ATTN: Aspiring Authors, New Classes Are Starting

Publish with Connie is taking registrations for new classes that will begin in March!

An Evening Class will start on the first Thursday of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., beginning March 6, place TBA. (I try to locate geographically close to where my students are, sometimes a student will host the class.) 6 slots available

A Daytime Class will start on the second Thursday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Best Deli, 391 E. Central (Rt. 140) in Franklin, MA. 6 slots available

These classes are 12 Sessions long, meeting monthly, which give busy participants enough time to write between sessions. Class size is intentionally kept small so that each participant can get the attention needed.

The classes cover 12 Steps to Getting Published:

Step 1 - Get Clear on What You’re Writing (Value: $495)
Step 2 – Establish Writing Habits (Value: $495)
Step 3 - Learn Good Interviewing Skills (Value: $495)
Step 4 – What Goes in the Front Pages (Value: $495)
Step 5 - Learn How to Legally Use Other People’s Material
in Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 6 - Copyrighting Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 7 - Designing Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 8 - Finishing Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 9 - Find Your Publishing Mode (Value: $495)
Step 10 - Creating Your Book Marketing Plan (Value: $495)
Step 11 - Promotional Quotes and Other Ideas (Value: $495)
Step 12 - Learn to Publish Your Book (Value: $495)
TOTAL for the Classes: $5,940

You will receive both a book and a workbook with the class. (Value $150)

You will also have UNLIMITED access to Connie Dunn, your Book Coach, via e-mail and phone. (VALUE: $1,200)

You will get an invitation to a Private Facebook Group for Authors, where peer discussions, questions, etc. can be another opportunity to learn. (VALUE: $1,000)

Accountability happens in two different ways:

  1. By consistently bringing material to share during sessions; and
  2. Through pairing up and becoming accountability partners.

Within the class, you will get group feedback after sharing material. Education also happens during group questions and discussions about writing techniques, publishing, and marketing. Through group support and rapport that develops within the group, you gain confidence as a writer. The classes are intentionally kept small, so that everyone gets what they need! (VALUE: $2,400)

TOTAL VALUE: $10,690

Since few could actually afford such a course, the course is offered at only a fraction of its total value. The COST is $650. A DEPOSIT of $100 will hold your place in the class. NOTE: Deposit is applied to total cost of class, leaving $550 due at the first class. If you would prefer to pay this out in installments, you may pay it in 12 monthly installments of $55.

PLEASE NOTE: If you choose to pay in installments, you are responsible for all 12 installments once you enroll. If you miss a class, you are still responsible for the payment. If you stop attending the classes, you are still responsible for ALL the payments. If I cancel a class (due to weather or illness), it will be rescheduled at a convenient time for the entire class.

To REGISTER for the class, please contact Connie Dunn at 508-446-1711 or  connie@publishwithconnie.com.

What is the Sundance of Indie Books?

During one of my writing classes, a student asked me: “What is the equivalent of Sundance in the Indie Book Publishing industry?” Sundance is a huge film festival. Independent films that are accepted into Sundance almost always gain notoriety and often end up at your local theatre.

Even after reading each of these Websites, it might be hard to know which of these organizations might get you to a comparable Indie Book place that Sundance gives to Indie Films. Are you getting excited? Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense. The Next Generation Book Awards, sponsored by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, is the book equivalent of Sundance. The question is why?

What sets the Next Generation Book Awards above other organizations? Is that it’s the largest book awards for Independent Authors and Independent Publishers or Small Presses not just in the US but around the world. It holds an International Book Award yearly. There are 60 categories. Cash awards run from $100 to $1500, trophies come with all but the lowest award. Finalists are also mentioned. Whether you win or are a finalist, you are allowed to promote that fact and even purchase stickers to apply to your books.

The fee is reasonable at $75 per title and only $50 extra to enter the same title into other categories. You need to submit two copies of your book. To read all the guidelines to register, download registration forms, and learn more about the Next Generation Awards, go to: http://www.indiebookawards.com

Why I Write

Welcome to my Guest Blogger Joszann St. John. She is promoting her new book, Sonnets in Waking Moments...

Thank you Connie, for hosting me as part of the virtual book tour celebration for my book Sonnets in Waking Moments.

Virtual Book Tour  - Historical Fiction - Joszann St JohnToday I share my reasons for writing. I look forward to interacting with your audience and welcome their comments and/or questions.

When I was younger, I had always envisioned myself as a wife and mother. This dream had been with me for most of my childhood, and became a reality when I migrated to Canada.  My marriage was not what I thought it would be, and I became dissatisfied. I wanted something more.

