Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson

“If you knew the world was going to end in two days, what would you do?” the writer Sara Davidson was once asked. “Take notes,” she said without hesitating.

That’s me. The world as I knew it had ended, with a painful divorce I hadn’t seen coming, and I’d done what I’d always done to make sense of things. I took notes.

Many years later, perusing those notes, I could never pull myself away. “What a great story,” I kept thinking. “What an interesting way of putting a life back together from scratch.” By then I’d become a radio journalist, interviewing experts on career change. What struck me, thinking of my own career transition, was how much I’d accidentally done right.

Do-Over: An Accidental Template for Scaling the Abyss is that story. But I wasn’t a licensed career counselor or a celebrity. Getting an agent or a publisher interested in Do-Over would be a haul. Continue reading “Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson”

5 Tips for Getting a Book Published in Your 50s, 60s, or Beyond

Publishing contract

Is writing a memoir, novel, or self-help book on your bucket list? Does the thought of writing your story fill you with excitement? Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just beginning to nurture that kernel of creativity, your dream of seeing your name on the cover of a published book can become a reality.

Over 50 and wondering how to get a book published? Check out these 5 tips! Click To Tweet

Today it is easier than ever to make your publishing dream a reality. Whether you self publish or pursue traditional publishing, you need to think about more than just writing your story if you hope to be a successful published author.

Here are five tips for what you can and should do—beginning today—to build a following of loyal readers in the future.

1. Read. A lot.

The more you read, the more you’ll learn about the mechanics of writing, about story structure, about the standard conventions and what makes a compelling read in your genre.

If your heart is set on penning your own story, read some of the amazing memoirs that are currently on the market. Love a good romance novel? This is one of the bestselling genres today, but readers expect certain things to happen and will not be pleased if you don’t follow the “rules.”

If you plan to share your expertise in a subject you know like the back of your hand, your book will need to offer something unique. Read a variety of genres, but become an authority in the type of book you plan to write.

2. Create a Strong Author Platform

Your platform is everything you do as a writer that makes you attractive to a publisher. If you wait until your book is finished to begin building your platform, you’ll be too late. Publishing is a business, and unless your only goal for writing a book is to put it in a drawer when it’s finished, you need to approach your writing as a business too. A publisher wants to see evidence that you have the ability to sell books; a strong author platform is the ammunition you’ll need.

Begin building your platform now, so you’ll have an audience in place when your book is published. Think of platform building as a marathon, and spend a little time every week on platform-building activities in addition to writing your book.

Two surefire ways to jumpstart your author platform are to start a blog and engage in social media.

Blogging is an inexpensive way to connect with potential readers, improve your writing skills, and even test book concepts. Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, blogging is a powerful way to connect you with potential fans while experimenting with writing styles.

Engage in social media to connect with other writers, readers, and ultimately publishers. Choose the media you’ll actually use and enjoy; you don’t have to master every social media option out there. Remember that the key word is social, so focus on engagement and sharing, not just on self-promotion.

3. Join a Writers’ Group

Writing can be a lonely business, and joining a writers’ group—either in-person or online—is one way to combat isolation. New writers can find inspiration and feedback from more seasoned writers. There’s also a great deal of incentive to write when you’re expected to present each week—sometimes that’s just the push you need to sit down and write when you might not be in the mood.

4. Attend a Writers’ Conference

Writers’ conferences are crucial to your writing and publishing education. Not only will you learn more about the craft of writing, but you may also have a chance to meet and interact with agents, editors, and other publishing professionals, learn about trends in the publishing world, and be inspired by the speakers and workshop leaders who share their knowledge.

You’ll come away with a greater understanding for how to market yourself and your book, and you’ll meet other writers who can potentially become critique partners.

5. Get the Best Professional Help

Writers are often too close to their own work to be objective about what they’ve written; even the most seasoned writers have editors to help them polish their writing. If you want to convey your message in the most powerful way possible, establish a relationship with a professional freelance editor.

Whether helping you organize your ideas (before or during writing), or fine-tuning details such as spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word choice, a good editor will not only help you polish your writing (while preserving your voice) but will also help you strengthen your writing.

A good professional editor will provide a sample edit to show you how he or she can help you, and to see if they’re the right person for you. You might even consider hiring an editor for your blog posts as a way to find one who “gets” you, and establish that professional relationship.

Seeing your name on a book is a thrilling experience! Set yourself up for success by learning all you can about writing and publishing, and I look forward to reading your book one day!

Do you have a book inside you waiting to be written? Which of these five tips do you personally plan to focus on? Which will you put to use right away? Please share your thoughts—and let me know if I can help you achieve your dream!

