Wednesday www – SCBWI

3

Wednesday www – SCBWI

Wednesdays I like to share websites that I have found beneficial. If you have been following me for a while, these will probably sound familiar. But I must say the ones I repeat, I repeat for a reason.

My first website to share for the year is SCBWI.org.

logo-scbwi

SCBWI stands for The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and is a world-wide organization and is broken down into different regions. I happen to be in the Southern Breeze Region, which is Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle.

SCBWI holds two major conferences a year, and then most regions will host a conference separately. These are amazing opportunities for writers and illustrators. You get to take various workshops or attend different speeches. These can be from other writers/illustrators or agents, editors, and art directors. You get to meet people who will actually GET you! You have the opportunity to present yourself in front of the very people you submit too. You know, to make that personal connection.

You also have an opportunity to volunteer for your region. I volunteer with mine.  😀   Not only is it a great way to pay-it-forward, but the main speakers will see your name and know that you take your job, be it writing or illustrating or both, seriously and are not afraid to go the extra step.

There are dues every year, but I have found that it is well worth it. There is a bi-monthly newsletter, a monthly Insight newsletter, access to The Book, the opportunity to submit to many awards and grants, and much more.

For more information click over to SCBWI.org and check it out. If you are serious about writing or illustrating for children, you won’t regret it!

Until next time…
Happy Writing!
~t

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Tuesday Tip: 91 Weedy Weak Words to YANK from Your Story

weedyweakwords (1)

91 Weedy Weak Words to
YANK from Your Story

We’ve all heard the advice to SHOW not TELL with our writing.  BUT… How can you do it? What do you look for? Why does it really matter?

I like to use the example of  SHOWING to that of GARDENING.

weed.01WHY DOES IT REALLY MATTER?weed.01

Have you ever started gardening. You stake out a space and prepare the earth. You make sure everything is just so. We do this with our writing too. We have our laptops/notepads handy. We have read books, taken classes, attended conferences, joined critique groups… everything to get our space ready to write.

Then we plant. But do you stop there? NO. You water. You fertilize. You talk to your budding little sprouts. Same for our writing. We continue to learn and write and grow. And yes, I talk to my characters too. :p

Do you stop there though? I hope not. The grass will grow up. Weeds will also pop through the soil. If you’re not careful, it will begin to choke out the plants you have so tenderly grown. With our writing we can become lazy too. We can fall on words that say what mean, but don’t convey what we want to our readers. These are our weedy, weak words. They will choke out our story line, making our reader’s minds wander and potentially leave the story.

We do all this to have a beautiful flower bed. Or delicious fruits and veggies. OR to have a great story that one day will be published.

weed.02WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?weed.02

Weeds can be tricky. Vines will creep and wind around a plant. Stickers will blend in with a plant’s leaf shape. SHOOT! Some weeds are actually pretty. You have to keep a sharp eye out, move some leaves around, and look in between spaces. With our writing those weedy words can be tricky too. They can hide behind well thought out sentences and characters. They can act like they are helping a verb, but they are really dragging down the text, giving your readers a vague description of what is really happening.

HINT:   A lot of weedy words end in “-ly”. You know… quickly, softly, hardly.   😉

weed.04HOW CAN YOU DO IT?weed.04

So what to do? What to do? If you have a garden, mow the grass. Get on your hands and knees and pull those dang weeds. Yes, get down in the dirt. Get dirty. Get sweaty. Yank and pull those over-grown nuisances out! Same with our writing. Really dissect your story, every paragraph, each sentence. Once again, we have to get down and dirty. Really dig into our writing and wrestle those buggers out!

But never fear. You CAN do this! Think of really wanting your reader to see how your character is acting. Here’s a great example:

He slowly walked to the door.
vs
He trudged to the door.
He crept to the door.

He quickly ran to the door.
vs
He zipped to the door.
He flew to the door.

