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Detroit Actress Kristin Dawn-Dumas to star in ‘Presumed Incompetent’

!click pic for tix!

!click pic for tix!

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Awesome #Promo Tool for #Authors: #Smashwords Does Interviews! Ck mine out!

I’ve always been impressed with @MarkCoker’s success with Smashwords and I’ve wished him all the best.

His platform to make publishing to ebooks easy has been clearly groundbreaking and now he’s taking authors to a whole new level in helping them promote themselves and ultimately SELL MORE BOOKS!

SMASHWORD INTERVIEWS

The Author pages at Smashwords is nothing more than outstanding. Giving authors not only a way to sell their books as ebooks, but also helping them link their books to the paperback as well.

Plus you get to add your social media connections along with your website and blog. As an additional plus, there’s a link for Wattpad as well!

CHECK OUT MY SMASHWORDS AUTHOR’S PAGE

Now comes interviews; Giving authors a chance to tell their story behind the story and promote themselves; brand themselves; sell themselves.

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If you haven’t done your author interview yet on Smashwords, now is the time!

Log into your Smashwords account now and complete your author profile interview now!

Click here (http://smashwords.com)

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Push Nevahda’s Controversial Drama “Presumed Incompetent” Comes to The Detroit International Centre Theatre October 5-6

Alpena actress Raychel Roxy, writer & director Push Nevahda and Detroit actress Rachel Smith rehearsing scene in upcoming production of Presumed Incompetent

Alpena actress Raychel Roxy, writer & director Push Nevahda and Detroit actress Rachel Smith rehearsing scene in upcoming production of Presumed Incompetent

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BUY TICKETS @ EVENTBRITE:

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/7883318217/eac2

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Do it yourself? 10 tips for beginners from top self-publishing sites

Do it yourself? 10 tips for beginners from top self-publishing sites.

 

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WHAT DOES ‘BOOK BEAT’ HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE DIA?

WHAT DOES ‘BOOK BEAT’ HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE DIA?.

via WHAT DOES ‘BOOK BEAT’ HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE DIA?.

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Why the Movie “After Earth” is Important

after-earth-02An Analysis of Myths and Archetypes for Writers

By Keith D. Young

I was born in 1976 and outside of “Blaxploitation” movies, there were no African American action or science fiction stars. My favorite movies included Tron, Superman, The Last Star Fighter, and Dune. The heroes in those movies had super powers, super intelligence, and had to dig deep to overcome extra-ordinarily difficult situations, often at great personal cost. It is worth noting here that the stars of these movies were all Caucasian males, and none of them looked like me. Hell, in most of the movies with a futuristic theme there was not even a Black person cast as an extra! As if, as Richard Pryor so eloquently put it, white people were not expecting us to be in the future.

It is no secret that many action, fantasy and science fiction movies contain ancient magical and mythological elements incorporated into the fabric of their stories;  to see titans, gods, goddesses and fairies as characters in modern day cinema is a fairly commonplace occurrence – with one caveat, these characters almost never appear in movies written or directed by Blacks, or with an all Black cast.

When it comes to Black cinema we have few choices for our movie going pleasure. We have comedies, action comedies, the all important “Jesus Will Fix It” film and “Hot Ghetto Mess Drama,” (usually not the good kind), and last but not least is the “Catharsis Drama” – movies about profound suffering and abuse and how the characters where able to somehow carry on after being both victimized and traumatized. Few Black writers explore the realm of science fiction, fantasy, or create movies with a magical or mythological theme.

To add levels of depth and subtle complexity to their stories, adept writers and directors are able to use the archetypical and symbolic elements of the heroes and heroines of ancient mythological stories and folk and fairy tales. Many times these elements are used so skillfully as to be hardly recognized by the majority of the movie going public, but to the trained eye, these elements are obvious. However it does take a study of classical literature, world mythology and symbology in order to use these elements with any level of effectiveness. Study that many burgeoning African American film makers seem all too willing to ignore in their movie making process, as these elements are often sorely lacking in the plots and storylines of Black cinema.

But it seems like all that is changing with Will and Jaden Smith’s Sci-Fi epic “After Earth”. The After Earth screenplay was written by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan, with the story by Will Smith, tells the type of story that Black entertainment hasn’t seen the likes of in a very, very long time.

Critics dislike this movie because they know what Mr. Smith is trying to accomplish with this type of movie, and they don’t like it. While Smith’s traditional audience may be slow to co-sign this movie for two reasons, one is they are not used to seeing African Americans play these types of roles, (although they will pay top dollar to watch Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reaves play these roles over and over again,) and two, they don’t really understand the themes portrayed in this movie due to the fact that as a culture, we were stripped of our initiatory practices and our stories, and as a result we are used to seeing these types of roles played by White or Asian actors and actresses. Our legends and folklore have been demonized through religion and western culture, and so it seems we shun the magical and fantastical images of ourselves as sorcerers, demigods and heroes.

Below I will outline various elements of the movie “After Earth” that make this movie worth seeing over and over again. Fathers, if you have been looking for a movie to take your sons to that will help you to begin a profound conversation about rites of passage and growing into a man, you’ll want to check this out.

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!! – We are going to be discussing the story and plotline from this movie and by doing so parts of the actual story are going to be revealed. If you don’t want to spoil the movie before you’ve seen it, STOP NOW, and then come back after you’ve seen it to participate in this analysis.

Initiation

Let’s begin by taking a look at the theme of initiation that runs throughout “After Earth”.

Initiation was important in indigenous tribes because it was a system by which the young boys and girls of a given culture or tribe were guided through in order to educate, prepare and move them through the phase of childhood into adulthood and all the attendant rites and responsibilities which adulthood entailed.

Training

Initiation always begins with education and training, and in the movie we begin with the main character training with his military academy class. Readers will take note that cadets in the military go through a process of initiation designed to strip them of their life as a civilian to remold them as a soldier, and make no mistake, this system of initiation was taken from the ancient indigenous cultures of Africa and passed down through other cultures and societies throughout the world.

