Archive for the 'Writer Mama Sell-a-bration' Category

News Writer Mamas Can Use: A Roundup From My Inbox

Hiya mamas,

I’ve been a bit scarce since the conclusion of The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. But never fear because I’m gearing up for our second annual December Sell-a-bration! Not to mention all this other cool stuff that has landed in my Inbox lately that I’d like to share with you. Please feel free to grab and share any news in this post!

Sell-A-Brate Your Year Right Here In December 2009

Remember last year? I invited my students to share their success stories each day in December. Talk about inspirational! So, naturally, we’re doing it again.

If you missed the good stuff last year, click here to bring up all the posts. Happy getting inspired!

I hope you’ll start thinking about your 2009 success stories for this year’s round-up. More to come…

Wendy Burt Thomas Offers Inexpensive Query Feedback for Aspiring Authors

Trying to get your book published?

I offer flat-rate query letter consulting. For $50, you receive:

1. A review of your first-draft, one-page query letter with suggestions/edits

2. A review of a second draft with suggestions/edits

3. Five suggestions for agents/agencies that represent your type of manuscript

Wendy Burt-Thomas is the author of two books for McGraw-Hill and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (January 2009, Writer’s Digest Books). Her credentials include more than 1,000 published articles, short stories, personal essays and greeting cards. She has worked as a magazine, newspaper and book editor. Learn more at Ask Wendy – The Query Queen

Call for Submissions for upcoming Anthology

Is your child easy to love, but hard to parent?  DRT Press is seeking personal essays written by parents of children with ADD, ADHD and/or other mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders for a book about the experience of parenting children with such conditions, for publication (expected) in January 2011.  Compensation includes 10 copies of the completed book and unlimited discounted copies.  Payment may be offered.  The book will be co-edited by author/editor/publisher Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, Publisher, DRT Press and Kay Marner, a freelance writer who contributes regularly to ADDitude magazine, and blogs for  Soft deadline for submissions is March 1, 2010.  For more information visit Questions may be directed to


Thank You, Mamas & Happy New Year!

I have been buried in paperwork since I came back to work on Monday. Also the little things in life (flat tire, sick dog, packages to wrap and mail at the P.O.) seem to be slurping up more time then I’d like. But I’ve felt fairly relaxed knowing that most folks are on vacation this week. So anything I accomplish (including several deadlines) means I’m making strides.

I wanted to take a moment to give a heartfelt thanks to all the mamas who participated in the December Sell-a-bration! I hope, as the New Year rolls on, that if and when you feel discouraged, you will come back to the December archives and read or re-read them.

More than anything, I gained a renewed sense of collective success. And I loved reading all the ways that success was experienced and described.

As we move into 2009, it makes sense to look forward and confirm the plans we’ve been dreaming for the past few months. I’m going to post a few of my goals here and I’d love to hear you proclaim a few of yours with me.

Please comment with your top three goals for 2009 and let’s charge into the New Year…together!

Christina’s 2009 Goals:

1. Land a book contract for book three and complete the writing before the year’s end/Start a novel and have it roughed out by the end of the year.

2. Create enhanced and more centralized community resources for all of my tribes (writer mamas, nonfiction writers, and platform builders).

3. Make better use of technology in order to connect personally with writers from around the globe.

Some experts are saying that in the future, content is going to be king for writers.

I disagree. I think CONTEXT, not content, is the key to success. Not just today but in the future…

I hope you will continue to come here and share your collective wisdom with me and all the mamas who come here for sustenance and inspiration.


December Sell-a-bration #29: Culitvating Inner Calm Led To Bigger Strides Forward

By Gigi Rosenberg

This year it was the simple things that catapulted me forward as a writer. I learned to not check email first thing in the morning and to work on my most important writing project first – even if it was one without a due date. That meant that later in the day when I got to the stuff I had to do, I didn’t mind: I’d already had dessert.

I cleared off my desk and bulletin board of all clutter so that everything in front of me relates to what I’m writing right now. No dry-cleaning receipts or half-off pizza coupons.

At the end of every workday I organized myself for the next morning.  So when I arrived at my office I knew exactly where to start. This helped me not get stuck in any more existential anxiety than necessary.

I took frequent walks and stretch breaks which helped me write more. Many writing snags unsnarled while walking my dachshund.

This year, I learned to go at a turtle’s pace: a few things done everyday led to bigger things done.  When I got anxious, I didn’t focus on the big things, I focused on the next thing. I asked myself when I was stuck: What could you do right now that could move this forward? Sometimes the answer was to let it sit.

