Archive for May, 2009

Back From BEA…Random Thoughts from an Exhausted Mama

Got to sit next to babies on both legs of the trip…good thing I’m a mama!

New York is SO frenetic compared to the pastoral town of 17,000, where we live. Wow. The contrast is pretty dramatic.

Why can’t WiFi be available everywhere for free? Why? Why???

I had the most amazing bagel with lox and the works in NYC. I wish we had (real) Jewish delis in Oregon.

Someone said the BEA was about 1/3 of the usual size but it was still HUGE. I walked the whole floor and attended many educational sessions in addition to the Writer’s Digest Conference.

I saw a lot of friends and acquaintances at BEA this time around: Nancy Boutin, Robin Mizell, Verna Dreisbach, April Eberhart, Chris Brogan, and Ron Hogan.

Also got to meet some really interesting new folks like Gary Vanyerchuk, Julien Smith, Mike Shatzin, Annette Fix, Nasseem Rakha, Sheila Clover English, and Julie Spira.

[I’m not remembering everyone…but I’ll complete the list later.]

Special thanks to the folks at Writer’s Digest and Robin Mizell!

More updates on BEA soon…

Writer Mama Success Rhythms: May is for Managing Your Time

Christina Katz and daughterBy Christina Katz

Everyone’s a writer now, right? That’s the way the tide is turning. However, writing is always going to be primarily an inside job, no matter how many people jump on the bandwagon. So, it’s important to monitor your time as carefully as you manage your spending, your children’s nutrition, or the amount of gas in your tank. To become more productive, take stock of how you are spending your time and then try to spend it as wisely as you possibly can.

Craft
Practice is what leads to better writing. Sure, reading about writing is educational, inspirational, and a great way to kill an hour. However, for every hour you read about writing, commit to another hour-an hour of writing time. By bookending your writing between stints of quality reading, you’ll see a definite improvement in quality. Be a reader. And then, be a writer.

Pitching
The best thing you can do to get in the habit of selling your words is pitch yourself regularly. The next best thing you can do is to turn the rhythms that work into systems that you can sustain over time. Pitching success is the best teacher. When you succeed, notice what worked, turn it first into a rhythm and then into a system. In this way, pitching success will become a no-brainer.

Self-promotion
What’s the rush all about? Suddenly the world is full of desperate, frenetic people. Maybe it’s the economy. But mamas know that there are some things you simply cannot rush. So slow down. Promote yourself steadily. Have a plan. When you are in an unholy rush, others sense it and get turned off. Attract success; don’t repel it.

Professional Development
Book deals typically happen when everything is ripe. Ripeness is the fruition of many different types of effort, coming together, steadily over time. Keep taking steps to move forward as a professional and you will become ready for the book deal. Read my book, Get Known Before the Book Deal (Writer’s Digest Books 2008), but don’t try to do everything at once. Perhaps find your strengths and lean into those first. Then address your weak spots, too. You can go far as a writer just by following these two tips.

What is the single next most important goal for your writing career?

Focus on each one, one at a time. It’s enough.


Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). A platform development coach and consultant, she started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on Good Morning America. She teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country.

EARLY FALL CLASSES BEGIN AUGUST 12TH

Last chance for reduced prices when you register for fall classes by June 30th.
New prices effective on July 1st.

Writing and Publishing The Short Stuff
Especially For Moms (But Not Only for Moms!)
With Christina Katz
Class Begins August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Finally, a writing workshop that fits into the busy lives of moms! You will learn how to create short, easy-to-write articles-a skill that will make it easier to move up to longer, more time-consuming articles when you’re ready. Try your pen at tips, fillers, short interviews, list articles, how-tos, and short personal essays-all within six weeks. Now includes markets!
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Platform Building 101: Discover your Specialty
With Christina Katz
Class Begins on August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Identifying your writing specialty is one of the trickiest and most necessary steps in launching a writing career today. This class will help you find your best audiences, cultivate your expertise, manage your ideas, develop marketing skills, claim your path, serve editors and become portfolio-minded. You’ll learn how to become the professional you’ve always wanted to be and, most importantly, how to take your writing career more seriously.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Writing for the Web
With Jennifer Applin
Class Begins August 12th
Prerequisites: None
These days virtually every business and industry needs to have an online presence. With a growing trend in Internet marketing, e-commerce and online publications, the need for creating well-written web content is more important than ever. If you are looking to make a name for yourself, and a living, writing for the web, then this course can help you. Students will learn how to develop a writing style that is suitable for the web; provide a variety of services (online articles, website content, blogging, editing, etc.); establish a fair rate and avoid scams; find paying assignments and secure steady accounts.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Invest In Your Writing Career Today & Reap Greater Rewards Tomorrow.

Evergreen = More Green in Your Wallet

Abby GreenBy Abigail Green
Last month I talked about lead time, and timing your pitches to coincide with a certain season or event. But what about those story ideas that could run almost anytime? Editors have a term for the types of articles they can always use: evergreen. How many times have you seen stories like, “Walk Off the Weight” or “Tips to Improve Your Memory” or “Top 10 Super Foods” or “Secrets for Better Sex”? Hundreds, I’d bet.
 
Some subjects, like these, are perennial favorites. On the one hand, that beats trying to come up with the latest, greatest trend that an editor has never heard of. On the other hand, neither editors nor readers want to see the same old tired topics recycled again and again. “Fresh” is a favorite editor catchphrase. The publications that have the hardest time staying fresh are the ones that run the same stories year after year, like wedding, pregnancy, and home décor magazines, to name a few.
 
So how do you make an evergreen idea fresh again? Find out what’s new about it. Has a recent study come out on the topic? A new book? Can you tie it to current events or pop culture? I once sold an article on a several-thousand-year-old Indian interior design practice called vastu. What’s fresh about that? I pegged it as “the new feng shui” and interviewed an expert with a new book coming out. Bingo!
 
Other topics I’ve written about again and again include wedding planning and staying fit while traveling. Not much changes from year to year, but I can always include a fresh anecdote or a new book or product. Do a Google News search on your subject. Better yet, set up Google Alerts to e-mail you news on specific search terms. (On Google.com click on “more” and then “even more” to find the Alerts page.) Go through your Rolodex and call your contacts to ask what’s new in their industry. Consider major milestones that may renew interest in a topic – say, the tenth anniversary of an event or the bicentennial of a town. Dust off some of your old stories and see if there’s anything happening in the world that makes them fresh again.
 
With a little bit of research and creativity, evergreen stories can put a lot of green in your wallet.

 

Abigail Green has published more than 150 articles and essays in regional and national publications including American Baby, Baltimore Magazine, Bride’s, Cooking Light, and Health. Her work also appears in the new book, “A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers.” (Adams Media, 2009). Abby holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. in publishing from the University of Baltimore. She writes the “Crib Notes” column for The Writer Mama e-zine and the “Understanding Personal Essays” column for Writers on the Rise. A mother of two boys, she blogs about parenting, publishing and more at http://diaryofanewmom.blogspot.com. She also teaches the six-week e-course Personal Essays that Get Published.

Upcoming Classes with Qualified Instructors

EARLY FALL CLASSES BEGIN AUGUST 12TH
Last chance for reduced prices when you register for fall classes by June 30th.
New prices effective on July 1st.

Writing and Publishing The Short Stuff
Especially For Moms (But Not Only for Moms!)
With Christina Katz
Class Begins August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Finally, a writing workshop that fits into the busy lives of moms! You will learn how to create short, easy-to-write articles-a skill that will make it easier to move up to longer, more time-consuming articles when you’re ready. Try your pen at tips, fillers, short interviews, list articles, how-tos, and short personal essays-all within six weeks. Now includes markets!
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Platform Building 101: Discover your Specialty
With Christina Katz
Class Begins on August 12th
Prerequisites: None
Identifying your writing specialty is one of the trickiest and most necessary steps in launching a writing career today. This class will help you find your best audiences, cultivate your expertise, manage your ideas, develop marketing skills, claim your path, serve editors and become portfolio-minded. You’ll learn how to become the professional you’ve always wanted to be and, most importantly, how to take your writing career more seriously.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Writing for the Web
With Jennifer Applin
Class Begins May 6th
Prerequisites: None
These days virtually every business and industry needs to have an online presence. With a growing trend in Internet marketing, e-commerce and online publications, the need for creating well-written web content is more important than ever. If you are looking to make a name for yourself, and a living, writing for the web, then this course can help you. Students will learn how to develop a writing style that is suitable for the web; provide a variety of services (online articles, website content, blogging, editing, etc.); establish a fair rate and avoid scams; find paying assignments and secure steady accounts.
Cost: $199.00.
More/Register at www.christinakatz.com

Invest In Your Writing Career Today & Reap Greater Rewards Tomorrow.

Meeting Former Students in NYC!

Hiya mamas,

It’s always fun to meet up with people I’d only previously met through classes in person!

At the Writer’s Digest/BEA Confernece today, I got to meet Janine Boldrin and Beth Meleski for the first time face-to-face.

So great meeting you, ladies!

photo

I also had two great sessions and signed copies of Get Known Before the Book Deal, which sold out!

Thanks to Greg Hatfield, Jane Friedman, and Kelly Nickel for putting on a terrific conference!

Better Back Basics

Kelly James Enger and sonBy Kelly James-Enger


Have you ever hurt your back? You’re not alone-four in five Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. People who sit all day-like writers-are particularly susceptible to back problems.
 
To help avoid such challenges, practice good posture, especially when you’re sitting-your shoulders should be pulled back, head up, stomach tucked in, back slightly curved. Throughout the day, do a “posture check” to make sure you’re not slumping. Use an adjustable chair that’s comfortable and supports your lower back, and don’t bend and twist at the same time, which increases the strain on your back.
 
Also, avoid sitting for long periods of time which can leave you feeling stiff and sore. Get in the habit of taking a short break from your desk every hour or so. And finally, a regular exercise program including core-strengthening moves like abdominal crunches will help your back stay strong and flexible.
 

Author, speaker, and consultant Kelly James-Enger is a certified personal trainer and the author of books including Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life (with Ellie Krieger, R.D.). Her book, Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create your own Writing Specialty and Make More Money, is aimed at novice freelancers; Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money helps experienced writers boost their bottom lines. Visit www.becomebodywise.com for free articles about freelancing and more information about her.


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