AARP’s Life@50+ Event in New Orleans

by WestBow Press Social Media Publicist Brittany Harness

Last week, members of our WestBow Press team traveled to the Big Easy for AARP’s premiere national event that showcases the best of how people are redefining life after 50 — the Life@50+ event in New Orleans, La.

The event — a three-day conference held at the Ernest P. Morial Convention Center — allowed the team to mingle with and educate AARP members and their families on the services offered by WestBow Press and to offer encouragement and information on how to get their untold stories or unpublished manuscripts out to the masses.

Making the trek in two groups, the team traveled from Indianapolis and Bloomington, Ind. down to New Orleans, La. to represent WestBow Press. The first of the teams arrived Wednesday for booth coordination and setup, and by Thursday morning, the entire team was ready for final booth coordination, set up and action.

In addition to a book gallery featuring titles from WestBow Press and other indie publishing imprints, WestBow Press author Douglas F. Grady took advantage of the opportunity to promote his book Where’s Your Light? and meet the general public during his very own hour-long book signing at the event. By the end of his book signing, Grady didn’t have a single copy of his book remaining — a sign of success!

As indicated by the traffic to our booth and the praise of those who stopped by, the book signings at the AARP event were a wonderful way for indie authors to interact with readers and promote themselves and their books to a new audience.

The team of nine had a great time while in the Crescent City, was delighted to have met so many potential authors, and is thrilled that authors like Douglas F. Grady were able to introduce their titles to this great generation of readers.

Do you think you’ll join WestBow Press at an event in the future?


The Three Basics to Editing

During the writing process, many writers tend to pre-edit their work while still crafting the story. An approach that is usually more effective is to schedule editing and writing as two separate parts of your routine. If you are a morning writer, wait at least until the evening before you edit anything. Depending on what works best for you, you can wait until the next day or you can even wait until you’ve completed a full draft of the book. The point is to allow your text a chance to fully develop.

There is no doubt that proper editing is a key factor in your book’s overall potential for success. Follow these basic editing tips for an in-production manuscript:

  1. Walk away before you edit. Give yourself some time to gain a fresh perspective, and return to your work with new eyes. Don’t try to edit or rework your story directly after a writing session. Everything looks different the next day.
  2. Don’t rely on your computer for editing. Your computer’s spelling and grammar check will only get you so far. Not only can it skip over misspellings and grammatical mistakes, but your computer does not recognize important subtleties in context or writing style.
  3. Let a professional read your manuscript. It’s okay to share your story with friends and family for their opinion of your book. However, you will need to rely on the critical eye of a professional for feedback that will help you improve your book’s content, grammar and structure. 

Remember, the interior pages of your book are just as much a representation of your author brand as your investment in an eye-catching, customized exterior. The cover is meant to reach out to potential readers, alluring them to purchase the book. The written words, on the other hand, are what will keep the reader invested in your work and build loyalty.

Investing in editing services will assure that your book is within industry standards and is ready for your potential readers. If your work consistently presents a combination of clean content, a fluid storyline and your own unique writing style, readers will grow to have positive expectations for your work and for your author brand.

How do you balance writing and editing?


Writing Tip and Prompt: 9/21/2012

On Fridays we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Tip – Change Your Scenery

Dust off that map and take a look at the number of places you can travel within an hour of home. Go for a day trip. Sit and write someplace new. This change of scenery brings inspiration, motivation, and a new eye for your surroundings and all of its little details. 

Writing Prompt – Perspective

Who’s easier to pen — the optimistic or the pessimistic voice?  Write a ‘poem for two voices’ where an optimist and a pessimist share their views about a single topic.

Diversify Your Writing Portfolio

You know it and I know it — it’s hard to make it in this writing gig. And nowadays, with heightened competition and innovative marketing practices, it’s almost mandatory that you extend your writer’s hand down a variety of promotional avenues.

It’s about building a business – your writing business – and you and your thoughts are the product. What are you going to do to build your name, enhance your capabilities, and brand yourself with high level expectations?

Take the pro-active approach to your writing business and diversify your portfolio with the following items:

1. Blogs, Podcasts and Videos. A triple threat of sight and sound. Engage your potential readers with a regular writing schedule, your blog, giving snippets of your style and a name they can follow. Create podcasts and video linked to your blog and virally distribute on websites such as YouTube and FaceBook.

