Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grand Opening: The Emerging Writer Reading Room

I am so glad that you stopped by for a few minutes. This is a special day. We've already had the ribbon cutting, but pick up a piece of strawberry shortcake before you go in The Emerging Writer Reading Room. On Center Stage, you will see the first book displayed.

 I chose Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco's book, Publish Your Nonfiction Book, for several reasons. First of all, this book rocks. Every time I pick it up, I find timely and useful information. Second, the book has wide appeal to everyone in our community. Finally, all followers of the blog (as of the end of June) are eligible to have his or her name drawn for a free copy. (Previous book winners in 2010 are not eligible.)

So, pick up a fork and a napkin and go see what you think. I'm open to all suggestions for improvements to the room.
In case you haven't noticed, the July/August issue of Writer's Digest is on the newsstands. If your nonfiction genre' is memoir, then you really ought to buy a copy and read the feature articles. I'll give you some snippets:
On the market – "Demand for the genre' doesn't seem to be fading, so that means there's still room to break in."
On baiting the hook – "Finding your hook is about presenting your story in a marketable and interesting fashion that best displays your skill and strengths as a writer."
On floating the arc – "Back then I hadn't even heard of an arc. Now I know it's the emotional framework of a memoir.
On the rough water – "To write an effective, authentic, cohesive memoir, you'll likely need to revisit or even relive the pain you'd rather forget."
On legal torpedoes – "Your best defense is to understand – before you publish your work – the legal issues that apply when you're writing about real people: namely defamation and invasion of privacy."

 Writer's Workbook in this issue of Writer's Digest has one of the best definitions on dialogue that I've read. In Building Tension to Heighten the Stakes by Jessica Page Morrell, she states, "Dialogue is not conversation. It is conversation's greatest hits." That summarizes beautifully all the tips I've read about dialogue. Much of real world conversation revolves around mundane subjects – the weather, the traffic, a bad-hair-day - all things that can bore our readers.

My final announcement: If you plan to be in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area next month, you might want to attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. This three-day conference is scheduled for July 23 – 25, 2010. The Friday night keynote address on writing memoir will be presented by Mary Karr, author of Liar's Club. Who knows, you might see me there.

 Until next time, keep writing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Community Spotlight #8

Come in. Come in! Whether you are escaping from the downpour of heat and humidity or from the rising thunderheads on the horizon, come in. As one forecaster says, "We're in the season for active weather."

Our coffee shop is a haven against the elements – and no newspapers allowed. Like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, I'll think about all those horrible headlines tomorrow. Unless your writing assignment requires the latest news be part of your focus, put that aside and join us for a few minutes. Pour your favorite beverage and relax. Take this time to meet some new members of our community.

Let me introduce Jennifer Perry. Jennifer doesn't seem to write a blog. I understand the reason for that. Jennifer loves to read blogs about dogs. She follows at least twenty! I would be totally unsurprised to discover that she is writing a book about dogs. So tell us, Jennifer, do you blog about your own dogs?

Newcomer Richard Grayling adds another adjective to our writer descriptive lexicon: struggling – as in Struggling Author, the title of the community blog he co-hosts. (Richard lives in the U.K.) Drop by his site. He just announced a new youTube channel for authors. Welcome, Richard.

Now meet Bobbi Linkemer, book writing coach, ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 14 books. She is also the nonfiction editor for Scribe & Quill, award-winning Internet e-zine. Her blog is The Writing Life where you must go immediately and read her two of her latest articles. The June 3rd article is on self-publishing lessons learned. The May 18th subject is a marketing outline that is the best list I've seen. Awesome.

New member, Galen Schroeder, calls himself Dakota Indexing, which is also the name of his web site and business. Having Mr. Schroeder join the community emphasizes another unique facet of this blog. Indexing is not something with which most writers of fiction books need concern themselves. Nonfiction writers, on the other hand, usually write books that gain by having a well-developed index. Welcome to the community, Galen. You'll notice if you look in the column on the right that I have added Dakota Indexing to our recommended sites list.

Here is Mike10613, a young man from England that has an explosion of interests – including all computer related and Internet related technologies - and writing a book. You can find Mike at his Home Page.

Now that we've met the newest members of our community, I have one more item I want to spotlight: Sharlene Martin is presenting a new webinar on 10 Secrets to a Winning Book Proposal. (Remember that I will draw one name at the end of the month for a free copy of Sharlene's new book, PUBLISH YOUR NONFICTION BOOK: Strategies for Learning the Industry, Selling Your Work and Building a Successful Career.) Writers' Digest is hosting this webinar on June 17, 2010. Link here to see the details.

That's all for now. Keep writing…

Thursday, June 10, 2010 Update

Welcome! The weather outside is sizzling, so we’re drinking iced versions of our favorite beverages, today. Find a chair and listen as David Nicholls, CEO of, gives us the latest news about his on-line bookstore of eBooks.

