Guest Posts

Guest Blogger: Brenda Rothert – A Little Advice For Authors

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Brenda Rothert – A Little Advice For Authors

I’m thrilled to welcome author Brenda Rothert  as today’s guest blogger. A Little Advice For Authors by Brenda Rothert Are you a Rules Girl? No, not those rules! I can’t offer you any help finding Mr. Right. But writing? I might have some insight for you there. Some authors will tell you there are rules you should follow when writing a book. And since I’m working on my eleventh one, I can tell you that’s absolutely true. But which rules? That’s something we’ll never have universal agreement on. Here’s my take on some of the traditional rules, and also a few of my own. The three-act structure is the foundation of many novels and screenplays. I think a solid understanding of it will help any new writer find their footing. Do you have to follow it precisely? I say no. But it’s one of those rules you should understand if you’re going to break it. Most romance novels of days gone by employed tropes. These are things like boss/employee, best friend’s sister and billionaire bad boy. There are lots of great books on the market today that take a fresh approach to these tropes and rock them. But I think the requirement that you must have at least one trope is an antiquated one. Choose characters and a story you feel passionately about. Build it from there. If you’re an indie author, the advice experienced authors give about using a professional editor and cover designer is the best you can listen to. I’ve been through quite a few covers on my books and multiple editors. Find seasoned ones who don’t drown you out but aren’t afraid to set you straight when you need it. It costs money, but it’s so worth it. That brings me to some advice based on my own missteps. When I wrote my first book, I had no idea how to get a cover. I didn’t even know any other authors. I’d finished the book when I joined my local Romance Writers of America chapter, which was a great start. Though I hired a professional designer to make my covers, I had a heavy hand in choosing models, fonts and design. And therein lies the lesson. I wasn’t qualified to make those choices. The initial covers for my first three books were not marketable. I tried again with a new photographer and eventually a new designer. I have one book that is now on its FOURTH—and final—cover. I learned a lot from those mistakes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just be able to see them for what they are and try again. And if that doesn’t work, try again. One of the joys of indie authorhood is that you have control of your work. That same advice applies to your writing. My first two books are off the market, likely forever. The more I learned about writing as I grew and gained experience, the more uncomfortable I was with having those two books for sale. They aren’t the best representation of my brand. When someone reads one of your books, you want them to love it so hard they go buy your other books. If you have something out there you aren’t one hundred percent proud of, take it down. You can rework it, save it for a later day or chalk it up to a learning experience. The best advice I’ve ever been given by a fellow author is this: Write and write and write. Blog about something you love. Volunteer to help a non-profit organization with articles or web materials. All writing sharpens the saw that will help you create your best book. And when you’re writing that book, you’ll probably make mistakes. I do. Don’t get frustrated. Be grateful you can see where you need to improve. Not everyone can. Try again. Nothing feels better than publishing a book you know you’ve polished to the very best of your ability. Make it shine. Enjoy the ride. And then, do it all over again. About the author: Brenda Rothert lives in Central...

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Guest Blogger: Z.B. Heller – Grammar & Spelling

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Z.B. Heller – Grammar & Spelling

