My ‘Write’ Space

by @AnnieDaylon

office 001If you live in a small place and want to work at home, you need a designated space, one that can accommodate your work without commandeering your life.  Here’s a suggestion: an armoire.

We downsized a few years back and planned the move in great detail. The fact that there would be less floor space in our new home inspired us to take wall space into consideration. I sold my old computer desk which sprawled the wall at chair rail height and replaced it with an armoire.

Open, the armoire is a complete office, with space for computer, printer, paper and storage containers.Office (2)It also has a file drawer and a desktop for plain old handwriting. I can open the doors to 180 degrees or angle them so that everything is at arm’s length.

Closed, the armoire is an attractive, unassuming piece of furniture, six feet high and three-and-a-half feet wide. Not only does it fit almost any small space scenario, it also masks the detritus of the workaday world.

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Anyone working from home needs to ‘get away from the office’ occasionally. What better way than to use an armoire?  One of my favorite things about my ‘Write’ Space is that I can lock the doors and hang my Closed sign. This is my reminder to disconnect. Later, I can return, refreshed and ready to create.

My armoire has proven to be an ideal writing space for me. What is your ideal ‘Write’ Space?

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My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

The Business of Writing: Selling and Serving

Reality Byte VIII: Selling and Serving

shutterstock_104551601In The Business of Writing, as in any business today, success is not about selling; it’s about serving. Authors have to understand and serve the needs of other authors and potential readers.

How do you, as a writer of fiction, do that? By offering value.

One way to provide value for other authors is to be a curator of information. Writers are always looking for tips on grammar, structure, editing, publishing, promoting, and they need the occasional word of encouragement. The data is out there in abundance, waiting to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+; the vehicle is yours to choose. You seek, select, post, comment, retweet, and encourage. Another way to provide value for other authors is to blog about your own experiences in writing. Eventually, if you so choose, you can compile your accumulated knowledge into tips books or writing guides.

Providing value for potential readers can be accomplished by offering up reviews of books or by sharing your favorite titles. You can also use your blog to write about your experiences, pastimes, and inspirations. These blog anecdotes can lead the way to your primary source of value for readers: the gift of your own writing, be it short story or novel. For your fiction is just that, a gift to be treasured, enjoyed, and shared. You are providing a service, not just hunting a sale.

There is a reason why, in all business today, the term ‘salesperson’ is being replaced with the term ‘service representative.’ Don’t try to sell. Strive to serve. And trust your karma.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

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The Business of Writing: Promote and Protect

Reality Byte VII:  Promote & Protect

Lately, I have been busy, promoting my novel, Castles in the Sand. Promotion, a necessary part of the writing business, can be an all-encompassing whirl of activity: preparing a Media Kit, sending shutterstock_104551601email, tweeting, adding pics to Pinterest, putting an author page on Facebook (just managed that one, little time on it), updating website and yes, blogging. Still another aspect of promoting is giving back, sharing what one knows. I recently shared a Power Point Presentation about short story contests with a very receptive high school class in Clinton, BC. A great experience. I recently turned down an opportunity to present that workshop as a webinar to a group in Ontario; I do not yet have the skill required to do that, but acquiring that skill is on my To Do List!

So, yes, I’m busy. As mentioned in a previous post, I try to achieve balance, but every now and then, I need a little jolt to help me set priorities and keep me on track. When I watched the open show of Smash this season, I got that jolt from a single line: “Protect the work.” It was the response given to an up-and-coming performer (played by Katharine McPhee) who asked a superstar (played by Jennifer Hudson) what advice she would give to a newcomer in the entertainment world. The response? “Protect the work.” Three words. That’s all. Just a well-honed line from a script? Maybe. But it was delivered like a message from the heart.

What does ‘protect the work’ mean to me? It means cherishing and honing the writing craft. Constantly. Despite all the busyness of the business. Despite all the demands of daily life. Always, in the back of my mind, as I am promoting one project, sits the gnawing awareness that there are two unedited novel-length manuscripts awaiting my attention, that one of those is especially near and dear to my heart, and that I must make time to give it the attention it deserves. It is ‘the work.’ It is all about the work. The writing.

