Monday, January 29, 2007


Now I've Written My Great (country of choice) Novel, Now What?

Now I've Written My Great (country of choice) Novel, Now What?
By Robyn Whyte

In my case, it would be the Great Canadian Novel. But we are not all from the frosted North where the temperature plus windchill only equalled out to -26 Celcius today. I think I have frostbite on my cheeks still. I thought it was time for me to give insight into the process of pursuing publication.

So you want to be a noveliest? I hate to be the one to break the news to you. So has everybody else. Oh, I am not trying to tell you that the world is full of novel writers, just that there are a lot of aspiring novelists. What sets you apart is that you actually finished the book so keep reading. I'm going to tell you what comes after 'The End'.

When I was a very young child, I was at work on novels. It's true! Really. There was the animal pet detective series. Young romance novels. I would once in a while break my silence and show someone my novel or poem or anything creative.

I remember once taking a story to my mom. She read it and then said, "I don't get why you do this. Is this supposed to be funny?" This was followed by a blank stare. It's hard to believe I dedicated my first published novel to my mother, reminiscing like this. So the first rule will be:

Rule One: Don't Show It To Your Mother

Gosh, I wish I knew this remarkable rule then. Too late though.

Step one is to hire an editor.

Heck, don't show it to anyone that may belittle you or correct your spelling out of spite or kindness. Take all your money from whatever the job you're working and hire an editor. You may think that editors will cost a fortune but as you're only asking for an edit, you can go on a site like and post a job for someone to edit your novel. You would be absolutely shocked how many talented people work from a site like this and will edit your novel for something on a budget.

You will not believe what a difference an editor can make. They can make a problematic spot in a novel disappear. They can make your first chapter sparkle all in collaboration. It's an investment.

Rule Two: Don't Read: How to make query letters books

Step Two

Seriously, do not read the query letter books. About two years ago, I was treated to a letter where an author had gone with the preachy, Hollywood template. She wrote about her novel like it is a fast-paced book. I pointed out that nobody was going to read this because they'd think it was uh...I didn't have words. It was terrible but I'm not a gal who likes to hurt feelings.

The best way to settle on a formula for a query letter is by sticking to the three paragraph letter. If you can't descibe your book succinctly in a one pager, chances are nobody is going to read it. Don't make it flashy or exciting. Instead, work on describing your novel. Publishing houses want to know how long your manuscript is. What is your manuscript like? What are your credits as an author? Do you think you will be able to market your novel? What are you willing to do to market your novel?

Stick to the basics. Make your paragraphs short and targeted at someone who doesn't have a lot of time.

Rule Three: Don't believe friends who say their friend is an editor and probably can publish your book tomorrow

I mention rule three because recently it happened to me. I was just minding my own business, cleaning the faces of all of my children and going off to visit a friend for an improptu pizza night. Suddenly, my friend introduced me to her friend who had not completed a book but wanted to complete a book on holistic medicine. It turned out pizza night was a segue into somehow me doing something for her. I just smiled and nodded as she talked about it. I really don't think anybody makes decisions in their personal time about their professional lives.

Step Three

Go to the library and write out the names of interesting publishing houses. Supplement these names by the ones online. Some of the listing are very specific as to what they want in terms of attached pages. Make notes.

Rule Four: Don't give up

Step Four

Persist. You have to realize by enduring as in submitting over and over again, you have something that some of the other budding novelists don't and that is determination. As well, you probably have stamps and money for envelopes. Both determination and money are good things when pursuing your lifelong dream to get your book published.

Good luck. Don't forget any of the rules and you're well on your way.

Robyn Whyte is the CEO of a seriously, independent press named Stargazer Press. Come stop by and read the first 13 pages of Kate Rizor's novel The Governor's Wife.

Kids, see Bitter Tastes by V.B. Rosendahl, a Virginia author.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007


Articles and Headlines

The Secrets of Writing "Attention Grabbing" Headlines
By Will Toh Kwang Hwee

“Own a Business of Your Choice without Investing One Cent”

A headline like this will definitely induce business minded individuals to want to read more. The world we are living in is overloaded with information that we will never be able to finish reading them all. This is especially true in today’s Information Age where we can easily find information we need using the Internet.

Having good content is simply not good enough because people don’t know how good it is until they read it! So, it is definitely critical that we catch our audience’s attention with an attention grabbing headline.

