Author Toolbox 5: The Logline

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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What I know about marketing isn’t much. I’ve taken part in Facebook parties—not alone—thank goodness. I’ve posted my share of cover reveals, and blog tours posts was well. As a supporter and as an author. It’s all a learning experience and all worth doing. If for nothing else, to find out what works.

I keep notes and so should you.

Authors are expected to promote their work. A publisher will pay for the editing and cover and they will promote as far as they can. But here’s the thing, our moment in the sun is only one of many they will promote that year, possibly that month.

You may think

“I can’t toot my own horn.”

then don’t, but there May be consequences.

Low sales means you not only hurt yourself but also your publisher. And maybe the next book you pitch to them will be a pass. Why? Because they didn’t make their money back. Bottom line—a business makes money.

Stand on a soapbox and shout you wrote a book.

Be proud of it. Try to get as many readers as possible to at least read the blurb.

How?

Start with your logline. You know the one. It’s the one sentence, stating the characters (not by name but by description) and the stakes they face if they fail or succeed, that keeps you on track when you’re writing,

LogLine:

If you don’t do this, then start.

I tweaked my logline into a 140 characters twitter pitch to find my readers—publishers and agents—during #PitMad and #WritePit.

Here are some examples that sold, White Light:

  • Great Aunt Alice has one dying wish. Emma, lend me your body long enough to solve my murder and maybe get lucky one last time. #PitMad Myst
  • Given a chance to prevent a murder, Emma will do anything. Even if it means, a trip back to her old room in the psych ward. #Pitmad A Myst
  • When a psychic warns two busybodies where danger lies, she doesn’t let her death stop her from joining the fun #WritePit #A Myst
  • She’s older. She’s smarter. What’s stopping her from solving her murder? Two friends on the job and the fact she’s a ghost. #WritePit #A #Myst

The goal is to come up with something that will catch a reader’s eye.

Any marketing secrets you’d care to share? I’d love to learn something new.

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IWSG 40: The words began with me…

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? 

Co-Hosts:

Tyrean Martinson | Tara Tyler | Raimey GallantBeverly Stowe McClure

 This is hard because I sound full of myself.

The biggest and best surprise was seeing the final product. Was that really me? How did I put it all together well enough to be entertaining?

I blame the editors. If you trust them, they will bring out the best in a work.

Sure, it’s hard to rewrite sections, or remove them. To change a word choice for something that seems wrong at the time (and turns out to be exactly what the story needed). Or to expand a thought. Or to hear the truth and know there’s a load of work ahead.

The learning process can be exhausting—emotionally and mentally. A good editor is worth more than I can explain here. So I say trust them. Not with just what happens above but with sharing your vision. Team up.

It’s all right to tell them how you feel. Especially if it’s important to you. Remember to pick your battles and always with respect.

After my experience, I understand all stories are team effort. Yet I still get a little thrill when I look back at the process. It is the one time (hopefully of many) that proves someone loves and believes in your work.

It’s okay to be excited. And I was!

My genre of choice is the mystery. I’ve incorporated it in fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, and cozy so far. I’ve had fun building the story and even more fun executing it.

Care to read something of mine. Well,  try this short freebie: Dragon Eye

What about you? When does your fun begin?

Spotlight + Giveaway: Best. Night. Ever.

Best. Night. Ever.

By Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito

 

About the Book:

Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.

Buy Links:

AmazonBarnes & Noble Books-A-MillionIndiebound

About the Authors:

One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between.  She lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she writes middle grade and young adult novels. Visit her at RacheleAlpine.com.

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the KidLiterati.com blog. Visit her online at ronniarno.com.

Alison Cherry is the author of the YA novels RedFor Real and Look Both Ways, and the middle grade novels Willows vs. Wolverines and The Classy Crooks Club. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. This whole “writing books” thing is just a cover for the international crime ring she runs out of her Brooklyn apartment. (Shhh, don’t tell.) Visit her online at AlisonCherryBooks.com.

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on the small business blogs for Intuit and Go Payment and she is a featured columnist for SmallBizTechnology.com. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her online at StephanieFaris.com.

Jen Malone is a former Hollywood publicist who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. Jen is also the author of the middle grade novels At Your Service and The Art of the Swap, coauthor of the You’re Invited series, and wrote the YA novels Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. You can visit her online at JenMaloneWrites.com.

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, the coauthor of You’re Invited and You’re Invited Too, and the author of the young adult novel Exit Stage Left. You can find her online at GailNall.com and on Twitter as @GaileCN. Visit her online at GailNall.com.

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a café, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit TheBFFBucketList.com.

Giveaway Contest

The Rafflecopter giveaway is for a free hardback copy of Best. Night. Ever.

Click here to enter the Best. Night. Ever Giveaway

 

Author Toolbox 4: Discover The Layers Of A Story

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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I call the writer that uses both plotting and pantsing a framer. I’m one of these people and it has made my writing life much better. It’s given me a chance to discover the layers of my story.

Plotter

I’ve already mentioned I outline (synopsis) the overall story. My thinking is simply: if I can tell the story in a coherent manner, I can sell it. Or that’s the theory. I make sure the tension rises, the plot holes are filled and all the little threads are tied up in a nice bow before I begin pantsing. The threads I leave hanging are because I like to imagine my characters carrying on. As if I popped in for an exciting part of their lives and popped out again. Who knows, maybe I’ll return at a later date.

Pantser

I break the outline into doable sections with specific directions of what needs to happen.

I let loose. The creative juices flow. They know what direction I’m going and how fast I have to get there. No doubt many of us do this part. hehehe.

It’s why we’re here, reading and learning new techniques.

Layers

During all of this I think about the layers of the story because to me there are a minimum of two. The one on top is the one the reader enjoys until they realize more is going on than just surface stuff.

I give every character an agenda. Their own goal and what they are willing to do to achieve it.

Where I start

I give several characters an overlapping background that I don’t give away so much as let them react to. For example, as kids someone’s parent ran over another’s cat and someone is not letting the memory go. Another possibility is someone was a no-show at the prom, leaving their date to go alone. When they meet again, it’s time for a confrontation.

The layers of the story is where the character connect/disconnect with each other. I like to write mysteries, so each one of my characters has motive to kill the victim. Each one of them has a reason to kill another cast member. Each one of them had opportunity and the means to kill the victim or each other.

Going Deeper

I write the underlayer before I let my creative writing loose. Then once I’ve written a few more chapters, I adapt my underlayer again and again. Until it guides me through the worse/best of them. Motivations become clear when each character has an agenda, feelings that drive them down only one road—it may be interrupted, but is never forgotten, and then I try to write the story I first outlined.

The surface may appear smooth. But like a duck, much of the action hides below the surface, churning up all kinds of fun and trouble.

Have you done this? Any tips for me?

Other links you may like:

IWSG 39: How Do You Remember It All?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Co-Hosts:

| Christine Rains | Dolarah @ Book Lover | Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor |

| Yvonne Ventresca | LG Keltner |

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What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

When I read a book on how to write, I’m re-reading something I’ve already learned. My pet peeve: why can’t I remember all the information all the time?

I’ve read how-to books until my eyes ached. I spent hours seeking new methods, or inspiring myself by reading Top Ten First Lines, or Best First Lines or….

Not immediately recalling what I need to know seems like such a waste of time. But I’ll remind myself as necessary, because under all the non-creative parts of writing are the reasons I began to write in the first place.

Whether I remember all the mechanics of writing or not, it’s something I force myself to do. I want to be the best storyteller possible—for me at least. Doing less would just embarrass me later.

What about you, do you remember everything? How you do you keep all the facets where you need them?