How To Increase Your Writing Skills

Mastering the writing skills is not everyone’s cup of tea. But knowing these little known secret tips will not only enhance your writing skills but also make you creative.

I’m bringing here 5 secret tips to change your boring writing style into an attractive one.

Tip #1: Keep your sentences clear and concise

Yes, you all know this fact very well but while writing, most of the people forget this simplest yet the most important fact. You start writing in short sentences but eventually end up making longer sentences using connectors.

Example: John is a talented boy. He likes to spend his time by playing basketball. Sometimes he likes to spend his time reading articles. (Simple, To-the-point)

Now see what actually happens while writing:

John is a talented boy and he likes to spend his time by playing basketball but sometimes he likes to spend his time reading articles. (Single Complex Sentence, Lengthy)
Thus, avoid forming longer sentences.

Tip #2: Always write in Active Voice

People developed an unhealthy habit of writing even simplest of the sentences in passive voice. Though writing in this voice is not bad, but sometimes it distracts your readers from the actual subject of the sentence. See the difference.

Example: Susan offers web services also. (Active Voice)

Web services are also offered by Susan. (Passive Voice)

While using passive voice you observed that the length of the sentence gets increased making it a bit complex. Also the main subject of the verb is coming at the end which deviates from the main idea of the sentence.
The main idea is that Susan offers web services also, not anyone (which can be understood from active voice) which is the primary fact of our sentence. Whereas, in passive voice the main idea gets focused on ‘web services’ which is a secondary fact of our sentence.

Tip #3: Stick to minimum usage of adverbs

Adverbs are one of the parts of speech which enhance the meaning of adjective or verb. But sometimes, people overuse them unnecessarily.

Example: There is no denying in the fact that working hard honestly and striving towards your goal passionately never goes in vain. (Adverbs overused)

There is no denying in the fact that working hard and striving towards your never goes in vain. (Without adverbs honestly and passionately)

See the difference how removal of adverbs still convey the same meaning and more effectively without confusing your readers.

Tip #4: Use figurative devices to add style to your writing skills

Use metaphors, idioms, proverbs, phrasal verbs, alliteration, oxymoron, etc. to convert your boring lines into stylish ones.

Example: John is my best friend. I can always trust him. (Without figure of speech)

John is the apple of my eye. I can always count on him. (With figure of speech)

Note: Using figure of speech makes your sentence a bit complex since your audience might not know meanings of all metaphors or phrasal verbs. Try to use them smartly as per the niche of your audience.

Tip #5: Use contractions to showcase conversational and engaging content

Using full forms like do not, it is, will not, you are, etc. suit instructional manuals, guides or business proposals. But while writing articles, blogs or simply essays, using contractions make sentences more engaging.

Example: Do not try to go to him. (Sounds more formal/instructional)

Don’t try to go to him. (Sounds more conversational/natural).

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , , | Comments Off on How To Increase Your Writing Skills

How To Be Successful Author

Is it possible to make it big in the book business in an underdeveloped or a developing country such as Nigeria noting that Nigerians don’t read? As a the founder of a platform that teaches people how to stake a claim in what has come to be called the expert industry, with focus on book writing, these are the type of questions majority of my candidates bombard me with. This article addresses these concerns.

As J. F. Kennedy once noted, the great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!’ A typical amateur author with a short-term mindset sees the world as the gardener, while those with long-term focus approach every enterprise, be it education, investment in stocks or book writing, as Marshall Lyautey. As trite as the following cliché is, it’s worth repeating, nothing good ever comes cheap. As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his elegant book, Tipping Point, to reach the tipping point in any endeavour requires about 10,000 man-hours of serious practice. That is about 10 years of effort. So to hop into the book business and hope to make it big overnight is like fast tracking pregnancy. It’s impossible under normal circumstances; it has to go the full cycle of nine months.

A close look at three authors that have become wildly successful, such as Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink and Tony Robbins, shows that they have one thing in common: they are very prodigious in their output. Take Malcolm Gladwell for example. He is such a detail oriented author that when he sets out to describe something, he paints a picture so vivid that you cannot but read his to the very end. For instance, if he is writing about something as mundane as a door key, he would describe the colour, size, texture, brand, make and the type of key, the iron the key was made of, and not forgetting the country where the mine is located and the technology used in converting the iron ore to iron ingots and finally to key. Any wonder all his books including Outliers, Blink, Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath became instant best sellers? How did he hone his skills? He honed it over the years as a journalist, including over twenty with The New Yorker. On the other hand, Daniel Pink is trends and research oriented. He watches trends, follows it up with research and writes about it in a spirit uplifting way that you cannot but read his tomes to the end. Any wonder his Free Agent Nation, A Whole New Mind, To Sell Is Human and Drive became instant best sellers? Tony Robbins on his part is a master motivator and expert story-teller. He is so gifted in these arts that his books such as Unstoppable, Awaken The Giant Within, and Money: Master The Game are all run-away best sellers.

