

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.




March 15, 2018


8 Topics and 10 Tips on Presenting  a Workshop 

If you are a published writer or an aspiring writer, you should think about presenting a workshop.  Giving a workshop benefits other writers and helps to introduce yourself to the public.  Workshops can be held at a local library, a literacy center, bookstores and even gifts shops and local restaurants.

So...you have some excuses.  You say you're too shy and you have nothing to talk about.  If you talk about a topic you feel passionate about, you will feel comfortable giving a workshop.  And it you're stuck for ideas, then here are a few topics worth presenting:

  • How to get published: traditional presses versus small presses
  • How to write a picture book
  • How to build an author platform 
  • How to give a school presentation
  • How to get published in children's magazines
  • How to develop a website or a blog
  • How to query agents
  • How to edit and proofread your work

Tips on presenting a workshop:
  • Practice beforehand and time yourself
  • Practice using inflections as you speak (avoid flat monotone speaking)
  • Look in a mirror as your practice
  • Start the workshop with a brief intro which includes your credentials
  • Start the workshop by asking participant's experiences and goals
  • Begin with a personal anecdote
  • Have visuals
  • Bring water 
  • Get the participants involved by asking them questions or their opinions
  • Handout a list of resources the participants can use at home
Presenting a lecture builds your platform. And building a platform should ideally begin before your book is published.  Believe me, you will be plenty busy trying to market you book when it is released, so if you can present workshops as well as get on social media, create a blog and develop website beforehand, you won't be as frantic.  Presenting a workshop is a smart and easy way to begin to develop your platform.  It is a perfect stepping stone for people to get to know you. 










March 1, 2018


How to Use Pinterest to Market a Book

I never realized how difficult it would be to market my book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  It's been promoted in bookstores and on Facebook and Twitter. Sales at bookstores were reasonable, but the online strategy wasn't working. 

A writer friend suggested that I look into Pinterest.  I couldn't understand how this platform could be beneficial. Reluctantly, I opened an account and found that in just a few months, Pinterest worked very well in promoting a book. 

Why?  With Pinterest, you have the opportunity to create marketing pins that will attract people who will repin your pins to their boards. This process keeps multiplying and results in having your pins seen by thousands of people.  

I spent hours and hours researching how to use Pinterest.  That does not make me an expert, but I have learned a thing or two.  The following tips may help you promote your book.
  • Follow at least 5 people a day and pin at least 5 pins a day
  • Sign up for Pinpinterest for a trial period and get more followers
  • Sign up for Tailwind for a trial period and let it help schedule your pins at peak times
  • Pin with take away value in mind
  • Create a Pinterest board with tips from your blog  
  • Link your pins to your blog and website
  • Study other pinner's boards to get ideas on the use of color and graphics  
  • Use key words in board descriptions
  • Join group boards (this requires you to send an email request)
  • Create a pin of an illustration from your book that evokes emotion 
  • Make sure your graphics have a font size of least 20 
  • Use an attractive cover for your Pinterest boards
  • Pin pages from your book with a link to Amazon
  • Upload photos from your book signing
  • Upload photos of people reading your book
  • Create an inspirational quote with an image of your main character 
  • Create a board that ties into the theme of your book
  • Take a picture of your book with a cute pet, upload it and pin to a board
  • See which of your pins get the most impressions, clicks and saves and develop similar pins  
  • Use the analytics page to find out about your followers interests and create pins that address those interests 
After joining Pinterest and Pinpinterest, I have lots more pageviews and visitors to my website www.randilynnmrvos.com and blogs 
The Maggie Project www.themaggieproject.blogspot.com and 
Children's Writer's World www.childrenswritersworld.blogspot.com 

One of the drawbacks to Pinterest is it requires time to figure out and develop pins which will inspire people to repin them.  But when you get the hang of it, pinning will get easier and faster.  So, what are you waiting for?  Give Pinterest a try.  See how well it will help you spread the word about your blog, your website, and your book. 



I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.

February 15, 2018

12 Ways to Avoid Rejection

Why was your children’s story (the one you loved and slaved over) rejected by a magazine editor? Maybe the editor wrote:  it's not right for us or I'll have to pass. These replies make matters worse because you have no clue as to what (if anything) was wrong with your work and you don't have any idea how to revise it. 


But here are some tips to help you avoid rejection:
  • Create a main character that the audience cares about and can connect with.
  • Create a true conflict that pulls at the heart of the main character.
  • Place the conflict early on in the story.
  • Establish a good flow (no stumbling over words when read out loud).
  • Have the main character solve the problem.
  • Close with a satisfying ending that is not predictable.
 And a few more tips:
  • Give your story a unique plot.
  • Make sure your story is not preachy.
  • Shy away from scary when writing for younger kids.
  • Keep the vocabulary at the grade level of the intended audience. 
  • Check for spelling and grammar.   
  • Aim to stay within the expected word count. 

Judging a story is subjective and there can be many reasons why an editor rejects fiction.  Some things are out of your control.  Maybe the editor has published or has a similar piece on hand.  Maybe she has a particular vision for what she likes to publish and thinks your story wasn’t a good fit for the magazine’s audience.  Or maybe, she was just feeling grouchy and rejected everything that came her way that day.  Who knows? 

So read over the tips again.  Did you find the reason for your rejection?  If so, revise your work.  But, if your story passes the check list, then simply submit it again to another publication.  What are you waiting for?  You love your story. Find out if a different editor will love it, too.   

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.