Writing and Networking

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When it comes to writing, there are many skills that a writer needs to learn. Yet, nothing is more important than networking. This vital skill, especially in our interconnected digital age, is critical for a writer’s success.

What is networking? How can a writer apply it correctly? This article will discuss these questions—so if you’re a writer, feel free to examine this article at length.

—Networking as a Writer—

Networking is when you engage with another individual, whether online or in-person, to discuss a topic of interest. The conversation builds reputation and camaraderie between you two. Networking shares information about what you are and your goals.

Why Should a Writer Network?

I cannot understate the importance of networking for writers, particularly freelance authors. Without a proper network, a writer cannot establish a fanbase or rally social support for his or her WIP.

Imagine you’re a merchant trying to garner attention for your wares in a busy street—all by yourself. Your voice will be a lot louder when you have hundreds or thousands of supporters screaming with you.

What Are the Benefits?

When you network, the other person gains a better understanding of who you are or what you represent. This technique can be beneficial for job hunting, selling a brand, or promoting awareness about a book or WIP.

Tips for Networking

Here are some general tips for engaging with others; they can be applied for promoting your brand, be it a novel, poem, or collection of works. I’ve reformatted them to apply for writers below.

  1. Be Brave—Contacting strangers isn’t always easy. Mustering that courage and initiating the conversation is the first step. Remember you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain from their feedback of you’re WIP.
  2. Understand Your Audience—Once you’ve introduced yourself, get to know the other person. Break the ice and establish an air of friendship.
  3. Be Yourself—Don’t be a robot or a greedy opportunist. The more human you appear, the higher the chance the other person will respect and help you.
  4. Stay Positive—No one likes a whiner. All writers are insecure on some level, but, learning to channel that uncertainty into something productive works miracles.
  5. Remain In Touch—Don’t lose that hard-won fan! Get some contact information to follow up with the person later.
  6. Accept What Doesn’t Work—Not every contact will be helpful or worthwhile. Use those contacts to polish your networking ability and take what feedback you find helpful.
  7. Social Media—As a powerful networking tool, social media can do things that in-person networking cannot. Utilize sites like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, or independent sites like Critique Circle. Comment on another person’s blog, writing, or post. Who knows; you might become buddies.

—Personal Websites for Networking—

A solid list of contacts is handy, but proving your skills to your fanbase through an online medium like a blog is even better. This will encourage your audience objectively and give them ammo to pitch to others who might be interested. Your contacts will be practically growing themselves!

A Personal Website

Your own domain and website are essential for several reasons:

  1. A website, especially one with your own domain, shows your contacts that you are serious about your project.
  2. It provides a convenient portfolio that they can view.
  3. Websites often have social media compatibility, excellent for sharing.
  4. Blogging sites (like this one) allow your audience to give comments and feedback as needed.
  5. It organizes your WIP.

SEO and Domains

SEO is also crucial for a website. Check out my older article for tips on that. Purchase your own domain from sites like WordPress or GoDaddy—a good rate for a basic domain is around $2-3 a month. This’ll make a difference, trust me.

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A Strong Pitch

When networking, your audience will ask what your WIP is about. You should be prepared, answering in a confident and strong voice. This is called a pitch, or a concise synopsis of your WIP.

Many refer to this as the 60-second pitch.

“60-second pitch – sometimes known as the telephone pitch, or the elevator pitch, or the pitch fest pitch. Because it’s a pitch, you have less than two minutes to deliver.”

How Do You Deliver a Good Pitch?

Here’s a breakdown:

  1. First sentence: Give an original and easy to understand summary of the story in a short sentence. Make it interesting while evoking strong emotion. Mention the word count too.
  2. Second and third sentences: Explain what, who, when, and how. This discusses the main characters and the conflict—the goals of the book.
  3. Final sentence: Summarize how the story or journey progresses to the end. Wrap things up smoothly.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The best way to master your pitch is to rehearse it. First, begin by writing your three or four sentences down on paper. Use it as an aid initially in front of friends and family until you’ve memorized your 60-second pitch.

