Tag Archives: publishing

Help with Writing Query Letters

For some writers, composing an eye-catching query letter comes with little problems. For others  it’s one of the most nerve-wracking parts of being a freelance writer.

Below are some sites that I’ve compiled to make the process of birthing the perfect query letter a little more manageable.

From Writing World: How to write a successful query letter

From About.com; Freelance Writing:    Sample Query Letter

From Agent Query:    How to write a query letter

From HiWrite:    Query Letters

Your Turn: Please share any other sites that you have found useful when it comes to the how-to’s of composing a query letter.

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Blog Roller

What I’m reading around the blogosphere today:

Write it Sideways: 23 Websites that Make Your Writing Stronger

The Book Designer: Fair Use, The Rights of Personality, and Unintended Consequences

Real Simple: 16 New Etiquette Rules for the Tech Age

Psych Central: Are Depressed Poets Still Creative?

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iPad? iPod? No Thanks.

I feel that it should be against the law for me to not want to have an iPad. I mean, it’s 2010, technology is evolving faster than it has before with electronics. Nevermind an iPad, I don’t even own an iPod. I know…crazy isn’t it? I’ll give that a couple of seconds to sink in.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi…welcome back.

I don’t own nor want an iPad or iPod. Reason why you ask? Because I consider myself  “kinda-sorta old-school” in the sense that I get tremendous joy from holding my books and magazines. I utterly adore taking an hour-long trip to Staples to pick out new highlighters, pens, and pencils to mark up my literary finds. Or exhausting a good part of my afternoon sitting in the big comfy chairs at my local library skimming through potential books that may come home with me.

The smell of a new book ignites a fury of plasmic ions within my blood that speak to each other in Latin. Not really, but you get the point. So to hold a plastic device that renders no need for my highlighter is of no interest to me.

As for the iPod, I appreciate that if I want to listen to music I don’t have to lug my Sony Walkman around with me anymore and flip my Michael Jackson “Bad” tape to side two…I can simply press the forward arrow to change songs. Except that when I read or write, I need total calm and quiet. I can’t have the T.V. on, or the radio, even the ticking of a Grandfather Clock will get to me after a while. If I had ear buds vibrating my vestibule I’d never get anything done.

While I would never turn away the iPad, iPod, even the Kindle as gifts that I would use in my spare time, you wouldn’t catch me in an Apple Store browsing either.

You will, however, catch me at Borders with a decaf coffee in my hand hiding at the corner table reading Lolita. Come over and say Hi.

Your turn: Share your thoughts on the iPad, iPod, and/or Kindle. Do they help you work or waste your time?

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Guest Blogger on The Alchemist

Today is guest blogger day for us blogathoners and Andrea Genevieve Michnick is my guest blogger. Andrea is a fellow blogger participating in the May 2010 Blogathon.

Today, Andrea focuses her attention on the book The Alchemist. It’s a book she’s read numerous times and each time she finishes it, she finds something new amidst it’s pages that she seemed to have missed.

Andrea writes:

Every once in a while, there comes along a book, movie, or piece of art that feels like it was written just for you. Don’t you agree? Well for me, that book is The Alchemist. It’s one of those books that many people talk about, but never understands until they read it for themselves.

I read The Alchemist for the first time in August 2008. Then again in June 2009 and now I’m going to read it again this month. It’s a book that has different meanings depending on where a person is in their life. The first time I read it I thought it was a silly fable and the second it inspired me more than any piece of written ever has in the past. I hope when I read it again this year it re-instills a sense of hope and encouragement. I like to write about things I think about and more importantly things that give me inspiration to pursue my dreams. My hope is that through my writing others can be inspired to find their purpose and pursue dreams.

Throughout the past year I have been living through my Quarter Life Crisis and if there is one thing I have learned it’s that life is a journey. Little things like this book remind me of that through subtle signs and quotes:

“There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
The Alchemist

I often find that creative types have a hard time with living in the present. I am one such person. I like to look to the future and think about the “What if’s?” that lie ahead. I get excited by seeing others success and wish life would speed up and my dreams would be right here at my finger tips too! Coincidentally, its when I read books like the Alchemist that I realize my dreams INCLUDE the present. Living each day striving to find a balance, a focus and a path is all part of the dream.