An incessant voice inside of me had always urged me to write. I had written the obligatory papers at school, but I was blocked from writing more meaningful material. I think it was a combination of environment, my insecurities, and relationships.  I’m by nature, a shy individual, and my confidence was not where it needed to be. It was the breakdown of my marriage that forced me to really get to know who I was, and what I wanted from life. My divorce took some time to be finalized; it was during this intense time of deep despair that my first book Wounded Bird No More was born. I’ve said, of that time, that I was pregnant with poetry. There were days when poems would just bubble out of me, and I hastened to write them all down. Emotions and memories that had lain dormant since childhood, burst onto my consciousness, demanding to be expressed.

Prior to the release of my first title, I had begun blogging. As my writing matured, I took on more challenging projects. Blogging was a way to get my voice heard, I was growing and beginning this journey, and truly, I had no clue what I was doing. So I set about learning as much as I could.

During this time, I began developing spiritually as well. It was a time of self renewal, and awareness on many levels, but other areas of my life suffered. I encountered numerous spiritual battles, and life became a fight for survival. I began to seek God in earnest, and it is this journey, that changed my perspective about life, people and spirituality.

Many of us are wounded, but we don’t have to go through life carrying pain and open lacerations. God is able to heal our wounds. It was experiencing this miracle first hand that made me want to reach out to other women.  I write for a general audience, but I’m passionate about the experiences of women. I believe when women are able to heal spiritually we will experience more harmony in society.

Joszann signatureSome of the most damaging wounds are on the inside of our spirits, where no one can see them. We know that they are there though, and are responsible for most of our choices. Writing has given me a voice. I never knew I had one, until I started this work.

Previously, I had largely lived as society dictated, as I was supposed to. Now I’m able to create and add value to my world, which in itself is a wonder, considering the hurdles I’ve experienced.  As a woman writer, and an immigrant, my work touches on many aspects of life and living, not just in the Diaspora but also back in my native homeland. I believe we are shaped by our experiences, and the past has a large bearing on our identity.

Immigration has affected every sphere of the globe, as people seek out better living conditions in more developed countries. The immigrant writer brings a unique viewpoint to familiar issues, and events. I’ve seen many women, my family included, struggle with the realities of low self esteem, endemic poverty, and unsatisfactory intimate relationships. This is not relegated to one race of women, but occurs in every community.

A writer’s currency is working with words, and great writers are able to express themselves in ways which connect them with their readers on an emotional level. This is where change begins, and where wonderful things begin to happen.

Writers write for many reasons, I write for the women who are afraid, or maybe ashamed to share their experiences. I write for the disenfranchised, those who would like to speak, but don’t have a platform. I write for the woman who has been rejected and broken by society, as she struggles to find her way back.  I write because it’s my passion, and the medium that has kept me sane these past five years. Writing is my reason for living, and I write because I have found, according to Edward Bulwer –Lytton that the, “pen is mightier than the sword.”

This article is presented as part of a virtual book tour celebrating my book Sonnets in Waking Moments. Enjoy the celebration by following me on the tour to fifteen (15) blogs in honour of Sonnets. Access the virtual book tour schedule and a link to the book on Amazon, below. Thank you and enjoy!

Joszann signatureJoszann St. John writes across many genres and has published multiple titles. Her newest novel, Sonnets in Waking Moments is a women’s fiction story about life during The Great Depression.

Visit her blog and check out the full schedule for the virtual book tour celebrating this historical fiction love story. Follow the heroine Anna Agnelli, an Italian immigrant to Canada during the 1900’s and her daughter Viola. Other major characters include Ralph, Frank, Jimmy, Louise and Mark Ackerly.

A new and unique voice, Joszann is dedicated to inspiring and empowering others through her extensive body of work. She credits faith as the major influence in overcoming some of her previous challenges. She is the mother of two beautiful children whom she considers wonderful motivators in her life.

New Years’ Resolution: Start Writing Book

Great! But just where to Start? No problem, I have just what you are looking for! My comprehensive Class can take you from concept to finished book in 12 sessions. I have intentionally spread them out over 12 months, because we all have busy lives.

What are your benefits?

  • Training with a seasoned book coach who has been writing and publishing independently since 1981.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum with Workbook provided, which takes you from concept to marketing.
  • Access to Coach Connie unlimited through e-mail and moderately via phone.
  • Have all your writing read and commented on by Coach Connie.
  • Share your writing at each of the classes, which gives you some peer input.
  • Accountability arranged through pairing of students.