I listened to my thoughts. When they swirled in negativity, I labeled them. I paid attention to how they affected my mood. I didn’t try to stop my thoughts or micro-manage them but I noticed the power of naming them.

This year I got the usual good stuff done: teaching, writing for new publications, collaborating with other writers, etc. But the biggest thing I did this fall was to clear my schedule of anything extraneous and finish two big writing projects. I worked on them like a turtle. I even took naps. This calm and steady pace is what I’m bringing into 2009.

How boring I might have once thought. But this year, I knew better.

December Sell-a-bration #28: Wrapping Up A Big Project First, Ultimately Made The Most Sense

By Krystyann Krywko

So many things to accomplish – so little time! Here I sit at the end of a crazy and crowded year and I wonder why I spent so much time trying to re-invent my writing – when the answer was lying right in front of me the entrie time!

My epiphany occurred in the midst of the Platform 102 class – the week where Christina asks everyone to take a long, deep look at their writing and map out the successes you envision for your writing future. While I greatly enjoyed the class and was full of all sorts of ideas for newsletters and blog posts – putting my thoughts down in black and white also made me painfully aware of the multiple writing lines I have left dangling and the need to reconcile some of them before I could move any further in bulding my platform.

What I really need to do right now is to finish my dissertation – that great big piece of writing that I have spent so much time and energy on, but one that sometimes becomes sidelined with my focus on querying magazines and writing personal essays.

I thought I could develop my freelance writing career, alongside writing my dissertation, alongside raising my two young children. Not to say that it isn’t possible, but I have had my priorities somewhat out of skew the past while. I need to focus on my dissertation first, period, the end! I have messed around with different schedules as to what days I would work on it, and what day I would work on my freelance stuff, but in reality the effort that I have put into querying and writing articles, has left me without a great deal of energy to pursue my dissertation research, and also left me with a very slow trickle of writing credits to my name.

So, I dedicate 2009 to the completion of my dissertation! It feels good to make this decision – I honestly cannot justify building a website/blog/newsletter at this time in my life – although I am excited to do them in the near future – I feel that I need to get rid of the big elephant in the room (my dissertation) and move on with my life.

I was recently approached by a publisher who is interested in my chosen topic and would love to work with me on publishing a book after I have completed my doctoral work. So, I ask you what is my problem? I am excited about my topic when I am immersed in it, I have just let too many distractions get in the way. I have a bad habit of jumping from point A to point Z without thinking about anything in between, and Christina has allowed me the time and space to realize that sometimes taking two steps backwards is the best way to move forward!

Here is to 2009 and the year of staying sanely focused!

Sell-a-bration Day #27: Determination Is Paying Off

Julianne Hale

There is no question that Writer Mama played a role in my freelance writing success. I remember seeing the advertisement for the book in Writer’s Digest and thinking, I WILL own that book. I bought it shortly after it was published and began reading it. I took Christina’s advice seriously and ended up signing up for an online class that helped me immensely. As a result of my hard work and Christina’s teachings, 2008 has been a very prosperous year for me.

I got my first published (but not paid) job for a new regional parenting magazine in my area after sending an e-mail to the editor. That editor embraced my writing style and, early in 2008, gave my name to another local editor who was searching for someone to do some monthly calendar editing work for their publication. I got the job immediately and now have a steady assignment every month that is completely lacking in creativity but pays quite well and affords me the luxury of a steady paycheck. The publication that I work for is a franchise and I have recently been approached to perform the same service for other areas of the country that publish the same magazine.

I continue to write regularly for the parenting magazine and my work is compensated (yay!) and I also write regularly for two other regional publications and have increased my resume this year to include upwards of 30 articles with one cover story. One of the coolest assignments I got this year was a feature on the Riverbend Music Festival that takes place in Chattanooga every year. As a result, I got to interview a celebrity and I also got press passes to the festival—a very cool little bonus. I have made tons of connections in the Chattanooga area through working for all of these great publications and look forward to another great year in ’09.

Kudos to Writer Mama for recognizing our demographic and creating a manual for our success!