As you can see, Malcolm, Daniel and Tony are not only prodigious, they are also deep. These attributes would make publishers pay millions to get them on their stable. You cannot become an overnight wonder. It takes years of toil and sweat to become a worldwide sensation. Take the case of J. K. Rowling. A single mother, no publisher would touch her first Harry Porter fantasy novel. To them, it didn’t have market value. So what did she do? She stuck to her gun. She believed in the value of her work and persisted and today, her Harry Porter series is the best-selling book series of all time. The Harry Porter series have been turned into movies propelling her to the pinnacle of success as the richest author in the UK, with estate valued at over $1billion as at 2014. The same can be said of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson. The first book in the series according to the authors was rejected over 400 times by the big publishers because they believed stories would not sell! What of the Guerilla Marketing series initiated by the late Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984? The very first Guerilla Marketing book was self-published and today is the best known marketing brand in history, named by Time as one of the top 25 best business books, with over 21 million copies sold. The guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that the books have been translated into 62 languages and are required reading in MBA programs in most IVY League Schools around the world.

Again what is common even with these initially self-published authors is prodigious output, focus and believe in self or you would say, persistence and determination. They didn’t just write one shallow or even great book, uploaded to Amazon, composed a Gospel music to herald the release and expect the world to beat a path to their door as the average amateur author does. Also, these authors didn’t set out to write best-sellers. They wrote on what they were passionate about and their passion shone through their art. So the ingredients that make for an author that people are willing to read, follow and like are a series of books (not less than three, but the more the better), a niche that enables you to express yourself and your passion and finally depth. If you lack depth no one is going to take you seriously. Depth requires focus, thought and zeal. Depth requires you go where no one else has been. Depth requires you develop your own unique style. Uniqueness is both the foundation and the icing on the cake.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , , | Comments Off on How To Be Successful Author

How To Understand The Readers

Why do we read? I hadn’t really thought about this question in any depth. Sure I could tell you that I do it because I love to, that those stolen hours lost in pages are exciting, exhilarating escapism. But I’d never considered – and as a psychologist with my theoretical roots firmly embedded in science and evolution I should have – that story is actually a powerful part of our lives.

Think about it, unlike other pass times – like quilting,croquet or gambling – everyone does story in one form or another. I devour books, my husband loves to watch TV, my son absorbs himself in games of breeding dragons or building pixelated forests. Children take plastic My Little Pony’s and build families and plan great adventures. Adults take little painted figurines and build empires and plan their enemy’s defeat. Gossiping is story, seeing a psychologist is all about telling your story, marketers know that a good story will invest you in their product. I realised that story is EVERYWHERE.

Which means escapism isn’t a good enough reason for story to be with us. It’s true, getting lost in a story isn’t smart: from centuries ago, when keeping an eye out for sabre tooth tigers was pretty essential for survival, through to modern times, where paying your mortgage keeps food in your fridge. Story has been so pervasive and universal that it’s survived the ruthless mill of evolution, that unrelenting process that screens out anything that doesn’t ensure our species will be here to produce future generations. If it’s not securing our survival, then its cut. Gone.

Extinct.

Why then? Why is story still around? Why is it woven so tightly into the layers of our life?

Essentially, story was, and continues to be, our first virtual reality. Just like it’s much safer for pilots to learn to fly in simulators, we get to learn the complicated lessons of life through the experience of others. In the same way pilots prefer to make their mistakes much closer to the ground, we get to see what could happen if our baby sitter didn’t turn out to be who we thought they were, how to take down a zombie, what a serial killer is capable of, how to navigate a dystopian world, what the ripple effect of having an affair with your neighbour is. In real life, mistakes can be devastating for pilots and us alike. With story, we get to do all of this and more, all without the deadly crash landing.

Evolution thought this was so important that it actually wired us for story. In fact, it thought it was so important, it deeply embedded it into our grey matter it in two significant ways. The first has us probing right down at a cellular level. Neurons are the spindly, spidery cells that make up our brain matter. They’re the little suckers that zip information all around our brain and body. A relatively recent discovery was that of mirror neurons, cells that fire both when you do something but also when you see someone else doing it. Oh, like hear a story, watch a movie… or read a book! Mirror neurons are why we get just as excited watching sport as playing it, why we scrunch up in our seats and turn our eyes away from a horror film.

