A crisis, detours, and writing careers… ack.

 

Hey Writing Etc. Subscriber,

As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since I released a new Writing Etc. If you recall, this past year, I’ve been dealing with cancer. Yes, my cancerversary tests came back very encouraging. That news still stands. What I didn’t share was that as my tests were coming in strong, my dad was conducting his own cancer screening and his numbers were yielding discouraging results.

So, while I was getting scanned, poked, and prodded, so was he. To make a long story short, he had 1/3 of his right lung removed and is just now making the big decision as to whether he’ll undergo chemo.

Which brings me to my point: Nothing’s permanent. Seriously, it’s not.

I spent countless hours building a writing career. I’ve worked with Filbert Publishing since ’01. Writing Etc. has been my treasured baby since moment one.

And yet, through all these health stuff, I’ve somehow managed to neglect both… and with the ghost of cancer haunting my office, there are days I’m not sure about the future of my endeavors.

That’s OK, I suppose. But, as I survey the current state of publishing, the evolving reality of Internet copywriting, and ponder my place in it all, I’ve discovered I’m almost relieved that I have the opportunity to, in many regards, begin from scratch.

But, as always, an interesting thread developed through this past year. Right before my diagnosis, I had just accepted a new book, the first in a long time, but this one is particularly interesting in light of the circumstances.

The subject? Life detours.

Boy, oh boy, did that project experience detours. First we had cancer delays, then basically everything that could go wrong did. But the author, Lo Silverman, had the patience of a saint, hung in there, and took every curve ball with her trademark sense of humor.

It’s not often I meet an author who so thoroughly walks her talk.

To use Lois’ own words, this is what I take away from this past year:

Life, as most of us seasoned veterans know it, does not usually follow paths we envisioned and to be perfectly honest … we would probably be bored if it did. Well … I would not be bored being a stunning size 6 but that is another story … for later.

Yes, perfection really isn’t perfect. And life is filled to the brim with detours. The issue is not to avoid any of those detours. That’s impossible. And besides, some of them will be awesome. We’re going to be sent on detours whether we want them or not.

The key to success is realizing that it’s how we handle those detours, and in our attitudes as we embark on them. There’s no reason to automatically assume they will be your undoing. If you embark on these unplanned trips with a suitcase filled with a good attitude, a great work ethic and your sense of humor intact …. you may just find that your best destinations are waiting ahead of you, at the end of the detour.

This is not to say you won’t have to slog through some muck along your route. Muck happens. But rainbows happen also.

Life is a giant adventure. It’s a constant work in progress and a complex series of detours, some good and some not-so-good, that you must learn to navigate.

So what does this all mean? Filbert Publishing won’t change much. I enjoy publishing books. However, my personal website, BethAnnErickson.com will undergo a fundamental shift in the coming days, as will my writing career… which, in fact, will affect Writing Etc.

But, I think you’ll like it.

Here’s to a great year.

Beth :)

P.S. Lo’s book just went live. If you’re facing a detour, definitely check it out. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M7BN2O6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

(c) 2014 FilbertPublishing.com

 

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Are you making these query mistakes?

Hey Writing Etc. Subscriber,

Couple things:

First, I just finished all my one year cancerversary tests. Unbelievably, an entire year has passed since my diagnosis… time flies.

What’s the new news? So far, so good. All the scans are clear. Blood tests good. Tests… wonderful. While I’m hardly out of the woods as far as relapses go, this is a fabulous start.

That feels good.

Second, I’ve purposely gone light on sharing the gory details of this new “adventure.” I know I rather dislike hearing the blow-by-blows of disease, I’ll assume the same for you.

Suffice it to say it’s been a rough year. If you’ve emailed and I haven’t answered, it isn’t because I’m ignoring you. I’ve simply had a difficult time and am glad I’m this far along. I’m incredibly thankful for every message, every moment I can spend in my beloved office with my lovely pups.

I enjoy simplicity.

On that end, I couldn’t help but smile as I read my latest round of email correspondence. Amongst them were dozens of new queries.

Filbert Publishing is listed in the Writer’s Market. That’s awesome, I like being affiliated with them. I’ve reviewed some solid potential projects. It’s also a bit frustrating because I see far too many potential projects presented with, I’ll be frank, not super queries.

So, I thought I’d share a few pointers to help your queries accomplish their intended purpose. You see, query writing is half technical expertise, half art. The technical aspect of this process is actually quite easy to master. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Use capital letters. Yup, they go at the beginning of each sentence. They’re also quite handy to use when using a proper noun. They’re generally awesome.
  2. Don’t use all caps, though. Using them in this manner looks like you’re YELLING at your reader. You never want to do this.
  3. Punctuation is useful. Be sure to use commas and periods. A super long steam of consciousness query likely, will not get read.
  4. Paragraphs are fabulous. Short paragraphs are even better. Use white space to ease eye strain.
  5. Begin your query with a snappy opener. Generally get your reader interested in the subject before you introduce yourself. The AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model is a good one to follow. The four Ps work, too. You can also employ Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. No matter what model you use, structure your query in a logical style.
  6. Don’t demand your book be available at any big-box/discount stores, especially if you’re a newbie querying a small publisher. This tells me you little to nothing about the book biz.
  7. Proofread, proofread, proofread. This is your reader’s first impression of you. If you are unable to polish a one page query, I can’t help but wonder how messy your manuscript will be. (Note: typos happen. I get that. But multiple mistakes in one query is a bit suspicious.)
  8. Send your query to a person. “Dear Editor” and “Dear Publisher” tells me you know absolutely zero about my company. I rather like when query writers demonstrate that they’re not only familiar with Filbert Publishing, but have taken five minutes to research how their project will fit with our current list.
  9. Get the name right. Maury reads queries, to. He’s not Mary. Nor is he Morrie. Also, I’m not Bart, Burt, or Barney.
  10. One to two pages will do the trick. One paragraph doesn’t tell me enough. Five pages is a bit much. Queries give the reader a taste of the project.
  11. Read the submission guidelines. These help a lot.

Not hard, eh? You’d be surprised how many writers forgo at least one of these little tips. That’s unfortunate. But hey… if you use this article as a handy check list, you’ll give your query a leg up when it comes the competing flow of email.