Training involves physical and mental exercise and tests designed to give initiates/cadets control over their bodies, their emotions and their minds.
It is at this point in the movie that we find that young Kitai, while exhibiting impressive physical abilities is lacking in emotional and mental control, issues which he will be forced to deal with later on in the movie.

Below is an outline of initiatory steps as experienced by the people of many African/Native/Indigenous cultures and portrayed in “After Earth”

  • Trek Through Nature in Solitude With a Mission to Complete.
  • Initiate Versus Nature, Beasts, and Self (FEAR).
  • Initiate must face and overcome several trials in order to reach their goal (manhood).
  • Endurance (Breathing linked to inhalers).
  • Initiate must protect and ration limited amount of supplies, ie; food, water, medical.
  • Handling confrontation with potential danger.
  • Initiate must make a connection to the spirit world.
  • Initiate learns to master him or herself and to conquer fear.

It is worth noting here that Kitai failed his first encounter with danger (the monkeys)spectacularly! His Father told him to take control of his Power and watch what he creates. Kitai could not control his fear and anxiety and thus created a scenario where his life was in danger and forcing him to flee from the confrontation he created out of fear. In initiation, this is to be expected. The initiate must fail in order to understand what can result from recklessness and unchecked fear.

This same scenario played itself out in the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke was sent into the “Cave of Darkness” by Yoda. Luke took FEAR into the cave with him and was confronted by it in the form of his Father, Darth Vader – though this Vader was purely a creation of Luke’s fearful thoughts.

  • Facing medical emergency – poisoning by river leach and self administration of anti-venom.
  • Surviving the elements – finding thermal heat vents and shelter to keep warm during cold spells.
  • Defying Authority or “The System” in order to do what is right.
  • Leap of Faith – Jumping off a cliff in the hopes that his brash act will carry him to his goal.
  • Surviving a predator – The Raptor or Hawk representing Heru*
  • Assisting Mother Nature to defend her children – fighting for the lives of the baby hawks against the attacks of the feline predators.
  • Divine Aid – Initiate is pushed to his physical limits and thus transcends and is able to make contact with the spirit world where he is able to make peace with his dead sister and is given the aid and the protection of his spirit totem, the hawk.
  • Initiate reaches physical goal but must still go higher in order to reconnect spiritually with his Father – Kitai finds the beacon however it does not send the signal. Out of anger and frustration he hears the spiritual voice of his Father telling him to take a knee,  (lower his physical nature so that he may listen to his higher “spirit” nature)  – his father then tells him that he must go higher, to the top of a nearby mountain so that he can send their beacon signal (plea for assistance) into the heavens.
  • Initiate must face and overcome his fear – symbolized by the “Ursa” monster. Note here that “Ursa” is another name for a Bear which in some native tribes had to be faced and overcome by the young teens of the tribe in order for them to become men.
  • Initiate has to enter the Cave of Darkness/Fear. It is here that the monster reveals itself to the initiate and must be fought to the death.
  • Initiate is hurled into the abyss and must experience death. This death is not a physical one usually, but represents the death of the childish nature of the boy and the birth of the man. Fear, doubt and disbelief dies here , and the man, the warrior is able to be born. Initiate is put in mortal danger in order to force a change of mind and heart.
  • Upon reaching the mountaintop, the initiate is able to completely conquer himself and as a result his own fear and is thus able to destroy the monster and send a beacon into the heavens to receive a rescue and a return to his heavenly home.
  • By completing his task, the initiate is able to return home and redeem (save) his Father who was symbolically dead and in the underworld or in a deep soul sleep from which only the sons sacrifice could save him. **

  Archetypes

The makers  of “After Earth” also make use of archetypes to help them tell their story. According to the Concise Encyclopedia an “archetype” is “Primordial image, character, or pattern of circumstances that recurs throughout literature and thought consistently enough to be considered universal. Literary critics adopted the term from Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. Because archetypes originate in pre-logical thought, they are held to evoke startlingly similar feelings in reader and author. Examples of archetypal symbols include the snake, whale, eagle, and vulture. An archetypal theme is the passage from innocence to experience; archetypal characters include the blood brother, rebel, wise grandparent, and prostitute with a heart of gold.”

Some of the archetypes that “After Earth” makes use of include, the “Father,” wise and valiant, yet fundamentally separated from his son, due to some perceived weakness or character flaw within the Son. The Son has let his Father down in a profound way, which has caused emotional and physical detachment.

The archetype of the “Son/Sun” in movies has the son following in his Father’s footsteps, while at the same time trying to make his own mark. He loves his Father but is resentful of him because he knows that he has fallen short of his Father’s expectations and/or achievements and he yearns to be like his Father and even to surpass him, in order to gain his love and respect. It is the Son’s job ultimately to redeem or save his Father, which makes him a suitable replacement for his Father, and which earns him the right to become a Father in his own right.

The steps that the Father and Son archetype takes in the movie “After Earth” are listed below.

  • Son in search of Father
  • Son fails to achieve an expected goal, and is judged by Father to be a failure. In After Earth this is unspoken, though in some stories the Father tells the Son outright that he is a failure.
  • Father and Son embark on journey to attempt to mend the rift between them. (This is a mask for the beginning of the initiatory journey.)
  • Father and Son encounter disaster, which only the two of them survive, leaving the Father severely wounded and having to rely on the Son for salvation.
  • Father demands absolute obedience and adherence to his rules and commands as he does not fully trust the mental and physical abilities of the Son.
  • Son is sent out to face the elements and enemies alone, but with the “spiritual guidance” of the Father. In After Earth, the spiritual guidance of the Father is represented by the com-link that keeps them in voice communication, and the “All Seeing Eyes” or cameras that the Father deploys in order to observe his Son’s progress and to watch out for danger.
  • Son VS Father – The Son begins to question his Father’s authority when his Father exhibits a lack of faith that the Son can accomplish his goals. This is perhaps the MOST important part of the movie when Kitai chooses to outright disobey the direct order of his Father. The lesson is this: when authority is wrong or becomes oppressive, it must be disobeyed by the hero in order for justice to be done.
  • Son Disobeys Father and is Cutoff, Cast Out or Cast Down. Being cut off from communication with the Father is symbolic of being cast down from heaven, which was shown literally as Kitai took a leap off the top of a waterfall in disobedience to his Father’s order that he return home. This event caused his communication link to his Father to be broken, leaving the Son alone and without guidance at a critical stage of the mission/initiation.
  • Son Forced to Face Enemy (FEAR) Alone – In the movie fear is represented by the Ursa, which is a monster that tracks its enemies through pheromones released when its prey is afraid. This creature can literally smell your fear. It is only when the Son has mastered himself that he can overcome the fear inside him, which the Ursa beast in the movie symbolizes.
  • Son Redeems (SAVES) Father, Returns Home a Man, Understands and Becomes Father.