2. Articles. Write and submit, write and submit. Seek out magazines within your writing genre or those that may compliment your story or writing style. Brand yourself with specialized knowledge. And get published, even if it’s in a monthly edition.

3. Writing Associations. Embrace your industry and attend annual writer’s conferences. Become involved in writing communities and network with fellow writers. Get to know industry editors. Carry a professional portfolio of your writing, published works, awards and any press coverage.

4. Seminars. Seek out opportunities to speak to potential readers and industry professionals. Speak for free if you have to. You can start small — writer’s groups, bookstores. Prepare a presentation with a niche and present it to your writing associations for next year’s conference.

5. Facebook and Twitter. Get e-socially connected. It’s a must and it works. Haven’t you heard a story of a friend of a friend…well, that can be you and your writing the friend is speaking of. Get involved in social networks, treat it as an element of your business, and promote your writing.

Start small and understand that this combined effort will take time. It’s one of those things — you give it all you’ve got and it feels like your efforts are slow paced. But with consistency and the extra mile, the payoff can be grand.

Book to Screen: 3 Tips to Turn Your Book into a Movie

One week from today, on Sept. 24, we’ll be celebrating the 116th birthday of one of America’s greatest authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald. His book, The Great Gatsby, has inspired generations and remained relevant in our pop culture, even 87 years after it was originally published. Throughout those 87 years, it has been adapted into film on four different occasions. And in 2013, we’ll see Jay Gatsby on screen again thanks to director Baz Luhrmann.

That got us thinking. What makes a book like The Great Gatsby so successful on film?

On the Author Learning Center, author, literary manager and Hollywood producer Dr. Ken Atchity led a webinar (one of many that you can attend for free, by the way) that described 10 Rules for Planning Your Novel to Be a Film. Here are just three of his tips:

1.       Keep your characters castable.

“What makes financers and distributors decide to make a film to begin with is the knowledge that they’ll be able to sell that film and people will go see it,” says Atchity.

2.       Set the story in contemporary times.

Due to cost of production, Atchity suggests setting your story in the year 2000 or later. “You open up so many more opportunities for production by keeping it contemporary,” he says. If your story is like The Great Gatsby in that it can’t be set in contemporary times, plan to pitch it to Hollywood as a strong “period” piece.

3.       Use the three-act structure.

Your story should have an irresistible opening, a middle with unexpected twists and a conclusive, satisfying ending. Atchity says the middle of the story is the toughest act for writers. So, he suggests you divide it into three acts as well. That way you can use excitement, complications and a climax to spice up the middle of your book.

And when you’re ready for Hollywood to see your completed story, our Book-to-Screen services can help.

  • A professional reader can develop your book’s Hollywood Coverage, an industry standard for pitching to the movie and TV industry.
  • A screenwriter can give your book a Hollywood Treatment, which outlines how your book could be adapted into a screenplay.
  • Or, hire a screenwriter to write a complete Hollywood Screenplay that you can submit to Hollywood.

For all of our Book-to-Screen services, your work will be considered for film adaptation by our first-look partner Thruline Entertainment, a Hollywood management and production company whose clients include Academy Award nominated screenwriters, Emmy Award winners and A-list Hollywood actors.

In addition to those services, we’re gearing up for PitchFest 2012. On Oct. 19, you’ll be able to pitch your book to Hollywood executives in a face-to-face setting. The deadline to register is Sept. 30, so if you’re interested in attending, sign up soon.

Now that we’ve gone through some of the ways you can turn your book into a movie, we want to hear more about your book.

Would you be interested in seeing your story on film? Why would your book make a good movie?

Writing Tip and Prompt: 9/14/2012

On Fridays we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers. We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.

Writing Prompt – Introduce Yourself

In the spirit of industry networking and involvement in the writing community, let’s get to know you as an author, and as an individual. Introduce yourself as you would to a new group of writers and explain the nature of your craft. Where have you been? And how does that effect where you are and where you want to go? Write this for yourself so that you may disclose the beautiful truth and maybe even uncover something new. (more…)

A Solemn Day of Remembrance

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22

Today we remember the lives of those who were tragically lost during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although 11 years have passed since this catastrophic event occurred that changed America, the legacies of those souls who perished still live on.

Take a moment today to say a prayer for those families who were affected by this event and remember our heroes who lost their lives trying to save others. WestBow Press honors a few memories through select books. (more…)

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