Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writing as an Art Form

Writing as an art form allows you, the writer, to express yourself in a way that can bring a different perspective to readers. As a canvas is to an artist, so is a blank sheet of paper to a writer. As the writer, you combine individual words to construct a sentence with the expectation of creating an emotion. When you finish your work of art, readers have the opportunity to connect with you. You and your readers then share a connection through words. You share the intentional emotion expressed through a scene described, an example explained, or an experience exposed. 

Your expression through words is as musical notes to a musician. Each word creates its own vibration. Musical instruments set the mood for listeners. Your words also set the mood for readers. 
Often, you have a muse as a writer, just as a dancer has with music. When a dancer hears the music, her body begins to sway, almost automatically. The dancer moves rhythmically to the music and demonstrates expression through body language. When you tell your story, your words come alive and a journey begins for readers.

If an artist never draws, we will never have the pleasure of seeing beauty through his eyes. If a musician never plays an instrument, we will never experience the enjoyment of his melodic sounds. If a dancer never dances, we will never see her expressions through movement. Writers called to write give a deeper understanding of emotion, experience, and insight.  

In a fast-paced society, the beauty of art forms are undervalued and overlooked; in reality, they are priceless. The artist, musician, dancer, and writer share an inner beauty expressed in different art forms. 

As a writer, I encourage all who have written words to share your beauty. You can share your beauty through articles, poems, blog posts, lyrics, or in a book. Whatever your method, begin to draw like an artist, play music like a musician, and dance like a dancer ... yet through words.
Nicole Antoinette, author, publisher, and founder of the Suwanee Festival of Books launched Faith Books & MORE Publishing in June 2008. She is an independent business consultant, professional writer, and adjunct college professor. She currently resides in Suwanee, GA with her son Joshan, an aspiring film director.
Telephone: 678.232.6156

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Support System

Im afraid of heights. As a child, the thought of climbing the scary metal ladder-looking thing in the school gymnasium paralyzed me. In fact, thinking about it today, I remember the feeling of holding the cold metal bars in my sweaty hands and I can taste the fear again.

My poor gym teacher was determined to get me on the monkey bars. He even allowed me time away from class to try to get me to climb to the top. I got so annoyed with myself that twice I tried climbing the igloo-shaped apparatus in the playground. Needless to say, those attempts were the least successful of all, and left me clinging for life while a classmate went to get the teacher to help coax me down.
What finally helped me climb up and then over? I had a team of cheerleaders encouraging me. With a patient gym teacher (sorry to say I dont remember his name), and classmates who encouraged instead of laughed, I finally was able to make it.
When youre writing and self-publishing a book, it can sometimes feel like youre trying and failing at overcoming a childhood fear. Its essential that you have a support system, your own cheerleaders, who not only believe in you, but can be relied on when you need an opinion or advice.
Why have cheerleaders?
For moral support. When youre working long hours at your day job, and spending your free nights and weekends writing a book, its nice to know theres someone who believes in you and is looking forward to seeing your success. When youre nervous and worried about whether your book will be successful, they will be there to help you envision a positive outcome. If you get overwhelmed or frustrated and really need to vent, your cheerleaders will be there to let you release some steam. A close, trusted friend or a family member is usually a great person to have on your squad. When you reach a milestone that you want to celebrate, theyll share in your joy and even help spread the word!

For advice. You may know other authors who have written a book, and maybe even some who have self-published their book. They can be a great sounding board when you need opinions or advice on the decisions youre making during the writing and publishing process, whether it comes to reading them a portion of the book, or getting their opinion on potential cover designs. This person could be a fellow author, a mentor, or a colleague. Colleagues can give very constructive feedback, especially if youre writing a non-fiction book that falls within your shared area of expertise.
For a different point of view. Your support system can offer you a variety of opinions on your writing style, the book, your promotional efforts, and more. Try to choose people with different backgrounds who will bring different opinions and experiences to the table. Ask them to be honest with you, even if their opinions will differ from your own. Although you want people to be in your court and make you feel good about your writing and publishing efforts, its important for you to get honest feedback so you can use it constructively.
If youre working with a publishing support provider, the team working with you on your book can provide all of the above!
Dont get down if some of your cheerleaders sometimes disagree with you or give an opinion that youre not happy with. Remember that youve asked for their support, and also for their honesty. Sometimes the people closest to you may ask the toughest questionsand thats because they care about you and have your best interests in mind. Your family especially may have all kinds of responses and questions when you decide to publish your first book: support, praise, excitement. Be prepared for the 5 w questions, but also for the inevitable doubt and complaints about how much time youre dedicating to the project. Despite all of that, when they see the results, they will be proud of you, excited for you, and will want to tell everyone they know that youve published your first book.
So get up on those monkey bars and climb! Your team is here to cheer you on. As for me, Ill stay down here on the ground, to cheer you on. (Once was enough for me, thanks!)