The Heru Mythos

Every hero story you have ever read or saw played out on the silver screen is based on the mythos of Heru. Heru was an ancient African deity or Neter (force or aspect of nature) and the template for all good kings. You can read about his exploits in “The Passion of Osiris (Ausar)” and “A Tale of Two Brothers”. These tales come down to us from the land of ancient Kemet, now called Egypt.

In the myth Heru’s Father Ausar (Osiris) is betrayed and murdered by his jealous brother Set. Ausar is resurrected as the spiritual ruler of the underworld or afterlife. As a ruler, he is perpetually made to sit on a throne and cast his judgment on those who have recently passed on. [This is shown symbolically as Kitai’s Father Cipher was stuck in the chair inside the ship and using the ships camera’s (spiritual eyes) and the comm. Link (spiritual communication) to watch over and provide guidance to Kitai]

This throne motif is important as it was foreshadowed in “After Earth” by the soldier in the wheelchair, who approached the General and his Son. Upon approaching the General, the soldier declared that the General had saved his life and asked to be “stood up,” or in Biblical terms, “made upright”, by his companions so that he could make a proper salute to his hero (savior). This theme would play itself out again as the General would make the request “stand me up”, so that he could salute his son. This symbol represents the son redeeming or saving his Father.

Getting back to the mythos of Heru… after his father Ausar (Osiris) is murdered and his brother takes over the kingdom of Kemet, it becomes the mission of Heru and is Mother Auset (Isis) to get Heru on the throne as the rightful ruler of the land. Heru has to go through years of training under the auspices of his Mother Auset, His Aunt Nebhet (Nephtys) and the diminutive Bes who is the Neter of child birth, happiness and war. It is Bes who trains Heru to be a warrior. In the movie Star Wars Yoda played the part of the trainer (Bes) to Luke Skywalker (Heru).

The symbol of Heru was the Hawk. He was often depicted with wings and having the head or mask of a hawk. In the movie After Earth we see the relationship of the Hero to the Hawk in the “Leap of Faith” sequence where the hawk chases Kitai down and then carries him off to her nest to be food for her baby chicks. Kitai awakes while being nibbled on by the newborn chicks, but finds that the hawk nest is under attack by feline predators intent on eating the chicks. Kitai helps the hawk to defend the nest but fails to keep the predators from killing all of the baby birds.

The hawk mourns the loss of her baby chicks with a screech of rage and begins to follow Kitai in the air, which seems menacing in the beginning, but we find out later that the Hawk has bonded with Kitai and she later drags him to safety and protects him from the cold by using her own body heat to keep him from freezing. This is an obvious symbol of Kitai’s mythic relationship to Heru the Neter** of the Sun and the Sky… the original sky – walker.

After many contentious battles and adventures, Heru, with the help of his Mother would go on to gain rulership of the land of Kemet (Egypt) and thereby redeem his Father Ausar (Osirus).

It is important that you know that the story of Ausar (Osiris) and Heru (Horus) has been told and retold across the world and can be found in many variations, the names and characters and even some of the circumstances may change, but the root of the story remains the same. It is the duty of the Son to succeed his Father as ruler of the land or EARTH, but only AFTER he has proven himself worthy to do so. So you can see that the movie After Earth has a lot more depth to it than meets the casual eye.

There are many other examples of the mythological and archetypal symbolism that are incorporated into the movie After Earth that I was not able to touch on like the Mother as the “Queen of Heaven,” or the Sister as the “Spiritual Guardian” of her Brother. This movie is chock full of all the elements that make a great story and I for one feel that the story of After Earth was masterfully told. I’m looking forward to more of this type of movie from not only Will Smith and crew, but from other Black film-makers as well.
*Also known as Horus, Heru wan an ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) Neter (Deity) of the Sun and Sky, his symbol was the hawk. Heru was often depicted with the head of a hawk and the body of a man.

**Kitai’s Father Cipher being trapped in the innards of a spaceship evokes the symbolism of Jonah in the belly of the fish as well as the Ausarian (Osiris) mythos of Ausar sitting on a throne and providing spiritual guidance to Heru from the spirit world.

*** Neter means aspect of nature or divine nature. Neter has been translated as God and Goddess.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013 Keith D. Young | www.AfroPerspectives.com

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Special Announcement: Real Men Write

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On June 8, 2013 the Motown Writer’s Network along with Scribblers, Screamers, and other Wordslingers Magazine will conduct its regular monthly meeting around the theme, “Real Men Write”.

“Real Men Write”, is an effort to introduce more people to the contributions African American men have made to the literary community.

The June meeting will feature approximately six African American male authors who will talk about their books, give insight into the reasons they started writing, and actively reach out to young people in the community with the hope of encouraging them to follow in their footsteps.

Barnes and Noble Café at Wayne State Campus on Warren and Cass will be the site for this great event. It will start promptly at 10 a.m. If you have a young man in your life that you want to expose to the literary arts, bring him on this day! This will be every young man’s opportunity to see and talk to some real men about what they love…Writing.  For more information, check out the link to the PSA here: http://www.sswmagazine.com/

Please spread the word! Use hashtag #RMW when mentioning this event on your Twitter or Facebook. Scribblers, Screamers, and other Wordslingers Magazine and the Motown Writers Network are looking forward to seeing you!!!!