Eventually, it should become second-nature. Keep refining it, using your voice to highlight important emotions or details. This will catch peoples’ eye.

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Business Cards

Having a business card isn’t a bad idea. Include your contact information on it, notably your website or blog. Design a nifty, unique logo that represents your brand or WIP.

You can produce business cards in bulk for relatively cheap at a store like Staples. A buddy of mine said he made 500 cards for around $20. There are also countless other business card designer websites you can use.

And here’s a tutorial on design in Illustrator for your own business card.  Here’s one for GIMP, a free digital art program.

—In Conclusion—

Some writers might be introverts who prefer the seclusion of their craft. However, to gain a sizable audience, one must first interact with potential readers and sell a book, pushing through all the fears and doubts. Having a strong pitch is an asset and will garner the attention of agents and publishers.

I hope this article has provided a solid introduction to networking for writers. For more information, visit the links below. Thanks for reading!


Additional Sources

http://graemeshimmin.com/creating-an-irresistible-elevator-pitch/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201403/networking-101-how-social-network-effectively

https://www.tomiadeyemi.com/blog/how-to-pitch-a-literary-agent-in-5-easy-steps

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976

https://www.vistaprint.com/business-cards/standard

https://www.tckpublishing.com/creative-business-card-ideas-for-writers/


A reminder: My Published Poetry!!!

My published poetry is now available! You can view and order the collected works here. Look for New York’s Best Emerging Poets 2019: An Anthology. My pen name is Ed White. The book is a collection of poems from like-minded authors, compiled into a beautiful collection. Many of the poems are quite impressive.

You can view and buy other books from ZPublishing too. Any purchases made through the above link benefit this blog. Thanks a lot. 🙂

 

The Ballad of Atläs

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Atläs, mother of all
Throughout the years watched us grow tall
For many years, Tiamat ruled this land
Her draconic legacies spread like sand
In the heavens, a star shone
Sending chaos onto Tiamat’s throne
Long we have witnessed the ravages of war
Of demons, giants, ogres, and more
We plenty have much to repair
Lest calamity once more brings her care
The Gate will see us through
Or break us until we relearn what we knew
Guide us, divine Aspects; show us the way
For only through ourselves will harmony stay
Plenty would Ronald’s avatar wail
But to observe the strength of Tiamat’s renewed tail
Still, she claws at hearts with her call
Through mortals, dragons, and bastards most of all
Now darkness gathers around, priming for evil to rebound
Yet a hero may rise to meet the temptress
To foil curse, shadow, pride; strong yet relentless
A divine blade will shine free
Guiding the hero towards destiny’s tree
Guide us, holy Aspects; brighten the past
For only through peace, will the future last
—Lily Hymnfoot

SEO Articles, Poetry, Book Reviews, and Other Goodies

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Hello, everyone. It’s been a busy summer for me; between working on the family garden, editing my manuscript, reading,  family business, and working with beta readers—I’ve been swamped with work. I also have a prospective job at a local store starting soon—they support local writers and it could be a major stepping stone for me.

SEO Articles

And how has your summer been, my lovely readers? Long, lazy days or full schedules? If you get the time, check out my recent post on writing SEO articles. It’s a fantastic read if you’re a blogger yourself or write articles for a living. Who knows, you might pick up a tip or two that you didn’t know. 🙂

Blogging Tips

Speaking of blogging here’s a post from a fellow blogger—what to blog about for unpublished authors. It’s a nifty post and definitely worthwhile to check out.

Artwork on Patreon

I’ve been working on artwork for my book cover and original characters. My new Patreon page is in the works and will feature some cool content related to my upcoming book: Dragonsblade. Subscribe if you’d like to support me. Thanks.

Book Review: Dream Waters

I did a book review of Dream Waters, a paranormal romance novel with fantasy elements, set in the present day. The author is a local writer where I live—she writes good work, so please check out her novel. Thanks.