Good luck!

Beth :)

P.S. Want more techniques that’ll sharpen your queries? Check out “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3.” It’s available as an economical ebook. Get the scoop here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here: http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this  byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

 

Share

Death, life, and writing

Hey Writing Etc. Subscriber,

I had the February Writing Etc. set to go, but I simply couldn’t hit the “send” button. That’s never happened before. So, I let it sit. Perhaps next time.

Lots has happened since the last time we got together.

Of course, I have this ongoing cancer thing. Nothing’s changed, just the same old doc appointments, mental roller coaster, uncertainty… it’s all in a day’s work from now on.

No. Something else derailed my train of thought.

I had a dear friend, an utterly prolific writer, a dreamer, a lover of words, disappear from my life. She was the first author to step up and take a chance on my then brand new publishing company and entrust me with one of her projects. Today she’s gone.

Her name was Billie A. Williams.

She recently died. Lung cancer, from what I hear. I didn’t know she was sick.

To send out a Writing Etc. without a hat tip to this amazing writer seemed trite.

So today, in honor of Billie, I’m going to indulge my melancholy and share the top dozen writing habits I learned from Billie.

  1. Write early. She often told me she awoke at 3am. Since she couldn’t sleep, she’d write. While I’m never awake at that hour, I tend to make writing my first priority when I awaken.

  2. Write often. Billie always had a pen and pad nearby to jot down ideas. I never felt the need to do this, but since cancer invaded my life, I’ve found my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. I carry that pad of paper now.

  3. Experiment. My goodness, that woman was fearless when it came to trying new markets. She wrote whatever struck her fancy, sometimes using a pen name when she experimented with subjects that conflicted with her primary focus.

  4. Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to try new writing techniques. Play with new subject matter. Approach the familiar from a new angle. Dance with new ideas and splash them on the paper.

  5. Be easy to work with. Billie understood the economics of publishing. She submitted polished manuscripts, allowed our editors and designers to do their work minus any drama, and didn’t second guess every step of the process. I loved working with her… and her projects largely met with success.

  6. Support local literacy programs. Billie often donated her royalties to the local library. I always thought that was super-lovely.

  7. Embrace new technology. Billie was one of the first people I knew who created book trailers for her Youtube channel. They’re awesome. They may not have had a gazillion views, they certainly helped sell her books.

  8. Embrace reality, but treasure fantasy. Billie knew she was dying, yet she never mentioned it. When we spoke, we always talked writing, plans, the future. Living in reality created her life. The fantasies she explored gave meaning to that life. That’s awesome.

  9. She nurtured young talent. Waaaay back when my son was in Junior High School, he created a silly little blog about his dog’s “wacky adventures.” Of course, Billie found it and was his first commenter, encouraging him to keep writing. That’s how we met.

  10. Work with various publishers. Billie had books with ebook publishers, she published some herself, and she had traditional book publishing contracts. I think she was wise to keep her work diversified.

  11. Learn to market. I was delighted when I was asked to critique sales letters for a firm helping writers learn copywriting. I was even more delighted when one of the first letters I got to critique was written by Billie. She was always learning new writing techniques. She wasn’t afraid to stretch her wings and master some persuasion methods as well. I admired that.

  12. Lastly, Billie taught me the importance of sitting still. Writing is a solitary profession, and that’s exactly as it should be. We’re not flashy. We the quiet back ground noise that nobody notices, until we’re gone. We’re the documenters of our age. We’re the quiet social commentary whispering, “Why?” “What if?” “Are you sure?” We probably spend too much time wandering our own heads, but that’s who we are.

Ah, a life well lived is certainly something worth celebrating, eh?

My hope for you is that as you ponder Billie’s life, realizing what you just read was written by someone whose life could very likely be cut short due to cancer (mets are fairly common), that you take your own writing seriously. Please write today. Please write tomorrow.

We live in an age when we need thoughtful communicators more than ever before. After all, writing isn’t a profession. It’s who we are. And no matter how hard you try to “fit in” with polite society, the fact that you are a writer will never change.

Onward and upward,

Beth

P.S. If you want to jumpstart your marketing efforts, check this out: “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3” is available as an economical ebook. Get the scoop here: http://filbertpublishing.com/Advice13.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

(c) 2014 FilbertPublishing.com

Share

Double-Wide Writing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc. – January 14, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: What to do, what to do?

Writing Wide: Double Wide Trailers

2014 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This issue is sponsored by:

Sharpen your writing chops in ’14 with Billie Williams’ Triple Pack.

You’ll get her critically acclaimed Writing Wide, you’ll create incredible characters with Characters In Search of an Author, and will build quality stories with A Writer’s Vehicle: Henry Ford’s Way.

These delightful resources are an incredible spring board into a world of creativity and common sense tools to help your stories sparkle.

Billie is one of our most prolific authors and we’re thrilled to combine these popular titles. Check it out here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes from Minnesota

One step forward, one step back.

I hear flexibility is the hallmark of mental health. That must mean I’m pretty mentally healthy. Or not.

I was exceedingly encouraged last time we shared time together, feeling fabulous. I even announced Writing Etc. would be back on a regular editorial schedule. Then things shifted.

The cancer isn’t back as far as I know (I’ve got another big test in two weeks). But I may have been a bit premature on my “things going back to normal” mantra. I’m not sure what “normal” is anymore, I suppose I’ll eventually establish a new normal.

But no. Dealing with cancer is rough. Post surgery body changes are far more challenging than I anticipated. Life can be an emotional and physical roller coaster.

So, once again I’m cautiously easing back into the swing of things. I’m still working on the on-site copywriting project I mentioned earlier. It allowed me to enter 2014 debt free from cancer bills. But the overall price is yet to be determined.

I cringe every time I hear the supervisors yelling at the warehouse workers. They call them f-ing morons. Then they wonder why the staff isn’t particularly meticulous about their tasks. The disconnect is stunning. Sometimes writing in that environment is like working in a pressure cooker.

I can’t help but wonder what this new assignment is doing to me. I mentioned earlier that when you take on a writing project solely for the money, you earn every cent. But my newfound schedule has left me grappling with depression. I’ve found the slippery slope into darkness far more difficult to navigate than usual. I’m hoping this is a temporary situation.

