Archive for June, 2009



CATCH MY FIRST WRITER’S DIGEST WEBINAR!

Please Note: Date Change
Tuesday, Oct. 13th
Author Webinar:
Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?
Evaluating Your Skill Set to Get Published in the New “Gig Economy”
by Christina Katz (60 minutes)
 
What are your skill sets as a writer, and how do you evaluate them? How do you decide whether to specialize or generalize? You need to establish a strong direction for your development as a writer to survive in the changing times of publishing. All registrants will take a pre-quiz called “What’s Your Specialty?” designed to help you start identifying your strongest sources of expertise.This live event will offer:

Tips and paths for both specialists and generalists, and how to get started

Examples of writers’ websites (both specialist and generalist)

How to combine a specialist and generalist approach

Your chance to jump-start your career using the same strategies as the pros

Opportunity to ask Christina Katz your questions about platform development

Bonus: All attendees receive a copy of Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.

I bet many of you have not done a webinar before, but there is really nothing to it. You just show up in front of your computer at the scheduled date and time and watch the images I display on your computer screen while listening to my voice in real time. You can even type in questions for me to answer during the Q&A period.

More info

 

 
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Busy Parent Writer: Planning Your Summer

 By Sharon Miller Cindrich

It’s time to start figuring out how you’re going to handle your kids, your schedule, and your blossoming writing career Sharon Cindrich and kidsthis summer. Between trips to the pool, backyard barbecues, little league practices, and camping retreats, you may be wondering how you’ll balance a house full of kids buzzed on s’mores with your deadlines and inspirations. With a little forethought, it can be done by keeping these ideas in mind.
 
Check with your rec
In our area, the local recreation department offers tons of summer programs FREE of charge — from supervised playground hours for little ones to extra math and reading practice. These workshops and classes are worth their weight in a little free time for mom and dad to get that writing done. Look to your community center or school district for fun, educational and FREE activities that help give your summer structure, help you map out work time and are kind to your writing budget.
 
Consider a writing vacation
Forget the dude ranch and the Alaskan cruise; build a writing getaway into your summer plans to help your progress. Seminars and conferences on writing are offered at universities each summer, and the cost of instruction can be written off as a business expense. Even a weekend retreat at a friend’s cabin or an overnight at a cheap hotel without the kids can act as your “Spa Scribble.” Pack your writing gear, some comfy clothes, candles or music to set the mood and bubbles for a deep soak to soothe your writing spirit.
 
Stay portable
Don’t go anywhere this summer without something to record your thoughts — be it pen and paper, a tape recorder or your laptop. Summer adventures offer fodder for seasons to come, and you never know when inspiration will strike.
 
Use the light of night
Take advantage of long daylight hours, and plan an evening period of writing each week in the solitude of your garden or on your deck with a glass of lemonade. Make sure to string some cool summer lighting nearby in case you get carried away in the flow as the sun sets.
 
Summer camps, beach vacations and home improvements can be that much more satisfying when you’ve balanced your home and family needs with the demands of your writing life.
 
 
Sharon Miller Cindrich is the mom of two, a columnist and author of E-Parenting: Keeping Up With Your Tech-Savvy Kids (Random House, 2007). Her next book debuts in the fall of 2009. Learn more at www.sharonmillercindrich.com.

Writing for the Web: A Proper Introduction

By Jennifer Applin

So you’ve found an online publication or website you’d like to approach to offer your services. Should you send a Jennifer Applinletter of introduction or query letter?
 
Most of the time a letter of introduction is appropriate as the first point of contact for online publications. A letter of introduction is usually written with a professional tone and highlights your qualifications and experience.
 
You should also explain your intent for initiating the contact, such as detailing specific services you can offer and your pertinent area of expertise. It is also a good idea to include samples of your writing by linking to online published credits or a page of your website that contains writing samples.
 
The exception is a website that corresponds to a print publication. For example the website for Big Consumer Magazine.com is typically going to require the same query process that it takes to break into the print version of Big Consumer Magazine. For all others, start with a letter of introduction and see where that gets you. Just be prepared to follow up with a query if requested.
 
Business-Boosting Tip
Writing for the web means you can work anywhere in the world. Thanks to technology, even those living in Small Town, USA can create a great freelance career writing for markets far away.
 
When it comes to looking for work don’t forget the locals. Casting your net far and wide does not mean ignoring the opportunities in your own backyard. There may be many establishments in your area that could benefit from your services. You may have to step out of your niche when it comes to the topics you write about, but this is a great way to secure steady accounts and help your local economy.

 

Jennifer Applin is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and four young children. Aside from writing for many regional publications, she is regular contributor to eLearners.com and Projectworkingmom.com. She spends her days cooking, cleaning and caring for little ones; and her nights writing about pregnancy, parenting and the quest for peace (as in peace and quiet). You can also find her at Managing the MotherLoad.