Poetry Publication!

Lastly, my poem was selected out of a pool of candidates for publication by ZPublishing again! I’ll have a link to the product page when it becomes available. Exciting times! 😀


That’s all for now. Stay cool in this hot weather, my readers. Cheers.

 

Transmutation—a Poem of Perspective

Transmutation

As infants, we pass through the threshold and emerge before our mother’s eyes

The world is bright, loud, and chaotic; full of mayhem and lies

Yet the world bends to the creativity of our rhymes

With toys, action figures, and dolls, we forge the legacy of our time

 

As children, we listen to the wisdom of schools

Consuming books, lectures, and rules

We look onto the horizon, a glimpse into our adult years

Leaving childhood behind certainly brings us to tears

 

As teenagers passion soars within our bodies like flame

We ignore the words of parents and teachers, for we refused to be tamed

Instead, we glue our consciousness to glass pads of wonder

The sounds of the world vanish, replaced by electronic sounds of vice and thunder

 

As young adults, we run far and wide

Seeking partners to join our side

The numerous kisses, sex, and arguments bombard our minds

But we push forward, embracing the world’s binds

Our steady job, loans, and gadgets are our true masters

Money is important, for it safeguards against financial disasters

 

As older adults, we question the lives we have built around our bodies

The family, the house, the debt, and the odd hobbies

Tired we grow from tasks of the day

After work and family, all we can do at home is stay

 

As the terminal ill, we are imprisoned within corridors of white

Relatives come and go; that special son or daughter who we know

When they are all gone, and the night closes in

We cry, remembering the things we have done wrong in life—the sin

Seeking fun, passion, and money

In reality, the heart is all we needed—the spiritual honey

 

We grow weaker, and a tunnel envelops our body like a halo or a band.

Then we realize, as our spirits ascend to mystical lands

Life is one of transmutation, of learning and evolution

The universe follows the heart, for it is the solution

 

The world is bright, loud, and chaotic; full of mayhem and lies

How could we have forgotten?

Book Review: Dream Waters by Erin A. Jensen

 

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Hello, everyone, I’m back with another book review—the Dream Waters series by Erin A. Jensen. I’m currently on book three of the trilogy (the author may write a fourth) and wanted to give my impressions of the story so far.

I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum. 😉

—Dream Waters—

Premise

Dream Waters is a fantasy/romance series set in the present day. The gimmick of the story revolves around worlds set in dreams, where people can turn into fantasy creatures like fairies, elves, and dragons when they sleep. Sometimes the dream world can overlap into the real world.

There isn’t much action, and the worldbuilding is more on the mild side. Instead, the story focuses more on dialog and character interaction.

Length

The word counts for the first two novels are around 400-500. Chapters are usually short and keep the prose moving.

Characters

Jensen does an excellent job with her characters, and the exchanges are very amusing, pushing the prose forward through humor and drama. The main characters are easy to connect with, as the story uses a first-person multiple POV scheme. Each character’s POV sounds unique and breaths life into the chapters.

The antagonist is compelling and acts more like an anti-hero who works with the protagonist, albeit the two are also romance rivals for the same woman. It isn’t until later that the real villain reveals himself.

Magic System

Dream Waters uses a fickle and whimsical magic system in the dream world that isn’t explained much. The author could have fleshed it out more to create story depth and intrigue for the reader.

Romance

The story is loaded with romance scenes, some of them rather graphic and very promiscuous. Dream Waters uses this heavily to create romantic tension between the protagonist and his love.

Conflict

Dream Waters sets our protagonist against romantic conflict and the paranormal reality of the dream world. He meets strange, fickle creatures with a diverse set of magical ability. Only by mastering his own skills in his dream world does he have a chance to save his love.

The diverse tension keeps the reader interested and set steady pacing with the short chapters.