The measure of success for your headline is actually very simple. Does it make the reader want to click through and read you article or message? It’s Critical that we must have a headline that is impossible to ignore. People reading it should think, “I would be Crazy not to read this article!”

You are in for a treat. Right here I have listed a few personal secrets that I use which got me great results.

-Subject Has Three Rules: Short, Sharp And Sweet:

While you may want to convey as much information as you can in each headline, a long headline may spell disaster. So your best bet will be to have a headline that is short, sharp and attention grabbing.

-Tickle On The Reader’s Curiosity:

You must have the ability to pull the reader who is scanning tones to headline to stop and take a second look at your title. One of the best ways is to create a title that will induce people to want to click on your headline into your article.

-Create A Massive Sense Of Urgency:

The opportunity for gain can be great if people to want to read more. No one wants to lose out on a great moneymaking opportunity, or if they can get something for a bargain.

-Make An Announcement Or Share News:

You can make an announcement or share news in your subject line. Everyone wants to be the first one to find out new things.

-Emphasize How The Reader Will Benefit From Opening Your Email:

Do not tell them what the function is in the headline. People are simply not interested in that. They are more interested what is in it for them. What can they benefit from reading your material?

-Fear Of Lost:

This is one of the most powerful things to take note when writing articles, because subconsciously, the fear of lost will compel a reader to take action more than anything else.

Final food for thought - always remember to keep the headline using the above strategy. You will get amazing results if you can combine some of the strategies together in one headline. Once you have mastered the art of writing a great headline, combined with good content. You can be sure that your work will get huge exposure.

Will Toh is a preeminent and veteran internet marketer with immerse PASSION in Internet MLM and Personal Development. One of his goal in life is to help individual achieve Financial Abundance and Living Excellence.

Click here

to Download for **FREE** a Classic Self Help ebook and find out more.

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Friday, January 05, 2007


Copy Writing - Are You Losing Sales By Missing This Word

By Paul Hooper - Kelly

There's one word in the English language, that stands head and shoulders above all the others for getting a "Yes" response to your sales letter. And, no -- it isn't the word "free".

I hardly ever read books on copy writing, because I prefer to go right to the source. So I read books on human psychology. You see, to persuade people to do what you want them to do -- whether on a first date or in copy writing -- it pays to mug up on the psychological triggers that compel people to act.

You are reading this now, because of a psychological trigger I used in the title. The trigger that started you reading this was the fear of losing sales if you weren't using this particular word. So what is that word? The word is "because" and here's why it's so amazing.

Its astonishing power was discovered -- not by a copywriter but a lady psychologist -- to be the most compelling word you can use. Here's how she found it.

Harvard Social Psychologist, Ellen Langer, went up to some people standing in line to use a Xerox copier and said, "Excuse me, I have five pages to copy. May I use the Xerox, because I'm in a rush." All the people, bar one, were quite happy to allow her to go ahead.

Later, she asked a similar number a slightly different question, "Excuse me, I have five pages to copy. May I use the Xerox?". This time, only about 2/3 of the group were happy for her to jump right in.

Finally, she asked a third group, "Excuse me, I have five pages to copy. May I use the Xerox, because I have to make some copies?"

This last group mirrored the first group in their almost total acquiescence to her request.

Can you spot the reason for the difference?

In the first and third experiments, which met with almost 100% success, she used the magic word: "because". In the less successful -- but still pretty good -- middle experiment, the word "because" was absent.

So there you have it: one little word makes a 33% difference in the response. That's the awesome power of persuasive copy writing through psychology.

So make sure your sales letters are rich in the words "because" and "the reason why". For example, let's say you're selling an e-book. This has several benefits to the reader, in particular "instant gratification" (another psychological trigger), but if you are dealing with the price, you can minimize that by comparison (yes -- you've guessed it, that's another one!).

Here's an example of both sets of words in action . . .

If this was a hard bound book, not only would you have to wait several days for delivery, it would also cost you over $100. But, order it today and you can be discovering these amazing secrets just minutes from now for just $30, because it is available as an instant electronic download, and the reason why we can let you steal it at this rock bottom price is because we have no inventory or shipping costs, so we are delighted to pass the saving over to you in the form of this amazingly low price.