Cost for 12-session in-person Class is $650 with a $100 non-refundable deposit (deposit applied to class cost) to hold your spot in class). My classes are small, so that I can give everyone a chance for personal attention. However, if you register before December 20, there is a $50 discount for Early Registration, making it only $600. Payment arrangements are available. You can pay two payments of $325 after the $100 deposit or three payments of $217 after the $100 deposit. To pay it out over the 12 months $55/mo after the $100 deposit

Give me a call today to reserve your spot: Connie Dunn, 508-446-1711 NOTE: Please leave a message with your name, telephone number and that you wish to join the class starting in January. Thank you.)

If you would like to complete your book sooner, I offer one-on-one coaching sessions. Cost for Coaching is $150/hr.

My in-person class begins January 9 at 7 p.m., location TBA. I try to find locations that are convenient for my students. The class will meet the second Thursday evening of each month for 12 months.

To register, call Book Coach Connie Dunn at 508-446-1711. (NOTE: Please leave a message with your name, telephone number and that you wish to join the class starting in January. Thank you!)

Writing Tip: Challenge in Finishing Your Book

Perhaps, the biggest challenge in writing a book is simply staying focused enough to finish your book. It logically is not that hard, you simply schedule time in your calendar and write on the book during you allotted time slot.

Well, maybe! But like everything else in life, there are always those obstacles that toss us off our pre-arranged schedule, like one of our kids getting sick, a death in the family, or we take on a new job.

Perhaps, the biggest challenge in writing a book is simply staying focused enough to finish your book. It logically is not that hard, you simply schedule time in your calendar and write on the book during you allotted time slot.

 Well, maybe! But like everything else in life, there are always those obstacles that toss us off our pre-arranged schedule, like one of our kids getting sick, a death in the family, or we take on a new job.

So, what happens to most writers is not that they cannot stick to their schedules, it’s dealing with all those life issues or crisis that pop up during your writing process. Some are short and only a blip in our schedule, but other major things might hit us so hard that your book is suddenly at the bottom of your list.

First of all, if you don’t have a major deal with a traditional book publisher and a deadline hanging in the wind, then don’t worry about it. While your book is important, we all have to deal with life as it comes at us, whether it’s good stuff or bad. Take some time to get settled again, but not too much that you have to re-read your manuscript to figure out where you are! Then, put your book back on-schedule and keep up the writing daily, if possible.

Although a daily writing schedule is preferable, I don’t suggest trying to write while you are also trying to take care of young children. If you do that, you are only going to get frustrated with the writing! You’ll also probably get cranky with the kids, so do everyone a favor and schedule your time around the kids’ schedules.

 Wondering what that leaves you? Well, I’ve known writers who get up early in the morning before their kids awake to get in one or two hours of writing time. Others prefer the late night. I’ve always been a night owl, myself. And while I no longer have any children living at home, I still find my writing stride after midnight all too often!

 I need my environment quiet, a beverage to drink, and often some sort of munchies. Word of warning: grapes or cheese and crackers work better than chocolate, because the sugar will give you a quick burst, then leaves you crashing with a desire for even more food. This is a dangerous road for those who are always battling with weight, so be mindful.

 In lui of complete quiet, I sometimes use the headphones and play music on my computer loud enough to drown out the other sounds, which is usually the television. You can be creative about setting up your writing environment.

Being consistent in your time and environment will give you the best results. Good luck, and let me know what your biggest obstacles are!

Networking Is Always a Good Thing

I asked Andy Heller, a professional photographer (http://www.hellerphoto.com), to Take pictures of My quilts that I had made to illustrate an up-coming book. He’s a Class act!

Andy is part of my chamber network group. I Take the mission of our group to heart. It is My feeling that groups like this are in a Class by themselves. No matter where you live and work, find a chamber group. Networking with friends and trusted advisers is always a good thing.

Whether you are writing your first book or you are a seasoned writer, Take the plunge into networking with chamber members. The cost is low and believe My words when I say, getting involved in your local chamber will put your networking into a different Class.

Chamber dues are not that expensive; and some chambers, such as the United Regional Chamber, allow you to pay your fee monthly, which really makes it  affordable. Take the initiative today to call your local chamber. My wish for you is to bring your business to the next Class or level.

 

Book Writing Timeline

When my advanced students asked me for a timeline for writing a book, I gave it a lot of thought. Naturally, when it comes to writing, each author writes at their own pace. However, like I said...I gave it a lot of thought. There is pretty much a range of time for each of the processes that your go through to write, edit, format, publish, and market your book.

Because each book that you write is your pride and joy, much like giving birth, you want it to be "perfect." Well, "perfect" needs to turn to "good enough" at some point. Otherwise you will never finish the book. There is probably not a published book that is "perfect." Errors sneak in no matter how much time you spend on getting it "perfect!" That said, let me tell you about the timeline, which is more like a series of timelines.