—Overall Summary—

The Good

Dream Waters demonstrates an exciting combination of fantasy, romance, and paranormal concepts I’ve rarely seen elsewhere. It has solid pacing and excellent dialog. Any lover of romance or fantasy will enjoy this book.

The main characters are well written and provide fascinating story arcs.

The Bad

The descriptions of characters, places, and emotions leave room for improvement in certain scenes. The emotional details are cliche at times and without much diversity.

The Ugly

When descriptions kick into overdrive, Dream Waters has heavy use of profanity and graphic details, which may turn some readers off.

—My rating for Dream Waters: 3.7/5 stars: a worthwhile read—

Dream Waters has a special place in the romance and fantasy genre. The unique combination of tropes and characters makes for an entertaining novel that keeps the reader turning pages and moving the story along.

The story excels in certain areas, while it lacks in others; and the prose isn’t the best. The use of graphic scenes might turn some readers off. Additional details on the magic and dream world systems would have strengthened the world-building aspects.

Overall, if you’re a reader who loves amusing characters, fantasy tropes, fluid dialog, and deep romance scenes, then Dream Waters will be an excellent choice.


Have you any thoughts on Dream Waters? Leave it in the comments below. Thanks for reading and have a great July 4th! 🙂

Developing Conflict and Resolution in your stories

Developing conflict is essential to a good story. Often this takes place between protagonist and antagonist. Remember to keep your readers at the edge of their seats, and they’ll keep flipping pages. Here’s an article from a fellow blogger that explains what I mean. Cheers.

Lorraine Ambers

Characters are the heart of a story, the plot is its skeleton, but the blood running through its veins is conflict. Without it, your characters have nothing to fight for, no arc will develop, and your plot will wither and die. In this post, we’ll explore the internal and external conflict to resolution elements that could be evoked to create a truly dynamic novel .

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The protagonists traits need to be carefully selected for each story. Their backstory will colour their personality, and mould their goals. It’s important to understand where their character journey starts, so that you can plan for their reactions by understand their limiting beliefs. You should know what they want, and what needs are hidden beneath.  

Within the protagonist is the delicate balance of their life’s story, and before the plots even started, there might be an internal conflict brewing beneath the surface…

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Book Length, Word Count, and Readability in Writing

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The length of a book can be a vital factor in its success. It may not appear to be at first, but there is a formula followed by countless writers and publishers. Depending on the target audience, genre, readability, and book type, the word count in a book can vary substantially.

That said, there are always outliers—books that have done well outside of word count brackets. If you’re a writer with questions about how long your writing should be, this article is for you.

—Book Length Guidelines—

Although there is no fixed word count, there are generally recognized guidelines depending on genre and audience.

Audience

Younger audiences have smaller attention spans and therefore cater to short, fast-paced book length. Adults are more tolerable with longer manuscripts. For example, YA (young adult) will—usually—be less than the book-length for a more mature audience.

Age group word count examples:

  • Poetry: 5 to 3k
  • Picture Book: 400 to 800
  • Play: 1k to 32k
  • Middle Grade: 25k to 40k
  • Young Adult: 50k to 80k

Genre

Book genres, of course, play an essential role in the word count of a novel.  Science fiction and fantasy works tend toward a high word count since the writer develops a fictional world from the ground up. This takes time to describe all the new rules and phenomena associated with such a fictional universe.

Historical fiction, Young Adult, Westerners, and Mysteries prefer a lower word count—of course, there are always exceptions.

Genre group examples:

  • Romance & Erotica: 40,000 to 100,000 words
  • Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000 to 90,000
  • Horror: 80,000 to 100,000
  • Historical: 90,000 to 100,000
  • Sci-fi/Fanasty: 90,000 to 140,000

General Book Types

Depending on the type of book you intend to write, word count plays another significant factor. Flash fiction and short stories are, of course, brief, but powerful tales. A novella—for those who don’t know—is a compact novel, longer than flash fiction and short stories, with a fleshed out story and characters; ideal for a quick read.