So the question I grapple with is this: financial security or sanity?

Then I wonder how many fellow writers face this difficult question? Probably more than I’d like to imagine.

What to do, what to do? Looks like I have much to ponder in 2014…

Onward and upward,.

Beth

P.S. If you’ve recently submitted a query, I haven’t forgotten you. You’ll get a response shortly. If you emailed a kind note, thank-you. Your wonderful support has been overwhelming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Advertisement~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want to jumpstart your marketing efforts? “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3” is available as an economical ebook.

I didn’t hold anything back in this comprehensive series and spill all my freelance secrets including:

  • How to grow your freelance biz at a comfortable pace
  • Copywriting/advertising secrets to easily land clients, no cold calling
  • Avoiding newbie mistakes that can cripple your income stream
  • How to find the gift within dashed expectations
  • Organizing your marketing techniques so they’re as effective as possible
  • How to stay on track no matter what’s going on in other areas of your life
  • Why earning big bucks is great… but this is better
  • How much (if any) mentoring do you need?

Just head here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Double-wide

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.”

J.H. Payne, American actor, Dramatist, & Songwriter

A double-wide trailer home is not two houses but one holding more. Like a novel rather than a short story. The double-wide is portable, still a mobile home, as the novel is still a story. In a short story, you have beginning, middle, and end just as in a novel. Portability means you can cover a lot of territory with your short story in a little space, but a novel allows you to explore a double wide – larger picture.

As your double-wide is delivered in halves to your land and your novel is delivered in halves. The first half leads you up to the peak – the major turning point of your story, which may or may not necessarily, be the climax. At the very least, it will be the major point of your story, the reason, and the motivating factor of your story. The second half leads from the peak action, point/climax to the denouement and the end.

The double-wide has most of its plumbing on one side of the house. There is a good reason for this. This is to lessen the stress on the plumbing fixtures and pipes but also the necessity of another connection, which could be the source of a leak. Your story should contain a good deal of back-story and introductory business in the beginning sections to facilitate the putting together of the story idea without leaks about the climax leads, but not leaks.

The furnace is contained on one side of the house, but the ductwork must run, below through out the entire double-wide structure. This ductwork is the labyrinth of clues and foreshadowing you wish to construct throughout the underlying framework of your story.

While your double-wide trailer was transported to your site, the windows and doors were locked to prevent damage. Your windows were also covered to prevent breakage. In this state, there is no entrance to the home. No peeking is allowed into the interior to see the layout, or the color of the walls, carpeting, or cabinetry. You have to rely on the descriptive brochure for the details. Your novel/story must present enough information to give some idea of what to expect once we are allowed inside the double-wide novel.

Your double-wide could be delivered to a concrete slab or a full basement. The choice is yours. The novel or story you deliver makes a similar choice. You have prepared us before hand to see that the story/house is finished when it is set on the concrete slab or else there is another level to your story/novel we have not explored. The moving and setting in place of the double-wide on the basement then becomes the anti-climax. The underlying basement houses the climax, which you will lead us through once your double-wide is set in place and the roof is seamlessly, connected.

Once you have given us the climax -the basement – there remains some clean up and final setting up of the house. That is, tying up loose ends of the story so that all the characters, all the questions raised, and all the events are wrapped and neatly packaged into a complete story housed between two artfully done, double-wide covers.