Or why we have a physical, visceral response to a great book.

Pretty cool, huh?

Another is in the chemical communications that happen in our head. Namely dopamine, the little molecule involved in pleasure and reward. Food, sex and cocaine all trigger the release dopamine in our brain. And so does devouring a good book.

In the case of reading, dopamine is your brains way of rewarding curiosity, so you can learn the hard-won lessons the character is enduring (in the safety of the library or your lounge room). Interestingly, the more dopamine is released, the more of a high we get, the more we want to keep doing what we’re doing. Most importantly, if the brain anticipates doing that activity again, like reading, it will release dopamine accordingly. Think about it, we’ve all been there when our favourite author releases a new book. When that book finally rests in your palms, that happy, heady feeling has you diving into the first page no matter where you are. It’s the brain’s way of encouraging you to go for it because it felt so good last time.

When I learnt all this, as a reader I felt validated. I finally figured out why I turn up to work gritty eyed and wishing I drank coffee because ‘just one more chapter’ turned into ‘there’s only a hundred pages to go, I might as well finish it’. It’s not about poor self-control, an addictive personality or a belief I can function on three hours sleep. My brain is wired to want this! (Okay, fine… maybe self-control got skipped in my DNA… )

But as a writer I was fascinated.

I realised all this knowledge is the foundation of what readers are unconsciously looking for in a story. Why some books are ‘meh’ and why some will be OMG IT’S PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO PUT THIS DOWN!

If you capture your reader, give them a character they care about as they fight, fail but ultimately learn, if you swallow them whole with your words and your wit, you’ve done it. You’ve got them. They’ll connect with your protagonist, your story…

Your book.

And if it’s really got them hooked, the ones on your backlist, and the ones yet to come.

What writer doesn’t want that?

In future posts I’ll start teasing apart what the parts of our craft that will fire a readers’ mirror neurons, spark that rush of dopamine, so check out the PsychWriter blog: where psychology meets writing.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , | Comments Off on How To Understand The Readers

How To Deal With Writer Block

SLAM! Just when you thought you had it licked, that blank wall gobsmacked you!

There you were, all nice and cozy in front of your pristine writing surface, all primed and ready to write! And waited. And waited. And waited. Forever, it seemed. NOTHING!

After what seemed an eternity, you turned off the computer in disgust, put your well-crafted writing utensil back in its velvet-lined box, and slunk back to the land of the living.

Drained. Disheartened. Disheveled. Disgusted.

What a waste, I’m no writer. Heck, writers go through this a mile a minute. Me? An old, sprained mule could beat me on days like today.

And there’s been altogether too many days just like this, for my tastes. Perhaps I’m not cut out for this kind of work. Perhaps Mom was right: “Be an orthodontist,” she had said. But NO! I knew in my heart I was a WRITER!!!

Sound familiar? Some of the details may be changed, but I’ll bet you’ve had the same kind of roadblock a number of times before.

And in all cases, you’ve wandered away from the trades, feeling lower than a snail’s left kneecap.

Take heart! You’re not alone. Thousands of writers and writer would-be’s pound themselves in waves against the same wall. Some give in.

Want fries with that?”

Others finally figure out the key. But they don’t share.

Let’s look at what you call your “Writer’s Block.”

There are two aspects.

One, we’ve decided who is probably the main culprit: Your inner critic and censor, working overtime to actively prevent you from being “too creative”.

The other is more subtle, but just as real: you may be suffering from “information overload”.

Let me explain.

If you look closely at what you’ve been experiencing, you’ll probably find that one of the reasons that you’ve frozen at the writing surface is NOT for lack of ideas. It’s precisely the opposite.

I’ll bet that if you are honest with yourself, you’ll find that the ideas come to you all jumbled up and in great profusion. Your challenge, and why you freeze up, is because you’re having a hard time selecting from all of those ideas and themes.

At the risk of boring you, please permit me to tell you a little story as a way of illustrating my premise.

Imagine that you are in an empty, windowless room. In front of you is a blank wall with a door sporting an ornate door handle. As you look around the room, you notice that all of the walls are blank, bland, formless, faceless. A soft glow permeates the room and just barely dispels the gloomy darkness. Over in one corner of this otherwise bare room, you see a wizened old man sporting a green eyeshade, his sleeves rolled half way up, and he is studiously peering through coke-bottle bottom glasses at a clipboard he’s clutching in his gnarled, arthritic hands. The clipboard is festooned with rubber hand stamps of various colors and sizes, and, curiously enough, each of them has the same words on its stamp face: “Rejected. Not Relevant.” This little old man is also wearing a large, red button lapel that proclaims in bright contrasting letters, “Mental Story Idea Selector.” Your room companion ignores you, but you realize with a flash of recognition that this decrepit old man is your own, personal story filter.