Yes, by all means, writers must promote. But we must also set aside the time to write. Daily. We must shutterstock_107880212‘protect the work.’

Now, excuse me, while I pull an unedited manuscript from cyberspace….

My best to you,

 

Annie Signature Light Blue

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The Business of Writing: Media Kit & Media Release

Post VI: Media Kit & Media Release

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A most helpful book in terms of marketing on a budget is The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.  Carolyn’s instructions re: setting up a media kit and creating a media release are clear, easy and accessible. Also most helpful is Carolyn herself who responded promptly to my email! Thanks, Carolyn, for granting me permission to spread this invaluable info!

 

Media Kit:

Start it now! How?

Make a new, major folder in your computer titled MEDIA KIT GENERAL. All caps. It will contain subfolders labeled in lower case for different sections (e.g. Announcements, Media List, Praise Page, Bio, Photo, etc.) Amazing things happen when you do this: when you need information, it is already at your fingertips. How do you keep it up to date? You develop the habit of Immediacy. As soon as you acquire a piece of info, you drop it into the relevant subfolder. (See The Frugal Book Promoter for a complete list of subfolders.)

 

Media Release:

Start that now, too! How?

Do this using the following ten puzzle parts: (See The Frugal Book Promoter for detailed instructions.)

1. The Header:

M E D I A    R E L E A S E   ( Caps, large type 18 point Arial typeface with a space between each letter and three spaces between words. Left justify.)

CONTACT 14-point Arial caps, left justified

2. Release Information:

  • Type For Immediate Release (12-point, bold Times New Roman Left Justified)

3. Your Headline:

  • Seize the attention of editor or produce by using the most newsworthy element of your release. (Centered, sixteen point, Arial bold.)

4. Your Dateline:

  • List place, not date. Local media? Type your town/city. Internet? Type ‘World Wide Web’

5. The Lead:

  • Make it simple and brief. It will also be the first sentence in body of your release (below)

The Body:

  • Use Single-spacing. Leave space between paragraphs. Do not indent. Mention the single most newsworthy aspect of event in paragraph after the lead. Next paragraph: type author’s credentials.

7. The Logline:

  • Pitch your book. This is your mini-synopsis. Use one or two sentences only.

8. A Paragraph About You:

  • Type your mini- biography (better yet, copy-and-paste it from your previously prepared MEDIA KIT)

9. Your close:

  •  Type ‘Title is available at ______.’ On another line, type “Learn more at: www…..” Leave a space and type three pound signs ###. Center these.

10. Mention your media kit, photos and other support material:

  • Underneath the pound signs, type “Support material available upon request.”

 

NOTE: Save what you have as a sample, a template. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you submit a release!

Thanks, Carolyn for The Frugal book Promoter. It was of great help to me and I am sure it will be to others. Highly recommend!

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

The Business of Writing: Seeking and Finding

Post IV: Seeking and Finding

shutterstock_104551601In the last week, I sought information on the following: 1) how to open an account with Create Space; 2) how to acquire and Employer Taxation ID Number from the IRS; and 3) where to find the exact cover image I needed for my soon-to-be-released novel, CASTLES IN THE SAND. 

Seek and ye shall find, they say. I did and so can you. Some hopefully helpful information regarding my search…

1) Opening an Account on Create Space:

  • Easy-peasy.  Just go to the site and fill in the form. They email you. You confirm. Next, log in, click on Account Information and then on Royalty Payment Information. If you have a sole proprietorship and live outside the U.S., you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

2) Acquisition of an EIN:

  • There is easy access to info about obtaining an EIN through Create Space. You can acquire the Taxation ID number either by filling out/submitting forms or by calling the IRS. Create Space even lists the phone number which, by the way, is NOT toll free.
    The process only takes a few minutes by phone, but that does not account for the long wait time. Nonetheless,  USE THE PHONE. DO NOT HANG UP. Putter around, tidy your desk, chase dust bunnies up and down the hall with your Swiffer while you wait (my default on-hold activity.)  I was on the phone for about one hour. Almost panicked when, just as the wonderfully helpful lady at the IRS was about to give me my number, the phone beeped. I glanced at the screen: low battery! (Pause here for mild expletive.) I ran and grabbed the other phone. (Phew!)
    So,why did I not just fill out/submit the form, you ask? Because a friend of mine did that and it took two months.
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Release: Spring, 2013
Exact Date: TBA
Stay Tuned!