  I’m so happy to share with our readers some witty words of wisdom from author Z.B. Heller. She’s one of our favorite people, and I’m thrilled she agreed to write this guest post for us.   Grammar & Spelling  By Z.B. Heller   Their was a farmer, who had a cow named bob. He was Black, and, White. Oh the pain! The horror! The grammatical and punctuation errors! As you can see from the sentence above, there are several errors in grammar, all of which are deliberate. I’m here to tell you a little secret. Are you ready? When I write a manuscript, I write pretty much like that. Have you stopped laughing yet? Good! We may continue. I suffer from a terrible illness called Grammaraphobia, and my plight is even worse; it is paired with Etymologyphobia and Spellingaphobia. Yes, it’s true. In this space, I admit to being a hot mess. So you are probably wondering, “How are you an author if you are plagued by afflictions that would seem to fly in the face of the art of writing?” I have two answers for you: I am committed to improving incrementally, and I have a phenomenal editing team. I can sit here and blame it on learning disabilities I’ve had my whole life, but that is only partially the cause. I recall well a class I took in college where we were learning the parts of speech. Remember those things like verbs, tenses, clauses, and so on? Where was I during this class? Sitting in the back, curled up in a ball, rocking, and calling my mommy for help. Rest assured that my editor is looking at this very page in raw form, shaking and with twitching eyes, observing all the mistakes that need to be fixed. Feel no pity for her because I worship her like an Egyptian idol and bring food to place at her feet. The real question here is why I chose to blog about grammar and spelling, knowing they are areas where I continue to struggle. What I want to share is that in spite of how you might struggle with grammar, it should not stop you from writing. I have been reminded on multiple occasions by different sources that I am a great storyteller. I have wonderful and funny character narratives in my head that need to be captured digitally and shared with the world. This started at a young age when I wrote a story in junior high about a girl who defeated a ferocious monster by using deodorant as her weapon. Back in the dark ages, when I was in junior high, word processors were just becoming available to us and that included what I think of God’s gift to the world—the power of spell-checking software. Along with my confession of poor grammar comes the other confession: I cannot spell worth a damn. My dearest husband has this running joke that I once wrote the word “salad” on a grocery list with an i, spelling it as “salid.” I adamantly call this a figment of his imagination, but he swears it’s true. The only reason I let him get away with it is because he edited every single one of my graduate school papers and saw my struggles with grammar and spelling firsthand. What he and my professors recognized was the quality of the narrative—the story being told—was masterful. I want you to understand that there is help out here. Does anyone else feel like that last sentence was a PSA waiting to happen? Anyway, there are numerous books and other resources out there that focus on grammar and proper usage. There are myriad cheat sheets you can print out and keep next to your computer for reference as you write. Consider taking a class at a local community college or online education if that suits you better. No matter which path you follow, the learning process takes time. And anyone who knows me knows that I am the least patient person on this earth. This is often something I...

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Guest Blogger: Bookaholic Babe – Blogging and Book Reviewing

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Guest Posts | 2 comments

Guest Blogger: Bookaholic Babe – Blogging and Book Reviewing

Today’s guest post comes from book reviewer and blogger Bookaholic Babe, aka Ninnie, who took time from her reading and reviewing to stop by and tell us why she does what she does.   Blogging and Book Reviewing by Bookaholic Babe aka Ninnie   When I saw Write Divas tweet that they were in need of guest bloggers, I thought I would sign up and share why I love to blog about books and some of my favourite books I’ve ever read. But first I thought I’d start with why I love to read. Thanks to my parents’ influence, I learnt to read at a young age, and I was rarely seen not reading. After we emigrated to the UK, my mum got me a library card, and I was always checking books out and entering summer reading contests to see if I could read X amount of books in the six weeks of our summer holidays. Reading, to me, is an escape. When I pick up a book—or more accurately these days, my Kindle—I can forget about everything and just lose myself in the world being created by the words on the page. No matter what mood I am in, books always make me feel happier. So, now I guess I’ll tell you why I blog about books and review them. A few years ago, I wrote fan fiction, and as a fan fiction author, the reviews readers left me really helped. Not only to improve my writing, but they gave me a boost every time I saw their words telling me how much they were enjoying my story. Even the ones that weren’t great helped. The bad ones helped me hone my writing skills to the point where I have the confidence to work on my own publication. So you see, I blog to help all authors out there, to share what I love, and sometimes what I don’t love, about their books. I want to help authors I adore get their books out there and introduce my followers on Twitter to books they may not have considered reading before. When I review, I don’t review technically. My reviews focus on how the books I read make me feel and relate to me as an individual. So I can show people how these books make me feel and how much I enjoy them and the stories they weave and tell. Since I started to blog—and even before that—there have been three books that stand out as my absolute favourites: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green   I first picked up TFiOS before my blogging days, and I connected with it on a very personal level as I had lost someone to the same cancer one of the characters in this book suffers from. I love the pure rawness of this book and the way the characters find love in the darkest of times in their lives that fills them with love and hope. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern   I have read this book twice, once preblog and once after I set it up because I had to review it and let my readers now how amazing it is. My favourite thing about this book is the imagery. It is so deeply described that everyone will create a different view of this world in their head, and I think that makes it even more versatile and loveable because the world in this book is never viewed the same by two people who read it. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young   One of my other all-time favourite books and series is On Dublin Street. This book is all about finding that someone who can love you and save you. It gave birth to a number of follow-ons that focus on a different central character in the series meeting their soul mate. I just love how Samantha writes—not just On Dublin Street, but all the books in the series tell great stories of savior and love. ~oOo~ About the Author: Ninnie has been an avid...