Copyright 2007 Paul Hooper-Kelly and

Paul Hooper-Kelly owns and has been called "The Best Copywriter In The World" by one of his clients and has just compiled a FREE report crammed with more hints and tips you can easily use to take your copy writing to a whole new level of effectiveness. Grab your FREE copy now by clicking this link >> Copywriting_Secrets

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007


How to Write and Sell Your Novel

By Victoria Rosendahl

Have you always wanted to write and sell a novel but weren't sure where to start? The writing part is hard enough but how do you get your masterpiece published and sold?

A series of three articles will give you a basic blueprint for options you can pursue, like:

• Agents – How to find a reputable one and learn who to stay away from

• Publishers – The best route for you may not be a big publishing house in New York … a smaller house may be just the right fit for you

• Marketing – Here are some steps you can take to set up appearances and what you need to interest local TV and radio stations

In this article, we’ll look at writing in general and whether you need an agent to sell your book. There’s lots to cover so let’s go!


The Great American Novel.

It's a catchphrase writers have heard -- and been saddled with -- for a long time.

Writing a novel is organic; it comes from deep inside. While there are some tried-and-true formulas, the best teacher comes in two forms: writing and reading.

Why? Because to be a good writer you must be a good reader.

If you're interested in a particular area -- or genre – of fiction like mysteries, romance or science fiction, read as many books by different authors in those genres as you can. You'll quickly sort out the good from the not-so-good and learn to develop an eye for what works in a novel.

Reading novels teaches you structure, pacing and tone. It helps you learn how to develop characters and experiment with point of view and tension.

In fact imagery, tension and release are the three big factors in successful novels. Imagery is word painting. Richness of detail is what helps you connect with your audience and find a common ground the two of you can share. Tension keeps you turning the pages. And release ties it altogether.

If you're into writing and want to learn the basics, there are several avenues to pursue. You can pick up some terrific how-to books like On Writing by Stephen King or Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott.

Magazines like “The Writer” and “Writers Digest” are chock-full of articles to help hone your style and voice. And there are a slew of online courses to choose from. Try searching the `Net using keywords like "online writing classes" or just "writing classes" and you'll get loads of choices. Investigate writing clubs in your area or find out how to join a critique group. And many writing ezines publish free newsletters each month with loads of information about writing how-to’s and the business of being a successful novelist.


To Agent or Not to Agent, That's the Question

There are as many opinions on this topic as there are bagel varieties in Manhattan. Before the competition to sell a novel became fierce, agents weren't as necessary as they are today. And agent’s commission these days runs anywhere from 15% – 20%

The Big Seven

If your heart’s desire is to be published with one of the "big seven" houses in New York -- names like Random House, Little, Brown, or Doubleday -- you'll probably need an agent to get your little toe in the front door. Many large houses refuse to look at unsolicited (read that unasked for and, many times, unwanted) manuscripts.

For the big houses, a good agent is like having a backstage pass to the hottest show in town. And it's because of the relationship the agent has developed with the editors.

Now, there are big publishers that will accept unsolicited manuscripts but the chances of getting a book contract this way are less than winning Powerball.

Smaller Houses

Small to medium-sized publishing houses are easier to get into for an unknown writer and it's also a place where you can develop a personal relationship with the publisher.

And that's what you really want: a relationship.

It's true that advances are small to not-at-all in these houses but you’ll have a greater chance of being published. And an agent isn’t as critical -- in fact it's sometimes less desirable -- for small and medium-size houses.

Where to Find an Agent

If you decide that having an agent is the direction you'd like to go in, there are a few caveats to remember.

Anyone can call themselves a literary agent. There is no professional licensing that separates the good from the bad. There are, however, a few things you can do to protect yourself and your future reputation when selecting an agent:

• Talk to other writers -- Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find an agent. Ask lots of questions about whether the writer is happy with his or her agent, if the agent is courteous and professional, and if the agent does what they say they'll do and on time.

• Look for the AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) designation -- This isn't an ironclad guarantee that an agent is squeaky clean or will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. It does, however, add a layer of credibility to an agent’s reputation because, by being members, agents must conduct themselves in a way that doesn't breach AAR's ethical code of conduct. AAR’s website can be found at and contains a searchable database of agents.

