Through the Eyes of a Chld

Last night, I finally got around to reading some of last Sunday's paper. I'll be the first to admit, I only read the lifestyle stuff, cartoons and travel sections, and even though we only get the paper on Sunday, it's still hard to keep up sometimes.

Since I got my start writing for newspapers, this little story struck me http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080824/TWIST01/808240339/1025/PRINT

It's about a Michigan fifth grader who has a spot on a team of reporters sponsored by Scholastic. She was interviewed as to what it's like. Her answers are both charming and amusing-especially the point where she was asked her opinion.

It also made me stop and think a minute. How do I look at writing, interviewing, my role in the media almost 10 years into it? I'd like to say I see it with such childlike simplicity, but unfortunately, often times that's not true. I've been stung a few times like anyone else who's been in it long enough. That new, bright penny shine has worn off a bit for me.

But once in a while, it's good to see it fresh, and basic and simple like this; to remember what drew me in in the first place. Keep up the good work Kayla and, most of all, have fun.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Are You Deadline Driven?

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday and the topic of deadlines came up. We discovered they effect us in a very similar way.

I mentioned that I've come to realize that I work very well with external deadlines, like those imposed by an event date or an editor. I've never missed one when working for a magazine or newspaper. I've asked for an extension on rare occasion, but there's just a built in motivator that prevents me from blowing them off entirely.

However, on the flip side, I've tried to impose several self-created deadlines over the past couple of years. Finish something in a certain number of days because I have a lot of writing time, finish by my birthday etc. In complete contrast, this kind of due date apparently means nothing to whatever it is in my brain that makes me want to meet external demands. I'm disappointed when I don't meet the self-imposed ones, but it's not the same as the fear of not pleasing an editor.

For my friend, setting appointments with his graphic design clients works the same way. He will work like crazy to finish a task so he's ready for the meeting, but if he tries to set a personal timetable for something, the drive to finish just isn't the same.

Conclusion? That instead of using our efforts to figure out how to make the self-imposed ones more effective, we're better off working to find creative ways to set the kind that are effective.

How about you? Can you relate? Have any good tips to share?

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett

Multiple Uses for Ebooks

In many areas of the traditional book publishing world, ebooks are just starting to be taken seriously. However, more and more authors are catching on to them by learning from other areas including information marketing.

Here is a great blog post on ways to use ebooks beyond just selling them as an alternative to your print version http://cathystucker.com/seven-ways-to-profit-by-giving-away-your-ebook

As you'll see, sometimes an ebook version might be the only one you'll want to or need to offer depending on your goals.

If you've had success with any of the strategies Cathy mentions, feel free to share.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Boys and Books

Read an interesting article about boys and reading today. Pretty much everyone knows that it's tough to get most boys to read past the age of 8 or 9. A few catch the bug and keep it, but they're a smaller and smaller group as time passes.

The main point of the article is that to attract boys and keep them reading as they grow, one answer is to write books involving, guts, gore and icky stuff. Granted, this is certainly more interesting than a lot of the topics of some classic books, but my opinion is there should be a blend so that we don't turn out insensitive young men who thrive on bathroom humor and cannot hold intelligent conversation.

Here's the link to the article http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB121814900158422243-lMyQjAxMDI4MTA4ODEwNDg5Wj.html

What do you think? Let's get a conversation going.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Writer Beware Blogs!: Victoria Strauss -- Tidbits

Writer Beware Blogs!: Victoria Strauss -- Tidbits

I wanted to share Victoria's blog post with you today, as I think it has some good food for thought particularly in the area of traditional publishing contracts and the future of the industry.

Many authors go into the publishing process believing that if they can only be tradtionally published, they will be taken care of with kid gloves. As some of these tidbits point out, publishing is a business and sometimes what's good for the "business" will not send warm fuzzies to those at the lower levels of the totem pole.

Granted, most of us will not have books accepted by one of the big houses, but you can be sure that the mid and small size companies look to them as examples, so you will likely see changes at other companies down the line too.

Big lesson here, eyes wide open at all times.


What Do You Believe?

What do you believe about book publishing?

You can't be published without an agent. You're going to do it no matter what. It would take too much time. It sounds like fun. It's really hard, and few people ever do well at it. You're hooked and can't wait to do it again. There's only one way. The door to possibility has never been open wider.

Know what? Whatever you believe, it'll likely come true. Think it's too hard? It will be as long as you expect it to be so. Think it's going to be a cool adventure? It will be, miss-steps and all.

Along with skill, knowledge and training, a big part of success centers around what you believe deep down.

Where are you in your journey today? Where do you believe you can be?


20 Seconds

20 seconds. That's roughly the amount of time you have to describe your book in what's called an "elevator speech". For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, an "elevator speech" is a little prepared statement of less than a minute that you use in brief conversation, in pitches to the media etc.

You pull it out in conversations like this:
"Oh, you're a writer, what do you write about?"
"So what are you doing now?"
"What will you book do for my audience?"

Many of us know this, and many have even written one out including myself. But how good are we at using it?

I'm going to stand up and admit that I botched an attempt a couple of days ago. I'd called in early to a teleseminar and the host began chatting. It was a call about online marketing so eventually, the time came to mention why I'd tuned in.

For a few seconds my mind went blank and although I did explain my topic, it wasn't nearly as smooth as it could be. I definitely need more rehearsal and practice. How about you? Do you have your elevator speech ready, written down, tightened up?

Last week, I challenged you to post about your target audience. Well, the next step is having something to say once you get in front of them.

So let's see them. Post your elevator speeches here, in whatever form they are at the moment to get some feedback, and to give us all some examples.

You've got 20 seconds.