EXERCISES: 1.) Rough sketch a house outline on a piece of paper. Put your story parts and a brief summary of each in the various spots of the house as discussed in the above article. Perhaps you begin in the attic with a scrapbook of back-story. On the other hand, maybe you choose to start in the first floor kitchen area with present day drama. You decide, it is your house, your double-wide novel. How many rooms will you have? Three rooms are essential remember, the beginning, middle and end. Now WRITE!

~~~

This article was an excerpt from Billie Williams’ Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing. This critically acclaimed volume is available as an instant download in the Billie Williams Triple Pack. Also included is Characters in Search of an Author and A Writer’s Vehicle: Henry Ford’s Way. Check it out here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2014 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

Do you journal? How do you document your life? Do you (or should you) document your life. Do you write daily?

This year, make it a priority to write daily. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for publication, what you’re doing it sharpening your skills.

But you should write something… anything… daily. No matter what.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

(c) 2014 FilbertPublishing.com

Share

When your best isn’t up to snuff…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc. – December 26, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: How do you stretch your writing chops?

When your best isn’t up to snuff…

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This issue is sponsored by:

Sharpen your writing chops in ’14 with Billie Williams’ Triple Pack.

You’ll get her critically acclaimed Writing Wide, you’ll create incredible characters with Characters In Search of an Author, and will build quality stories with A Writer’s Vehicle: Henry Ford’s Way.

These delightful resources are an incredible spring board into a world of creativity and common sense tools to help your stories sparkle.

Billie is one of our most prolific authors and we’re thrilled to combine these popular titles. Check it out here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes from Minnesota:

Woof. So much has happened since last we spoke.

First, I’m jumping back into life with both feet. It’s amazing how after a very long period of body crushing fatigue (I guess cancer made me quite tired) followed by a long recovery… now I’m feeling… rather good. It’s a strange sensation that I really enjoy.

So, I began a fairly long term marketing project with a local company. It’s fun to play with products, write ads, maintain catalogs, (hopefully) get their website up to snuff… it could be fun. I’m working hard to keep my perspective focused at this point, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and get swept away by the exciting lifestyle of a copywriter.

I must remember I’m a freelancer first, writing ads is part of that… not vice versa.

However, writing business to business advertising is an experience I haven’t had a chance to do in quite a while. It’s quite heady stuff.

Which brings me to you: How do you stretch your writing chops? When’s the last time you embarked on a project that scared you just a little bit? When was the last time you truly challenged your talent?

These are questions you should take quite seriously. Copywriting is a tough market, but not near as tough as general freelancing. Locally, the market is generally wide open, pay rates are pretty darn decent, and you wouldn’t believe how quickly you can sharpen your writing.

Gotta go. Keep writing.

Onward and upward,

Beth

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Advertisement~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want to jumpstart your marketing efforts? “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3” is available as an economical ebook.

I didn’t hold anything back in this comprehensive series and spill all my freelance secrets including:

  • How to grow your freelance biz at a comfortable pace
  • Copywriting/advertising secrets to easily land clients, no cold calling
  • Avoiding newbie mistakes that can cripple your income stream
  • How to find the gift within dashed expectations
  • Organizing your marketing techniques so they’re as effective as possible
  • How to stay on track no matter what’s going on in other areas of your life
  • Why earning big bucks is great… but this is better
  • How much (if any) mentoring do you need?

Just head here. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What to do when your isn’t up to snuff

Beth Ann Erickson

I began writing professionally in 1995. After just graduating Summa Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University, the world was my oyster.

I awoke every morning, leaped out of bed, raced to my state of the art 386 Pentium and allowed words to flow from my vivid imagination onto the computer screen.

Everything flowed according to plan until the time came to actually sell the manuscript.

That’s when hard reality started biting.

First, came the complex query process. Then I was hit with the never ending rejection process. After that, I discovered that the text needed a major overhaul.

Without notice, my dream life transformed into a daily drudge.

But I persevered and somewhere around 2001, I finally landed a publisher.

My troubles were over, right? Far from it.

Nobody ever told me that novelists had to promote their own books.

I don’t have any idea who I figured would promote my book for me, but I didn’t figure it would be me.

Oprah didn’t call out of the blue to interview me. Time magazine didn’t seem remotely interested in my grand triumph. And People magazine? You guessed it, they didn’t have the mental telepathy skills to know they needed to interview me concerning this huge accomplishment.

Go figure.

So after some severe soul searching (and a few months of absolutely zero sales), I decided I needed to develop a few sales skills.

I also realized I needed to take control of my mindset because this biz can be brutal.

In this age of Amazon reviews, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, etc., any opinion on any topic can become quite influential. This can create a bit of fear in the heart of creative types.

What if readers dislike my latest book?

What if reviewers trash it?

What if people find out I’m a hoax?

What if I don’t earn a living wage?

What if… what if… what if… what if….

What if?

Who cares?

If you look closely at every one of those questions, you’ll discover pretty darn fast that you have absolutely, positively, no control over any of them.

I once received a mediocre review because the reviewer had a cold; just didn’t feel all that great. More than likely, they probably wouldn’t have “liked” anything they read that day.

It was totally out of my control. One reader can call something you create “awesome” while the next will call you a “hack.”

It’s the nature of the biz, folks.