• Never pay a “reading fee” to an agent -- Reasonable fees for miscellaneous expenses like postage and copies are an expected part of working with an agent but paying someone hundreds -- or even thousands -- of dollars to read your manuscript is unconscionable. That's the kind of agent to avoid.

• Read other author’s acknowledgments -- Frequently, writers will thank their agents in the acknowledgement section of their books. If you're interested in or have written a novel in the same genre, make a note of the agent’s name, gather the contact information, and submit a query letter.

You can find listings of agents both online at sites like AAR and Writers Market ( as well as in books updated annually like Jeff Herman's Guide To Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents: Who they are! What they want! How to win them over! and Writer’s Digest’s Guide to Literary Agents. The online version Writers Market has a database of over 6,000 listings, updated daily, and contains a section where you can store information you’ve submitted to agents and publishers. There is an annual membership fee to join Writer’s Market online.

There's also a terrific web site you can use as an agent and publisher research tool called “Preditors and Editors” at It has hundreds of listings and also gives warnings about shady agents as well as kudos for agents who are terrific. You can even find bulleted lists of do’s and don’ts for spotting scam publishers and literary agents.

Above all, when you find someone who is interested in representing you, don't jump into a contract with them just yet. Interview them. Yes, you heard that right. Interview them.

Remember, your relationship with an agent is a partnership and the right one could last a lifetime. If your questions are answered to your satisfaction and you feel a rapport with this person, ask for the names and phone numbers of three other clients. If the agent is reluctant to give out this information because of privacy concerns, ask if they would contact the writers and have them call you. You're looking for references here -- just like ones you’ve provided when you've gone on job interviews.

Because that's what this is -- you're interviewing for the position of your agent.

At a writer’s conference a few years ago, best-selling author David Baldacci told the story of how he found his agent. He had just finished writing Absolute Power and had sent it, unsolicited and in full to five agents (usually you only send 1-3 chapters for first go round). All five contacted him. He flew to New York and interviewed them all. He chose Aaron Priest of the Priest Agency because of the rapport he felt with him.

Next time we’ll delve into the world of publishers -- big and small -- and whether you want to brave one of the big seven houses in New York or find a smaller publisher for your novel.

Victoria B. Rosendahl is a freelance copywriter, published novelist and book editor. Her newest novel, Bitter Tastes, is a mystery for ages 8-12 published by Canadian publisher Stargazer Press ( To order your autographed first edition of Bitter Tastes, go to Victoria will appear with Donna Doyle and Beth Erickson at their seminar entitled “The Business of Successful Freelance Writing” in Wilmington, Delaware on May 5, 2007. Visit for more information and reserve your seat.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Publish Your Poetry Yourself

Poetry Publishing: Chapbooks
By Nathan Harms

The street merchant adjusts the silver periwig which has slipped to the back of his head, tugs at his dusty knee breeches and steps into the road to present his latest merchandise to the pedestrians:

"Chapbooks! Chapbooks!

Fresh from the printer today.

Salty jokes for you,

A pretty new poem,

A fairy tale for the children too!"

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, itinerant merchants and street vendors known as “chapmen” plied their trade at road sides and street corners throughout England and Europe. Interested shoppers might search the bottom of a chapman's wooden cart full of saucepans and tallow, twine and folk remedies, to find the chapbooks, so called because they were sold by chapman.

More than a thousand printing presses operated in Europe by the year 1500. But although many books were printed, most went to the clergy and other educated classes. Few books were available or affordable to the average citizen. Chapbooks put the printed word into the hands of ordinary people. The small booklets, often only 4 inches by 5 inches, became ever more popular in the following century.

By the mid 1600s, times were very hard. Poor crops caused frequent food shortages and starvation. The population faced a series of subsistence crises and epidemics. Plague was rampant, then relented, then returned again to take more than 100,000 lives in London during 1665. Average life expectancy hovered at age 30.

Though less than half of the English citizenry could read well enough to even sign their own names, chapbooks were purchased cheaply, shared, and read aloud. Some of these booklets were only 10 pages in length. The printing was smudged and the illustrations crude. The pages contained simple medieval folk tales or poems, jokes, riddles, and sometimes ribald tales obviously intended for adult reading.

Religion was also a popular topic of the chapbooks. Of a sample of 450 chapbooks from the period, 120 are religious. Many of these deal with the lives of saints. The inventory of a Paris printer who died in 1698 suggests that his best selling work was "Pensez-y-bien," a chapbook about the art of dying well. When one considers the dire times, the subject seems appropriate.