-Kelly Greene

Motown Writers Network

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Good Blogging

I had the honor of speaking at our last Motown Writer’s Network Meetup on the subject of Blogging.  I love talking about Blogging!  Blogging is the perfect combination of entertainment, literature, and journalism.  That loud groan you hear off in the distance, is the disdain of professional journalists with my mention of Blogging and journalism in the same sentence.

Many journalists resent bloggers.  Journalists spend years in college studying Journalism and Media Arts.  They feel Bloggers haven’t earned the knowledge necessary to write a proper article.  One journalist went as far as to say that “Bloggers do no more than sit at a computer in their underwear spewing incoherent opinions”.  If I were in my underwear, I thank God I am in decent enough shape that I won’t look so bad.  I understand however, Print journalism is dying.  Newspapers are shedding jobs and the years spent honing their craft seem to be in vain.  A gifted writer with access to the internet can command a nice initial following.   Good Blogging however, gives one a sustained following.  I will give you 3 sure-fire tips to Good Blogging.

1)  Do the Research!  It is important that you research your topics.  Even if you are doing book reviews, you want to look up the author’s bio and or other works by that author.  Not only does research give you excellent material for your Blog, It shows your readers that you are knowledgeable about your subject.  Keeping a file on your computer with your research in it is extremely helpful and time-saving!

2) Keep slang to a minimum and avoid swear words!  This is the biggest issue people have with Bloggers.  Your blog has to look professional and easy to comprehend.  I have a book that I refer to and has helped me a lot! That book is called “My Grammar and I… Or Should That Be Me? : How to Speak and Write It Right” by Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines.  However, if  your target audience likes swear words, then fire away.  Just take note that you audience will be severely limited.

3) Be open minded and reflect that in your writing.  Readers love blogs that can pose both sides of an argument.  Even if you are doing a book review and you hate the book, try to find at least one thing you like about it. This helps you avoid what one of my friends refer to as being “Preachy”.  Flexibility will help you get more readers faster than being inflexible or polarizing.

These are the three main points that have helped me in building Hollaifyouhearme.com into a well respected and often read blog.  In fact, I am a current member of the Detroit Chapter of National Association of Black Journalists and have opened their eyes to the power of a good blog!  I haven’t won over everybody but I hope that with great blogs from great bloggers, it can be done.  On behalf of the Motown Writers Network, I wish you all… Good Blogging!

-Kelly Greene

Hollaifyouhearme.com

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ARTICLE: Introverted Writers: Marketing Is Not a Dirty Word – Marcia Yudkin

Expert Author Marcia Yudkin By

Do you regard writing as heaven and getting your work known as hell?

If so, I’m guessing that you’re an introvert. Introverts love being alone, neck-deep in work projects they have initiated. Solitary passions feed their soul most, and they become cranky if they don’t get enough quality time to themselves.

Introverts usually shy away from selling and calling attention to themselves. They dread or despise small talk with strangers. In a large group, they look for ways to escape or to create an oasis of comfort with just one or two others.

If you recognize your personality in the previous paragraphs, you probably look upon marketing your work as something alien, exhausting and hard. Well, cheer up. If you approach marketing in a “no rules” spirit, it can feel as comfortable as cooking a meal with friends, singing in the shower or exploring trails that don’t seem to have been trod in years.

You see, society teaches us that promoting yourself is a kind of performing, it is done in public and those with the gift of gab do it best. However, each of those statements is untrue. Let’s take them in reverse order.

In the early 1990s, I teamed up to offer business writing seminars with a friend who could fearlessly schmooze with anyone, on the phone or in person. The idea was that she would land clients and I would serve as the back-office person, in charge of details. We would both deliver the seminars.

After a year or two, though, when I analyzed who was actually responsible for bringing business in the door, I discovered that I was far more effective than she was. My quiet skills of precise writing, creative positioning and connecting with participants in the small adult education classes I regularly taught far outperformed her ability to mouth off like a salesperson.

Promotion doesn’t necessarily take place in public. Putting together a postcard, a press release or a newsletter to send out, or a blog piece to post is something you do in private. Talking to a reporter on the phone, in your writing office or even in a studio under spotlights isn’t like standing on a stage or amidst a crowd at a party, either.

And last, promoting yourself actually works best when you stay true to your values, your attitudes and your personality. Fans of your work won’t want you to pretend you’re brazen when you’re shy or that you’re a city sophisticate when you feel most at home on your ranch in Big Sky country (or vice versa).

So I encourage you to reject the myth that marketing your work requires you to put on a mask, to steel yourself to play a role or to engage in unpleasant tasks. Build an audience your way.

Toss out the “shoulds” dictated by so-called experts and instead, start by listing at least three things related to getting the word out about your work that you enjoy doing. For example, you may love writing answers to questions on writing forums. You may like designing stuffed creatures who resemble your novel’s characters. You may find it exhilarating to coach others who are beginners at their craft compared to you. All these things are activities that can become part of your unique marketing plan.

In addition, stretch yourself and try some promotional activity that’s not on that list. You may be shocked to see how readily you take to something you mistakenly thought you couldn’t handle. For instance, I grew up thinking I was hopeless at public speaking. But when it came to commentaries I had written and then edited with a skilled producer, I was able to deliver them on National Public Radio. It turned out to be one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. And weirdly, even though those commentaries had nothing to do with my primary business activities at the time, they promoted me effectively.

Again, pay no attention to the “musts” in anyone else’s marketing system. Someone says you have to blog to be successful? I don’t blog. Someone says you have to do a book tour? Noted recluse Thomas Pynchon never does. Discover what works for you.

A bookworm as a child, Marcia Yudkin grew up to discover she had a surprising talent for creative marketing. She’s the author of more than a dozen books, including 6 Steps to Free Publicity, now in its third edition, and Meatier Marketing Copy. She mentors introverts so they discover their uniquely powerful branding and most comfortable marketing strategies, and helps them create a promotional presence that attracts the kind of clients who make them happiest.