See? The bottom two sentences give clear, crisp details of what your character is doing. Whereas the first sentences… well, who knows? To help you out, I’m attaching a word doc you can download that has 91 weedy words/phrases that you can almost always eliminate from your story and make it more vibrant for your readers minds.

WEEDY WEAK WORDS LIST

Here’s to no more weedy words!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you do to help improve your writing?
Do you know of any more weedy words to add to the list?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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7 Reasons WHY You Should Attend a Conference

7ReasonsWhyYouShouldAttendaConference7 Reasons WHY You Should
Attend a Conference

I’m sure you’ve been hearing about people going to conferences lately.  😉 There are some really great ones out there. Of course there are some ho-hum ones too. So why should you give it a go? I decided to sit down and list my reasons for attending conferences…

  1. people.svg.medpeople.svg.medpeople.svg.med   My tribe!!!
    Yes, this is my first reasoning. This is where I have found that I fit in. That I belong. These people “GET” me! They know the struggles. They can offer insight. They can sympathize with me and give me a good swift kick to help me continue on.
  2. brain   Gain knowledge
    The sessions you attend are wonderful. Most conferences offer different sessions at the same time. This way you can pick and choose according to your experience level and needs.
  3. girl_and_boy.svg.med   Make connections
    There are editors, art directors, agents, and professionals who present during these sessions. What better way can you think of to get your foot in the door than a one-on-one contact?
  4. network-md   Network
    Here you will meet other writers, illustrators, bloggers, marketers, and on and on. These may be the people who help spread your word around when the time comes. These are also the ones that you don’t mind sharing about. They have interesting things to say and can help others on their way.
  5. grin_smiley_emotion_icon_emoticon.svg.med   Gain confidence
    Attending a conference is a great shot in the arm. You feel more secure in yourself. You are inspired to take on your current project or a new one. You may even find that you were able to help someone out. Or perhaps someone helped you over a hurdle.
  6. 12262023431084949520rg1024_Graphs.svg.med Present
    If you have enough experience, you can offer to present at a conference too. This is a great way to get your name out. You can also offer your services. There are people who know how to write a query well, or critque, or maybe how to market.  😉
  7. open_book.svg.medpen_01.svg.med   Book sales
    Conferences offer the opportunity for their attendees to have their books available for purchase during the event. Some will even host a “signing hour”. There may be some stipulations though. Always check with the guidelines.

There are many, many more reasons.  😀   These are the ones that really stuck out to me.

What’s yours?

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What conferences have you attended lately
What are some other reasons why you attend?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Marketing Monday – NEW Writing Contest… #FicFest

#FicFest

Marketing Monday –
NEW Writing Contest…
#FicFest

There’s a NEW Writing Contest on the horizon. AND this one is for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean… E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E!

Picture Books… check_mark.svg.med

Mid Grade…        check_mark.svg.med

Young Adult…   check_mark.svg.med

Adult…                check_mark.svg.med

It’s called #FicFest. It’s getting some shout outs across social media.

What is #FicFest?

#FicFest is an online writer’s contest which helps put manuscripts in front of literary agents. This contest, unlike most, is open to manuscripts in ALL genres (including those usually excluded such as Paranormal Romance or Erotica) in the categories of Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult.

#FicFest mentors are structured into fifteen (15) teams. Each category that I listed has three teams. Each team is comprised of a team leader, and two (2) team members. Once the submissions open, each team will choose three (3) finalist manuscripts and one (1) alternate manuscript to advance to the agent round. This means that an equal number of manuscripts for each category will move to the agent round, guaranteeing that one category does NOT overpower another when it comes time for the agents.

45 manuscripts total move to the agent round, with 15 manuscripts being held as alternates in case one of the main finalists drops out of the contest for any reason. This is one of the things we stress in promoting #FicFest because most contests are overrun with Young Adult. In many contests, they may advance 40 manuscripts to the agent round, but the problem lies in the fact that 30 of that 40 are all Young Adult. That won’t happen with #FicFest.