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Guest Blogger: Jen Matera – Juggling Creativity, Careers, and Family

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Jen Matera – Juggling Creativity, Careers, and Family

Juggling Creativity, Careers, and Family by Jen Matera   Surprise! For a moment I’m stepping out of my role as Diva; today I’m a writer who juggles many responsibilities while struggling to maintain some normalcy in my life, my careers, and the lives of my family. Sound familiar? I’m sure there are countless working moms who just happen to be authors just like me who know what I’m saying. And if you’re anything like me, your life revolves around schedules, calendars, and plans. It’s fun, right? Yeah, well, it certainly can be. But then there are days, like yesterday, when all your plans get thrown for a loop and you have to stop and say, “Okay… what do I do now?” Well, you could whine and complain and stomp your feet, hollering to all within earshot that life’s not fair. And then wait around to see what that’ll get you. (Here’s a hint—not much.) I guess when you’ve got no choice but to spend a couple of hours in urgent care waiting on X ‍rays, you take a deep breath and just roll with it. You re-evaluate and look at things from a new perspective, and hopefully you can see all your options. Look at the bright side—at least you’re not whining. Take last night, for example. I had plans for this guest post. I was going to be witty and interesting and talk about how I struggle to find time to write with my insane schedule and how I balance the stress of two jobs with two very active children and a husband who is busy with his own career. But all my thoughts for this post went out the window with a cry from the yard as Younger Daughter ‘missed’ when starting a cartwheel and hyperextended all four of her fingers on her right hand. As I gathered her up with some ice, my phone, my phone charger, and some pretzels—it was dinnertime, after all—I realized my plans for my post had drifted off into the clouds somewhere and I had no idea if I was going to have time to even write something. And as I began to fret about that, it occurred to me that the situation was out of my control, but everything was not completely out of control. In place of my original post, this one started to take shape in my head while we waited for the doctor. It occurred to me that all the plans in the world can get shot to hell in a moment and if you can roll with the punches, you can still accomplish your goals. So I went back to the topic of my article for some inspiration and thought of the juggler. Throw some balls up in the air and he’ll keep them up there, doing his thing. But throw a chainsaw in with the balls and the juggler has to think quickly and adapt if he wants to succeed. Can he still juggle? Of course. It may be more difficult and he may do things differently going forward, but he’s still juggling. And you know what? I’m still writing a guest post about juggling creativity, careers, and family. Maybe not in the same witty and interesting way I’d hoped I would be, but hey, who’s to judge? Someone threw a chainsaw at me, so I adapted the best way I knew how—I wrote about it. Oh, and her pinkie is fractured across the growth plate. I’ll be calling the orthopedist this morning. Happy writing!   About the author:  Jen’s not only an editor; she’s also an accountant who has spent sixteen of the last twenty years working in the publishing industry. She has an associate’s degree in business, a bachelor’s degree in accounting and hopes to one day finish her MBA. Her love of reading and writing, combined with her incessant need for things to be grammatically correct, drew her to editing, and for the last three years, she’s been editing anything from contracts and press releases to short stories and full-length novels—first as a freelancer and then...

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Write Divas Wants You!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

Write Divas Wants You!