The only aspect of your career you have direct control over is to ensure that you’re always providing your dead level best.

Some days, your best soars above the crowd.

Sometimes, your best will suck.

It’s just the way it goes.

And this is exactly why you should mind your mindset so carefully.

Depending on the the tone of incoming information, you can allow your mind to wander into very dangerous negative territory, or you can merely observe the feedback and treat it as such.

Because that’s what the creative life is all about: feedback.

Negative or positive, this feedback merely reflects another person’s opinion.

And believe it or not, some people can set themselves up as experts with nary a wit of expertise in your area, especially when you’re dealing with Internet critics.

That being said, you should notice the feedback, alter your course when necessary, but don’t hang your entire career upon the opinion of anyone other than yourself.

See? It’s all about mindset. And if you allow your mindset to soften for even one moment, you can find yourself so off track that you barely recognize where you are when you wake up.

So, how do you keep yourself on track?

Perhaps we’ll talk about that next time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

(c) 2013 FilbertPublishing.com

Share

Write like you speak? Yay or nay.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc. – December 3, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: Bad luck/good luck. Is it a matter of perspective?

Write like you speak? Yay or nay.

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This issue is sponsored by:

Last week: Check ‘er out: Now you can get all three of my novels during this pre-holiday special. I’m cleaning the storage area and need room for upcoming titles by some AWESOME authors.

The tale grabs my interest from the beginning, and keeps me reading. This is an entertaining story, just real enough to make me think, “Well, I guess it could happen,” and just improbable enough to set my own imagination to spinning daydreams.” Andrea Chester, AbsoluteWrite.com

It’s first come, first serve. Check it out here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes from Minnesota:

Welcome to December! I’m expecting up to six inches of the white stuff. Good thing I’ve got a cup of hot chocolate in my future. I love watching seasons change.

So… I just celebrated my six month cancerversary. I was chatting with my son, musing about what a bad-luck year 2013 turned out to be. He disagreed.

“Mom,” he said, “do you realize if they hadn’t caught your tumor, today your cancer would be spreading? In just over a year from now, you would have been inoperable? Just think, I could be planning my mom’s funeral before I turned thirty.”

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t thought of that. I guess 2013 turned out to be one my luckiest years ever.

Which brings me to you.

You’re not immortal, either. Are you writing? Are you pursuing your dream? I had a big brush with the grim reaper this year and it changed a few things.

Today, I work on projects I enjoy and jettison the annoying ones.

I don’t write for reviews. I keep my reader in mind, but I write what’s on my heart, not what I think people will give a big “thumbs up.”

I play with my dogs more. I drink hot cocoa with my family. I hug my nieces and barely notice when they deposit an ooie-gooie on my shirt. (Well, I notice but I just clean up without a fuss.) :)

When bad luck strikes, I don’t immediately label it as such. I just may find a gem in that bit of news.

What would you do if you only had a couple years left? If I were you, I’d suggest working on it today. Right now. Life can get quite interesting in a New York minute.

Onward and upward,

Beth

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Advertisement~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Off topic? Kinda, sorta. But not really. As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for tasty treats that won’t grow my tush. I sit too much and don’t need snacks that sabotage a healthy lifestyle. So, while I was recuperating from my cancer escapade, I worked on this little gem. Supported by all my docs as well as my oncologist, I now bring this project to you:

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Plus, all these taste tested recipes have received an enthusiastic “thumbs up” from the students of our cooking class and are selling like hot cakes around these parts. We’re just now introducing it to our Internet friends. Super cool.

We don’t have an official sales page yet, but you can get your hands on one by clicking here.

Buy It From CCNow


~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Write like you speak? Yay or nay.

By Beth Ann Erickson

I’ve often advocated the mantra “write like you speak.” By doing so, writers can theoretically communicate in a natural style, create messages where words become invisible and communication is king. It’s supposedly a way to allow the writer’s personality shine, allow their unique style to sit up front and center.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

However, something has changed these past few years. Lately I’ve been presented with a number of projects that resemble this guy’s speaking style. Note: overt flirting ensues. If you’re offended, you may want to skip this one. May I introduce you to Ricky:

While they’re presumably under the impression that their speaking style (hence their writing style) resembles this person’s oratory skills. Here’s Tommy Lee Jones:

Now… I’m not sure what has happened to our fair profession, but sheesh…. It’s one thing to communicate in a conversational style, it’s another to spill words onto a page without nary a thought to word choice, logical flow, and just a few grammar rules.

Which leads me to my point: I’m updating my advice to writers. Please write in an intelligent conversational manner.

Here’s an example of this new technique: Suppose you just had an argument with your spouse. You’re angry. You’re not eloquent. You’re stuttering, stammering, trying to drive home your point. After the altercation completes, you walk away and for the next few hours, you’re ruminating over the event, constructing the BEST sentences, FABULOUS arguments, bullet proof points ever imagined.

Those thoughts are the ones you want to capture on paper.

In the heat of the moment, we all sound like a doofus. But your eloquent self emerges during those moments of self-reflection. That’s the person you want to be in print.

So… proofread. Read all your writing aloud before you submit. If you stumble, you’ve written a sentence that’s too complex. Revise. If your mind wanders, you’ve likely written something boring. If you need a breath before the end of the sentence, shorten it.

Cut all extraneous tangents that don’t adequately support your message.

Make your writing as streamlined, readable, and eloquent as possible. Write conversationally, but do so illustrating your communication style at its best.