Angela DeCaires is the Marketing & Communications Manager for BookLogix Publishing Services. She oversees Corporate Communications for BookLogix, and also assists BookLogix’s authors in the publishing process. Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting and journalism, having held positions in public relations and working for a number of years as a news writer/TV news producer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tell No One!

On a recent Saturday, I was at the salon getting my hair done. Now, I don't typically do the salon on Saturdays, but I needed to get lovely for an upcoming speaking engagement I had in Charleston and that seemed to be the only time I could fit it in. So there I was amidst the shampoo bowls, hair dryers and steaming curling irons familiar to most women. After a few hours (yes, hours!) of primping and prepping, I landed on the throne of my stylist so she could handle the finishing touches to my locks.

We chatted about books and business, and she shared with me an interesting and sad incident she experienced many years ago. After sharing a fantastic business idea with what she thought was a trusted friend and business partner, she later learned that he had, in fact, stolen her idea! How did she find out? When she turned on the TV to watch Oprah, there he was onstage telling O, her audience, and the entire world about this new thing he had created! (Okay, here's where you gasp!)  

I could only imagine the pain and anger she must have felt towards this guy all those years ago. But, as is typical of me, I asked, "So what lesson did you learn?" Her answer, "Don't share your ideas with people." I don't blame her for taking that approach. After all, when you get burned, it's hard to trust anyone. You share your big fat hairy idea with that one person you think will be happy for you and maybe help you make it a reality. And, of course, you're more than ready to break them off a piece of the profits when they start rolling in, if only they would contribute their honest input and resources. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? In a perfect world, yes. 

Unfortunately, many potentially successful ideas wind up in the courtrooms or on the cutting room floor simply because some people just don't play nice. And that causes the inventors and idea generators among us to clamp down and go it alone, or worse to stop their great idea dead in its tracks. That's what many authors do when it comes to their book ideas. They adopt a "tell no one" stance and keep the idea to themselves for fear that someone will hijack it as their own. If this is your approach, it's completely understandable. We've heard many stories of stolen ideas that have made millions for their unscrupulous idea thieves. To that, I say what my grandmother used to tell me, "God don't like ugly!" 

Although the silent treatment might work at the start of creating your manuscript, success with your book project will be more enjoyable once you develop the courage to open up and share what you're working on. I liken it to being pregnant (what do you expect from The Author's Midwife?). During the first month or two you keep silent with your news. You nurture your budding seed and settle into the idea of the outcome and the incredible impact it will have on your life ... forever! As time goes by, you begin to show. But even before then, you're bubbling over with excitement and can barely stand not to tell someone. That's when you become open to criticism: Why this? Why now? Was it planned or did it just happen? Can you afford to do this? You do realize this will change your entire life?  

Hopefully, you also get the supportive hurrahs from your supporters; those people who you know will encourage you and offer their help along the way. Those are the people you target to share your idea with. So why share? Because you, like every other aspiring author, need support, encouragement, and an honest accountability partner (or several). Find the people who can be that for you and trust them to hold your idea in confidence. There will come a time when you will be so full of the seed that's germinating inside of you that you won't be able to hold the news any longer. And all of that "tell no one" stuff will fly right out of the window. Choose your time. Choose your confidants wisely. And eventually tell the world that you've got a book inside of you and you're just about ready to PUSH! Oh, what a relief it will be! 

When did you finally tell someone about your book, and what was their reaction?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Write the Book Proposal that Sells


I don’t know a single person who enjoys it, especially writers. But we all keep trying until someone recognizes that our book, our proposal is the one that should sell. I’ve even learned how to embrace it because the two times I’ve been rejected, I received priceless feedback that helped me pitch it better the next time. I now view rejection as a lesson.

If you’re looking to get a commercial or academic publisher, here are the top five things you should include in your book proposal. Remember, only non-fiction writers need one. Novel writers send entire manuscripts to get publishers’ attention.

1. An Overview:  This includes a hook sentence, a one liner that tells the gist of your book. It expands to tell the benefits and features of your book that differentiates yours from others. I find this to be the hardest page to execute, so I often write this last.

