Category Archives: Writing & Publishing

Get Inspired

WRITING FOR ME  series.

You want to write a book, or at least write something, but you don’t know where to start?  Here’s a quick checklist for Noobie Writers on how to start writing a book:

  • GET INSPIRED – Read books, memoirs or novels that you’d love to have written yourself.
  • PERFECT YOUR CRAFT  – Brush up on your writing
  • CHALLENGE YOURSELF – Write. Join an online writing camp.
  • SHARE – Sign up with a creative writing class, hold your head high, and read aloud…

This week, let’s ….

 GET INSPIRED

Get Inspired by reading a lot.

Then you THINK. A lot.

Pick up your favorite book and then STUDY it.

  • Find out what you liked about the book. The characters? The words? The perfectly satisfying ending? What phrases in the book stood out to you? What melted you into a fit of crying jags?

Then, pick up the last book that you didn’t finish reading, in other words…a book you wanted to toss right into the sewage treatment pool at the corner of 44th Avenue and Ward.

“Must I?” Your brows knit together as you fold your arms neatly across your chest.

“Yes.” I inch closer.

Your lips quiver. “But I don’t even want to look at it!”

“But you must. You’d–”

“No! No! No!” You blurt out, shaking your head like a kid facing a spoonful of icky fever medicine. “Don’t make me do it!”

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” I say, slowly pulling behind me, a cartful of books we’ve talked about earlier in our A-Book-Within-You-discovery session.

You dart towards the door, but as you pull the knob and turn it, you find that the door is locked. Heaving, you look for another way out. But there is nowhere to run.

It couldn’t have been that bad of a story, could it? I take a big breath and say to you in a voice practiced on my kids many, many times over. “You’ll thank me for this later….”

I have my hands behind my back, fingers crossed.


 

This is how my mind works. I see a picture and run with it. Does yours?

So let’s get back to analyzing your least favorite book. You now have it in your hands…. (Phew!)

  • Find out what you didn’t like about the book. Was the narration too long and winding? Were there too many flashbacks that took you out of the present story? Were there grammatical errors that made you stop and wished that the author had done a better job proof reading the book? Were the dialogues so mangled up that you couldn’t even figure out who was saying what? Was the character just sitting and thinking, and thinking, and thinking, but there was absolutely nothing happening?

Once you’ve identified what you liked or don’t like about a book, you’re one step closer to writing something that you would deem ‘just right’. Fingers crossed.


Good luck with your endeavor!

Book: Death by Distraction: How Do We Let Go?

Dina Martin is happy. Sprinkle in a dash of  giddiness, a teaspoon of jitters and butterflies, you have a perfect recipe for a first time author less than a week before the release of her debut novel, The Text Police Club.

The Text Police Club? I ask.

“Yes, weird title, isn’t  it?” She smiles. “But it’s natural.”

In her Malaysian-laced American accent, Martin tells me that the book is about an eleven-year old girl from Arvada trying to lead a normal life after her father’s tragic texting and driving accident. The girl forms a club that partners school kids and the local police to get texting drivers off the road.

I ask why she chose the subject of texting.

“Because texting while driving is what’s happening now in real life.” Martin adds that the book is all about empowering kids to turn their lives around when faced with something as unimaginable such as losing a loved one to a distracted driver. She didn’t want the book to dwell too much on the mind-numbing experience that death brings to a family, so she’s set the story for a year and a half later.

Of course, add some drama to any mix and you’ve just baked yourself an entertaining book perfect for middle grade readers.

She mentions that the book is highly local, and that she’s woven in Arvada’s highways and byways, 80th Avenue, Wadsworth Boulevard, Carr, and Ralston Street to the story line. She plans to continue using Arvada as the home base for all her books.

Why Arvada?

“Because it’s my home. I live less than ten minutes’ drive away from the mountains. Even though my house doesn’t face the mountain range, I still get glimpses of a picture postcard view every time I come home from the grocery store. It never fails to lift my spirit.”

The Text Police Club centers on friendship, family and finding the courage to let go. Age 10 and up. Order it on Amazon.com. $14.95 plus shipping & handling.

10-11 Frontcover Cropped

To Publish or Not to Publish

To publish or not to publish… that is the question.

How many words do you have, again? 289,000? Cut it in half and then half, and then half again. But nobody’s answering your question.  To publish or not to publish?

It’s up to you.

Ask yourself, who is the book for? If it’s for your immediate friends and family, go ahead and have a blast. Write, proof-read, print, gift-wrap your book, and then take a bow.

But what if you want to share your words and ideas beyond your forest of friends, what do you do?

Enter self-publishing. Indie publishing, some call it. But definitely an activity that allows the writer control in every aspect of the production of the book—the rewrites, the proofreading, the formatting, the book cover design= front cover + spine + back cover; the copy for the back cover, printing, marketing, selling, and distribution. The list seems endless and overwhelming.

And it is.

If you have a team of supporters behind you, and the willingness to put in the work—the passion and the audacity to FAIL, brush yourself off and go forward without a blink—then self-publishing is for you.

You could go the ‘relatively’ easy way. Find yourself an agent, and have the agent reel in the big publishers. It may take a week, or years, or not at all before you end up signing on the dotted line. You have to have patience and a lot of faith to go this route.

You could blog from scratch, and blog your book until the finish line, hire a publicist to help you with the marketing, yada-yada-yada.

There are endless avenues that a writer can take to become a published author. Do what’s best for you. (I don’t have the answer.)

But I certainly have a list of links of writers, book designers, and bloggers, who are experts in their field to help you decide what you want to do. (The following list is still being set up. Please come back for more)

Publishing & Book Design : Joel Friedlander gives awesome tips on publishing, focusing on Book Design. He sends out emails to his subscribers regarding different aspects of the publishing process, for print books as well as e-books. Check out his monthly E-Book design competition. I always look out for his comments to learn a thing or two.  The Book Designer  

Blogging & Publishing : Nina Amir is a successful blogger, mentor and author-coach. She is well known for her ability to churn up books from her blogs. Ninaamir.com