Book type examples:

  • Flash Fiction: 300 to 1,500 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 to 30,000
  • Novellas: 30,000 to 50,000
  • Novels: 50,000 to 100,000

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—The Endgame—

You can have your long epic fantasy and do well with it. However, for new writers, it is best to start small and work your way up. A book-length that is simple and sweet reads best.

Legacies

Once authors have a handful of books under their belt—and a fanbase—they can gamble a little more. Agents and publishers can reference this track record, and this increases the chance the book gets published regardless of word count or even prose finesse. If you have enough avid fans who will buy the book, publishers will overlook certain shortcomings, since they know the books will rake in profits regardless.

For this reason, some authors have started small in self-publishing like Michael J. Sullivan before they hit the goldmine.

Quantity Versus Quality

Quantity alone does not a good book make.  You have to earn your manuscript, one word at a time. If a document is 150,000 words long but fills its pages with redundant vocabulary, it probably won’t read well to the eye of an agent or a casual reader.

Adverbs and excessive prose often slog writing; an attempt by the writer to look professional. As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the word/phrase is, the better. The simpler a manuscript is, the more people can read it, and the more can enjoy it.

Reading Level

The average reading level for America is around the 8th-grade mark. If the author wants a book to read smoothly among a wider audience, then a book should read close to this level. By using simpler and shorter phrases, the readability of the prose goes up.

Higher reading associates with scholarly articles and doctoral theses; that’s the point of them, to demonstrate a graduate’s intelligence. Informational articles like this one can calibrate higher; their purpose is to inform and advise. Fictional novels, especially YA and children books, are for people to enjoy and immerse themselves in an easy-to-read environment.

Word Impact

Each word in a manuscript should contribute to the book in at least one of the following ways:

  • Character progression
  • Plot development
  • Environmental immersion
  • Reader enjoyment

There are exceptions, but if you find a word that doesn’t fit one of these criteria, it can usually be removed. You don’t want to be overly descriptive either as that slogs the pacing and reduces readability.

Chapter Impact

Chapter length can also have an impact on readability and word count. Short chapters organize a book better, improve readability, and leave readers with a sense of satisfaction when they count how many sections of the book they have finished. Shorter chapters also make for good stopping points when a reader needs to put the novel down.

Longer chapters are tedious, but sometimes necessary when a section of a book demands enough information or plot progress to benefit the story and characters. In this case, scene breaks are good for breaking down long chapters.

Reader & Writer Relationship

Half of telling a story comes from the reader’s imagination; give half and let the reader form the rest. This stimulates the reader’s mind, bringing with it a sense of fulfillment.

A book is as much of a journey for the writer as it is for the reader. If you can provide that opportunity—for a reader to have fun and explore—they will flip pages nonstop and won’t care about book length.

—Conclusion—

The length of a book is up to the writer, depending on his or her goals and ambitions. Identifying core variables like the audience, genre, book type, readability, and the author’s legacy are essential to the process. Authors who have built up an impressive resume of stories can skirt the rules.

A writer must first do the research, just as a builder must first draw out blueprints for a house—and research the terrain. Each brick of a manuscript’s foundation should be carefully placed with meaning. If you do this, your house of stories will last against the elements of agents, publishers, and critics alike.

Here’s a free online program called WordCounter that not only checks the word count in a written document but also checks the reading level, reading or speaking time, and word frequency. Just paste your work into the program, and it will analyze everything for you automatically.

Thank you for reading and good luck in your writing endeavors.


If you like what you see, hit that “follow” button below. Thanks. 🙂

 

 

Why Do Writers Write?

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“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success…Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”

—Nikola Tesla

Each author has his or her own means to spur the imagination, the motivation to sit down and write. The source of an author’s motivation is vital to the writing process—and understanding it will enhance the quality of any written piece.