To learn more about the strengths and preferences of introverts, download her free Marketing for Introverts audio manifesto: http://www.yudkin.com/introverts.htm

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marcia_Yudkin

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Article: Mind Discipline for Authors: How to Find Time to Write ; Irene Watson @bloggingauthors #mwn

Expert Author Irene Watson

Finding time to write is the biggest difficulty and complaint I hear from authors. It is even a bigger problem than procrastination. In fact, I think procrastination is simply the result of not finding time to write.

The real problem is not lack of time to sit down and write. The problem is that when we do sit down before the computer, we procrastinate because we don’t know what to write, and we don’t know what to write because we haven’t spent any time thinking about writing before we sat down. After all, it’s not easy to pump out a few thousand words just because it’s the hour when you’re supposed to write, and it’s not easy to spend that time thinking about what to write when a blank screen or page is staring at you screaming, “Fill me!”

When is the real best time to write? When you’re not writing. Or let me put it another way: Whenever you can find time to think about your book.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But if I can’t find time to write, how will I find time to think about my book?” But we all have plenty of time to think about our books. In truth, time is all around us, and the real problem is that we simply haven’t learned to discipline our minds. Here’s a case in point. The author Agatha Christie managed to write something like eighty novels. Granted, she came from a well-to-do family and lived at a time when women weren’t supposed to work, other than doing housework, so you might think she had time, and I’m sure she learned to set aside time regularly to do her writing, but when did she say was the best time to write? She is often quoted as saying, “The best time to plan a book is while you are doing the dishes.”

Christie might not have had a pen in hand while she was washing and rinsing and wiping plates and glasses, but she had a mind that was able to function while her hands were busy. And truthfully, most great books are written as the result of an idea, as the result of taking the time to think about your book. Considering that Christie is the world’s all-time bestselling author with 2 billion books sold, who are you to argue with her?

I firmly believe that if you discipline your mind to think about your writing whenever a few minutes of time present themselves, rather than wasting that time by letting your mind wander, you will have ideas, be able to create characters, and plot out plots for your novels, or come up with interesting topics, arguments, and supporting evidence for your non-fiction. And once you know what you want to write about and get excited about it, you’ll be able to find an hour or two a day, or even just fifteen minutes a day, to focus on getting those words onto paper.

So when is the best time to write? Whenever your mind has a free moment. Here are fifty examples of when you can discipline your mind to focus on your writing.

  1. While doing the dishes.
  2. While waiting in the waiting room of the dentist’s office.
  3. While lying in the chair at the dentist-provided your hygienist isn’t too chatty.
  4. While waiting in the line at the bank.
  5. While waiting in the line at the car wash.
  6. While in the car wash.
  7. While riding the train.
  8. While riding the bus.
  9. While driving the car.
  10. When you first lie down to take a nap.
  11. When you go to bed and are waiting to fall asleep.
  12. When you wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep.
  13. When you wake up at 5 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep.
  14. When you wake up at 7 a.m. and don’t feel like getting up yet.
  15. When you’re dusting the house.
  16. When you’re vacuuming the house.
  17. When you’re washing the windows.
  18. When you’re cooking dinner.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, http://www.readerviews.com, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

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ARTICLE: Plagiarism, Copyright, & Fair Use Irene Watson @BLOGGINGAUTHORS #mwn

Expert Author Irene Watson

You love a poem you saw on the Internet and want to quote it in your book. But is that plagiarism? You want to quote a passage in a book but you’re not sure whether you need to ask permission or not. What counts as fair use and when do you need permission to use a copyrighted work?

All the time I see people stealing from other people on the Internet by reposting their articles, stories, or photographs. Before you post anyone else’s information on your website or use it in your book, you need to get permission. Yes, there are such things as public domain and fair use, but it’s always best to be safe regardless. Before you decide to use something that belongs to someone else and risk angering that person and facing a potential lawsuit, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do I really need this piece of information, poem, cartoon, or whatever it is? Will my book or website be okay without it?
2. Is this item in the public domain?
3. If it’s not in the public domain, can I use part of it under the fair use laws?
4. Can I rewrite or reword the work and then reprint it?
5. Is giving credit enough?

Let’s look at each of these questions in detail.

Do I really need this piece of information? Will my book or website be okay without it?

I can almost guarantee that in every situation the information, document, poem, cartoon, or whatever it is, is something you can do without. Why use someone else’s property to illustrate your own? Hire your own cartoonist, artist, or write your own poem. If you can’t do that, then look for one in the public domain. If you, however, absolutely want to include something that is copyrighted, then be prepared to pay for it. You will need to contact the owner or his or her heir for permission, and you will doubtless have to sign some sort of document promising you will only use it as you are given permission to do so. You will also usually have to pay to use it, especially if it is for commercial purposes, such as in a book you plan to sell, and you’ll usually pay dear for it-in the hundreds of dollars or more is not uncommon. At that price, do you really need to include it in your book or on your website?

Is this item in the public domain?

Just what constitutes public domain? It varies by country and by the kind of work it is. Today for authors, copyright in the United States is for life plus 70 years, so if I were to die tomorrow, it being the year 2012, anything I write would be copyrighted until 2082. However, copyright laws were less stringent in the past so some works may have shorter copyrights that have expired. As a rule, if an author or artist has been dead since 1941 or earlier, you’re probably safe, but it still never hurts to investigate. Furthermore, while an old work like “Don Quixote” may be in the public domain, that doesn’t mean a modern translation of it is.

What counts as fair use?

If a work is not in the public domain, a lot of the time you can still use a small part of it if appropriate, such as a quote or passage, usually not to exceed a page. That said, a short work like a poem cannot be used in its entirety despite its short length because you will be using the whole work, but you might be able to quote a verse or stanza from it. Even so, in such cases it is best to play it safe and ask for permission to quote from the work in your book or on your website. What constitutes fair use depends on many circumstances including: the purpose of its usage, whether it is commercial or charitable, whether the quote is used to promote the work such as in a book review, or whether your use of it will harm sales of someone else’s book because you provide too much information from it.