You step forward, reach out your hand, turn the door handle and the door swings inwards. Through the open door, you see an expansive meadow filled with little bright yellow flowers that are gently swaying in a light breeze. There’s a hint of music in the air from some unseen source. The meadow stretches far into the distance.You notice that the meadow borders a forest of shockingly and brilliantly colored pine trees. Behind the pine trees, you see a towering blue-tinted mountain range. A rime of snow covers the very tips of the mountains.

It’s all so serene.

You call out, “Any ideas around here? Any at all??”

The words are barely out of your mouth when up from between those delightful flowers jumps a horde of slavering, scaly, hairy, slimy, green, brown, toothy ogres of all manner of shape and sizes from all over that beautiful meadow, and from even as far away as the furthest pine trees. Each of these unholy abominations is clutching some sort of large, heavy, pointed or rounded tool. Pounding the earth, mashing the flowers to used coffee grounds, they soundlessly run towards you.

You slam the door just in time.

You hear the myriad thuds as the monsters crash into each other. They pound furiously on the door, trying to break through.

Those ideas are ready to do you some serious mayhem!

The door groans from the strain of those ideas. As you watch in rapt amazement, the door pops open under the furious onslaught. You are aghast. There, seized in the doorway is a mélange of ideas, their arms intertwined, their legs locked together, and they’re wedged into an almost impenetrable mass, all trying to squeeze through that small doorway at once.

Your Mental Story Idea Selector, ignoring the open doorway, looks around the empty room and declares, “No idea leads here!!”

You look helplessly back at the door, and to your horror, notice that the door frame has begin to shrink. The ideas are further being squeezed out.

Again your Mental Story Idea Selector looks around and declares in a loud voice, “Nope, no ideas!!” Then your Mental Story Idea Selector reaches out his hand and without looking, slams the door closed.

“Well, guess we’ll call it a day. Nothing here. No ideas. Nothing at all! Perhaps we’ll have better luck tomorrow.”

You watch helplessly as your oblivious Mental Story Idea Selector stalks out of the room through another door which has magically appeared in an adjoining wall, leaving you now completely alone.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , | Comments Off on How To Deal With Writer Block

Tips For Making Short Stories

At the end of the Mechanical Age by Donald Barthelme
The protagonists of the story are Ralph and Ms Davis. The story portrays the contemporary age as being dull and boring. But the mechanical age has got its comfort zones. Ms Davis a widow gets married to Ralph. The marriage ceremony is witnessed by God who makes them take an oath: ‘you wedded husband and life promise to make whatever mutually satisfactory accommodations necessary to reduce tensions and arrive at previously agreed upon goals both parties have harmoniously set in the appropriate planning sessions’. The story is vague and lacks depth and form. It resembles an incongruous abstract painting.

Petition by John Barth
John Barth in the Petition writes an epistle to a renowned person from Thailand who is visiting America for a surgery. Barth is very much drawn to Eastern Mysticism and Eastern religions. He extols the virtues of the foreigner’s history. He also describes the contemporary culture of America in ironic terms. One can’t find the essence of a story in the petition by Barth.

Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon by Marquez
The Cage made by Balthazar is a fascinating and mysterious story about Balthazar who makes a cage and sells it for sixty pesos. As soon as he collects the money, he buys booze for his friends and gets inebriated. His wife waits patiently for him to come home. The story carries a moral about a person who doesn’t know to handle large sums of money.

The Shore by Grillet
The shore by Grillet describes the movement of three children on the beach. Grillet describes the motion of the waves, the flying sea gulls and the movement of the wind. The author has a lurking fascination for the three children, a strange eerie aura of attraction.

Like a Bad Dream by Heinrich Boll
In Like a Bad Dream, the protagonist invites the Zumpens for dinner. He was thinking of the prized contract that the Zumpen would make. But the Zumpens left without saying anything. Bertha the wife of the protagonist told her husband to visit the Zumpens. Mrs. Zumpen gives him an envelope and told him to raise the price as the price quoted by the next bidder was much higher. The story ends with a happy note with the protagonist being awarded the contract.

Axolotl by Cortazar
Axolotl describes a morbid fascination for them by the author. The author becomes ruminative about them. The story is Quixotic and has no meat of a plot.

In Dreams begin responsibilities by Schwartz
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities the author describes about the relationship of the father with the mother. The relationship is a long lasting and pleasing one.