~~~

Want a ton more ultra-effective techniques that’ll give you an incredible edge in the over-crowded freelance world? Click this link .http://filbertpublishing.com/Advice13.html

~~~~~~

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

This week I want you to eaves drop. Listen to the people around you as they speak. Analyze their communication style. What do you like, what could they improve? Listen to yourself, become aware of your tenancies, dialect, and habits (good and bad).

Make note of when you find a “Ricky” versus when you encounter a “Tommy Lee Jones.” Perhaps you possess qualities of one or the other. Make note of this.

It’s a fun exercise. Try it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

(c) 2013 FilbertPublishing.com

Share

Very Good News

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc. – November 14, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: Good news!

The Fine Art of Swiping by Beth Ann Erickson

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

For easier reading and red hot links, surf to http://filbertpublishing.com/an-open-letter-to-subscribers/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This issue is sponsored by:

Check ‘er out: Now you can get all three of my novels during this pre-holiday special. I’m cleaning the storage area and need room for upcoming titles by some AWESOME authors.

The tale grabs my interest from the beginning, and keeps me reading. This is an entertaining story, just real enough to make me think, “Well, I guess it could happen,” and just improbable enough to set my own imagination to spinning daydreams.” Andrea Chester, AbsoluteWrite.com

It’s first come, first serve. Check it out here:

http://filbertpublishing.com/big-time-special/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes from Minnesota:

Hi Writing Etc. subscriber,

I’ve heard that flexibility is the hallmark of mental health. I’ve also heard that as writers, it’s always handy to possess good mental health. After all, this job is tough. However, when you toss in normal (or abnormal) life challenges… it can get difficult to write. And if you can’t write… well that’s exactly how writers go out of business.

Which brings me to these past few months.

First, I want to thank you for your support. I’ve always said that writers are some of the nicest people on this planet. I really mean that.

Secondly, after my cancer diagnosis, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write again. It often felt like a mixer had engaged inside my brain, swirling terrifying thoughts, dredging up nightmare scenarios, potential ghoulish outcomes cackled gleefully as my writing imagination sparked. I have no memory of a couple months, just flashes of images, all fuzzy in a Vicodin haze.

Unfortunately, every single writer I know has told me that they didn’t choose this profession. When you’re a writer, the profession chooses you. If you’re like me, you can’t help but write. It’s not just what you do, it’s who you are. Non-writers don’t seem to comprehend this phenomenon. For example, one day my carpenter father tucked away his tools and retired. I recently asked if he missed his profession and he said, “Nope. Not a bit.” I can’t put writing away. I’m forever forming sentences, typing on an imaginary keyboard, digging for new ways to utilize ordinary words. It never stops.

So, you can imagine the enhanced terror realizing my thoughts were jumbled beyond all recognition, I couldn’t write, yet the compulsion persisted. It’s a special kind of hell only a writer can know.

But much of that changed this past week. My new lab results arrived.

After reviewing three pages of numbers, not one, but two of physicians have proclaimed me “In Remission.” Not only that, I’m one of the lucky folks who have the words, “Surgically Cured” added as a tag line.

The storm in my head instantly calmed. It was almost magical.

It’s been a difficult six months adjusting to the removal of half my colon (as well as infections and such), but I can’t complain. I know far too many people who have endured more than even I could imagine. They’re the real heroes. They’re the brave people.

But today I feel thankful. Also, it’s my birthday.

So, to celebrate all this good news, I decided to eat a piece of wedding cake. I love wedding cake. Then I awoke this morning and realized I don’t really crave cake right now.

I decided to skip my walk. Then I realized I like walking. So do the dogs.

I decided I wouldn’t answer the phone. Then I realized I like talking with clients, friends, and family.

I figured I could eat something really “bad” for dinner. Then I realized I like my food. It nourishes me in every way.

I decided I’d skip writing. Then I realized I love stringing words together. I especially like the fact my mind has calmed. :) Today, I’ll write.

That’s when I realized how precious an ordinary day is. And to work in a profession that feeds your soul is priceless. Routine is comforting. So, with all the quirks and costs a writing profession brings, it also carries many gifts. I need to remember that.

So, my hope is that you’ll enjoy your day and live every moment on your own terms. I hope you find a way to enjoy every mundane moment that passes. I hope you build a life so that when your “day” arrives, you’ll leave this planet just a little better than when you arrived.

With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce that Writing Etc. will go back to its regular publishing schedule starting in December.

That feels very good. I’ve missed all my dear writing friends..

Beth

P.S. At 4:00 Central time, I’ll celebrate my new year at the local Caribou. I’d love if you’d join me by raising your own coffee cup at that time. Ponder how precious you are. Feel good, for just a moment, savor what’s good about your current health. Then let the people you love know how wonderful they are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Advertisement~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dawn Colclasure’s 365 Tips for Writers is now available on Kindle. Check it out, download it, and get writing. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DVNVTHG

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fine Art of Swiping

By Beth Ann Erickson

Copywriters write advertising materials. Often, to get their creative juices flowing, they’ll review successful ads and “swipe” it.

Article writers will often engage in a similar activity. They’ll read everything they can on a subject, then apply their personal twist on the information while they form it into an article.

Either way, every author needs to be very wary of not crossing that fine line between “swiping” and plagiarism.

Here’s a perfect illustration. I recently spoke with a fellow writer about to take on a new client. It was a very important project… one that could easily net him at least thousands per month.

He led me to his web page and I started laughing. “You so totally stole (writer’s name omitted) sales page,” I said.

“I swiped it,” he replied.

“I see that,” I answered. “That’s one heck of a swipe.”

And his version wasn’t pretty.

First, let’s talk a bit about swiping.

It’s fairly routine for copywriters to turn to successful sales pitches and model new ones after them. After all, if a particular website generated a huge profit in one field, the general sales structure will often work again.

However, what this guy had done was copy and paste the entire web page into a document and simply changed the product name, revised a couple bullets, and slipped his name at the end.

That, my friend, wasn’t a swipe. It’s called plagiarism.

Worse yet, it resulted in a really bad sales pitch.

You see, every product, service, whatever you’re selling has what’s called a USP, Unique Selling Proposition. This USP represents everything that’s unique, different, awesome about your product.

When you plagiarize a sales pitch, you run the very real risk of not illustrating your USP in a compelling, dynamic way.

And this is exactly what this marketer did.

His copy ran flat. It didn’t sell. No zing. No magic. Nothing.

Plus, by stealing a highly recognizable website, he lost all credibility with me… someone he was hoping to hire to help him sell more product.

So, how do you go about elegantly swiping a successful sales piece?

Well, you don’t plagiarize or blatantly steal the content.

You analyze why the piece worked, who the audience was, what the state of world was, the date the piece ran, what patterns response followed… there’s far more than cutting and pasting involved.

You also have to analyze you own business. What is your USP? Who is your audience? What kind of tone do they respond to? What are their price points and why? How have you pitched them in the past and how does this fit in with the puzzle that is your marketing plan? What have you done to lead up this pitch?

See… there’s an art to successful swiping.

An elegant swipe slips into your business plan like a hand into a velvet glove.

A great swipe is utterly unrecognizable from the original. Your customers shouldn’t look at it and gasp, “I’ve read that before.” You certainly don’t want them to laugh at your ad and think it’s a joke.

Somewhere along the line, you want your swipe to glide away from the original and become something utterly unique… a web page that’ll work for a very long time. A sales message that’ll bring in mucho profits without any controversy. (And if you plagiarize, believe me, you’ll face controversy.)

I mention all this because many newbie writers are just now drafting their own websites. Be very careful when you craft your webpage that you don’t blatantly swipe someone else’s style.

After all, if you write your own web copy and have been told that all you need to do is “swipe” a successful letter and you’re on your way to huge readerships… well I think you know the answer to this outlandish claim.

As for my potential client, he’s still running his swiped web page. Lucky for him, the person he swiped from is very kind and doesn’t intend on contacting his lawyer. The client says he’s planning on re-writing the page on his own.

I wonder who he’ll “swipe” next.

It’s really too bad because if he simply invested a fair amount of thought into the project he could really make a dent in his unique niche, easily netting tens upon thousands of dollars every month.

As is, unfortunately, he’s not even breaking a few hundred a month.

But I guess that’s what happens when you try to swipe without understanding even a few of the complexities of the persuasive process…

Perhaps I’ll expand more on that next time.