To go direct to the source, here is what the 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites as examples of fair use:

“quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” (source: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html )

There are always fine lines that exist in using someone else’s work. Even if you are sure it falls under fair use laws, if it’s not in the public domain, it’s best to ask for permission to use the work, and if that seems impractical, it is always best to consult an attorney.

Can I rewrite or reword the work and then reprint it?

You may paraphrase a work by giving a summary of a basic idea, provided you give credit to the source, but you may never rewrite someone else’s work and pass it off as your own, or even as theirs when it is rewritten. And even when you paraphrase an idea, it is still someone else’s idea (intellectual property) so you must give credit where it is due.

Is giving credit enough?

No, it’s not enough to give credit. You need permission to reprint as well, unless as noted above, it is in the public domain. You must always give credit to the owner, whether it be an author, publication, artist, another website, etc. It is usually sufficient to state who is the original creator or copyright holder of the work. For a poem, provide the title and the author’s name. For a passage from a book, you can state, “George Smith states in his book ‘My Brilliant Ideas,’ that:” Depending on your own book or website, you may want to consult a style manual for how best to cite a source. “The Chicago Manual of Style” is the preferred style manual to use for most books, although others exist depending on the kind of book you are writing, such as the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (APA style) or the “Christian Writers Manual of Style.” If you do receive permission to reproduce copyrighted material, make sure you ask the owner how you are to cite that permission to reprint the work.

Always find out if a work is copyrighted and always give credit where it is due. Then you will avoid issues of fair use violation, copyright infringements, and plagiarism that can later come back to haunt you.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, http://www.readerviews.com, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

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ARTICLE: Simple Networking Tips for Frightened Authors Irene Watson @bloggingauthors #mwn

By

Expert Author Irene Watson

Few things frustrate me more than authors who give up on their dreams. They’ve always wanted to be an author, and they’ve finally written a book. They’ve done everything right from doing research to having the book professionally edited and having a beautiful cover designed. They’ve even built a website and had the book listed at online bookstores. But then the trouble starts.

All these activities they’ve already done can be done from the comfort of their homes. That’s part of the problem. Up to this point, these authors haven’t had to go out into the public eye or even had to pick up the phone to talk to people.

When you meet these authors and ask them how their book sales are going, they will tell you, “Slow, but I’m not good at marketing.” And they will have a resigned air about them, sadly accepting failure. At times, I have suggested to such authors to join a publisher or writer’s organization so they can learn how to market their books, to which these authors have told me, “I don’t go to conferences. Those are just social gatherings.” Obviously, they feel more comfortable staying home, not meeting anyone, and not selling books. “I don’t want to schmooze,” they will say. Sorry, authors, I hate to tell you this, but here goes: If you don’t schmooze, you lose.

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How to Create an Effective Author Platform via Irene Watson @bloggingauthors

Expert Author Irene Watson

Every author needs an author platform to stand upon if he or she is going to get media attention. No, an author platform is not a box to stand on, but it will help an author to rise above his peers and separate the experts and credible authors from the amateurs. An author platform is more like an enhanced resume that provides your credentials and helps publishers and the media take notice that you are a professional, you have experience, you are good at promoting yourself and promoting your book and topic of interest without being self-serving, and overall, you know what you are doing.

The benefits of having an author platform are many. It will help you to get noticed and to appear as an expert to publishers, the media, and readers. Think of the author platform as your credentials. It should be an ever-evolving document or list of your accomplishments, marketing successes, and strategies for continuing to promote yourself and your work.

Following is a list of the qualifiers (proof you are a notch above others) that you should include in your platform. Remember, you should have the vast majority of these in your platform. It’s not sufficient just to have a website, although that’s a starting point:

· Website:Your website should include at least the following pages: Home, About the Author, Buy the Book, Your Blog, and a Media Kit page. Anything additional such as interviews, FAQs, or simply fun pages with games or quizzes, or additional stories or information about the book is a plus.

· Prior Publishing Experiences:Not just a list of books you’ve published, but your success stories-sales numbers, awards won, numbers of printings or editions, etc.

· Speaking Engagements:A good thing to do is keep a journal or log of every event you do, from speaking to the local rotary club to presenting at a national conference on your book’s subject. Publishers and the media want people who are not afraid of public speaking.

· Workshops: Have you facilitated or participated in any workshops relevant to your book or topic?

· Attendance at High Profile Conferences, Events, Workshops:Even if you were not a leader at an event, showing you attended is proof you are serious about staying current on your field of study and changes in the media and publishing worlds.

· Your Online Presence: How do you reach out to readers online? Your author platform includes your blog, newsletter, email lists, social networking, podcasts, videos, and online publications such as articles and book reviews.

· Readings and Book Signings:How frequently do you engage the public face-to-face in promoting your work? Where have you had book signings, readings, or participated in group author events?

· Online Forum:Do you have a way to engage your readers online? It could be a Facebook page for your book, a discussion group on your website, or a listserv group on your topic.

· Coaching/Consulting:Have you been a coach or consultant in your field of expertise on an individual level or for any organizations in need?

· Memberships:What professional organizations do you belong to relative to your topic and to publishing? How involved have you been with these organizations, helping to coordinate an event or serving on the organization’s board?

· Media Press Kit:Your press kit should be available for download from your website for the media’s perusal as well as be in a format you can mail. A press kit should include a press release for your book, a sales sheet, your book cover/image, an about the author page, testimonials or reviews of your book, and a copy of your book or a sample chapter at least, depending on whether it’s on your website or you are mailing a copy.

· Traditional Media Appearances:Any television or radio appearances you’ve made, as well as being interviewed or featured in magazines and newspapers.

· Internet Media Appearances:Have you been a guest on someone else’s blog? Have you been interviewed on Blog Talk Radio or other Internet radio podcast shows?

· Publications:Beyond books, have you published articles or stories in magazines, newspapers, or anthologies?