Nine manuscripts from each category will make their appearance in the agent round. No more, no less. NINE each. Let me stress this one more time. In the agent round, you will have 9 Picture Books, 9 Middle Grade, 9 Young Adult, 9 New Adult, and 9 Adult. Everyone gets a fair chance.

IMPORTANT DATES:

Have I got your attention now???

Tiffany Hoffmann is the brains behind this contest. All I can say is… WOW! She is a great leader and I can’t wait to see the entries.  😀  Did I mention I’m a #FicFest PB Mentor!!!!

Keep a look out on her website  and blog  for updates, the AGENT ANNOUNCEMENT, and so much more!

Here are some SAVE THE DATE dates to be on the look out for:

  • March 20, 2016 @ 12:00 PM EST
    Guidelines & Theme Reveal
    (Host Blog)
  • March 27, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST
    Meet the Team Leads & Their Members!
    (Team Lead Blogs & Host Blog)
  • April 3, 2016 @ 6:00 PM EST
    Agent List Announced
    (Host Blog)
  • April 17, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST – 10:00 PM EST
    Q & A with Team Leads & Host
    (Twitter – Using #FicFest)
  • April 24, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – April 25, 2016 @ 11:59 PM EST
    SUBMISSION
  • April 26, 2016 – May 3, 2016
    Teams will chose their finalists/alternate
  • May 4, 2016 @ 10:00 AM EST
    Finalists/Alternate Reveal
    (Team Leads Blogs)
  • May 5, 2016 – June 30, 2016
    Revisions
  • July 8, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – July 14, 2014 @ 11:59 PM EST
    Agent Round

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you think about #FicFest?
Are YOU planning to enter?
If you are, which category will yours be?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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Marketing Monday – Marketing takes time

MarketingTakesTimeMarketing Takes Time

Here we are well into January. I’m sure some of you have been creating a marketing plan for this year. I know I have.  I don’t care if you are an Indie Author or a Traditional Author, marketing falls primarily into the author’s lap. Marketing can be overwhelming and confusing. You need to post about your book(s), services, and other various things, but you don’t want to conk people over their head. The last thing I want people to do is skim over my name (along with my post) and quickly go to the next one. This can happen when you constantly post about only you.

Marketing can also seem like a lonely thing to do in the beginning. You have to build up an audience, network, make friends who will tweet/post/share/comment about what you are saying. This takes time. In the society we live in today many people have an instant need to see instant results. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Marketing is a lot like the publishing world…

Anyone who is involved in the industry knows that it moves at a snail’s pace.

We get an idea…   We write…   We research…   We revise…   We gather critiques…   We revise…   We submit…   We wait days/weeks/months…   We get a pass…   We revise…   We gather critiques…   We submit…   We receive an acceptance… We revise from edits…   We wait…   We get assigned an illustrator…   We wait…   We receive our galley…   We revise…   We wait… WE HAVE A RELEASE!

Now this may not be EXACTLY how your journey goes. I usually have a lot more revising and critiquing going on.  😀   But you can see how long and drawn out it can be. It can take months, if not years

Marketing can take as long. You have to build up all your connections through networking, making friends, getting to know those in your field. Then you need to come up with…