2. Market Analysis: This is a view of who your potential audience is. For example, if I am writing a book that targets journalists, my market analysis would include all the journalism groups and schools in the U.S., plus any other people I can think of who may read about journalists. I would also include a Personal Marketing Strategy that shows how I will personally market my book, but this separate page isn’t required. You can include it as part of your marketing analysis, if appropriate.

3. The Competition: This gives you a chance to research the books that are similar to yours.  I do this by utilizing Google, and even going to bookstores and looking at the books, once I have titles in hand. State what is different about yours. You do not want to criticize, however.  

4. Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries: Write a brief description of each of your chapters. This should be the easiest part for you, since it’s all your work.

5. Two Tables of Contents: One Table of Contents should go before the Overview to show all the elements of your packet. The other should reflect the Table of Contents of your Sample Chapters, which are included at the end of your book proposal. Depending on the publisher, you will need to write one to three actual chapters. Publishers want to know if you can write and what they are really getting. 

The only thing missing from this list is your author bio. Why? It’s still necessary for the book proposal, of course. You have to show expertise and credibility in your subject before a publisher will take you seriously. 

Ready to share that passion and arm yourself with a great book proposal? I do it all the time.


Jill Cox-Cordova is the owner of Write Avenue, which specializes in promoting positive outcomes for aspiring journalists and writers. Her niche for individuals is book proposals and resumes. Based in the Atlanta area, Jill serves clients nationwide. She is writing a book to help aspiring and veteran journalists.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Be an Interview Pro

So you have your first interview coming up. Great! You get to talk about your book. Media interviews are a chance to spread the word about your platform, your book and your brand (and yes, this includes Internet media such as bloggers and BlogTalk Radio).

But wait, you're scared as heck! Whether you're doing a radio, TV, newspaper or Internet interview, you need to make sure you nail it. Here are a few tips to help you do great on your interviews:

Know what you want: Determine the one main thing you want to accomplish with this interview. Do you want to tell people about your book, your business or your event? Do you want to send people to visit your website to buy your book? Should they go to your blog or sign up for your ezine? Or, would you like to leave them with a question to ponder or a broader outlook on your expertise? Decide what you want to be the purpose or outcome of the interview.

Prepare: You know your stuff. After all, you wrote the book. So what main points  do you want to cover (3 to 5 should do it)? These are your talking points. Jot down your main points and think about what you want to communicate for each one. Always be prepared for the inevitable wrap-up question the interviewer will ask: "Do you have anything else you'd like to add?" This is your chance to hammer home your main points and to steer listeners/viewers/readers to your website.

Ask for the questions: Sometimes, interviewers are willing to share the questions they plan to ask. Even better is if they ask you for a few points you'd like to discuss. Jot down five to 10 questions you feel most comfortable answering and practice your answers. Even if the reporter or host doesn't share the questions, s/he should at least be able to tell you the focus or direction for the interview. Will the discussion focus on a topic related to your book, the process you underwent to write the book, a main character or storyline, or something else? Ask if anyone else will be interviewed (during a morning news show, for example) and, if so, who the other guest(s) will be. Then find out what you can about those guests.

Know your interviewer: Listen to previous shows (for radio, including Internet shows), read prior stories (for print journalists or bloggers), and view previous news coverage (for TV reporters or streaming video hosts). Take note of not only the "beat" the reporter/interviewer covers (business, health, parenting, community, etc.), but also of her/his general interests, the way questions are asked, how much time guests are given to respond, how the host follows up to guests' answers and how the host typically wraps up the interview or show.

Be quiet: For telephone and Skype interviews, get in a quiet place. There's nothing worse than a crying baby or a barking dog in the background while you're giving an interview.

Practice: Do this alone or with a friend. It'll feel weird at first, but you'll thank yourself later once you've completed a successful interview.

Own it: Remember, they called YOU for this interview, so own it, baby! Okay, even if you begged for the interview, you still need to own it. This is YOUR interview; keep it focused on your main points even while responding to the reporter's questions.

Relax: Go through some basic breathing techniques prior to your interview. If you'll be recorded (and even if you won't) you'll want to sound confident and sure of your answers. If your voice is quivering or you keep coughing to clear your throat, you risk sounding uncertain.

So now you're ready for your big interview. Go for it! And be sure to post any questions you have for making your next interview even better.

By the way, I'll be the guest on The Hollis Chapman Show on Friday, August 24th at 1:00 p.m. EST. Tune in to hear the interview, ask questions and perhaps win something!


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".