“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”
The Alchemist

I’m curious to learn from other creative types and freelancers what books inspire you? How do you keep motivated to pursue a life of your dream

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AndreaGenevieve is a 20-something blogger living and working in Washington, DC. Personally, Andrea writes and thinks about inspiration and the life of someone living through a Quarter Life Crisis at ThinkingMiss.com. Professionally, she writes about higher education, social media and Gen Y on TechAcademy (www.andreagenevieve.com)

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Good Reads in Blogs

Here’s what I’ve been reading for Monday morning.

From Time.com: Is the internet the secret to happiness?

From Julie Ortolon: 5 tips for authors who blog.

From The Creative Penn: 15 ways modern art galleries can inspire writers.

From The Urban Muse: 5 ways for writers to avoid an online scammer.

What have you been reading today?

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5 Tips for Writers When Speaking Publicly

As writers, some of us speak publicly at conferences, clubs, expos, and what have you. It’s essential that when you decide to incorporate public speaking into your arena of work that you are calm and collected when promoting your endeavors and helping others understand theirs.

These five steps are the ones that have helped me prepare when I am asked to do any type of public speaking and I hope that when it’s your turn to speak that they will help you prepare as well.

Five Tips for Preparing Writers When Speaking Publicly:

1.     Know Your Material: This is step number one because it is so crucial. Just because you’re being asked to speak to fellow writers about your newly published book, doesn’t mean that you can go up in front of the crowd and wing it. Yes, you wrote the book and you know your material well, but there’s always room for advancement. Do more research, bring an article and visual aid along to share with your audience that relates to your niche, or ask a fellow colleague to speak with you to help further the importance of your findings. Don’t stop learning because you’re published, you’ll short change yourself as well as your audience.

2.     Practice, Practice, Practice: Once your speech has been prepared and edited for clarity and time restraints, your next step will be to practice it aloud. Make sure you’re speaking slowly, clearly, and pronouncing all of your words correctly. If you’re from Boston but speaking in Texas, this is one of those times when your accent may hinder your depiction. To prevent any lapse in understanding from your audience, this is where your practice shall make perfect. By continuously speaking your speech aloud, you’ll unconsciously train not only your brain to semi-memorize your words, but also your tongue and mouth to form them correctly. Also, practice in front of people outside your comfort zone. Your husband and mother have a favorable bias of you so it’s best to ask someone other than your immediate friends and family to listen to your speech.

3.     Know Your Audience: Do your research on who will be attending and great as many audience members as you can before the talk. Is it just freelance writers who will be attending or will the local news reporters be there as well, perhaps the mayor will be sitting in? These are all key questions to seek answers to well in advance of your speaking commitment so that you won’t be totally blindsided when being asked questions before, during, and after your presentation.

4.     Know the Room: Arrive early, super early, to your venue and walk it. Breathe it in. Touch the seat backs and allow the scent to become embedded in your conscience. No one can work a room or their audience unless you’ve been in their position before. During this time, check your equipment as well. Do sound checks and go through your presentation if you have enough time before guests start arriving.

5.     Relax and Remain Calm: Easier said than done, I know. But like anything, the more you speak publicly the easier it gets. Your mistakes you make along the way are easier corrected with repetitiveness. If you knocked over the mic stand at your first public speaking presentation, then you’ll know to place it well out of your way at your subsequent presentations. Some people are born being utterly calm and collected in front of an audience and others have to work at it. Regardless, knowing your material, your room, and your audience members is a recipe for success that anyone who speaks publicly can’t deny.

Please share your public speaking experiences with us. We learn best when it’s from each other.

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Wallace Stevens’ Poetry

A poem that I enjoy from one Wallace Stevens.

Please share your thoughts below.

Large Red Man Reading by Wallace Stevens

There were ghosts that returned to earth to hear his phrases,
As he sat there reading, aloud, the great blue tabulae.
They were those from the wilderness of stars that had expected more.

There were those that returned to hear him read from the poem of life,
Of the pans above the stove, the pots on the table, the tulips among them.
They were those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality,

That would have wept and been happy, have shivered in the frost
And cried out to feel it again, have run fingers over leaves
And against the most coiled thorn, have seized on what was ugly

And laughed, as he sat there reading, from out of the purple tabulae,
The outlines of being and its expressings, the syllables of its law:
Poesis, poesis, the literal characters, the vatic lines,

Which in those ears and in those thin, those spended hearts,
Took on color, took on shape and the size of things as they are
And spoke the feeling for them, which was what they had lacked.

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