In 1662, England's Act of Uniformity placed strict obligations upon the clergy and the public regarding the church. The powers of the Act gradually restricted and censured the content of chapbooks. Although chapbooks continued in popularity in France and Italy, advances in printing methods eventually brought "legitimate" books into the hands of common people.

Today, the chapman may be a quirk of history, but his legacy, chapbooks, play a vital role in poetry publishing and can be especially effective for Christian poets. Chapbooks put collections of fine poetry into the hands of readers at reasonable cost. Anyone disparaging of the legitimacy of present-day chapbooks ought to note a few of the respected poets whose work has appeared in chapbook form: Dorothy Livesay, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, to name only a few.

Today's chapbooks are distant cousins to the chapbooks of history. For one thing, the publishing of chapbooks is now reserved almost exclusively for poetry.

High quality chapbooks consist of elegantly printed parchment pages bound in glossy card covers. Such books may also be illustrated with line drawings. At the other end of the scale, simple chapbooks may be only a dozen sheets of plain white bond, folded and saddle-stapled with paper covers.

Publishing agreements for chapbooks are similar to book publishing agreements. You mail a collection of your poetry (20-40 poems is a good number) to a publisher who indicates an interest in chapbooks of poetry. (Use your market guide to research such publishers.) Simultaneous submissions are usually acceptable if you inform the publishers.

Some publishing agreements may require you to finance the costs. In such cases you should be able to take delivery of all the books to distribute and sell yourself. A publishing agreement with a commercial publisher will probably offer you only a few copies for yourself and designate the remainder for retail sales. Decide what the goal of your chapbook will be. Do you want to distribute your book to local bookstores and promote it enthusiastically in person? Or will you be happy just to have a few books to show to your family and friends?

Signing a chapbook agreement with a commercial publisher may be simpler than landing a book contract, but it is still no easy task. If your manuscript is accepted, you have good reason to be proud. Although chapbooks are rarely reviewed in the major press, they are a legitimate and respected way to put your poetry into print.

Chapbooks can be made right in your home. Although you could make your chapbook by handwriting the pages, the process would be slow. It will be easier if you have:

- a computer with a printer

- a stapler

- good quality white paper for the inside contents

- heavy-weight paper for the cover

If you have access to a photocopier and a commercial quality stapler, you can probably produce high quality chapbooks right from your home, at a cost of only a few cents per book.

Start by collecting the poems you wish to include in your chapbook. Some "purists" think that all the poems in a chapbook should be related in some way, but I don't agree. Your book can be a collection of all your best work. You should have at least 8 poems for your book, but probably no more than 40. It's hard to hand-fold and staple the book if it's too thick.

Using your computer word processor, type up your poems with the layout of your page in "landscape" mode, so that the page is sideways instead of vertical. You can choose this option in almost any word processor. You want to type 2 poems on each page, with plenty of room in the center (gutter) where the staples will be.

When you print your poems, you'll need to flip the printed pages over, halfway through printing so that there are two poems on each side of the page. This is very easy to do, but sometimes you have to fiddle around with the paper a bit before it works out right.

When your poems are all printed correctly, each page of paper will have 4 poems, 2 on each side. For a small book like this, you really do not need to number the pages. Lay them in a stack and fold them together, "book-style." Crease the fold lightly to show where the staples should go.

If you're using a heavy paper cover you can print it separately and lay it beneath the stack of poem pages with the illustration facing away from you. Line the pages up carefully and staple 3 times along the crease at the center. Now you can fold the book and make the crease permanent by rubbing hard on it with a smooth object.

You've just created your first chapbook! Congratulations on continuing a book making process that has endured for almost 500 years.

Once you've finished the first book, you'll probably notice all sorts of things that can refine your process, and you can incorporate improvements into subsequent books. The great thing about making chapbooks this way is that you never invest more than a few cents at any time, and a book that doesn't turn out the way you want is not a big loss.

Copyright by Nathan Harms

Nathan Harms is the founder and Executive Director of Utmost Christian Writers Foundation, a non-profit organization for poets of Christian faith. Nathan is a widely published poet, winner of numerous awards. He is highly regarded by Christian poets for his instructional and speaking abilities.

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