A Plan…

  • What avenues are you going to approach? Social media? <- Which one(s)?  Newsletters? Newspapers, TV, Radio? Blog?
    With each different avenue, there will be a different way to approach. Social media is easy and usually free. Local newspapers, TV stations, and radio are great to reach a different audience, but normally you can’t do this consistently enough unless you get a normal gig to fill a niche. Blogging can be great. You can host your own blog or guest blog on others. Either way, you need to be consistent with postings.
  • When will you post or approach?
    Each of these will determine how much you can make contact. I try not to over do my marketing. I have one post a day scheduled Twitter and Facebook. Only one. BUT I may talk about my books or services more often when it comes up organically in a conversations. I blog here twice a week. I have found (and read) that by blogging at least twice a week will help your SEO. It also creates consistency when you have a schedule and stick to it. For instance one week I post Monday (marketing) and Wednesday (website). The next week I post Tuesday (tips) and Thursday (thoughts). Does this change from time to time… yes, BUT for the most part it stays the same. Newsletters can be done differently. I’ve seen people post weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, and quarterly.
  • How will you generate interest?
    Ask questions. Challenge people to do something. Create a normal circumstance for conversation to happen (either on the blog or else where). Remind people to RT, share, and comment. Give them easy access buttons on your blog/newsletter to spread across social media. Comment and share other peoples blogs, posts, successes, and so on. When you help get the word out about people, people tend to want to do the same for you. A lot of my posts and tweets are about other people and articles that I like. It not only help promote others, but it can inform people about your interests and if they line up with what they want to know.
  • Be consistent. No matter what, do this. Create a look and use it across everything you do. I revised my look for 2016. Did you notice? Anything that I’m working with on my marketing will have the same look… blog, twitter, newsletter…

There is a lot to do. Like I was talking about on my time management post, make a plan and stick to it. It will take time, but little by little you can build up a following, make friends, and network with those in your industry. This doesn’t happen overnight. I started in 2014 with the sole purpose of building my platform and separating myself from someone else with my name (who is also on best selling lists). It was a challenge, but within six months I saw a difference when I searched for myself.  Depending on what (or who) you are against, you may see a difference a lot quicker than me.

The thing is, you have got to get out there and get to doing it!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::

How do you market?
Do you have a plan to go by?
How do you reach out to others?

Until next time,

Happy Writing!
~t

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#alayma Results!

awardseason

#alayma Results!

Were you able to watch the awards Monday? I did.. as long as my internet would keep up, at least. Everyone has been abuzz since. Great choices were made (as always), and unexpected choices are still being talked about. I think a picture book (I repeat, A PICTURE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!) winning the Newbery Medal was completely unexpected and so well deserved. I will be writing a post on my thoughts of this next week… So stay tuned!  😉

So I’m sure you are wondering (IF you already don’t know) who all won what. You can rewatch the whole event on the <3ilovelibraries website or DOWNLOAD THE PDF if you want to read the titles.

Here are the cover art of the winners. Some were multi-winning!!!

~ Congratulations to everyone~

Last Stop On Market Street   Finding Winnie   Gone Crazy in Alabama   Trombone Shorty   Hoodoo   Voice of Freedom   Bone Gap   Emmanuel's Dream   Fish in a Tree   The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B   The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy   The War That Saved My Life   The Drum Dream GirlEnchanted Air   Funny Bones   George   Don't Throw It To Mo   Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda   Most Dangerous

Jerry Pinkney was awarded the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement AND the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award!!!

David Levithan was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults!!!

Jacqueline Woodson was awarded the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award!!!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you think of the winners this year?
Were you surprised by any?
Where there any not mentioned you would have chosen?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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www (dot) Wednesday – SCBWI.org

scbwi

www (dot) Wednesday
SCBWI.org

Every year I like to talk about different websites/organizations that I find useful. Yep, I’m repetitive on a lot of these, BUT they are very, very, VERY useful! This year I would like to explain WHY I think these websites deserved to be mentioned and visited often.

SCBWI.org is THE organization to join in the #kidlit world.

  1. Agents and editors see your membership as a serious investment into your career as a writer/illustrator.
  2. Vast amount of information. SCBWI sends out a bi-monthly newsletter and a monthly Insight.
  3. Community relationships. You will meet your tribe here. Anyone who is passionate about children’s writing and illustrating is here.
  4. Community involvement. You can volunteer regionally and make life-long friends, not to mention learn great skills.
  5. Grants and awards. Yes, members have the opportunity to apply for grants and awards.

And that’s just my top 5 things about SCBWI. I did that list in under five minutes.  😀

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Are you a member of SCBWI?
What about other organizations?
What organization are you a member of?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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