In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the reasons why writers write and then I will discuss my own experiences.  If you’re an aspiring author seeking direction, then this article will provide some useful guidance. Maybe you can relate to your own experiences—I’d love to hear them in the comments below. 🙂

—Why Do Writers Write—

To Express Creativity

“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.”

Sir Ken Robinson

There’s nothing like an adrenaline rush at the onset of a brilliant story. Writing brings us into a world of creativity, full of whimsy imagination that expresses our intellect in profound ways.

One of the main reasons why writers write is because they need to release this beautiful energy. Bottling it up is like putting a stopper on a volcano.

To Gain Recognition

The ego is a strong motivator, especially for writers; many authors want to be inspired by their success and the praise they get from the world. Not everyone wants to be the next Stephen King or George Orwell, but many do.

 

To Influence the World

You may have heard the classic phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Well, it’s true; a written piece can alter history and modify how the world sees itself—especially with religious prose.

Others, like news companies, can control how the public is informed on local, national, and world issues. When you think about it from that perspective, that pen is sounding quite powerful.

To Explore Life Itself

Since time immemorial, storytellers and philosophers have addressed the meaning of life and what gives humanity purpose. Writing is a therapeutic exercise that allows the mind to explore reality around us.

Writers attempt to tackle many of life’s questions, hoping to inspire others in the process. In this way, writing is more of an altruistic ritual for empowering humanity. See this recent article on the Hero’s Journey for more information.

To Make Money

There’s nothing wrong with writing to put food on the table. Many people use writing as a second job to supplement their main income. Writing can be a fun and immersive hobby, and making some money while doing it is certainly appealing.

That said, writing isn’t very rewarding. Most writers get paid little each month for their publications. There are those that defy the odds and become rich, but that isn’t the typical scenario.

—Why I Write—

How did I start as a writer? What interests me and motivates my writing sessions? In this section, I’ll elaborate on these questions. The answers should give you a different perspective to reflect on—and some of them might surprise you!

How I started as a Writer

I never planned on being a writer, the art gradually crept up on me in my adult years. During my childhood, I was into roleplays, which were short stories co-authored with friends.

My dad owned a small library of science fantasy books, which I consumed voraciously. Science fiction and fantasy were my favorite genres, but I also enjoyed romance, horror, and spirituality.

From the roleplaying forums that I had joined, I gradually developed a cast of original characters, plot themes, and mythical creatures. It went further and  I designed a magical system, technology, names for races, continents, and planets.

The project snowballed when I was unemployed, bored, and depressed. I chose something that I could actively do myself, rather than relying on an email response from an IT company for a job while I sat at home.

My old roleplaying friends had also moved away from the forums, and I was left to my creative devices. Little did I know what the result would be…

Startling Revelations

Several months later after starting on my little project, I sat up from my computer chair, staring at a 300,000-word rough manuscript.

I couldn’t believe it, and I remember pounding the computer desk in disbelief.

I’d written something so extensive to be worthy of a trilogy, and I didn’t have any English college credentials! Talk about a wild trip into my imagination!

Since finishing the rough draft, I’ve reviewed my manuscript and discovered the horrors of rereading, rewriting, and editing out the myriad mistakes we humans continuously make in our work. Thankfully, the manuscript for book 1 has progressed significantly over the many grueling—yet fun—hours I’ve put into it.

My motivation

I write to fulfill myself-—to release the creative demons that lurk within my heart. Every day they beg release. There is a warm satisfaction in finishing an article or writing/editing an original chapter of my novel. I cherish my characters and readers, considering them good friends.

Looking Back

I understand that writing is difficult, but so are many things in life worth doing. Writing, especially with my original series, fills me with a warm fulfillment that other pastimes do not. When I look back at my life, I’ll have no regrets working on Ethereal Seals, my blog, or any of my future projects.

Despite the struggles—as shared by many authors—, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it as an amateur writer and blogger, pioneering into my own creative world.


What is your spark? Are you also seduced by the rewards that creativity brings? Leave it in the comment below if you feel inclined. Thanks for reading everyone!