Writing Tip & Prompt: Visualizing Characters

Writing Prompt - InjuryOn 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 – Visualizing Characters

Picture your character before you start writing about them. Sometimes writers have a character in mind, but they have a hard time giving him or her definition. Don’t be afraid to draw your characters, or even borrow ideas from a photograph. Having an image in front of you can definitely make defining the physical features and descriptions of your character easier.

Writing Prompt – Injury

Think about the last time you were injured. Was it a minor injury, or did you break a limb? Then, write a story or poem about how your life changed and how you managed life while you were healing. What interesting insights or revelations came out of your healing process?

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2013

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2013WestBow Press was delighted to be present at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this past weekend on April 20 and 21. This was the 18th year of the LA Times Festival, and it was its second time being held at the University of Southern California campus.

With over 150,000 attendees, the LA Times Festival of Books is one of the largest book festivals in the country. We at WestBow Press loved seeing so many people there interested in reading, writing and publishing. Los Angeles’ warm and sunny weather provided an ideal weekend for readers to spend time at an outdoor festival. Local families and USC students weren’t the only ones enjoying the events at the festival – numerous celebrities, entertainers and media outlets were present, keeping the energy up throughout the entire event.

WestBow Press was able to feature 24 different titles at the LA Times Festival of Books. By being featured at this event, these books were on display in the WestBow Press Book Gallery, listed in the catalog made available as a free takeaway for festival attendees and they were for sale in the Indie Author Bookstore. These three different avenues of exposure gave readers three different ways to learn about the featured titles and the authors.

Events where literature is the main focus, such as the LA Times Festival of Books, are a great opportunity for WestBow Press authors to reach a highly interested crowd of people who are passionate about books and reading.  This weekend, readers of all ages were able to browse for new books and new authors, giving those who have published with WestBow Press a chance to broaden their fan base and build upon their marketing platform.

Aspiring authors and authors who are interested in finding out how they can reach out to their target audiences are also attracted to literature-based events. We are always pleased to meet aspiring authors and fortunately for these writers, we were there to help answer any questions they had. We are always proud to help our authors achieve their dreams!

Writing Tip & Prompt: Read Reviews

Writing Tip and PromptOn 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 – Read Reviews

When writing your book, make sure to read the reviews of books of the same genre, or with a similar story line. You want to see what the readers and critics have to say about these books. Don’t fall into the same traps the books with bad reviews did. Instead, learn from their mistakes and shape your manuscript into a publication worthy of rave reviews.

Writing Prompt – Endings

Remember, not all stories have resolutions. Think about a story with a conflict where the characters simply exist within the tension. Perhaps it is an archeological search for some relic, or maybe a neighborly feud that has gone on for years. Now, write a story or poem that attempts to emulate this kind conflict, without reaching for a clean, fair or ironic resolution.

5 Tips to Promote Your Poetry

Poetry MarketingEach April (National Poetry Month), people across the country get excited about reading and writing poems. But what do you do once you’ve actually written and published your own book of poetry? How do you reach out to readers and attract an audience?

Here are five ways to promote you book of poetry:

    1. Make your poems easy to share. Because poems are generally short in length, they’re easy to share. Take advantage of this by showcasing your shorter poems, favorite lines or poetic musings in images that can be shared on social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook. Design something on your own using a program like Photoshop, or use free, online tools such as Pinstamatic or Quozio to help you out. Make sure each photo includes your author name and links back to your blog, website or bookselling page.
    2. Turn your poems into works of art. Work with a graphic designer or letterpress studio to feature one of your poems on a custom poster or broadside. This special piece of art will be a conversation starter (and selling item) at any event or reading you participate in. Poetry lovers and art lovers alike will be drawn to this unique takeaway that brings beautiful words and beautiful imagery together in a meaningful, memorable and lasting way.
    3. Host readings and book signings. Organizing a poetry reading is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to share your work and interact face-to-face with poetry lovers. Contact coffee houses, libraries, bookstores, schools, art galleries, etc. — think outside the box to find a venue that makes sense for you and your book. Bring promotional materials — such as custom bookmarks, business cards and BookStubs — to give away to attendees. Also be sure to bring copies of your book and poetry broadsides to sign and sell.
    4. Tap into the power of audio. It’s a commonly held belief that poetry should be heard, not seen — that the real power of poetry lies in the spoken word, not on the printed page. Why not give your fans both options? To help promote your poetry book, consider capturing select poems in audio files. Bring your poems to life with your voice, and share your recordings through videos on your own YouTube channel or through your own podcast. You could also create an audiobook so poetry lovers can listen to you read each poem in your book.
    5. Connect with fellow poets. Whether you’re hosting a reading, keeping a blog or producing a podcast, you’ll be well served to include other poets in your efforts. When multiple poets take part in a reading, each poet can help contribute to promoting the event and attracting their own built-in followers. In the same way, if you interview emerging poets on your blog or invite other writers to read on your podcast, the people you feature will drive traffic back to your site and, as a result, help grow your following.

