Overcome Shallow Writing

Overcome Shallow Writing Ever tried writing about something and caught a headache when expanding your thoughts and ideas? Ever been called a superficial writer? Have you ever battled strongly with writer’s block? If so, you’ve probably had a share of shallow writing. To my understanding, shallow writing is writing about something without giving out the purpose and exact meaning of the writing. When writing a novel, preface, or introduction, writers tend to give you a snippet and synopsis because they don’t want you (as the reader) to lose interest too quickly. Think about the first time you went swimming. You took the first three steps into the pool and though you saw others swimming in the deep portion of the pool, you stayed in shallow waters. You didn’t want to take the risk of drowning. Writers often feel the same way.

I strongly believe shallow writing comes with the fear of being drowned in criticism and losing a good reputation as an author. The deeper one goes into writing, the more emotion they display. They’re more vulnerable and bound to revealing personal aspects in their lives that they did not intend on revealing to the audience. Shallow writing is a give and take and it all depends on the author’s purpose. Sometimes, shallow writing is a benefit because the intent for writing is to summarize and give a brief description. Other times, shallow writing is inappropriate. Examples would be writing poetry, outlining a plot, and writing an autobiography. Readers expect to visualize pictures and events occurring in their minds. Reading is dull to them when there’s no suspense or nothing worth looking forward to read.

So, how do I overcome shallow writing and how do I get over the fear of my reputation probably being destroyed? The simple answer is you have to take risks. Some readers you will win and some you will lose. Breathe, take chances, and expect positive outcomes! The more you give of your inner self, the greater the impact and influence will be upon you and the piece of writing. Do you like to watch the news? If so, you’ll notice how the news talks more about criminal activity rather than positive things in the community. Many people love hearing drama and dirt and are more prone to accepting you as an authentic writer by ridding out shallow writing. Be authentic, be real, be you, and enjoy writing in a way that satisfies your inner and outer self.

Find a quiet place, find a pen or pencil (your choice), grab some tissues, have a cup of coffee, and allow yourself to open up! Get rid of shallow writing and give your reader(s) the extraordinary!

Book Publishing 101

Book Publishing 1011. Grammar & Editing – As you are constructing your book, make sure you do a Spell Check on the final manuscript. Check the sentence fragments and word tense. Make sure your document has 1-inch margins (Top, Bottom, Left, and Right). Set your manuscript size to the book size you desire (i.e. 5×7, 6×10, 8×10).

2. ISBN – In order to effectively market your book without being rejected from bookstores and online agents, you will need to purchase an ISBN. Bowker ISBN Agency handles the regulation of ISBNs. If you decide to purchase one through them, it will cost $125. Book publishers may offer you a discounted rate. If so, take the advantage.

3. Copyrights – No author is prone or vulnerable to theft. Protect your works by registering your claim/title with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. You can purchase your copyright for $35 online through ECO or by printing out the forms under their local repository. Inside your book, do include a copyright page informing readers of copyright protection and infringement if they decide to steal your works.

4. Book Binding – The type of binding you choice for your book is very important. If you decide to choose paperback plastic cover, the cost will be cheaper. However, there is an advantage to hardcover. The binding doesn’t rip the pages and the book doesn’t become damaged by water, sunlight, or dust. Some authors choose to add the dust jacket inside and this also protects the pages inside of the book. One has to keep in mind that books are shipped and you never know what the machines could do to your books if they are plastic covers.

5. Cover Images – The front and back cover of your book is worth a thousand! Just one look could give the reader the wrong look. Personally, I choose to pick images that deal with the morale and main idea of the book. Get creative with your cover images and not have them plain. Make your book so appealing that when a person scrolls down the aisle, they stop to look at your book.

6. Wording on Back Cover – Many interested readers want a synopsis of your book and it’s important that you persuade them with the things written on the back. Place some testimonials of your book on the back cover and main quotes that are enticing.