Solipsist by Brown
In the story the Solipsist Walter Jehovah has an imaginary conversation with God. Solipsism is a philosophy that an individual alone exists. In the conversation Jehovah becomes seduced by the grandeur of thought-he alone exists as God.

Gogol’s Wife by Tomanso
In the story Nicolo’s wife is described as a balloon. As years pass by, Nicolo’s disgust for his wife increases.

The End by Beckett
In the End is a story that describes the solitary life of an unknown person. The description portrays his angst. The story has no proper beginning and end and the narrative is haphazard.

The Waiting by Borges
We find Vilari the protagonist settling down in his new lodgings. In the end of the story, a surprising one we find that Vilari is killed by a stranger.

Borges and I
The author differentiates the fictional Borges from the real Borges. The fictional Borges is acclaimed in the news and has a marvel for hourglasses, sixteenth century maps and labyrinths.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , , | Comments Off on Tips For Making Short Stories

How To Increase Your Writing Speed

3 Tips To Speed Up Your Writing

There is absolutely no denying that writing can be a dreary and draining task. Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer, Anne Tyler, once said, “If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.”

If professional authors and writers need to force themselves to write, one can imagine the sheer willpower required for an ordinary person to sit down and put pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard just to produce a piece of content.

Even if you love writing, there will be times when you’re just not into it. What do you do then? You may still have deadlines to meet or your blog will need its scheduled post. You don’t have a choice but to write… and it can seem torturous.

The best way to get around this problem will be to become a more productive writer. That essentially means that you’ll be able to write more in less time. For example, if it takes you an hour to write your weekly blog post, by becoming a faster writer, you might be able to write two posts in that same hour.

You’ll then have content for two weeks and you won’t need to worry and fret so often about having to write. Being faster also means that your work gets completed sooner. If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll be able to take on more work and double your earnings.

You’ll have more free time to do what you want to. There are many benefits that can be accrued just by writing rapidly. This article will give you three tips that will make you a faster writer, if you follow them.

Learn To Type

This may seem like a very basic tip yet most slow writers are also slow typists. Your typing speed has a direct correlation with how fast you can churn out content. Even if you know how to type, you should try to become a faster typist.

The faster you are, the better. You’ll be able to think through your fingers. There will be no lag between your thoughts and the words appearing in front of the screen. The best writers usually type very fast.

You can learn how to type online from sites like typingclub.com. There are many such sites. Find one that you like and get started.

If the idea of learning to type seems too much of a Herculean task to you, there is always the option of dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. You’ll be able to dictate your article or whatever content you want written.

Another option would be to speak out your content and do a voice recording of it. You can then send the audio file to a transcription service where it will all be typed out for you.

Whatever option you choose to go with, what really matters is that you try to accelerate the speed at which your thoughts become text.

Use A Countdown Timer

Another important tool you should be using is a countdown timer to increase writing speed. You can use an online timer at Online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer.

The goal here is to always try to do more in less time. For example, if you take 15 minutes to write a 500 word article, you should aim to do it in 14 minutes or even 12 minutes. Use a countdown timer whenever you write and always try to beat your personal best.

Over time you will become much faster and you’ll also be more focused.

Have a Fixed Time

Writing is a habit that must be cultivated over time. Ideally, you should have a fixed time to write. Some people do well early in the morning before anyone else has awakened… while others work well into the night while the world sleeps.

It doesn’t matter which way you go but what you’ll need to do is find out what works for you. Writing should almost seem like a ritual. The same time, at the same place and for the same duration.

Aim to make it mechanical and predictable. This is ideal to making your mind and body accustomed to writing. Once you have gotten used to the ritual, the moment you sit at your desk at the specific time, your mind will be ready to write. You’ll be in the ‘zone’… and will photograph your thoughts and put them on paper or on your word processor quickly and easily.

By following these three tips, you’ll see your writing speed improve and not only will you write faster, but you’ll also write better. The fear and hesitation you anticipate at the thought of writing will dissipate. It may not go away entirely… but you’ll not loathe writing as much as before, since you know that you’ll be able to do it fast.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , , | Comments Off on How To Increase Your Writing Speed

Tips To Encourage Children To Write

Writing is a priceless tool for children to master and use, just like reading is. The earlier they start writing words and sentences the more confident they will be on life’s journey. Many parents teach their young children how to read before they even enter kindergarten. But why not encourage them to write before and during their first year of formal schooling? Based on my thirty-three years of teaching elementary school, here is what I would recommend.

1. Children learn by example. To become a better reader or writer, children need to see their parents frequently reading and writing. If the atmosphere in the home is laden with books and active readers and writers, young children with want to explore books and writing. Children can become interested in books and writing through what they see and hear in their home and school environment.

2. When children enter school, they school be encouraged to use the school library, and the class library. If the classroom teacher doesn’t have a lending library in the room, perhaps you could volunteer to create one. Friends of the Public Library usually have fantastic sales on used books. I have bought full bags of books for one dollar. Many teachers offer a monthly Book Club order with paperback books at reasonable prices.

3. Children love to color. Encourage your child to color and write. They can start off by writing their name on each page they color as a gift for a person in the house or as a picture to be displayed on the fridge. Magnetic letters can also spell out names of family and friends.

4. Let your child be a list maker for what goes in the fridge and the kitchen cabinets. He or she can help with the weekly grocery list. At our local grocery children were offered a cookie, while shopping with mom or dad.

5. Reward your children for writing. Children love treats–chocolate chip cookies or lifesavers.You can reward them for writing their name or a couple sentences. Don’t underestimate the power of candy. I know a substitute teacher who shares treats with her students. When she walks into the classroom, they are happy to see her. Little things matter.

6. Reading and writing matters. When your children are young, you can read them a bedtime story to relax them, and you. They will never forget you doing that with them–just reading a short bedtime story. As they get older they can add on or change the story’s plot. They can also write short reviews of the story.

7. Reviewing the last 24 hours can be fun. Yes, we can do it in a diary or journal. The act of writing spills over with positive energy for the young and the old, and somewhere in between. My brother, Tony, received a blank journal for his thirteenth birthday, and he filled it up each day of that year. It is now one of his priceless possessions. Many retired folks have gratitude journals that they add to each night.

8. Help your child to be grateful. The dinner table is a good time to say prayers, and be grateful. What has this got to do with writing? Everything. One way to be emotionally close to your children is to facilitate the sharing of feelings. It will be a challenge not to be judgmental, and say things such as “You can’t think like that son!” Feelings come and go. Let your children share what they think, and encourage them to write about those feelings. You will know your child better, and they will confide verbally or in writing more frequently.

9. Writing can be a good habit in good times and bad times at any age. In good times it makes life even better to visit your happy thoughts again. In sad times it gets the sad out. Encourage your children to write at an early age. They will always appreciate you for doing so.

10. Getting children to write more isn’t complicated. If they have interesting topics to write about it’s fairly easy. As a teacher, I stressed with my students that they can write about whatever is swirling around in their heads, just put it down in writing for a first draft. You can make it better later on. In the beginning of your child’s journey in writing, you can be the secretary for writing little stories. You simply record what he or she says. Of course, you can make recommendations such as advising to include a problem to be overcome in the story. This will be fun for you and your child. So, write on!

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , | Comments Off on Tips To Encourage Children To Write

How To Promote Your Ebook

At this point in your business, you are probably generating a lot of top-quality content. With a little luck and a lot of skill, a large number of people are reading your content and interacting with you because of it. So, what is your next step? Well, if your content is working effectively, your next step is to create another extremely effective tool and to promote it effectively. It is time to write an eBook.

Once you have written your eBook, you need to promote it effectively
The first thing that you need to ponder is exactly what you hope to get out of an eBook if you write it. You should not think of your eBook as a way to get rich. You should consider it a tool that will help you to make a lot of good progress in your business. Of course, your eBook is like building a fancy casino in the Nevada desert. If you don’t tell anyone about your casino, you won’t get any visitors. You can connect that analogy to your eBook. If you don’t promote it, nobody will be aware of its existence and nobody will read what you have written.

Your eBook should be a part of your content marketing strategy. In fact, it is very important for you to understand that it is a significant part of your strategy. The truth is that if you want to really promote your eBook effectively, you need to go about it in a certain methodical, strategic manner, which will yield the results that you are looking for. If you promote your eBook properly, there will be a number of people involved. Your approach to promoting your eBook should be organized and collaborative. After all, you want to attract the “cream of the crop.”

    • Casting the widest net: Your first step is to cast the widest net possible. That means that you are going for quantity over quality. It is important for you to understand here that choosing quantity over quality will not serve you well all of the time. In fact, it won’t serve you well most of the time. However, when you are at the beginning of your eBook promotion process, it may prove to be a very effective approach for your business. When you are at the beginning of the eBook promotion process, as you are at this stage, you may wish to jump in and hone your process to ensure that it is the best strategy for you and for your business. In fact, it is most sensible to hone as much as possible at this stage. If you try to revise your strategy heavily later on, it will be more complicated. This is the point at which you need to create the most buzz about your eBook. It is essential that you consider your eBook a powerful call-to-action (CTA) because that is exactly what it is.
    • Ways to ensure that your eBook is a CTA: There are ways to make sure that your eBook acts as a CTA to gain more attention and more readership, such as posting the beginning of the eBook on SlideShare; having someone read a portion of the book out loud; building a webinar around the eBook (including influencers, brand information, etc); putting some of your eBook information on Instagram; breaking down your eBook into chapters, which you can post as individual blogs; asking your influencers to tell their friends and colleagues about your eBook; asking other business owners to invite you to write a guest blog post on your eBook’s topic; creating buzz through Email blasts; and giving away some sort of promotional material (for example, a postcard) about your eBook.
    • The next phase is one in which you cast a narrower net: The second stage is different from the first stage. The one thing that you definitely shouldn’t do is have it in your head that your work is done. That could not be further from the truth. You still have plenty of work to do. In fact, in some ways, this is a much more difficult part of the process than the first part. At this point, you are looking for leads (whom you can eventually convert to customers). You may be wondering how you can use your eBook to make that happen. You can incorporate your eBook into all of your marketing materials, create a combination of your best content to offer to your prospects, post a link to your landing page, post a link that leads directly to your eBook, and post your book in a repository that your readers can access. You should also feel comfortable asking other people to create buzz about your eBook and use it as a prize (a great incentive) for contests that you run.
  • Now, you are at the last phase: This phase is in which you will sell your products and/or services. This is where you close the deal. You can include your eBook in your initial promotional materials, offer it to prospects who you feel may be on the fence, and print your eBook and leave it with prospects (there are still many people who prefer a hardcopy book to an electronic one.

Conclusion
The tips that have been offered here are all potentially effective; however, you are the only person who truly understands exactly what your business needs. If you choose to use a portion of the tips, the chances are very good that they will work. You just need to figure out which ones will work most effectively for you. Your eBook is a tool that can help boost your reputation and credibility and it can position you as a subject matter expert. Along those lines, you should seriously consider getting book reviews up front. They are essential to your success and you should not be afraid to ask for what you need.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> | Comments Off on How To Promote Your Ebook

Tips Selling Books In Bookstore

With the convenience of shopping from one’s couch or office, why would anyone take time to go to a traditional bookstore? Actually, there are many reasons.

Readers of all ages love the experience of walking into a physical bookstore, grabbing a cup of coffee to sit down and read a few favorites before making a buying decision.

However, massive bookstores are not always the stores of choices for today’s book buyer. One reason is the closure of chains like Borders. Secondly, many prefer to shop at independent stores.

Great opportunity

In the era of online buying and the e-book, new technologies are offering independent bookstores a lifeline. Without the constraints of the big chains and big box stores, the independents can create a much more memorable experience for book buyers.

Whether it be a book signing for a local author, regular events to increase interests of young readers, small workshops, or fundraisers for local charities, independent bookstores are in a great position to create an experience for communities of all sizes.

According to Christian Science Monitor, “Eight years ago, independent bookstores were supposed to be ancient history, thanks to a lethal triple whammy: competition from large brick-and-mortar chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders, surging e-book sales, and the growth of the indomitable book behemoth, Amazon.”

Shocking But True

What surprised many avid readers was the closure of mammoth stores like Borders while we saw an increase of independent stores.

Not only was there an increase in the number of stores, there was also an increase in sales and profits of the independents.

Best of all, many independent owners became increasingly willing to work with self-published authors by creating an environment of support for their works.

The resurgence of independent bookstore goes hand-in-hand with the “buy local” movement. Book buyers are taking control of where they buy books by choosing to spend locally. Money talks!

What Authors Need to Know About Indie Stores

Many self-published, and high-bred published authors would love to sell in bookstores, but have no idea how to get into the stores.

First, take time to learn as much as you can about the challenges and opportunities for indie owners. Next, map out a plan to get into the indie stores. Third, realize the more visible you are to indie owners, the better. The visibility needs to be in person, on social media and through content marketing.

Authors are considered influencers. As an influencer, visibility gives you more leverage.

With all that’s available online, there is no excuse for an author to not have a strong presence.

Get to Know Your Local Indie

It’s often been said, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This is certainly true for indie bookstore owners. You have a better chance of getting in a local store if you are a regular customer. After all, if the owner knows you are loyal to indie stores, there’s a much better chance of securing their support for your book sales.

Help with Promotions

One of the best ways to win the full support of a store owner is to participate in promotions. After all, one of the things the owner wants is foot traffic. If you are instrumental in helping to get people through the door, you are creating more revenue for the store owner.