· Proven Contacts:Who is paying attention to you as an author? How many followers do you have on social media sites? Who is commenting on your blog? What is your website traffic? How many people are on your email list? Who is “Liking” your pages, and how many reviews are you getting posted by readers at online bookstores?

· Target Audience:Who is your target audience? What connections do you have with them, what kind of proven track record do you have, and what plans do you have for future interactions?

It may seem like having an author platform is a lot of work, but if you simply keep track of everything you do and you are actively promoting your book, it will be more like keeping a diary of your experiences. Of course, you have to build the website, go to the conferences, participate in events, but it is all fun and worthwhile if you are passionate about your book, and your passion will set you apart from other authors.

Today, an author platform is less about proving to a publisher that your book deserves publication and you will help market it. While you can still use it to find a publisher, it’s more about getting media attention, whether you are a self-published or traditionally published author. Your platform can be what convinces the media to interview or feature you, which in turn will make readers take notice and buy your books.

Here are some of the benefits to be derived from having a prepared author platform:

· Proves an author’s visibility and credibility as a professional author.

· Provides recognition and expertise that will make the media take notice and give you future publicity.

· Reflects that an author is authentic and not simply self-serving-all your activities have not been solely hard-selling of your books, but also participating in information-sharing and in helping others, such as participants at events and conferences.

· Allows the media and others to make a quick decision about your expertise when they need an expert for a story, a guest for a radio show, or a speaker at a conference.

Think of your author platform as your enhanced resume and your credentials. Constantly working to improve your author platform and to have it ready when it is needed will increase your chances of getting attention, becoming known by the media, and ultimately, selling more books.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

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ARTICLE: Trying to Sell an Old Book: Book Reprint No No’s by Irene Watson @bloggingauthors #mwn

Expert Author Irene Watson

Books have a short shelf-life. Most bookstores will only keep a book on the shelf for a few months; if it doesn’t sell well by then, they send it back to the publisher. With a million-plus new titles being printed every year, it’s hard to make a book competitive.

That said, giving up after three or six months on trying to promote a book can be a big mistake. Your book’s life has only just begun at that point. It takes time for people to read a book and begin to spread the word about it. Many a book has not sold well its first year, but then suddenly, it becomes extremely popular, so don’t give up on a book’s promotion just because it’s a few years old. Promoting an older book may turn out to be rewarding, provided you do it honestly. Here are some mistakes to avoid in trying to get new readers for your older title.

Copyright Date:One mistake authors make in trying to promote an old book is to give it a new copyright date. For example, if a book were first printed in 2004, an author might reprint it with a 2012 copyright date to pretend it is a new book. It is dishonest to pretend a book is new when it is not. Instead, the copyright should remain the same and it should be listed as a second (or later) printing in the current year. Honesty is always the best policy, and if a reviewer or book contest catches you passing off an old book as new, it could ruin your reputation and chances of them giving attention to your future books.

Second Edition vs. Second Printing:While changing the copyright date is a mistake authors should know better than to make, a lot of people are confused by the terms “second edition” and “second printing.” A second printing is when your first printing runs out and you reprint the book without making any significant changes to it. (Insignificant changes such as fixing a few typos are acceptable.) By contrast, a second edition implies that the book has new material. Most novels will only be second printings unless the author makes severe changes to the plot, which usually isn’t a good idea anyway. Better to write a new novel than to try improving one that wasn’t very good and didn’t sell in the first place. Non-fiction books, by comparison, frequently do and should come out with second and third editions because they are updated as new information becomes current. “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” comes out with a new edition every year, and people frequently will update by buying the new edition because their 2009 edition doesn’t list the hundreds of movies that were added for the 2012 edition. Similarly, “Writer’s Market” has a new issue every year to update lists of publishers for authors seeking publication. In the case of new editions, the cover should clearly state something such as “2012 edition” or “Revised and Expanded Second Edition” and additional taglines might include, “over three hundred new movie entries added” or “New Material: John Smith’s 30 Days to a Slimmer You Program.”

Finally, for book collectors (if you should be so lucky as to write a book that becomes collectible) a lot of confusion results when second editions and second printings are not noted on copyright pages yet printed books have small differences, leaving people asking which is the first and which the second printing.

New Titles:Nothing will make your loyal readers angrier than for you to reprint your book under a new title without any indication it’s a reprint. In my opinion, you should never change your book’s title. Spend considerable time deciding on a title and making sure you truly have the right one, and then stick with it forever.

Authors may think they will attract new readers by changing the title. For example, an author might decide his book “My Journey to Jupiter” didn’t sell because people thought the title was boring, but he thinks they’ll buy it if it’s republished under a more enticing title like “How I Met My Hot Alien Wife.” Yes, the second title might grab more people’s attention, and as a result, the author might sell more books, but what about the loyal fans who see that book title listed and think it’s a new book? They buy the book only to begin reading and realize they were tricked-they’ve read the book already. And even the people who bought “How I Met My Hot Alien Wife,” if they like the book, are likely to go looking for the author’s other books and could end up buying “My Journey to Jupiter” and equally become disgruntled.

If you are going to change a book’s title, make sure you destroy all unsold copies of the first version; recall them from the stores and remove all listings for sale online so no one can buy the old version. And be honest with your readers by printing on the new cover “Originally published as _____________.” Agatha Christie’s publishers often reprinted her books under new titles. Her British publishers had chosen a title, but her American publishers, thinking the British title might not appeal to the American reading public, would reissue the book under a new title. Most of the time, Christie’s publishers were good about statements such as: “The Boomerang Clue” (originally titled “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”) In this case, the author/publisher is being honest, but even so, Christie’s readers have frequently been confused in trying to keep track of which of her books they did or didn’t read-that she wrote about 100 books makes the task more difficult.

New Cover Image:Changing the cover image is perfectly acceptable for a second edition. There’s nothing wrong with giving a book a new look as long as the title remains the same so there’s no confusion about it.

