What’s a platform anyway?

A few weeks ago I was a panel member at a writer’s conference workshop. The subject was building a platform. Today, I’d like to share a few points that we made at the workshop. But first, here’s my go-to person for all things writer-ly, Jane Friedman, who tells us what platforms are and are not: "What editors and agents typically mean by platform They’re looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience. Let’s break this down further. Visibility. Who knows you? Who is aware of your work? Where does your work regularly appear? How many people see it? How does it spread? Where does it spread? What communities are you a part of? Who do you influence? Where do you make waves? Authority. What’s your credibility? What are your credentials? (This is particularly important for nonfiction writers; it is less important for fiction writers, though it can play a role. Just take a look at any graduate of the Iowa MFA program.) Prov … [Read more...]

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Now it’s all about the verbs

I’ve finished another round of revisions by marking up my novel chapters with a yellow marker to indicate telling instead of showing passages  and noting with a red pen places where I need to add and subtract material and provide major rewrites - even whole chapters. Now I’m going through the book again paying attention to verbs. One of my beta readers said: “I also sense that there are opportunities here for verbs that better-convey how people are using the space. For example, you can surely upgrade words like "watches," "going in," "been in," and "give up." Although maybe there's a deliberate simplicity in choosing such clear verbs, I also sense that there's more to observe that we're missing because of [this] plain style.” This reader was so thorough that he went through the text line by line indicating where I could improve my verbs. For example: "He gets out..." My reader said, ‘Another opportunity to convey mood with stronger verbs:’ "He skips out..." or "He pops out.. … [Read more...]

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What’s next after the words are on the page?

My guest today is Jason Matthews, an author of the novels, The Little Universe and Jim's Life. He's also the author of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free, How to Make Your Own Free Website and Get On Google Front Page. I met Jason on Google+ where he generously promoted my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I'm glad to have the opportunity to finally return the favor. Jason has worked with thousands of indies to build author platforms, expand social media, learn to blog, make websites and sell ebooks. Here are his thoughts about writing, why he writes, and what comes after the writing is finished. What's Next? by Jason Matthews Your words are on the pages. The cover brings a smile. It’s published as an ebook at all the major retailers and available as paperback. It’s selling some. Congratulations. How does it feel? I don’t know much about postpartum depression, but it feels like publishing a book that’s taken a year or several to produce might be the closest … [Read more...]

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I’m so pleased to reintroduce memoirist Kathleen Pooler

Kathleen (Kathy) Pooler and I met virtually a couple of years ago while hanging out on Google+, talking about - you guessed it - memoirs. And we've been buddies ever since sharing our books, sharing about memoir writing techniques and dos and don'ts, and forever wishing we'd someday meet in person. Alas, that hasn't happened yet. However, I'm pleased to be in her company any way I can. Today I'm reintroducing Kathy on Choices (see her other guest appearances here and here) during her WOW! Women on Writing book tour, and I congratulate her on her powerful and brave memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead : My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, a true life, tears-to-triumph story of self-defeating detours and dreams lost and found. About Ever Faithful to His Lead: A young woman who loses sight of the faith she has been brought up with attempts to find her way in the world, rejecting her stable roots in lieu of finding adventure and romance. Despite periods of spiritual renewal in w … [Read more...]

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The Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference is this weekend

This coming Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, I’ll be moderating two panels at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference. According to its program materials: “West Coast Writers Conferences presents a full weekend of panels, workshops and presentations by educators, noted speakers, and industry professionals focused on the craft and business of writing. “This conference differentiates itself by presenting individual program streams for (what we call the 3-A’s) Aspiring,Active, and Accomplished writers. Topics are offered in progressive streams, so you are immersed all weekend in an exciting and educational environment. You chose your level of participation and areas of interest, and may crossover to other levels at any time. Speakers and panelists are selected based on who is best suited to the curriculum, so you get the most informed workshops and presentations. Along with some perennial favorites, we are pleased to include important new voices and industry experts.” … [Read more...]

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