 What tips and advice do you have for marketing books of poetry?

Writing Tip & Prompt: Dialogue

Writing Tip & PromptOn 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 – Dialogue

You want the dialogue in your book to flow. Try writing a scene in only dialogue. Try not to over think things, and let your words flow. Allow your character to solely set the movement of your scene. When you are finished, review your text and figure out what the scene was really about. By playing with dialogue, you’ll discover undercurrents for your scene that weren’t obvious before.

Writing Prompt – Character Development

Pick a story you like and know well. Take a look at the main character and write a paragraph describing this character at the start of the story: attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, etc. Now write a paragraph describing that character at the end. Do you see significant differences? Did the character stay steady or did change occur? How would you describe the emotional curve?

The Big Trend in Book Publishing

The Big Trend in Book PublishingTim O’Reilly recently gave an interesting speech and interview at the Tools of Change conference on the future of book publishing. Following are some key points that I took away from them:

  • Obscurity is the biggest threat that authors face.
  • Things change because creative people see problems to solve and are not afraid of the future. The people who face those problems are searching for solutions and turn into problem solvers.
  • Cross-media creators collaborate with others to develop synergies between formats to increase the success of each format – videos referencing the book increase book sales, book references to the videos increase video views (and ad revenue) and a brand’s overall popularity enables it’s owners to explore new opportunities such as events.
  • Reviews are imperative for a book, and now fans are rating and reviewing books on Goodreads more than they are on Amazon. (A good possibility as to why Amazon recently bought Goodreads.)
  • Self-publishing is the wave of the future.
  • Media trends seem to follow cycles where innovative artists operate independently for awhile but then consolidate on the few platforms that are aggregating the most attention; driving traffic for your book is difficult and expensive – especially for the first million viewers.
  • Focus on your vision rather than copying others; it is much more fun to be the leader.

Recent research from Digital Book World points out that authors still look to traditional publishers for the following:

  • A seal of approval to help legitimize their book
  • Sales and distribution into bookstores
  • Marketing to help rise above the crowd

WestBow Press is uniquely positioned to help authors ride the wave of self-publishing while experiencing the benefits that come from being affiliated with a traditional publisher. Look for news on what this can mean for your book in the weeks to come.

What problems are you trying to solve through your writing?
What do you want in a book publisher?

Writing Tip & Prompt: Change Your Scenery

Writing Tip and PromptOn 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 – Character Voice

Who is 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.

Q&A with Scott Coleman, WestBow Press Author

Best When BrokenScott Coleman published Best When Broken with WestBow Press. Best When Broken shares the testimony of Scott’s life through the grace of God. Coleman became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 due to a water skiing accident. His testimony shows that every moment is a gift from God and that a relationship with Him can, and will, help overcome any disability or hardship.

Here we dive a little deeper into how his accident changed his view on the world and what advice he has for others who might be going through a similar situation.

WestBow Press: What was going through your mind after your accident?

Scott Coleman: Surprisingly, my primary thoughts were not fearful, but embarrassment. I was positive I was about to head straight to eternity and I was embarrassed to give an account of my life to my Creator, and because of this I never asked God to save me. I didn’t panic because I was face-down in the water, paralyzed and unable to breathe. I simply asked the Lord to forgive me, and by the time they rolled me over in the water I had that Philippians kind of peace – the kind that passes understanding. (more…)

2012 Women of Faith Contest Winners Announced!

2012 Women of Faith WinnersWestBow Press announced author Laurie Norlander as the Grand-Prize winner in the third annual Women of Faith writing contest. Norlander’s manuscript, Mirror Images, was selected from over 400 entrants. The fiction title will be published through WestBow Press and will be given special consideration by Thomas Nelson.

The 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest was judged by representatives from Thomas Nelson Publishing and Live Event Management, Inc., and the producers of Women of Faith.

Grand Prize: ‘Mirror Images’ by Laurie Norlander
“It is a real page turner – a perfect book to get lost in. The book was a clear favorite with a complex plot full of real life problems and many unexpected twists and turns that kept readers guessing to the very end.”
 – Susan Ellingburg, Marketing Copywriter, Live Event Management Inc.

Additional winners included Julie Hall and Alana Terry. Julie Hall came in first place with her fantasy-fiction book, Life Everafter, and Alana Terry came in second place with her fiction book, The Beloved Daughter.

First Place: ‘Life Everafter’ by Julie Hall
Life Everafter is absolutely charming, imaginative and sweet. It is a fast-paced, original and intriguing story. I hope it’s a series because I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
 – Susan Ellingburg

Second Place: ‘The Beloved Daughter’ by Alana Terry
The Beloved Daughter has an engaging plot that reads like a story out of today’s headlines and makes the reader stop to consider what they would do in similar circumstances.”
 – Susan Ellingburg

Thomas Nelson, Women of Faith and WestBow Press would like to thank all of our contest participants for being brave and courageous and sharing your stories with us!

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