Write Divas Wants You!    Are you an author, blogger, editor, formatter, cover artist or designer, book marketer or distributor? Have you read our guest posts and thought, “Hey, I have tons of interesting things to share about what I know about , what I write, what I do.”? If so, Write Divas wants you! Drop me a line and let’s schedule a time when you can be the guest blogger. It’s a lot of fun; the topic is up to you just as long as it relates to publishing in some form, and it’s a chance to promote yourself, too. Included in your article is an ‘About the Author’ section where we attach your bio and links to your social media as well as talk about your books or your business.   Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Tell Us a Bit About Yourself   Here are a few of our recent guest bloggers: Donna Huber – Do You Need a Publicity Assistant? Isabelle Peterson – Originality in Stories Lisa N. Paul – Series Books in a Cliffhanger World Jada D’Lee – Designer Your Book Cover M.C. Cerny – Parenthood N. Isabelle Blanco – Finding Your Voice Sarabeth Caplin – My “Other Job” T.M. Franklin – Dealing With Criticism Jen Greyson – Time Management for Indies Candace Johnson – Avoid Eyes That Crawl Sandi Layne – Writing Dialogue in Historical Fiction Lissa Bryan – The Social Media Balancing Act Debra Anastasia – Street Teams L.V. Lewis – Trust Your Instincts...

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Guest Blogger: Donna Huber – Do You Need A Publicity Assistant?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Guest Posts | 3 comments

Guest Blogger: Donna Huber – Do You Need A Publicity Assistant?

Do You Need a Publicity Assistant? By Donna Huber   Traditional publishers offer editors, designers, marketing and sales teams, and publicists. As an indie or self-published, you are in control of who you have on your team. Yet you are also responsible for the financial investment of having team members. A careful consideration of what you are capable of doing yourself and the expertise you need to surround yourself with will give you the best possibility of succeeding on your own without breaking the bank. Just as many authors think they can self-edit, many think they can market on their own. Good news is that many authors can actually market themselves. 5 Things You Can Do On Your Own Social media. Getting involved on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging is easy to set up. It will take effort and time to build your network and learn the ropes of using social media to publicize yourself and your book. There are a number of author groups on Facebook that will help you learn. I like the Indie Author Group. The key to using social media effectively is to be SOCIAL—interact with those who follow you, have conversations, make friends. Contact bloggers. There are online directories that will help you locate bloggers in your genre. I really like the directory at The Book Blogger List. Before contacting a blogger be sure to read their review policy. In addition to reviews, many bloggers will also do spotlights and guest posts. Inquire about those options when pitching your book for review. Start a mailing list. I love using Mailchimp for newsletters. It’s the easiest way to start a mailing list. You can collect all kinds of information to better understand your audience. Remember to send out information regularly, but not so often that it becomes noise. Create a street team. A street team is kind of like a fan club but is for the purpose of promoting you and your books. You can create a Facebook or Google+ group for fans to join. Provide them with a task each week—something to post on their Facebook page or to tweet. Remember all work and no play can cost you fans—do fun games and exclusive giveaways for your street team. Plan a blog tour. Now this can be a challenge, but I totally believe an author can do this one their own. I wrote Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour to help authors over the learning curve and give them a step-by-step guide to follow. The biggest challenge is making sure you give yourself enough time to execute your plan. Although you can do it on your own, you may find that it’s easier to hire someone to help you. 3 Reasons to Hire Someone Your network isn’t big enough. If you are just starting out, you may not have a very large network of supporters, particularly bloggers. Having someone else make introductions into that circle can be extremely helpful. You don’t have the time. Unlike the design and editing process, marketing and publicity never cease. You must continually put yourself out there. If you have other life commitments—family, a job—then you may find your writing time is taken over by marketing. I recommend authors make an appearance on blogs (interviews, guest posts, reviews) two to three times a month. Having someone else manage your street team or contacting reviewers can free up your time for writing. I’m offering a new service for authors who want continual blog exposure but don’t have the time to pitch bloggers or write a ton of guest posts. You don’t have the knowledge/experience. With my own marketing services, one of my main goals is helping authors know what to do and how to do it. I know they are often struggling with making their writing profitable, so I don’t want to be a drain on their resources when it is something they can truly do on their own. I often do media kits for authors. It can be a time consuming task, but most authors find they are lacking the...

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