WRITING PROCESS

The writing process can take anywhere between a month to 36 months! There are people who can write a book in a day or a weekend, but they may not be writing the same sort of book, so don't let that intimidate you. Writing a book using blogs that you've already written or other material that you've previously written can definitely shorten the time frame. If you take longer, that too, is not the end of the world. Everyone works at different paces. However, if you are taking a lot of time over the 36 month time frame, you might want to look at what  your obstacles are. If they are legitimate reasons and you are okay with it, then keep on plugging away! If there are obstacles, see how you can get around these obstacles.

EDITING PROCESS

The editing process can be an obstacle, because some people get into the editing mode and start rewriting. The content editing where you reorganize your book is often necessary, but sometimes writers just get caught in the "it's got to be perfect" syndrome. The editing process is two fold. The first round needs to be you re-reading and editing your manuscript. You get it into the best shape that you can. The next round is when you send it to a professional editor, who will "line" edit or "copy-edit" your manuscript. No matter how good you can pay attention to details, it's a fact that most writers miss glaring mistakes, because they see it as the way they intended not as it actually is.

The process by the Professional Editor may feel out of your hands, but believe me when I tell you...this is the best investment you can make for your book. Saying that, you need to have done your job well in order to keep the cost down. If price is not an issue, then let your editor do whatever you want them to do. When hiring an editor, make sure you have a discussion about what you are eecting them to do. Editors usually charge about $55 per hour. This process normally takes anywhere between a day and a month. Because it takes awhile, does not mean that you won't be able to pay your editor. Most of the time, editors have numerous projects they are editing.

Your editor may ask for the first 10 pages. They will edit those pages and give you an estimate based on the time it took them to edit your first 10 pages.

FORMATTING and PUBLISHING PROCESS

These are two different processes that go together. Before you can publish your book as an Independently or Indie published book, you'll need to format the manuscript. When I begin a book project, I usually decide at that point what "trim" size (the finished size of your book) and the main body text font, as well as the first three levels of headings. If you don't choose it to begin with, you simple go back through and apply the formatting.

Choosing the "trim size" is one of the bigger choices. This majorly affects things like picture placement and page breaks. To set the page size in your word processing software, go to layout design and choose page settings. You will most likely have to choose more choices on the menu twice (you do in Word)  to choose a custom size.  The page you want will show the number value of the page size you have selected now, which is the default of 8 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long. This makes formatting for the correct "trim" size easy. Simply use the arrow box to alter the size or highlight and replace the value.

Now that we've discussed the choices, let's look at the timeline. This is one of the shortest timelines. Although you will have to go through your manuscript to make sure all the heads level 1-3 have been applied appropriately and that you body text is the same throughout your manuscript, this usually doesn't take that long. Of course, the longer the manuscript, the longer your time will be for this process.

The  Timeline for Formatting and Publishing is one hour to four weeks. If you've started the formatting process when you began writing, then you might be able to check the formatting in an hour or up to a day, depending on how long your manuscript and if you run into any formatting issues that cause you difficulty. Sometimes a chunk of text just won't change to the correct format. When this happens, it is usually because there is a wrong tag associated with it. You can delete the formatting and choose new formatting in some word processors. That usually fixes the problem. However, there are times that the easiest choice is to manually select the right font and font size.

Other placement issues can show up, as well. These are again due to the wrong tag being attached to the text. This is usually easily fixed by changing the tag associated with the text. However, if all else fails, override the tag formatting and fix the formatting manually.

The Publishing Process is mostly following the menu on your on-demand printer/publisher.. You will need an ISBN number, which is available through most of the on-demand publisher/printers. If you choose to get your own, places such as CreateSpace,com (cost is only $10), will allow you to get it through them at a reduced price. If you need to buy one, then you can go to MyIdentifiers.com. The cost currently is  $125 for one or you can get a blocknth of 10 for $250.

MARKETING PROCESS

The marketing process can be huge both in time and money. So it is good to begin a dialog about it early on. You need to know who your audience is and how to reach them. These will be your fans!

This process will take between one month to 36 months or even longer. The marketing process is too detailed for this article. There are many ways to market include a "Virtual Blog Tour" or "Virtual Book Tour." These are the same, just two names for the same thing. For more information, read other marketing articles, such as How to Market a Book.

 

What Do You Want to Know about Children’s Book Illustrations?

You wrote the story or stories, but now you need an illustrator. You know exactly what you want, but you don’t have the expertise to create it yourself…or DO YOU?