7. Number of Pages – When I first started writing books, I did not take this into consideration. The amount of pages draws readers as well as repels them. If your book is too huge, a person may disregard it because of their busy schedule. Adversely, a person may enjoy a book of small amount of pages because they can read it in one setting. If you write poetry, consider the format of your book. Should it be done in volumes and collections? If you write fiction and creative stories, should they be split into characters or segregated by topical categories? Should there be a plot with suspense or a dry-cut informative message from the story?

8. Marketing – You are never in the business just to publish a book! You’re in the business to market your book! It’s an accomplishment to publish your book and receive the self-satisfaction of doing so. Yet, you want to sell your book and make royalties. You want money for your hard work and labor! It’s an expectation for authors and readers are also aware. Get into the habit of marketing your book and requesting your readers to rate and review it. Ratings and reviews carry the author a long way and establishes a fine connection between buying a book of worth and a plain old book.

FREE Marketing Channels for Authors

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsI strongly believe one of the top failures for new, emerging authors is the marketing techniques they use in promoting their book. Typically, many authors purchase press kits with their publisher to help get their book recognized. Press kits are a good start point, but one should not fully rely on them. When I wrote my first three books, I did not use a press kit. I did “personal marketing.” Personal marketing and know how to do it well causes your book to be globally and locally recognized. I want to share some of the tactics and tools I have personally used in promoting my books. I also had help designing a website from Web Chimpy, they did a great job.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing gives an author the opportunity to convert the manuscript of their book into an e-Book version. If you’re an author that is limited on funds, this is your first source for marketing. Try to sell your book electronically and see how well it goes. If you make good ebook sales, begin transitioning into print copies through Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Advantage Program

Amazon Advantage Program offers the opportunity for authors to send in print copies of their book to the warehouse. It’s imperative that I state you should make sure you send the exact amount of print copies you requested in your purchase order. When you submit your purchase order, Amazon will give you a shipping label and packaging label to make sure the correct personnel receives your book.

Personal Author Website

No matter what genre of writing you choose to pursue, every author needs a personal website that displays their book and how to go about purchasing it. Preferably, use your name as the web domain. If it’s not available, use the title of your book. Start with a .com domain and then search for available domains, if these options are not available.

Do not overdo your website. My very first website I created had too much information on it. The basic components should consist of an intro/welcome to your site, the author’s bio (keep it brief), the marketing outlets that have your book(s) available for purchase, and a way readers and visitors can contact you for more information. It’s imperative to have an email address correspondent to your website. For instance, my email is carl@carlmckever.com. If you feel your works will be huge, it’s wise to set up separate email addresses for each entity. Entities could be copyrights, book purchases, book reviews, ratings, interviews, endorsement letters, and author appearances (bookings).

Google SEO/ Google Analytics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I didn’t take advantage of Google Analytics or SEO until I wrote my fourth book. This software, patented by Google, shows you the location of the visitors on your website. You can get hit counts, web statistics, and pull up reports for your website. SEO is setup in your website within your metatags, to help Google easily locate your website. When someone searches your name on Google, your website should be the first link to show up.

Google Authorship

After your author website is established and you have SEO generated in the background, you can enroll into Google Authorship. This tool simply verifies your rights as an author and places your name to the right when someone searches for you. In order to use this, you have to embed code, from Google, into a website that includes your name as an author. You can even do this for newspaper articles, blogs, and journal entries.

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsNOOK Press

NOOK Press is an online self-publishing tool created by Barnes & Noble. The online software allows you to upload your manuscript and book cover, and then sell it as an email on a NOOK device. Barnes & Noble is just as reputable as Amazon and I encourage every author to use both platforms. I see many authors on Kindle and not on NOOK; as if NOOK is phasing away.

Amazon Author Central

Amazon Author Central is a platform that allows authors to create a profile and claim their books already being sold on Amazon. With Amazon Central, you can set up your upcoming events, embed an RSS feed or blog, upload pictures of yourself, and display videos about you and/or your book(s).