Dear Mamas (June issue begins here)

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest even though it’s not yet official. The waterparks in town (we have two) are flowing, people are out exercising, playing, and gathering, and gradation is tonight over at the high school.

Soon my daughter will be out of school, followed by my husband, and then…well, I don’t get “out of school” exactly, but I will have a couple of months off from teaching and I look forward to spending more time with my family, taking a couple of trips to visit extended family, and just generally chilling out more than usual.

This is something I haven’t really done since 2005. In 2005, I was preparing to pitch Writer Mama at the August Willamette Writers Conference. In summer 2006, my deadline for Writer Mama was still pending. In summer 2007, I was working on pitching Get Known, and my final deadlines were at the end of summer 2008.

So, with the exception of a long family road trip that we took in summer 2006, I haven’t really taken any extended R&R during summer in four whole years.

I’ve written before about how creativity needs to take a rest but it bears repeating. When you are in a creative field like we are, and you are juggling raising a career alongside your family, if you don’t take time to rest, relax, and reflect, you’ll run the risk of burning out, or worse, making poor choices.

I feel like I’ve made sound choices so far but I’m starting to see some signs of wear and tear. For one thing, I’ve gained a bunch of weight and I don’t like being heavy. For another, I’ve developed a couple of nagging health issues that are no doubt also related to too much butt-in-chair time in front of the computer. These are all nothing serious but I see them as “flags”–indicators that need my attention and action.

Now I think you guys know me well enough to know that I’m not really going anywhere. I’m starting something on Twitter called #platformchat, where I will basically “talk platform” with anyone between 11-12 a.m. PT the first Friday of each month. I’d love to chat with you then.

If you are not already “following” me on Twitter, you can follow me at @thewritermama. Follow me and I’ll follow you back.


I’m showing up at a lot of blogs this summer, sharing some of what I’ve learned about platform development and answering questions and participating in discussions with all kinds of writers. I’m really looking forward to this and, if you have an active blog, I hope you will invite me over.

And finally, I always use summer time for future planning and organizing and this summer is no exception. I have an author series to organize, a class schedule to create, three e-zines to plan for, writing deadlines (look for my interview with Cory Doctorow in a fall issue of Writer’s Digest magazine), a busy fall schedule of guest gigs including The Writer’s Digest Business of Publishing Conference and a Should You Generalize Or Specialize Webinar? (which has been moved to October 13th from June 14th).

By the end of summer, I will have a third book idea and be ready to pitch it. It would also be great if I could be thinner, tanner, and healthier (smile). I realize that it’s up to me to make all of these goals happen.

Happy summer, mamas! Thanks for spreading word of all the good hard work The Writer Mama columnists do around here. We always appreciate it!

Make good things happen!

Christina Katz
Publisher & Editor, The Writer Mama

P.S. Looking for content to keep your blog lively this summer? Get in touch with Christina, Wendy Burt-Thomas, and Sage Cohen and we’ll send you guest posts for your blog. Just send us an e-mail and we’ll send you back all the stuff to post in your blog on a weekday. Let us know when you are posting and we’ll swing by and answer questions from your readers on our topics.

Stuff Going On (Brought to you by Christina Cleans Out Her Inbox)

Mary Jo Campbell is hosting an essay contest on her blog, Writers Inspired:

Topic: Honor Your Father
$0 entry fee, 300 word count limit
Deadline: (one week!) Friday, June 12 midnight
Winner will receive autographed paperback book:  “Checklists for the New Dad”, by Joe Deyo
and winning essay will be posted on Writers Inspired

See my blog for full details/guidelines and exclusive interview with author, Joe Deyo
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/a-daddy-of-a-contest/

Laura Bridgwater has another hilarious essay on the radio:

“Summer Locusts Plague Kitchen” will air on June 8 at 6:35am and
8:35am on KUNC. You can listen live via the radio (at 91.5FM) or
live via the Internet (at http://www.kunc.org). The tape and transcript
will also be available at www.kunc.org.

Deb Schneider interviews me for a King County Library Podcast

Listen here. It’s about nine minutes. If you listen long enough you can hear me lose my train of thought. 🙂

Rock N’ Roll Mama Lindsay Maines wanted me to pass on this message:

Hey you guys!

Many of you know I’ve been working with S-Curve Records for the launch of Diane Birch’s debut, “Bible Belt.”  I fell in love with her sound in February, and agreed to consult- it has been a dream job. Yesterday, when her record dropped, it got even cooler. This new artist, 25 years old, debuted at #10 on the ITunes album chart. She had Eminem, Dave Matthews Band, and Kings of Leon above her, but not much else.:) It’s mind boggling.

Also yesterday, we launched a campaign for Diane’s debut called “Discover and Download”. D&D uses a widget, customized for 6 charities. Every time someone buys the album through the widget, ONE DOLLAR is donated to the charity of that person’s choice. You can display the widget on your Facebook profile, in your blog sidebar, or the social media site of your choice. It’s a way for Diane to give back to SOS Children’s Villages, a charity that helps orphans in Zimbabwe. She spent a lot of time there, as a missionary’s daughter, and feels strongly about that cause. I chose the Susan G. Komen Foundation badge for my blog, because of my mom’s and MILs battles. Other choices are March of Dimes, Share Our Strength, Autism Speaks, and keep a Child Alive.

PLUS, who ever raises the most money for charity through their widget by June 23, 2009, will win a FREE PRIVATE PERFORMANCE in the winner’s hometown!! (We’ll even throw in a few  refreshments.) More albums sold means more money donated. How cool is that?

If you’d like to get involved in this project, here’s how: Bloggers, please feel free to use this widget, and/or do a post to make others aware of this unique program. If you choose to do a post, I’d so appreciate you sending me a link so I can help promote it via Twitter and FB. Please use the URL below for any links in your post.

Social networkers, please post this on your profile, if you like Diane’s music and want to pass it on.

Here’s the link to the widget site, where you can choose the one that fits your needs.

http://tr.im/ndpV

Summer Blog Tour Thanks and Some Writer Mama Thanks Too

I’ve been blog touring for Get Known Before the Book Deal. Thanks to everyone who hosted me this past week!

I hope that bloggers or writing groups or just groups of friends who write will team up and use Get Known to work on platform development in the long haul because platform development is a process just like writing. 🙂

Christine Fonseca over at The Musings of Christine Fonseca

Wendy Burt over at Ask Wendy–The Query Queen

Debbie Simorte over at Writer Up — Writing the Life Chaotic

Shonna Slaton over at Routines for Writers

Kim Zook over at Zook Book Nook

Social Media Maven Meryl Evans hosted me over at Meryl.net and featured two of my e-zines in Web Worker Daily.

Also, I was rushing to prepare for my trip a couple weeks ago and didn’t provide links, so here’s more thanks to the folks who helped kick off the summer blog tour:

Diane from Contentedly Neurotic.

Lindsay Maines, the Rock n’ Roll Mama

Liz Sheffield’s blog, Motherlogue

Pamela Maynard at Pamela Maynard’s Pen

Lindsey over at The Write Words posted a review of Get Known.

I’ve done my best not to leave anybody out. Holler if I’ve missed anyone!

And thanks to Rebecca Laffar-Smith for hosting a Writer Mama book giveaway in May!

The great reviews of Writer Mama keep rolling in. Here’s one by Lara Dolphin over at E-zineArticles.com.

Butterfly Baby included Writer Mama in a great round up of books to read this summer in the blog Pregnancy and Motherhood. She wrote:

In an effort to remain focused on writing and building that business, I purchased a few books. I’ve only started to read the Writer Mama first, but so far, I’m loving it. There’s a great friendly tone to it, almost as if a girlfriend is guiding me on which way to go with this new venture. It’s extremely educational and is a great guide through the business as well as a mentor on how to get published.

I’ll end with some kind words from Meg over at mamaguilt in Queensland, Australia:

I’m reading Writer Mama, and it’s changing the way I view my life.

Freelance writer Christina Katz delivers nearly 300 pocket-sized pages of wisdom that will help any writer, not just the mamas among us. Most writers can benefit from advice about how to work from home, be your own boss, build on your strengths, and follow your interests. I read Katz’s Get Known before the Book Deal as research for an article I wrote for WQ, and read in conjunction, Katz’s two books have inspired me to create a framework to organise my writing activites. I devote time to research, generating ideas, networking, and creating opportunities, as well as the actual writing.

Date Change: Are You a Specialist or a Generalist? Webinar

Catch my first Writer’s Digest Webinar!

Please Note: Date Change Tuesday, October 13th

Author Webinar Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?

Evaluating Your Skill Set to Get Published in the New “Gig Economy” by Christina Katz (60 minutes)

What are your skill sets as a writer, and how do you evaluate them? How do you decide whether to specialize or generalize? You need to establish a strong direction for your development as a writer to survive in the changing times of publishing. All registrants will take a pre-quiz called “What’s Your Specialty?” designed to help you start identifying your strongest sources of expertise. This live event will offer:

  • Tips and paths for both specialists and generalists, and how to get started
  • Examples of writers’ websites (both specialist and generalist)
  • How to combine a specialist and generalist approach
  • Your chance to jump-start your career using the same strategies as the pros
  • Opportunity to ask Christina Katz your questions about platform development

Bonus: All attendees receive a copy of Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz. I bet many of you have not done a webinar before but there is really nothing to it. You just show up in front of your computer at the scheduled date and time and watch the images I display on your computer screen while listening to my voice in real time. You can even type in questions for me to answer during the Q&A period. More info.


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