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Category: Blog

Pitch Your Book Like it’s a Movie (The One Sentence Synopsis)

I recently attended a screenplay writing seminar with Publishers and Writers of San Diego. It was taught by writing coach Marni Freedman and focused on taking an existing book and developing it into a screenplay.  Screenplays are extremely concise – they average around one hundred pages. Being concise means really having to know the infrastructure and outline of a story. There are several aspects of screenwriting that are helpful in book writing, and one of those aspects is the creation of a logline. A logline is a one sentence synopsis of your story. It is like the cover of a book. A good one makes you want to open it immediately to see what is inside. Before you can create a logline, you will need to understand where your book is going. When you try and select a movie on cable, you see loglines all the time. They are very brief descriptions of the show’s content. For…

Half Baked: A Publishing Recipe

Is most of your writing only half-baked? It’s easy to get distracted with all the wonderful topics to write about, and many of us have manuscripts that are still rising on shelves in the garage. That being said, it’s sometimes nice to go through the steps of what happens when a book does in fact make it all the way to publication. Here is a basic recipe detailing the steps that are required in creating a fully baked book: For a first time author, a book usually starts with a completed, edited manuscript for fiction, or a proposal and sample content for non-fiction. Published authors can sometimes sell novels on proposal, but not usually. Best practices suggest that unpublished authors should try and find a literary agent, once their manuscript is ready for submission. Few publishers accept work directly from authors sans representation, and a good agent can greatly aid a manuscript’s success rate. After a…

Sticks and Stones: The Highly Sensitive Writer Toughens Up

I recently attended a writing seminar about creating compelling titles for books. A burgeoning writer volunteered her book title for the rest of the group to critique. The consensus of the group was that her title wasn’t catchy enough and needed to be reworked. Several people in the group offered sage advice that would probably have helped her a great deal, had she been open to suggestions – but she wasn’t. The novice writer became incredibly defensive (and borderline angry) about the feedback. She was not ready to be objective about her work. The facilitator had to smooth things over and hastily get a more willing participant for the exercise. Throughout history, even the most successful writers have to deal with criticism, so there’s no reason why we should consider ourselves immune to feedback. Check out these excerpts from actual famous author rejections from www.writersrelief.com: Sylvia Plath: “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us…

Building the Perfect Brand

I recently attended a branding seminar for authors and wanted to share best practices with the WordServe Community. Here are 4 Sizzling Secrets to Branding You and Your Book from speaker Liz Goodgold, Branding Expert for www.RedFireBranding.com: 1. WIIFM: What’s in if for me? Your audience wants to know what they are going to get out of buying and reading your book. Sell a benefit or a result – think in terms of a call to action. Will your reader learn a skill, come away with increased knowledge, or be entertained? Knowing your endgame is a huge part of selling the benefits and the results. 2. Consistency is Key Brands have to be consistent. In-N-Out Burgers always taste the same, and they have since the forties. That is consistency at its finest.  Your audience is looking for that kind of consistency. Once you have established your brand it’s important to stay with it. Think in terms of household names like Chicken…

Writers and Readers Reachout 2012

Today is the big day! Before us is a great opportunity to partner with one another to raise awareness about human trafficking and join together to raise funds towards their rescue through Kimberly L. Smith’s foundation, Make Way Partners. And yet, even as we are set to launch, one-fourth of our population has been impacted by Super storm Sandy and many areas remain in distress. Far too many people have seen their homes destroyed and many others have suffered the painful loss of loved ones. The winds of Sandy have literally caused us to adjust our sails as we respond to the heartache in our own country. Writers and Readers Reach Out 2012 is enlarging the vision! As you make your donation to Make Way Partners, please consider making a matching donation to relief efforts underway for our neighbors on the East Coast. We believe strongly that our being mobilized to respond to the…

Ever-Increasing Returns

Publishing a book is an adventure. Part of that adventure is engaging with the people you meet along the journey. Some of those people will serve in a capacity of enlightenment and support. They provide assistance for you at different turns. It could be marketing assistance, subject matter expertise, best practices, or networking to find the sensei you seek. Lest we forget, the best adventures usually require planning behind the scenes. The book writing adventure entails hours of constant editing and agonizing over the right words.  There is nothing glamorous about this part of the journey – it’s the grunt work that makes everything else possible. Adventures are often taken solely for adventure’s sake.  Sometimes you return with treasure, but not always. Upon attending my first literary workshop, I found it a bit daunting to learn that only 5% of writers actually make a living from their writing. Anyone who has…

Radio Days

When I completed my first book, my boss was incredibly supportive and offered to get amarketing package for me of my own choosing. Having very little understanding of book marketing, I was soon swimming in a flood of possible opportunities of all different shapes, sizes, and price tags. I finally settled on the Readers Favorite’s Book Promotion Package, which I found to be reasonably priced and reputable. One of their strategic partners, The Authors Show, welcomed me as a preferred guest as part of said package. I had never been on the radio before and was rather anxious about sounding like a moron.  I didn’t worry for long, though, because it was clear that The Authors Show staff had the interview process down to a science. They sent me an author interview form to complete. It asked for pertinent information about the book. They allowed me to create 8-10 suggested questions that would relate to…

Direct Mail is Still Cool as Ever

Have you ever sent a letter to prospective customers asking them to buy one of your books? If so, you have participated in direct mail marketing — one of the most efficient and effective selling techniques. If you think it’s too old school for you, then consider this: 55% of Americans read the news, 95% have telephones, 98% have television sets. However, 100% of Americans have a mailbox. Therefore, it is your only 100% opportunity to hone in on your targeted audience. There are four components to asuccessful direct mail campaign: theCreative, the List, the Offer and theResults. 1) Creative: Of course you want your direct mail piece to be eye-catching and informative. How you present your offer to your list has to be done professionally so that all of the emotional hot buttons are triggered while also maintaining interest and going for the sale. Some of the best copywriters are paid thousands of dollars to write a single sales pitch…

Publishing Crash Course

People often ask how someone as flaky as I am can pull it together and write a book. In the hopes that it might inspire others to go out and create new worlds of their own, here are the things I did to become a published author: 1) Read a lot of great content. This is as important as the writing itself. Read with passion and learn continuously. 2) Schedule blocks of time for writing. This includes unplugging from the outside world, logging off the internet, turning off the phone. Hard to do, but those distractions really add up. Writing fiction requires immersion in another world, which takes considerable focus and concentration. 3) Generate a manuscript. Woody Allen has said that others are willing to help, but your project has to be solid enough, you have to do the work first. Once you have your manuscript ready, have an ideal…

For Summer Reading, Grab Gumbeaux and then Quietly Transport Yourself into a World of Adventure Spiced with Cajun Characters

SAN DIEGO, June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — With vacation season approaching a great read is still a staple for the summer traveler. Whether by electronic reader or in paperback, a good book is both entertaining and satisfying and serves as a distraction from airport waits, train rides or car trips. Gumbeaux, by award-winning author Kimberly Vargas, transports the reader into the sultry, steamy world of Louisiana and is just the ticket to getting lost in a romantic coming-of-age story that chronicles Mary Veronica Fait’s shattered life and the characters she meets. Haunted by memories of a reckless past, the protagonist revisits New Orleans to face her demons and to set her soul to rest. The book flashes back to the early 1990s when Mary Veronica Fait, a sheltered yet rebellious teenager, journals her transformation from a trapped orphan into a spirited woman who faces life head-on after the tragic death of her parents. Mary Veronica takes charge of her destiny, changes her name,…

©2017 Kimberly Vargas | Author - Writer from San Diego. California