Amazon AudioBook Exchange (ACX)

Audiobooks are becoming a new thing in today’s publishing era. Once your books are available for sale on either Kindle or print, you can get an auditor to record your book. Royalties and contracts are setup and those that cannot read or see your book, can listen to your book through Audible.

Goodreads

When I first joined Goodreads, I freaked out because I didn’t understand why I could not create an author page. Before establishing an author page, you must recommend, read, and rate so many books. You begin by searching for your book. If Goodreads does not pull up anything, a button will appear that says “manually add my book(s)”. As I began to get ratings and reviews on my book, I added friends and joined different communities. This opened up my understanding and I began setting up critique groups, writing blog posts, include my works of writing, and uploading pictures.

One great feature, as a Goodreads author, I encourage is book giveaways. Setting up quizzes and trivia on your book sounds great, but to gain exposure you have to give away something for free. Even if you give away 1 copy, you can gain a lot of readers. When I did my first book giveaway, I only gave away 1 free copy of my book. The amount of contestants I had was 992 at the closeout. Take advantage of the giveaways.

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a cataloging platform where librarians catalog books in their library and books of interest. You can still create an author page, upload photo(s), and contribute to the Common Knowledge placed on your books. Your readings and events can be added on LibraryThing and to find people of similar interest, you can join the Hobnob with Authors group.

Twitter/FaceBook/GooglePlus

All three of these social media platforms are free. If you have written multiple works, I suggest only creating one author page and displaying all of your works there. If you are concerned with privacy, block unwanted users and set your profile to private. Keep in mind that a private profile is harder to find than a public one.

Distraction-Free Writing: How to Handle Distractions

Distraction-Free Writing- How to Handle DistractionsI’m making it a habit to write daily; that is, whatever comes to mind. A person can write for years and become good at it. Yet, they suffer with distractions. Writers are not exempt from distractions. Every writer has a personal life outside of writing and they too, have to deal with this. It agitates me madly when I’m trying to write down my thoughts and a train passes by my place of stay. My neighbors, sometimes, family will play loud music or constantly knock on my door. Better yet, the phone seems to never stop ringing. No one is calling about something important and you think, “Couldn’t this wait until a later time?” Writing in a world filled with distractions is very difficult. It takes a lot of skill and technique to get beyond it. Today, I want to share some techniques with you that I think could help you as a writer, author, novelist, poet, lyricist, or whatever form of writing you enjoy doing.

My first tip is staying focused. Writing is considered a goal. There’s an end and a finish to it. You pick up your pen or pencil, apply it to paper, and then let your thoughts ride. The minute I notice a distraction, I speak to my inner self and remind myself to keep going. You can’t quit till you cross the finish line and feel satisfied with your writing piece.

The second tip I have to offer is taking a break. What! Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. You have to give your brain and thought process a break after a certain amount of hours. My rule of thumb is every four hours. During your break, leave your current setting and find a new atmosphere. Find a spot that’s calm and relaxing, such as a park. Remember to bring a notebook and something to write with. Don’t make it an intention to write because this is a break, remember? I am asking you to bring a notebook because you can run into something that intrigues you. I call this the test of the wills. Thoughts come and go, and you cannot expect your brain to remember the ones coming at you rapidly.

Distraction-Free Writing- How to Handle DistractionsThe third tip is finding the perfect timeframe. This is very difficult, though it sounds easy. Some writers have to write late at night when everyone in the house is sleep and all personal errands are done for the day. Other writers prefer to write in wee morning hours before any chaos hits the day. I have even seen some writers write in the middle of the day, during their lunch breaks from work, and at certain times designated for writing.

I want you all to succeed in your writing. The very last tip I have to offer is grabbing a cup of coffee or tea. Drinking something hot stimulates the mind and pushes you to continue writing down your thoughts when distractions are near. Please do not flatter yourself into thinking that you will not have to deal with distractions when you write. Distractions come in many forms; down to the sound of forceful wind. It’s how you handle them and how well you use emotional intelligence to balance your attitude about the distractions.

Good luck and promote “distraction-free writing” wherever you go!

 

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!Writers write in different stages and with different moods. Sometimes, we have a gratifying, uncontrollable passion that keeps us up in the late nights and wee hours of the morning. You could look at our hands and see calluses on the back upper portion of our fingers. Our eyes look weary from staring at a monitor or a notepad for countless hours. The cups of coffee and slices of pie diminish; being used to invigorate the creative passion that lies trapped inside of us. This is the good mood, the good times as a writer.

Unfortunately, writers run into a stagnant mood called writer’s block. Writer’s block, to me, is the inability to think and the loss of passion in writing. It’s impossible for a writer to say their passion for writing is high while they face the excruciating battle of writer’s block. So, how does one refuel their passion? How long does this phase last? What caused writer’s block, anyways? These are questions I am willing to ask based off of pure experience.

The biggest cause of writer’s block is becoming dissatisfied with your own work. Time progresses, writings increase, but the satisfaction of the things we write about doesn’t increase. Each writing piece should give us a fresh dosage of satisfaction and encouragement. Another cause is running out of things to write about. Let me tell you … I run into this one a lot. To conquer this, change your atmospheric surroundings. Walk somewhere new, travel, carry a notebook in places you haven’t before, Internet research the latest poetry trends with poetry associations, and network with other poets who write for the same cause as you. Two is better than one! Change the time of day that you write. If you have been writing late at night, start trying it in the morning before the day gets busy. Personally, I love writing as soon as I arise from bed; when my thoughts are freshly anew and I’m not tired or weighed down from life’s burdens.

A person facing writer’s block remains in this phase until they realize they don’t have to. I learned this the hard way; waiting for others to pat me on the back and pump me up. You have to encourage yourself as a writer and write for others while building your very own self up. Rejection is another reason that leads writers into writer’s block. I do understand how one feels that writes constantly and is not recognized nor appreciated for any of their writings. Yes, it’s a terrible feeling. Yet, when this feeling comes, you have to ask yourself, “Why do I write? Who am I writing for? Is writing to heal and/or motivate me? Is writing all about others?” These questions will help you reinvent your passion and reasoning for becoming a writer. To conclude, overlook your past failures and rejections. It’s a new season, it’s a new day, and it’s a new you; waiting to write away!

A Din’s Thoughts

Timothy Hatfield is a name the majority of you will not recognize, but it’s a name you will come to appreciate, and respect after you read some of his poems.

Hatfield is a freshman studying at Marshall University, who partakes in the art of writing poetry in his spare time. He took the time to discuss how poetry has influenced his life, as well as what his goals are when it comes to writing poetry.

Hatfield stated that he began writing poetry when “I was 13-years-old, after my parents divorced.”His major influences with writing have come from “watching people,” and the works of brilliant poets like “Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, and H.P. Lovecraft.” Hatfield has a goal in mind as for where he would like his poetry to take him, and that plan is A Din’s Thoughts, a book which he hopes to write. When asked the purpose of A Din’s Thoughts, he responded with “to one day have enough pages to complete a small book of poetry, and to have it published.” He hopes to have this book completed within the next two years.

“I’m currently working on one more poem. Usually I try to write one per day, but here recently that’s been a strain. I should have one up by the end of the week thought.” The poem featured here, is titled “A Din’s Thoughts pg. 10.” A poem Hatfield explained as coming to life from him watching his grandfather’s grieving the death of his sister. He said “I had seen my grandfather morn his sister who had just passed away. It was around fall time. So you could say that A Din’s Thoughts pg. 10 is based on personal loss.”

The message Hatfield wants readers to take away from “A Din’s Thoughts pg. 10” is, “That life goes on, and there is a dreamer in all of us. It’s a short poem, with a very simple meaning.” Hatfield’s book in the making is one that will be filled with artistic poetry that will be enjoyable to a broad range of readers.