Archive for December 1st, 2008

December Sell-a-bration #2: Leaps and Bounds!

By Julie Steed

As I write this, my computer sits on a card table in the corner of a large closet in my house. Above my table-desk are suitcases, suspended by hooks in the air. My husband’s telescope hovers over the used desk chair I purchased for five dollars. The container that holds my Christmas wrapping paper sits directly behind me with other plastic bins. I fondly refer to this space as my closet-office.

Why am I telling you this? Because three months ago I used my dining table, sofa and bed as workspace. Six months before THAT, I didn’t even need a desk. To say that I have grown by leaps and bounds, both professionally and personally, is an understatement. I started 2008 totally immersed in motherhood and, after 7 years in that role, was growing restless and unhappy. I had lost sight of ME. Searching for something I could do from home, I accidentally discovered the book Writer Mama. That was back in February and I am still going strong, growing as a writer, and enjoying a life that is more balanced.

After reading and rereading Writer Mama, I took a huge step and signed up for an online writing class—with Christina, of course! That was a leaping off point for me, but it was a great decision. In hopes of encouraging other writer mamas to take the same leap, I want to share my accomplishments.

I Persevered: My first article was published in May. I felt instant validation and motivation. Once I saw that byline, I decided that I wanted to have one thing published somewhere every single month. I managed to complete only two articles over the summer, but I offered them to hundreds of regional parenting publications as reprints. I have achieved my goal! My byline has appeared in print somewhere each month since May, though many times it was with the same article being reprinted in a different publication.

I Took Myself and My Writing Seriously: After scrambling for writing time and space during the summer, I was thrilled to establish my office-closet in September. Along with the office space came regular office hours. Only 10 hours a week, that time alone has really helped me focus on the business aspect of writing.

I Hit SEND: With the completion of my third online class this week, I now know that I want to concentrate on writing essays. Which leads to my most exciting accomplishment so far… just yesterday I hit “SEND” and submitted an essay to a national publication! That’s right, I SENT it. And regardless of acceptance or rejection, submitting that essay is a huge achievement.

I don’t know where writing will take me in 2009, but if it is anything like 2008, I look forward to the ride.


Today is Wendy Burt Thomas’ Amazon Spike Day!

Happy Monday, mamas! I’m very pleased to share information about Wendy Burt Thomas’ Amazon Spike Day news with you. If you’ve been reading Writers on the Rise for any length of time, then you are already familiar with the reliable, helpful advice that Wendy Burt Thomas has been sharing over the years as part of her “Ask Wendy” Column.

I hope you will join me in purchasing Wendy’s new book, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters on Monday, December 1st. I’ve already made my purchase and I’m encouraging everyone I know to join me.

I’ve taken the liberty of pasting Wendy’s letter here:

Dear Friends,

Have you ever thought of making money from your writing? Perhaps you’ve got an idea for a novel or nonfiction book. Or maybe you’ve got some magazine articles swirling around in your head. If you (or someone you know) would like to know how to sell your work, I invite you to buy my new book, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters on December 1.

The 30+ samples of good and bad queries walk writers through the “must-have” and “don’t-even-think-about-it” points with a balance of clear instruction, examples and humor. Where similar query books just tell you to write a hook – it gives insight into what makes a good opening paragraph for an article, novel or nonfiction query. There are special considerations for book queries by genre (from Romance and Mystery to Speculative and Thriller – plus everything in between) and the FAQs come straight from the author’s experience as a writer, author, magazine editor and book copyeditor. The “what editors / agents / publishers like” and “what editors / agents / publishers don’t like” are incredible resources, offering a look into water coolers throughout the publishing industry. Plus, it’s funny.

Why December 1? It’s my official “Amazon Spike Day,” where I attempt to bump my book up the rankings. The better my book sells before its December 5 release date, the more often Amazon will recommend it to shoppers and the more likely bookstores will order extra copies.

Here’s a link to check out the book:

So what’s in it for you (besides knowing you helped an old friend!)? Everyone who orders The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters from Amazon on December 1 receives:

1.  My free e-book, “3 Years of Ask Wendy; Your Freelance Writing Questions Answered” (a $9.95 value!) – featuring Q & As on everything from how to sell greeting card copy and fillers to making money from personal essays and short stories. (This e-book is compiled from my “Ask Wendy” column for Writers On The Rise, one of Writer’s Digest Magazine’s Top 100 Web sites for Writers.)

2. A chance to win one of 6 books:
o Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz (author of Writer Mama and founder of Writers On The Rise,
o Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (
o Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick by Wendy Burt and Erin Kindberg (our second book in the Hip Chick series)
o A Christmas Dozen; Christmas Stories to Warm the Heart by Steve Burt  (award-winning writer and author of 12 books)**
o Odd Lot; Stories to Chill the Heart by Steve Burt (winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award; winner of 6 Honorable Mentions for Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror; Honorable Mention Best Horror Book by ForeWord Magazine and Honorable Mention Best Genre Fiction from Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards)**
o Oddest Yet; Even More Stores to Chill the Heart (Bram Stoker Winner!)**
**Steve Burt is not only my dad and mentor, but also an award-winning author. In fact, he won the Bram Stoker Award, the highest honor in horror writing!

3. One winner will receive a free email or phone consultation and editorial feedback on the topic of their choice: writing for magazines, novel queries, greeting cards, nonfiction book proposals, freelancing for a living, etc.

Just order the book from Amazon (there’s a link to Amazon through on Monday, December 1 and email me your receipt. I’ll email you the e-book and enter your name in the drawing!

Please don’t feel obligated to buy the book. But if you choose to, let me say “thank you” in advance!

All my best,

Wendy Burt-Thomas

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