3) Locating a Cover Photo:

  • I spent hours looking through stock sites for a cover image. I searched castles, sandcastles, sandcastles + waves, but could not find exactly the right image. After a couple of days of indecision, I almost settled for one that was okay. But, instead, I walked away. That night, I wrote in my journal that the exact image I wanted would show up the next day. The very next morning, I searched sand + waves + British Columbia and came up with a photo of English Bay in Vancouver where my fictitious character, Justin, built fictitious sandcastles with his fictitious little boy, Bobby. As soon as I saw that shot, I knew my search was over.
    My advice? Do not settle. That would be like tying a tattered string around a beautifully wrapped present. Wait. The perfectly-matching bow will show.

I extend a heartfelt nod of thanks to: Create Space for their Print On Demand program; Shutterstock for their bottomless well of images;  photographer Eva Kondzialkiewicz for that perfect pic of English Bay; and, my cover designer Michael Hiebert  for his patience while I located that image.

Now it’s back to my To Do List!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

The Business of Writing: Business & Busyness

Post III: Business and Busyness

shutterstock_104551601During my teaching career I was exceptionally busy juggling classes, interviews, reports. Always, beneath this hum of activity, was the comforting knowledge that reprieve, in the form of a well-earned vacation, was in the offing.

During my writing career, I am equally busy, carving my time into segments of production, marketing, and administration. Beneath this steady drone lurks the knowledge that there is no pre-programmed breathing space. Currently, I am ‘working’ on creating balance.

Since my last post, I have also worked on…

Writing: I entered a twenty-four hour short story contest.
A Tip: Story contests help to hone craft and spark creativity.

Starting a Business: I acquired a sole proprietorship: McRAC BOOKS.
A Tip: A sole proprietorship is a quick, easy, cost-effective way to set up a business.

Reviewing Copy Edits: I worked through my MS, Castles in the Sand, twice.
A Tip: Hire a copy editor. Through mine, I discovered, among other things, that my main  character tends to veer and hover… a lot. (Who knew?) A great copy editor points out the things you miss. My superb copy editor? Author Michael Hiebert.

More Writing: I wrote the flap copy and acknowledgements for the aforementioned MS.
A Tip: Start compiling your Acknowledgement List when you begin your novel. A great time saver!

Marketing: I worked on a Pinterest board for my novel. (Love Pinterest!) Haven’t posted any images yet because, once they are posted, the order can’t be changed (the last picture you post is the first one you see.)
A Tip: Find the images you want, making a note of their location. List them in the order you want them to appear. When you pin these images to your board, start at the bottom of your list and work your way up.

Tweeting: I use Twitter daily. I subscribe to my favorite blogs and tweet helpful information.
A Tip: To save time, schedule your tweets. (I use TweetDeck.) Allow time for personal interaction. No time for reviews or comments? At very least, Retweet!

More Marketing: I began searching for ideas for launch venues and working on a media release for my novel.
A Tip: File ideas as you come across them. Later, you can synthesize them into an individualized plan.

Fielding Inqueries: I received an inquiry about advertising on my site and another about fees for my workshop (Honing the Craft of Writing through Story Contests.) I was uncertain about both.
A Tip: If you have questions, put them out there. I asked my business-savvy brother, Richard Lannon, about web ads. I made two inquiries about workshop fees, one to a former, knowledgeable employer, the other to the Federation of BC Writers. In all cases, I received the exact information I needed.

Yes, my writing life is a hive of activity.shutterstock_73437919 As I said, I am working on achieving balance. How do you keep your brain from buzzing? Please share…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to veer away from this post and hover over my manuscript. 😉

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue