If you want to write a family history that people will want to read, it’s a good idea to think about those potential readers before you begin. What interests and inspires them? Most genealogical researchers see their task as the pursuit of facts about their ancestors – births, deaths, marriages, children, death, occupations, and home places. Lists of facts seldom engage people. Think about history class in high school. What does engage people, even inspire them, is the drama of real people’s lives. Whether it’s portrayed in a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of historical biography like those written by David McCullough, in the avalanche of memoirs filling the New York Times Best Seller List, or less lofty prose like People Magazine or supermarket tabloids, real life drama fascinates readers. How can you capture the drama in your own family history and share it with your readers? If you set out to create compelling biographical sketches of your ancestors you’ll be sure to have the drama one doesn’t find in the facts of an ancestor’s pedigree chart.
Selling your books at a bazaar may not have occurred to you but let me suggest them as a great venue to share your writing. At any local bazaar, there usually aren’t many authors so your product will stand out as unique and if you can find the well-attended bazaars, there will be a lot of people looking for gifts to buy—people eager to support local artists and authors. Here are some tips on the best ways to have a successful bazaar.
Holding your manuscript in hand, you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re almost done and the words you’ve labored over for months or even years is almost a book. There are now only a few more decisions to make before your work is ready to be sold. One of these decisions is how much to charge for the book. What price do you choose? You want a price low enough to induce readers to buy the book yet high enough to cover your publishing costs and help with living expenses. Here are some factors to consider when pricing your book.
The great architect Mies van der Rohe once observed that in designing buildings, “Less is more.” It is just as true when writing a book. One of the best ways to improve the draft of a manuscript is to make some judicious cuts. Stephen King recalls in On Writing how he learned that lesson. "I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: ‘Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.’" Here are some ideas on where you might find that 10%.
Do you have a great idea for a children’s book or do you already have a manuscript tucked away in a drawer? Here is a great opportunity for your book to be published!
As writers, we only see a small part of the larger role we play. Once we publish, we have no control, let alone knowledge, of where it goes and what lives our words affect. In this post Sarah Hoggatt explores some of those effects.
Looking at your Facebook page can be like staring at a blank canvas. What content do you post so you gain an audience and they stay interested? What do you share first? Here are 12 great post ideas for your page.
Any savvy author knows that Dana Lynn Smith was absolutely correct in her post Seven Reasons Why Reviews Sell Books on the Book Buzzr Blog when she said, Book reviews are a powerful marketing tool for books of all types. Not only do they bring books to the attention of people who might never have heard of them otherwise, but they provide “social proof” that the book is valuable, and help the reader determine if the book is a good fit for them. The question is, how do you get good reviews on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Good Reads, and influential blogs? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.Here's how to do it.
This is the second in a series of posts by Stories To Tell editor and book designer Sarah Hoggatt, an experienced self-published author herself, on how authors can best use social media to promote their books. This post traces the 10 steps you can use to create a Facebook author page.
This is the first in a series of posts by Stories To Tell editor and book designer Sarah Hoggatt, an experienced self-published author herself, on how authors can best use social media to promote their books.
Over reliance on narrative summary is one of the surest signs that a story, whether fiction or nonfiction, is written by a novice writer. The author, often because he is concerned with making all of his plot points, sounds like a school child giving a book report. This happened, then that happened, next another thing happened, the writer tells his reader. There is not much detail in his account of the story. The author / narrator distances his reader from the events he recounts because he tells the audience what happened rather than making his readers front row spectators as drama unfolds on the page. Narrative summary is often written in the past tense, while a story that engages its readers relies on the immediacy of present tense. Avoiding over reliance on narrative summary is relatively easy if you rely on a piece of advice from Mark Twain. “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
Jane Green is not someone you would think of as a self-publisher. She’s the author of New York Times best-selling novels The Beach House and Second Chance and is generally considered, along with Helen Fielding, one of the founders of the Chick Lit genre. But when Green, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, wrote Good Food, drawing on stories from her life and the food that runs through them. filled with recipes and photos, she decided to publish it herself. The experience taught her some lessons that are important for all self-publishing authors.
Have you considered using a pen name when you write? When I started my blog, I considered using one so I could write about whatever I wanted without it being traced back to me. However, I realized I would never be able to share what I wrote there with my friends or readers nor did I want to have two writing lives. Since my books were already so personal, I decided my blog could be as well. I can understand, though, someone choosing to use a pen name if they were writing in a genre they didn’t want people to know about or if they had a job their writing might interfere with. If you do choose to have a pen name, how do you market your books without revealing who you really are? Online is the easiest avenue for such a venture; you can usually go by a name you’ve created for yourself but did you know this is not always the case? While most sites let you make up a name, not all of them do. Here’s a rundown of the main social media sites authors use to promote themselves.
I never met my Uncle Cecil. He died June 17, 1944, just over two and a half years before I was born. But I thought a lot about him as we took a few days off over Memorial Day Weekend. That was appropriate because Uncle Cecil, known to everyone in the family as Squeak, along with so many other American soldiers, was killed in Normandy, near the town of Sainte Mere Eglise, eleven days after D-day. We are working on a second edition of Squeak’s War: Letters from the Front Lines of World War II...As we edit Squeak’s letters, and prepare pictures and documents for the book, I can’t help but think that there is no better way to honor someone who has served in our military than to remember that person’s stories so that generations that never had the opportunity to meet the veterans in their families will have a chance to know them and what they gave to defend their country.
As we move into Memorial Day weekend it is a time for all us to remember and honor those who served their country, and to reflect on how that service impacts their lives, and ours. Are you are a veteran? We urge you to tell your story. If you know a veteran, we urge you to encourage and assist them in making sure that their story is preserved. At Stories To Tell, we are always happy to help you preserve your veteran’s story.