---------------------------------------------- commenced in February this year, I view the last few months with mixed emotions. A sense of pride that an idea, emanating from an ‘I wonder if’ moment, has actually come to fruition and is becoming an integral part of the mix for aspiring writers’ publication options.

Having recently watched a rerun of How the West Was Won, I know this journey of trying to reach the Publishing Promised Land, is full of ups and downs. We have attacks from the natives balanced by friendship and encouragement from friendly travelers.

Most of the criticism has been from my fellow Brits on this side of the pond. Sadly, it is an integral part of the British Psyche to point out that a new venture is either doomed to failure or intended as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. This skepticism has always been prevalent in our culture, but isn’t very conducive to an entrepreneurial mentality. Thankfully, however, the response from the States and other parts of the world has been amazing. has 50 authors with 64 books available for purchase.

The last three months have certainly been a learning process, full of hand holding for the writers who have ventured cautiously into this arena. “Can it?” “Will it?” “Will you?” “Why not?” The questions quite rightly come in abundance. The two most common ones however have been;
Am I allowed to publish elsewhere if my book goes on Answer: Yes.
Who owns the Copyright? Answer : The author.

The eBook route is easier, quicker, cheaper and more achievable than going the traditional route, but a stand-alone eBook is still quite new. I feel however that we are not too far away from publishing online being the norm.

We have attracted eight known publishing agents to the site so far. To date, three of our authors are now in dialogue with a few of these agents about their work. We have attracted writers (including a US Ambassador) from around the globe. Some of them come with an existing following. Due to their knowledge, patience and tenacity in promoting themselves on the Internet, these authors sell better, as they are able to maximize the free social networking opportunities.

As part of Lebrary’s commitment to promote our authors, we have embraced social networking, which really does drive traffic to the site. Sites we focus on are Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, where we have started a Fan Page to promote authors.

We have also developed a Facebook game called Book Pile Up, which shows our authors' book covers and is great fun.

This is only the beginning of a long and interesting journey. I’m sure there will be more arrows fired in our direction, but if you believe the recent AAP report that eBook sales jumped by 252% in the first quarter, then this wagon train is well on the way to the Publishing Promised Land.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Drum roll, please. It is time to announce the person whose name I drew for copy #1 of Publish Your Nonfiction Book. In my last post, I wrote that I didn't know anything about Doris except that she has a beautiful smile. Well, I guess the smile worked. I drew her name. Congratulations, Doris.

That's not all. Doris is a writer, traveler, and photographer who lives in China at the moment. She keeps an active web page at Doris Gallan . Her latest post on crossing a busy street in China is an adventure in itself. As an armchair traveler, I intend to visit Doris' site often.

Remember that two additional copies of Publish Your Nonfiction Book will be given away to members of this community (e.g. followers of Calling All Aspiring Writers of Nonfiction Books). I will draw a name for the next copy at the end of June. Everyone who has not already won a book this year is eligible.
While I was exploring various web sites, this past week, I found four opportunities that I want to share with you.

1. Here's a heads-up alert about another nonfiction agent that I've added to our list. The agent's name is Regina Ryan of Regina Ryan Publishing Enterprises. Guide to Literary Agents Blog has an interesting interview with her.
This is her advice on making a positive impact with a proposal:
"1) Say what your book project is right away on one or two sentences, without a big preamble; after that, you can explain it more fully. 2) Do a careful, thoughtful, sharp analysis of the competition. It would be good to include Amazon sales figures with your analysis. Figure out why your book is different and better than each, and articulate that fully. It's a key to selling your proposal and book."
Link to the complete interview, here.

2. Narrative Magazine has a spring contest you might want to explore. The contest is open to nonfiction as well as to fiction. The list of possible entry types is impressive. This is their lead:
"Our spring contest is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers. We're looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest."
First prize is $3,250, entry fee is $20, and the submission deadline is midnight PDT on July 31, 2010. To review complete details, link here.

3. Carpe Articulum Literary Review has a June special for their revolving contest. From the Winning Writers Newsletter, comes this information: "Carpe Articulum Will Accept Free Contest Entries During the Month of June! We're looking for short fiction, essays, poetry, novellas, and photography. Email your entries with your contact information and a cover sheet to Please include code FREEJUNE1WW on the cover sheet."
Visiting their web site and following the detailed instructions is the best way to enter the contest. Link here. Remember to include FREEJUNE1WW on the cover sheet.

4. The editors of Cup of Comfort books has put out a call for submissions for their newest volume: Cup of Comfort for Christian Women. Their request:
For this anthology of 40-50 inspirational true stories, we are looking for narrative personal essays (creative-nonfiction short stories) written by and for Christian women that reveal how one's faith has provided (provides) insight, guidance, comfort, and joy in navigating one's life."
Compensation is $50 + one copy of the book for each story published. Submission deadline is August 15, 2010.
For complete submission guidelines, link here.

Next time, look for an update from David Nicholls about