December Sell-a-bration #26: Writing Dreams

By Judy Miller

I had a dream last year. I dreamt of my eighth grade English project, where I created, wrote and edited my very first, and only, magazine. Long forgotten, but planted deep within the frazzled brain cells of motherhood, the memory was triggered by something during my day. I remember how proud I was and how I had thrown myself into it. Nothing had been left out; opinion pieces, expert columnists, fashion, sports, cartoons, crafts, cooking, and pet care were just some of the many topics covered. “A+++”, in red marker, was placed on the inside cover across from the publication credits, along with a paragraph from my teacher. The grade and kudos were great, but they paled in comparison to the charge I received from creating the work.

The dream went on and I was in the interview with my high school’s newspaper staff. I was asked if I could interview anyone, who it would be. My answer was God because I had so many questions for her. There was utter silence; I believe I scared the majority, if not all of the students and teacher sponsors in the room. The position went to another “more qualified” student. I wonder what would have happened if it had been me.

A lot of time has passed, since these events took place. I finished college, grad school, got married and became a mom to a busy bunch of kids. But, the “What if?” kept niggling within me…and it grew and GREW. “What if?” became “What’s keeping me from doing this?” The resounding answer was “Nothing.”

Feeling nervous and giddy and SO excited about the possibility, I committed to writing in January with the purchase of Writer Mama and enrolling in Christina’s class Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff. I went on to take three other classes with Christina and one with Abby Green. I was gently encouraged to dig deep, stretch and learn the craft while growing as a writer.

2008 has been a year of bringing my brain out of hibernation and finding time to be a productive and creative writer while raising my brood of four.

I’ve come away with:
To trust that I have chosen the right path for me.
To express myself
To approach other writers with questions and help.
To put myself out there, vulnerable to criticism and rejection

For the networking I have been encouraged to establish and grow
For my emerging platform
For mentors and friendships
For personal and writing challenges, providing me with introspection, analysis and growth

To write every day
To seek balance
To persevere

That encouragement and support garners friendships and helps all writers

I became a writer this year. I’m just at the beginning of my journey, but I can’t wait to see where I’m going.

I’d still like to interview God.

Judy Miller is an Indiana-based writer and mother to four gregarious kids. She has written for parenting magazines and has a story coming out in the anthology, A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families (June, 2009). She blogs about parenting her diverse group of kids at:

December Sell-a-bration #25: I landed a book deal

Last January while my husband and daughters skied during a New Year’s family vacation, I opted to stay home and grab a few quiet hours to myself. I wrapped up in a blanket, made a cup of hot cocoa, and sat down in our rented condo to pen my writing goals for 2008. The list was ambitious. I planned to:

  • write a weekly column for a suburban edition of my hometown newspaper, The Oregonian.
  • write a column for Christina’s e-zine, Writers on the Rise, which had me interviewing agents and editors every other month.
  • submit queries to The Oregonian for additional writing assignments.
  • write book reviews and author interviews for my Web site,
  • finish revising a book proposal I was working on for a mother-daughter book club guidebook.
  • send out my proposal and have it accepted by an agent.

I knew I’d be squeezing in every spare moment between volunteer commitments at my daughters’ schools and leading their Girl Scout troops. But there was something about getting it all down in print on January 2 that felt hopeful too. The year stretched before me, and I felt that anything was possible. It was exciting and frightening at the same time.

Almost a year later I look back and see how many of my goals I reached, and how many more opportunities came up that I didn’t anticipate, all because I reached my other goals first.

As planned, I wrote my weekly column for The Oregonian, and the editor assigned me other articles even without a query. I interviewed agents and editors for Writers on the Rise, and near the end of the year Christina invited me to edit it in 2009, while offering me a column in her new publication, The Get Known Groove.

On my Web site, I began offering promotions, because publishers recognize that my readership is an audience they want to reach. So now my readers have more reason to visit my site. I also started a quarterly newsletter for mother-daughter book clubs, and began having more interaction with my readers across the country. A by-product of the greater recognition was being interviewed with my daughters for an article in Family Fun magazine.

I also revised the book proposal I was working on, adding in the bits about my increasing platform. This led to my biggest writing achievement of all this year: Landing an agent and who brokered a book deal for me with Seal Press in October, to write Bonding Through Books: Your Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs. It’s due out in 2010, and now I’m writing and learning so much along the way. The time I spend writing has increased dramatically, and I feel that the quality of what I write has improved along with my productivity during the year.

A new year is just around the corner, and I’m already itching to sit down soon after January 1 and write my new list of goals. Where will they take me this year? I’ll finish writing the book for sure, and start planning to promote it. I’ll continue to write for The Oregonian and start with The Get Known Groove while editing Writers on the Rise.

Where else will writing take me? I can’t wait to find out.

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