I’ve seen some debates by authors and publishers about releasing a new book with two different book cover images to see whether one image will sell better than another. I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong about such a strategy, but it seems like a waste of time and energy to me since you have to pay for two pieces of art work and two separate printings. This strategy might work if you’re doing print-on-demand, but if you’re doing offset print runs, you could end up with a stack of books that don’t sell, and you’ll have to keep track of which bookstores and distributors get which copies. Too much confusion in my opinion, and yes, occasionally you’ll have a reader not discerning enough that he’ll buy both copies, not realizing it’s the same book. Better to pick one cover and stick with it, and then when you come out with a second edition in a few years, you can change the cover, or save it for a big event like the book’s 25th anniversary edition.

In conclusion, there’s nothing wrong with trying to promote an old book. Just be honest with readers, book reviewers, and others that it’s not a new book. If a book is truly good, readers won’t care when it was first published, but they will care if they pay for something they think is new, only to discover they’ve already paid for it in the past.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

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ARTICLE: Busting Author Myths: Avoiding Get-Rich-Quick Schemes VIA Irene Watson @bloggingauthors

Expert Author Irene Watson

Most aspiring authors I meet seem to think that all they have to do is write a book and they will become famous overnight. And many of the readers I meet instantly think I and other authors are celebrities and must be rich and famous. Unfortunately, these myths about being an author are simply that-myths. For the aspiring author, it’s best to realize at the start the reality about being a writer so the focus can be on what really matters-working incredibly hard to produce a good book. I plan to shatter a few author myths here so aspiring authors can be prepared for what they must do and face if they hope to succeed.

1. Anyone can write and publish a book-Actually that statement is not a myth, but it leaves out the fact that not everyone can write a good book. The average book takes about 400-800 hours to write, and I suspect it takes more than that when you consider time spent dealing with writer’s block and trying to figure out just what to write. Furthermore, even if you write an entire book, that doesn’t guarantee it will be a good book. It’s vitally important that authors have their books edited and proofread and they work to make the book better by getting feedback from trusted readers (preferably knowledgeable professionals and other authors, not just mom and your best friend). A good author does extensive revisions and numerous drafts. Hemingway once notably said that he wrote one good page for every one hundred bad pages. Furthermore, authors must produce a book that looks as good as any book put out by a major publisher, which means hiring a great cover artist, having a professional design and lay out the book, and paying for quality printing so the book looks completely professional. If you are up to the task, you probably can write a good book and self-publish it. But frankly, writing and publishing the book is the easy part. Selling it is where the hard work really begins.

2. Authors can live off their royalties-I know hundreds of authors, but I don’t know personally a single one who lives off his or her royalties. The vast majority of authors today are self-published, which means they don’t receive royalties off their books. They work hard to print their books, distribute them to bookstores, sell them at book signings, and then they collect their book payments. Does that sound like a way to make money? Sure, if you’re among the 1 percent of authors who actually sell more than 500 copies of their books. If you’re not, most likely you will be lucky to break even on the printing costs-and trust me, you’ll never get paid for all the hundreds of hours you put into writing the book. All the authors I know have day jobs to supplement their incomes, plus to pay for their publishing hobby-“hobby” because they don’t sell enough books to call it a true business.

And even if you do find a traditional publisher and you receive royalties, most publishers pay a fairly standard 10 percent, so if your book retails for $19.95, you’ll receive $2.00 per book at best. Furthermore, when books are sold through a distributor and a bookstore, and almost all the books are, the distributor will take its cut, usually about 55 percent, and then the bookstore wants a 40 percent cut that comes out of that 55 percent. That leaves the publisher making 45 percent off the $19.95 book, which is about $9.00 and the author’s 10 percent royalty is then 90 cents. Can an author live off such royalties? If you think you can scrape by at just above the poverty level in the United States, which for one person in 2011 was at $10,890, then maybe-but you’ll have to sell somewhere between 5,445 and 12,100 books per year to do so if you’re collecting standard royalties (and that’s selling about 10-25 times more books than the 500 copies that 99 percent of books do not achieve). Hmm, somehow living at the poverty level doesn’t sound like the rich and famous author lifestyle you imagined.

3. You can sell millions of books once you get on Oprah. Guess what. The Oprah Winfrey Show is off the air so she’s not going to call you. Even when Oprah did endorse books, it was only about one a month. And even if you got on a popular daily television or radio show that endorsed books, the networks usually produce less than 200 new episodes a year (the rest are reruns). Of the one million books published this year, what’s the chance your book will make the 200 cut?

4. Authors live fabulously fun lifestyles. The myth of the F. Scott Fitzgerald lifestyle still seems to pervade aspiring authors’ minds. Many people think they just need to write a book and they will be able to live like it was the Roaring Twenties, go to fabulous parties, dance with beautiful girls and handsome men, live like a movie star and even befriend a few stars, and do all their writing while sitting in Paris cafes. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time concentrating on my writing in a cafe-you get interrupted and distracted so much that you can’t get any writing done. And it’s not very easy to write when you have a hangover from all those parties and your phone is ringing off the hook from all those gorgeous girls calling you. Sure, Fitzgerald lived a wild life, but think how many books he could have written if the partying hadn’t killed him at the young age of forty-four.

Facing Reality:People are largely attracted to the myth of writers as famous and glamorous. But the reality is that most true writers who stick with writing do so because they enjoy putting words together. I know of many young men and women who went to college determined to become writers. They went through creative writing programs, then never finished the Great American novel, and ended up getting jobs in the corporate world like the vast majority of people. Perhaps you will be the exception, but you won’t be if you expect it to be easy and for fame to find you. The only way to become an overnight sensation is to work hard at your craft for many years to become a good writer, and then to learn practical business skills so you can run your business, and to study marketing trends and do your best to capitalize on them so you can sell more books than the average author. Writing and selling your books is one of the hardest, most time-consuming, and often frustrating jobs out there. And don’t forget, Steinbeck called writing “the loneliest job in the world.”

But writing can also be very rewarding if you do it because you love it, celebrate each small success, and use your common sense to make good decisions for your books and your image as a writer-just remember, showing up at a book signing with a hangover doesn’t count as a good decision.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

http://www.readerviews.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Irene_Watson

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