(This article originally appeared at SixtyandMe.com)


Candace Johnson 11 400dpiCandace Johnson
 is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

3 Blogging Tips to Help You Build Your Platform as a Self-Help Author

dreamstime_m_28913973I work with professionals who are writing self-help books. These are men and women who are at the height of their careers and are ready to share their knowledge—some as a way to further their careers, some to share insights gained through years of experience, some as a way to give back in their respective fields. I tell them all the same thing:

As an author, you are responsible for finding and building your readership. You must build your author platform.

I am an editor, not a social media or marketing specialist … but I spend several hours every day reading blogs and articles by specialists in those areas so I can keep my finger on the pulse of traditional and self-publishing trends and best practices. Not only is this daily self-education important for my editing work, but offering insight into these “foreign territories” has become increasingly important to the authors I work with. Many hire me specifically because I have experience in both the traditional and self-publishing worlds.

But simply writing a book—no matter how good it is—doesn’t guarantee readers will buy it, as many first-time self-publishing authors discover.

This idea comes as a shock to many professionals who are dipping their toes into publishing waters for the first time. But many authors who buy into the concept that platform–building for their writing career is every bit as important as it is for their profession often become overwhelmed quickly by all the options for doing that. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn … the list of social media sites seems unmanageable if you’ve never tackled any of them.

I know I don’t have time to manage 16 different social media accounts while writing, editing, and marketing my business, so I understand how overwhelming platform-building activities feel. When I discuss platform-building with the authors I work with, I suggest focusing on actually writing … and one of the best ways to do that is through blogging.

If Your First Thought Is I don’t know what to write about, Keep Reading

Blogging is not only a terrific way to share your thoughts with the world, but it’s also a great way to test ideas and polish your writing skills. You’re an expert in your field, and you know there’s a market for the type of book you’re writing, but if coming up with ideas for regular blog posts makes you break out in a cold sweat, consider these three tried-and-true ideas:

  • Engage your fans by asking for their help. Posing a question like, “Would you rather read a chapter in my new book about 50 uses for parsley or one about the best uses for 50 different herbs?” will often lead to more engagement in the form of comments and debates from your followers, and your fans will feel as though they were part of the process of writing your book. Engagement is the name of the game in book publishing.
  • Offer content that’s related to your book-in-progress. You are an expert in your field, so share a bit of that knowledge by basing blog posts on concepts from your book. This is also a great way to repurpose some of the deleted text after a revision. Or you can use a fleshed-out chapter to reverse engineer a blog post.
  • Tell a story. Blogs are a perfect venue for storytelling. Remember Maya Angelou’s quote that “People will forget what you said and what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” You’re a writer—you’re a storyteller! Write a blog—or two or ten—about yourself and your writing, and let your fans and followers get to know the real you. What’s the story behind your book? What are some of the crazy things your friends and family have said when you’ve told them you’re writing it? What is your writing process? Where do you do most of your writing, and how do you carve out time to do it?

Whether you’ve already published a book or are thinking about writing one, whether you’ve chosen to follow a traditional publishing path or opt to self-publish, the sooner you begin building your author platform, the better. Blogging allows you to build a community of interested readers, and because your book is also for those readers, you’ll have a built-in audience once you publish. The time to start building your author platform is now.

What about you, scriveners? What do you like to read in blogs? What’s the most creative blog post you’ve read by a self-help author? Please join in the discussion!

 

Candace Johnson 11 400dpi

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Four Years of Putting Myself Out There in Cyberspace: Happy Blogging Anniversary to Me!

If you’ve been blogging for a year or more, you’ve received this notification:

blogging anniversary

In my case, it’s been four years since I began sharing on WordPress. Like many bloggers, I had great intentions and planned to blog frequently … and those great intentions often went out the window when life got in the way. For some people, blogging slows down because they run out of things to write about. Anyone who has worked with me and has received one of my epistles will tell you that finding something to write about isn’t usually a problem for me. 😉 Continue reading “Four Years of Putting Myself Out There in Cyberspace: Happy Blogging Anniversary to Me!”

When DIY Doesn’t Work: Guest Post by Anne Uemura, PhD

Does “DIY publishing” mean you do everything yourself? Anne Uemera thought it did—until she learned that publishing a book takes a team:

In August 2015, I started to write a book that I eventually published a year later. The project gained momentum in June 2016 when Jim Britt and Jim Lutes, who were creating the international bestselling series The Change, invited me to write a chapter for The Change: Insights into Self Empowerment. While focusing on and creating the content of the chapter with the inspired title Listen to the Cries of Your Heart, I realized I had a whole book to write.