~~~

Want a ton more ultra-effective techniques that’ll give you an incredible edge in the over-crowded freelance world? Click this link .http://filbertpublishing.com/Advice13.html

~~~~~~

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

Dig through your local yellow pages and five five large ads promoting companies you like. Examine the ad to see if you feel you can improve it. If you can, draft a polite letter advertising your writing biz. (Never criticize their existing ad, though. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.)

Just let them know you’re available to write newsletters, ads, letters… whatever they need.

Do this daily and before you know it, you’ll have a client.

Try it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

Kandiyohi, MN 56251

Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

http://filbertpublishing.com/

 

(c) 2013 FilbertPublishing.com

Share

An open letter to subscribers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc. – October 8, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In This Issue:

Notes from Minnesota: An Open Letter to Writing Etc. Subscribers

Life is Camouflaged by Beth Ann Erickson

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This issue is sponsored by:

Check ‘er out: Now you can get all three of my novels during this pre-holiday special. I’m cleaning the storage area and need room for upcoming titles by some AWESOME authors.

The tale grabs my interest from the beginning, and keeps me reading. This is an entertaining story, just real enough to make me think, “Well, I guess it could happen,” and just improbable enough to set my own imagination to spinning daydreams.” Andrea Chester, AbsoluteWrite.com

It’s first come, first serve. Check it out here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes from Minnesota:

I wanted to take a moment to thank you. I want to thank you for your kind support this last ten plus years I’ve been churning out issue after issue.

I especially want to thank you for your incredibly kind reaction to my recent cancer diagnosis.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a terrible few months. To try to describe the physical, mental, and spiritual pain this event has wrought would tax even the best writer. And since, I am, and will always be, basically a hack, I won’t begin to try.

I just wanted you to know how much your support has meant.

If you emailed and I didn’t respond, it’s not because I didn’t read your kind words. I honestly tried to answer each and every email. But, I didn’t.

I was pretty good at answering for a while, but then I began to get overwhelmed. So many of you have dealt with this beast called “cancer” and some of you are waging a valiant fight. Your stories broke my heart, they made me smile, they helped me feel less alone in a situation where, despite the best support, each person is truly alone.

It’s a dark night of the soul, this cancer stuff. Then to add surgical issues on top of a raging ecoli infection inside a nine inch incision and I figure I have a small idea what hell may entail. Then there’s the whole food thing. Life minus two feet (or more) of colon makes for an interesting new life experience.

I never shared the true difficulties of this situation, the sleepless nights, the terror that strikes at a moment’s notice, awaking from a sweet dream realizing I had reentered my personal waking nightmare, the crushing defeat I felt the first time I walked into a building labeled “cancer center.” Hint: I knew I was screwed when the receptionist handed me a cookie. Everyone knows when you enter a medical establishment, you’re supposed to be treated like cr*p. Not there. The nicer they got, the more I realized I was in really hot water.

But being surrounded by exceedingly thin, hairless, people, each with their own story, realizing they were now my peers… let’s just say I never ate my cookie. I couldn’t swallow.

Those first couple months are a vicodin haze interrupted by pangs of pain, the rip of bandages, and one very sore belly. At one point, my incision leaked so badly, I covered it with a couple sanitary napkins. Not exactly sterile, but it gave me time to watch an entire episode of Dexter uninterrupted.

I remember the love of my family. I remember your kind messages. I remember the day I quit using a cane when I walked. That was my first day of freedom.

I began by heading to the post office. Then I was walking a block. Today I’m counting my distance in half hour increments. It feels good to approach familiar territory again.

But still that dark cloud hangs. Cancer. Will it come back? Where will it show up next?

I have a good chance of living at least five years. The State of Minnesota requires I go to the oncologist regularly for that entire five years. I’ll also need annual CAT scans. I suppose that’s a good thing.

In the mean time, I write. It’s the only thing I can kinda/sorta do. Despite this terrible experience, I’m profoundly lucky. It was pure, dumb luck that docs found the malignant tumor. It was even crazier that its sinister roots were within millimeters of entering my abdomen.

Stage Two. T3N0M0. Adenocarcinoma. My vocabulary has expanded as my colon has decreased.

And I’m one of the lucky ones.

My deepest regards goes out to every single person who sent a note of encouragement during this new adventure. A hat tip to everyone who shares my adventure. You’re a brave bunch. I hope all your stories unfold exactly the way you hope.

Beth

http://filbertpublishing.com

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Dawn Colclasure’s 365 Tips for Writers is now available on Kindle. Check it out, download it, and get writing. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DVNVTHG

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feature Article ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Editor’s Note: This is an “oldie but goodie” from long ago. It’s probably our most popular article, appearing in not only Jumpstart Your Writing Career” but in other e-mags and books (such as the NAWW Feminine Writes”). After today’s Notes from Minnesota, it seemed only fitting to run this today… enjoy!

Life is Camouflaged

By Beth Ann Erickson

Let’s take a minute to discuss what it means to be a writer.

I take daily walks. Not because I want to, but because my little Rat Terrier would act berserk all afternoon if I didn’t. So every morning I snap on her leash and head out the door.

Because I live in a small town, our route tends to be the same: We walk the parameter of our fair city — either clockwise or counterclockwise — resulting in a good twenty-minute stroll.

The unchanging sameness of each days trek has taught me something valuable that I’ve adopted in my life as a writer: Life is camouflaged. Let me explain….

When I began this daily journey around town I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d soon become bored seeing the same houses, the same woods, the same roads day after day after day after day. But that’s not what happened.

As Lucy (my dear puppy) and I traveled our daily path it was as though scales fell from my eyes. I began to see things I’d never noticed before.

Subtle changes my neighbors had made to their houses began to whisper for my attention. Birds I’d never seen before — bright birds like Blue Jays and Cardinals — began to appear like a developing photograph. Squirrels, muskrats, cats, raccoons, fox — all these animals live in the same town as me — and I never knew it.

So here my point: As writers it is our job to notice the things other people can’t or don’t have the time to see. It’s our job to look at something long enough for the camouflage to disappear and for the scales to be removed from our eyes.

We have the daunting task of not only living life, but stepping away long enough to really see what’s going on — in all places, and in all situations. We need to see the hidden bird, the quiet gesture of a coworker, the nonverbal communication other people miss. It’s these observations that make our writing come alive.

In a nutshell, life is camouflaged. Writers need to see through that camouflage and show this real world to others.

Go for a walk today. Or look out your window. See something you’ve never noticed before. Now write about it.

~~~

If you haven’t done it yet, pick up your copy of Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, today. http://filbertpublishing.com/Advice13.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2013 Action Plan to Jumpstart Your Writing Career

If you don’t already keep a journal you really should. Far too many significant events slip away because they’re not recorded.

Think nothing happens in your life? Think you’ll remember “unforgettable” moments?

Totally untrue.

Just get writing and you’ll be amazed at all the incredible events you’ll capture because after all… life really is camouflaged.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please recommend this newsletter to anyone you know who’d like to learn how to make their writing sparkle. Just click on “Forward” in your email program and hit send.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: We will not distribute your email address to anyone. Ever. Period.

Please send your news items, ideas, comments, etc. to mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

Writing Etc.

Box 326

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Maurice and Beth Erickson, Publishers

mailto:filbertpublishing@filbertpublishing.com

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(c) 2013 FilbertPublishing.com

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If you don’t do this, you won’t sell your writing. Ever.

Hey Writing Etc. Subscriber,

More books are getting published than ever before. Wikipedia tells me that in the USA alone, roughly 350,000 new books were released last year. The worldwide stat is around 2 million.*

So… competition for your readers time, money, and attention is fierce.

That’s the bad news. The good news?

I’d bet my bottom dollar the vast majority of these new authors/freelancers don’t know word one about how to market.

So, how do you break through and sell your writing?

Let me give you an example of what not to do. I recently received an email with this subject line: {Author Name} has a new book available.

Hmmmm. My goodness. I’ve never heard of this person. I couldn’t help but wonder what incentive I had to open the email. But, because I’m evidently a forensic writer who can’t help but dissect advertising efforts, I opened it. The text read like this:

Happy to announce this and to ask for your help in passing the word. Love to write but hate to have to promote. Promo is required, however.

{Link went here.}

First, this is clearly a mass email with no salutation. I didn’t sign up for this person’s email list. While this person seems like they’re nice, I’m not sure why they contacted me. Perhaps they’re a Writing Etc. subscriber. They’re clearly not a reader because if they were, they’d know better than to construct an email campaign with so many newbie mistakes.

Also, I didn’t find much incentive to click through. If the person emailing me couldn’t write an interesting email, how could they write an interesting book? But I clicked the link for reporting purposes.

What I found was a book announcement. That’s it. No links to actually buy the book. No real book description. Not even an excerpt.

So let’s break it down a bit, eh?

When you promote your writing, remember… this is nonnegotiable… your writing is not about you. It’s about your reader. All your reader cares is “WIIFM.” In layspeak, that means “What’s in it for me?”

Every sentence, every thought, every link needs to somehow, in some way, answer this question.

This means, if you’re hoping to land a freelance gig or get someone to help you sell your book you should probably take the time to know who they are and (perhaps) use their name in your correspondence.

Once you get your reader to your site, you need to make purchasing your book (or your writing skills) super easy. Provide direct links to places where visitors can buy your book. Display an easy way to contact you (if you’re hoping to attract writing clients). Make your reader’s next step effortless.

This means you don’t make them google your book to find it. You don’t make them rummage through the phone book to find your phone number. You provide everything to create an easy buying experience.

Sure, as you market, you’ll make mistakes, I know I have. Sometimes technology doesn’t work as expected. But to make the matters you can control less than optimal is unfortunate.

We live in a busy world. Attention spans appear to be shrinking. Don’t make those for whom you write struggle to hire you (or buy your book).

I received another email yesterday. I just may dissect that one for you next time. It illustrates a perplexing, super interesting trend I’ve noticed the past few years.

‘Til then, write on!

Beth

*Wikipedia stats come from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_published_per_country_per_year

~~~

Want to jumpstart your marketing efforts? “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3” is available as an economical ebook.

I didn’t hold anything back in this comprehensive series and spill all my freelance secrets including:

  • How to grow your freelance biz at a comfortable pace
  • Copywriting/advertising secrets to easily land clients, no cold calling
  • Avoiding newbie mistakes that can cripple your income stream
  • How to find the gift within dashed expectations
  • Organizing your marketing techniques so they’re as effective as possible
  • How to stay on track no matter what’s going on in other areas of your life
  • Why earning big bucks is great… but this is better
  • How much (if any) mentoring do you need?

Just head here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc./Filbert Publishing News – September 17, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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“Why do I need to understand marketing?”

Hey Writing Etc. Subscriber,

You may have noticed I took a break from Writing Etc. the first part of August. I’ll be honest, it felt good. Reorganizing my life post cancer diagnosis is interesting to say the least. I’m doing well, no setbacks for a few weeks. Yay!

I’m wading through your wonderful email comments and appreciate all your kind words. Eventually I’ll sit long enough to answer them. In the mean time, here’s what I’ve got on tap today:

I get e-mail. Lots of it. But the ones I find particularly interesting are from the folks leaving the Writing Etc. list. I find their e-mail messages fascinating. In fact, I got one the other day I simply have to share with you. It went like this:

Dear Beth,

I’m leaving Writing Etc. because you talk about marketing too much. I don’t need to market. I need to write. If I’m a great writer, then people will naturally buy my work.

Freelancer

I didn’t reply. However, I’ll share my thoughts with you.

I’m glad this writer is independently wealthy and doesn’t have to worry about making a living as a writer. That’s a good thing. But for the rest of us writers who have bills to pay, marketing is going to be a large part of our day.

It’s the harsh reality we’ll always face.

No matter how well you write, your talent probably won’t get noticed unless you’re out in the fray pointing people towards your message. We live in a big, noisy world and if you want to make a living as a writer, you need to find your spot, hunker down for the long haul, and learn how to draw attention to your message… i.e. marketing.

In fact, unless you write only for the joy of it (nothing wrong with that), you can assume every query you write, every article you write, every novel you write is a form of marketing/persuasion. Just think, you query needs to persuade a publisher to accept your work. You article needs to persuade the reader that you’re not only an expert, but they should listen to your opinion. If you want your reader to buy into the world of your novel you need to… persuade them.

Now, learning persuasion skills doesn’t have to be hard, uncomfortable, or expensive. I’m probably the biggest weenie alive when it comes to marketing and I’ve managed to figure out a comfortable way for me to share my message. Also, I’ve studied marketing techniques, purchased the big-time expensive courses as well as inexpensive used Amazon books. Funny thing, they share nearly identical information.

Marketing is not magic, it’s not “spiritual,” or hypnotic. It’s consistency, mastering a few basic concepts, and never giving up.

But to think that as a writer you’ll never have to market… that’s unfortunate because if you don’t do this, you’ll probably die without ever having released your message.

We’ll talk more about marketing next time.

See you next time!

Beth :)

~~~

Want to jumpstart your marketing efforts? “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3” is now available as an economical ebook.

I didn’t hold anything back in this comprehensive series and spill all my freelance secrets including:

  • How to grow your freelance biz at a comfortable pace
  • Copywriting/advertising secrets to easily land clients, no cold calling
  • Avoiding newbie mistakes that can cripple your income stream
  • How to find the gift within dashed expectations
  • Organizing your marketing techniques so they’re as effective as possible
  • How to stay on track no matter what’s going on in other areas of your life
  • Why earning big bucks is great… but this is better
  • How much (if any) mentoring do you need?

Now, it’s available as an economical ebook for just 14.95. Just head here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing Etc./Filbert Publishing News – August 20, 2013

ISSN: 1545-5580

Make Your Writing Sparkle. Write Killer Queries, Get Published.

Join the brightest, most ambitious, and talented group of writers on the ‘net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To subscr*ibe to Writing Etc. and receive the fr*e e-book, “Power Queries,” surf here:

http://filbertpublishing.com

Forward Writing Etc. to all your friends! They’ll be glad you did.

You can easily manage your subscription to Writing Etc. by clicking the links at the end of this e-mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Recommend:

Writing For Dollars! The FREE ezine for writers featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. Receive the FREE ebook, 83 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY WRITING when you subscribe. Email to subscribe@writingfordollars.com -*-

http://www.WritingForDollars.com

WRITERS FIND MARKETS EASILY – Worldwide Freelance has a NEW fully-searchable Markets Database. Discover writing markets from North America, Europe, Australia and other places. It’s free, so come and try it out

here: http://www.worldwidefreelance.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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