Ask for Introductions

Without a doubt, the store owner knows store owners in other markets. The best time to ask for introductions is after a successful book signing. Be sure to take full advantage of riding the wave.

Get Your Books in Indie Stores

There are lots of ways to sell books. With all that’s available online, some authors think this is the only way. Yet, other authors are doing amazingly well with their books in bookstores.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> | Comments Off on Tips Selling Books In Bookstore

The Secret Writing Synopsis

When people pick up your book they want to know is what it is about. This is why books have a synopsis or description on the back cover. But if the text featured on the back cover doesn’t hook the reader’s interest right away, chances are they won’t buy the book.

After seeing your book cover or hearing your book title, the first thing readers do is pick up the book and flip it over to read the back cover, or if they are online, they will look for the product description, also called a short summary or synopsis (about a paragraph long). Some authors put only their biographies on their back covers. Depending on the book, the author’s Bio might give credibility but not only will the reader still wonder what the book is about; the author is also missing out on the best opportunity to hook readers. Below are some tips on writing a synopsis with a hook:

1- Make it Short. Remember, the possible buyer will not spend more than few seconds looking at the back cover, so make it sweet, short and to the point.

2- Make it Relevant. Most people look for stories relevant to their lives, so it is important to show how the book can relate to current times on the synopsis.

3- Make it Credible. Even sci-fi needs to sound credible to call the interest of a reader. So make sure that how you describe your story (no matter the genre), sounds credible to the reader.

4- Make its Uniqueness Evident. What makes your story different from other books in that genre? That is the question to answer in the synopsis.

To give an example on using the above tips to create a synopsis, below is my book’s back cover/Amazon Synopsis:

“Growing up under WWII Italian survivors was not easy. For Susan, the hardest part was the feeling of alienation as she desperate tried to relate to her parents to no avail. Through the years Susan was able to relate with her mother, but her father remained an enigma until one day he gave her five tapes containing his memoirs. Based on Nino’s first tape, Innocent War is a boy’s adventure, showing a child’s point of view through the war’s hardships, dangers, and tragedies, combined with his own humor, innocence and awakening as he grows up. Join Susan as she gets to know her father, and finds herself within the family she thought she knew.”

1- Make it Short: It is 114 words and states all topics within the stories.

2- Make it Relevant: It states how I was trying to get to know my father (relevant to all who have parents)… even though it is about WWII, currently we are in war against Terrorists.

3- Make it Credible: I state that the story comes from first-hand accounts and there are tapes to back it up…

4- Make its Uniqueness Evident: WWII under the Italian point of View, A child’s experience.

In the end, the best sales person for a book is the author… and the best sales tool is the book itself!

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , , | Comments Off on The Secret Writing Synopsis

How To Dealing With Local Bookstore

Today I would like to talk about my recent experiences as an independent author who is solely responsible for marketing my own novels and short stories. As an indie author I have dealt with a number of small local bookstores and I have several tips and suggestions for other authors who want to see their books appear on the shelves of their local bookstores.

My first suggestions is PERSISTENCE.

Some time ago I was walking through my favorite part of old Louisville and came across a local bookstore. I entered the store to browse and noticed that in the far back corner there was a “Local Author’s” section. I decided to ask about offering my books on that shelf and the young man behind the counter was very polite and helpful. He provided me with both an email address and a phone # for the store manager and suggested I contact said manager. I thanked the young man and went about my day.

A few days later I emailed the manager. There was no reply. I waited a week later and emailed again. Still there was no reply. So I decided to place a phone call. time Still no reply. I decided to take a chance and make a second phone call. This time I got through to the manager.

I wish I could tell you that the conversation was a pleasant one. In this particular case it was not. But had I not been persistent this entire conversation would never have taken place.

The manager informed me in no uncertain terms that I had no idea what it took to stay in the bookstore business and preceded to lecture me about overhead, distributor costs etc. Needless to say my books will not be appearing in this particular bookstore anytime soon. I hope that my experience with this particular store manager was the exception for my fellow authors rather than the rule.

Which brings me to my next suggestion: STAY POSITIVE.

Even though I walked away from that conversation feeling a bit discouraged, I took several pieces of information away from that experience that will help me in the future. The first of which is that calling a potential business partner in the middle of a busy work day is probably not the best way to get my message across. The second is that not every bookstore or shelf is the appropriate place for my own work.

As always I welcome any comments, questions or suggestions you might have… and

thanks again for reading!

Keep Writing!

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Books | <span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-tag-links">Tagged</span> , | Comments Off on How To Dealing With Local Bookstore