Unlike many authors, I never had dreams of writing a book, and I knew little about how to do it. I didn’t know what an immense project it would be nor the time and effort it would take, and naively jumped in. My lifelong strategies of independence and self-reliance never allowed for any thought of doing it other than DIY, from writing to publishing.

Looking for Help on a Budget

My assumptions that I could do it myself were wrong. Continue reading “When DIY Doesn’t Work: Guest Post by Anne Uemura, PhD”

Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant

beta readersAs a professional freelance editor, I encourage every writer I work with to use beta readers. Most fiction writers know this is an important step, but did you know it is equally important when you write nonfiction? You’ll do yourself a huge favor by gathering your posse early in the process to learn what works and what doesn’t in your manuscript.

Author Chandi Wyant, who is working on a travel memoir about her solo forty-day pilgrimage in Italy, offers another important reason to seek that valuable input.

*****

A beta reader is a not a professional editor, but rather, a volunteer who reads your manuscript to provide feedback before you publish it, or before you submit it to agents or publishers.

I recommend seeking beta readers who are familiar with your genre and who are not close friends or family members.

 

Why a Memoirist Needs Beta Readers

Utilizing beta readers is an excellent idea for all genres. I’m going to focus here on why they’re essential for memoir.

Many authors in this genre write about traumatic things in their lives, and this is very challenging to do without sounding whiny.

This is where a beta reader can step in and save you from embarrassment. All authors are too close to their manuscripts and need an outsider’s perspective—and a memoirist is particularly entwined with her manuscript because it’s a piece of her life.

Click To Tweet

I have seen twice, with my own manuscript and with a friend’s, that beta readers saved us from the embarrassment of putting our book out into the world when it wasn’t ready.

My friend (who writes nonfiction like I do) was sure her book was ready for publication, but a beta reader told her, Continue reading “Beta Readers Can Save You from Embarrassment—Guest Post by Chandi Wyant”

When Santa arrives at your house and slides down the chimney, will he …

. . . chuckle? guffaw? snort? Or if Santa isn’t having a good day, will he grumble? complain? mutter?ID-100297775

I wonder if Santa, like writers everywhere, struggles to find just the right word to describe his adventures. I hope he remembers to check the archives here at Change It Up Editing for great writing tips!

Like Santa and his helpers, I’ve been busy this week with holiday preparations, but I want to wish all the authors I’ve had the privilege of working with and all my blog followers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Festivus, Happy Day Off Work! I am grateful for all of you, and thank you for your continued support.

Have a happy, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Happy Writing,

Candace

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Contact her at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com, and learn more here.

Readin' and Writin' and 'rithmetic: Thanks for Setting a Great Example, Dad

John F. Yardas, EdD and Candace (15 months old)
John F. Yardas, EdD, and Candace (15 months old)

 

This Father’s Day is a difficult one for me. My 88-year-old father passed away six weeks ago, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea.

Like all parents do, my dad influenced me in many ways, including some I couldn’t appreciate until later in my life. I wrote this letter to him two years ago (and sent him a printed version); he told me how much he enjoyed reading it.

Although my dad never embraced electronic books (see the end of my letter), he was a voracious reader his entire life and always had a book with him. I’ll always be grateful to my dad for the examples he set. Wherever he is, I hope he’s enjoying a great book.

*****

Dear Dad,

Because you’re a self-declared technophobe, you won’t read this today, but I’ll send you a printed copy via snail mail. I may be using all my techie toys (laptop, printer, and my WordPress blog) to write this, but the message is very old school: without you, I would never be following my dream today.

You see, I’m finally pursuing a passion I’ve had my whole life. Continue reading “Readin' and Writin' and 'rithmetic: Thanks for Setting a Great Example, Dad”

Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan

GirlyThoughtsDetoxCover-2Generally speaking, we women aren’t very nice to ourselves. Almost from our first days, we begin to internalize messages that we aren’t good enough—we are too much of some things and not enough of others. Those messages become such a part of who we are that we don’t even realize how ridiculous some of them sound.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • I just need to lose five more pounds.
  • Age might be just a number, but I’m giving myself Botox treatments for my birthday.
  • Isn’t my five-year-old daughter adorable when she pretends she’s sexy?
  • I don’t need to worry about saving for my future—I’ll be married by then.
  • It’s my fault my husband had that affair.
  • I can’t take that meeting; my hair looks awful today.
  • I hate going out with those people—they always make me feel bad about myself.

Today is publication day for The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power by Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, and it’s a day I’ve looked forward to for some time.