WhenPandaWasABoy

 

I had a collection of stories that I had completed writing about seven years ago. I’ve worked more on the stories during that time, but the real hang up has been finding an illustrator. I found several over the years. They would deliver one illustration and then they sort of dropped off the face of the earth! So then, I’d find another and go through the same process. This is the reason that it has been such a long time lapse for getting the book published.

So, when I said “goodbye” to the last illustrator, I figured the Universe was sending me a message: “Connie, you are supposed to illustrate this book.”

DON’T PANIC! IS THIS YOUR STORY, AS WELL?

What do you want to know about Children’s Book Illustrations that are non-traditional. What I mean by non-traditional, is that we usually think of drawings, or paintings with lots of color. What if you illustrate your book with plenty of color but you aren’t using drawings or paintings…because you don’t feel that your drawing or painting ability is at the quality you want for your book?

What if you like making clay creations? You can work with that!

What if fiber and fabric are your medium? You can work with that!

So, now that I’ve got you thinking out of the box, what is it that you want to know about Children’s Book Illustrations that Are Non-Traditional? What crafts do you do that you’d be willing to use, if you only knew how to adapt it to illustrating your book?

What if I could hold your hand through the process? Would you? Could you? Won’t you give it a try?

Seriously, I’m creating a video course for you on just this topic…but I want to know what you’d like to learn about!

Send me an e-mail at publishwithconnie@gmail.com, call me on the phone at 508-446-1711. (Please leave a message, I don’t return calls without a message and I cannot always answer, especially when I’m teaching or meeting…so leave a message and I’ll call you back!)

How to Hone Your Writing with a Critique Group

By Gina Akao
7/12/13
Guest Post

Gina-Akao-photo1

Are you looking for a sure-fire way to become a better writer? Join a critique group! Here is a brief list of benefits you will gain:

  • If your critique group meets regularly (such as every two weeks like mine), you will write more often, and more consistently
  • You will learn how to give and receive constructive criticism
  • You will have free access to excellent proofreaders
  • You will receive encouragement when you are down
  • You will avoid writer’s block and be able to express yourself in a safe environment
  • You will gain lifelong friends

Now, every critique group is different, and it is important to find a group that is a good fit for your personality and writing style. For example, if you are paired with a critique group that dishes out harsh words, but you prefer a warm-and-fuzzy, sandwich critique (praise intermixed by criticism and more praise), you may want to shop for a more compatible fit. Also, every so often it is good to mix up your readers. I recommend having one member who is a good editor, one member who is creative and poetic, one member who is business-like, and one member who knows you really well.

But like all good things, there is a flipside, so here are a few things to avoid:TalesofaLawSchoolDropoutBookCover

  • Groups that are overly argumentative (writers who defend their writing a little too much)
  • Groups that white wash your critique (“Oh, your writing is soooo wonderful!”)
  • Groups that are disrespectful (Try not to take it personally, but change groups if you need to)

Finally, when you get home after your critique group meeting, I recommend setting aside your writing for a while. Sometimes if you are too close to it, you can’t see which changes to make. I like to go by the rule that if three of my critique group members all recommend a change, I go ahead and make it. If only one member has a certain feeling about something I wrote, but I don’t agree, I follow my instincts and revise as I please. After all, the writer has the final say.

Good luck and happy writing!

Gina Akao

Gina Akao holds a MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno, is the author of Tales of a Law School Dropout, owns a freelance writing and editing business, and has been a member of High Sierra Writers for seven years. She offers virtual assistance to authors who need WordPress blogs and helps authors build a platform through social media. If you enjoyed this post, please go to www.WritingandEditingToday.com to receive your free “Top Ten Career Tips.”

 

Abundance and Writing

It is a mindset of “abundance” that we normally hear discussed. Abundant thinking helps us become more successful business people or experience successful careers.

When we come to “abundance,” we no longer see diminished capacity or limiting thoughts. Therefore, when we speak of abundance for our writing, we become aware of an infinite wellspring of creativity that allows us to write from a place of abundance.

If you sit down at your computer with the thought of having abundance, your words would flow in all the right ways. Writing becomes effortless. Entire stories simply write themselves.

So, how do we get into that mindset as a writer? These five tips can help you get into the “abundance” mindset:

  1. Develop the belief that there is limitless resources through scanning your thoughts for limiting beliefs, such as scarcity and obstacles, and banishing those thoughts.
  2. Focus on the abundance and not on the lack.
  3. Appreciate what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t have.
  4. Get organized. You have a harder time focusing on what you need to do, if you are not organized. Organizing your notes and thoughts are both important in being organized.
  5. Remember, that sharing is part of honoring the abundance.
  6. Create win-win situations.
  7. Remember, that within your greatest losses are your greatest wins.