I worked with Dr. O’Gorman on two of her previous books, so when she asked me to edit her book about girly thoughts, I jumped at the chance. Her goal for the book, which was inspired by the phrase she developed and used in The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, was to shine a light on the damage women do to ourselves by internalizing these negative messages and then provide a plan to detox from them. What woman wouldn’t embrace that concept?

Negative messages surround us, and they contribute to the toxic self-talk that reinforces our negative beliefs about ourselves and have helped us form our identities as women. Consider the advertising that reminds you:ID-100264893

  • your gray hair makes you look older,
  • those extra pounds might keep you from getting a promotion, or
  • being too assertive isn’t sexy.

Then, as Dr. O’Gorman writes, “We take it one step further: We believe these messages. We internalize them. We monitor ourselves to ensure our acceptability by letting our girly thoughts, our toxic self-talk, guide us. And we shut our powerful selves down. We try not to be offensive in any way. We certainly try not to be bossy.”

As the epigraph in The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan reads:

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”

—Sally Kempton

Continue reading “Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan”

Film Groupies Make a Difference: Support The Red Suitcase on Indiegogo

Have you ever learned about a project and felt instantly compelled to be part of it? That’s how I felt when I heard about The Red Suitcase, a mother/daughter road movie in development about a 66-year-old woman who, with her grown daughter’s help, has to find the courage to start her life over. The film is based on a true story about the filmmaker’s mother, who suddenly found herself alone and penniless after her husband of 35 years walked out of her life, and it stars Kathleen Chalfant and Harris Yulin

Writer/producer Dana White writes,

It makes me angry that many women today, as they grow in years, are becoming more and more marginalized from our mainstream culture. My film is an attempt to both entertain (there are heaps of laughs and adventures in this film by the way), and to illuminate what I feel is a dark corner of America, where a good many women struggle, disposable and forgotten. I want to shine a light on that to people, and do it in a way that they’ll enjoy. And that THEY may have to pick up the pieces themselves one day too.

I first heard about the project from author Dorothy Sander (Aging Abundantly: A Little Book of Hope) when she asked me to proofread the updated version of her book  (one of the thank-you gifts for contributors at Indiegogo, which you can check out here). As I learned more about the film, the importance of its message for women really touched me. I made a small contribution, and I also want to help spread the word about this important film.

Dr. Patricia O’Gorman immediately saw the connection between this film and her book, The Resilient Woman, and wrote:

Using a crisis to consciously grow is the first step in my book The Resilient Woman. And that is what this extraordinary film—The Red Suitcase—is about. It asks, ‘How do I separate myself from the life I’ve lived? How do I move forward from the script I have followed, the one that told me what was expected of me as a woman, as a dutiful wife, as a mother, to see what life can hold for me now?’”

Barbara Torris wrote an inspiring piece about the film and how there really is a dearth of films out there about issues and life which reflects her reality:

I did one of those Google searches this morning using the words movies about older people and every movie that came up starred men like Clint Eastwood. Surprisingly, when I added the word women the search engine came up with older women/younger man relationship movies . . . all those icky cougar stories. But movies about older mothers in trouble and a daughter finding a way to move on with their lives? Probably not many. 

So now WE have a chance to help a movie get produced. This one is worth our attention.” 

Dorothy Sander echoed much of the same sentiment in her popular blog, Aging Abundantly: 

Good films have gone the way of manual typewriters . . . These are important films, but most will probably never see the light of day because the funds run out before they can be completed. The Red Suitcase is one such film . . . spread the word and show your support.”

Eileen Williams of Feisty Side of Fifty interviewed us on her radio show as well as wrote a wonderful article about The Red Suitcase:

The story weaves unexpected revelations, humorous adventures, and colorful characters together to create a tale that’s dramatic, funny, and heart-breakingly honest . . . If you, like me, are aching to see our own faces reflected back to us, this is one way we can take action.

Dale Carter did a piece on us on her inspiring blog, Transition Aging Parents:

I applaud Dana for embarking on such a grand endeavor to bring the depth of her story for everyone to enjoy and reflect upon.  For now, take my advice and check out Dana White’s new film.”

Photographer Robbie Kaye (@BeautyofWisdom) has been relentless on spreading the word on Twitter with her thousands of followers. Her new book Beauty and Wisdom has just been released on Amazon. You can also get it as a gift with a contribution to the film.

Visit The Red Suitcase campaign, and please consider making a donation—even just $1 or $5 will help—and help spread the word about the campaign through your own Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social-networking connections. Thank you for your support!

Happy Writing,

Candace

 

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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out  Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.