Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Success! – DeAnna Knippling

DeAnna Knippling's short story, "Miracle, Texas," a Weird Western, was published online at Nil Desperandum, including a short interview about the story, doom, and zombies. 

Her short story, "Paid," about a time-travelling detective in a multiverse, was published online at Crossed Genres and as a podcast at Beam Me Up Podcast.

She also released her first independently-published ebook, Chance Damnation, a Weird Western, at Wonderland Press:  

One little girl. Buffalo-demons stampede out of the earth to steal one little half-blood girl, and everything changes. Aloysius’s little brother Jerome goes missing with her--two inseparable kids whose friendship is damned from the beginning--as demons replace the newly dead.

A priest with a tainted Bible. A brother with a taste for blood and demon flesh. A fool with a passion for the machinery of Hell. Only Aloysius and his brothers can see the transformation--and there’s not a damned thing they can do about it. Then Jerome returns: he has found a way down into the demons’ Hell, where they twist the little girl’s tortured dreams into a paradise of their own, a place to escape the demons who, in turn, haunt them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Column: Fan Fiction – Curse or Genius? by Becky Clark

I read this article in Time Magazine about Harry Potter and all the associated fan fiction. (It’s well worth your time to read it, whether you’re a writer or not.)

Pardon me if I’m being too technical with this definition, but fan fiction is fiction written by fans. They take the characters from Harry Potter or Twilight or Star Trek or Bewitched or Glee and put them in scenarios of their own imagining. What if Kirk and Spock were gay? What if Harry Potter went to school at Hollywood High instead of Hogwarts? What if Luke Skywalker went to the Dark Side? What if Quinn kept her baby? What if Larry Tate wasn’t so stupid?

Sometimes there’s sex in the stories. Sometimes they project the characters into the future. Or the past. Sometimes the authors are amateurs, but often they’re other published writers. Regardless, each story they tackle answers that age old question all writers ponder … “what if?”

There are many authors who are very proprietary with their characters, never wanting anyone else to touch them. Other authors are thrilled that fans love the characters so much they want to manipulate them into scenarios of their own.

I’ve never written fan fiction, nor do I have characters that other people want to write about — yet. Honestly, I don’t know what I think about this. But I sure would like to see a story with Spock and Larry Tate teaching Luke Skywalker the advertising business at Hogwarts. Of course, their neighbors, Kirk and Quinn, would keep their baby and it would grow up to be Sue Sylvester. They wouldn’t invite the neighborhood vampires to their backyard BBQs, though. It would only lead to heartache. And indigestion.

So which is it? As Lev Grossman asks, “Do characters belong to the person who created them? Or to the fans who love them so passionately that they spend their nights and weekends laboring to extend those characters’ lives, for free?”

(Originally posted July 22, 2011 at Becky’s blog, I’m Just Sayin)

About the Writer:  Becky Clark is a popular blogger, entrepreneur, speaker, and author of wildly divergent books — for example, An UnCivil War – The Boys Who Were Left Behind (middle-grade historical fiction); Reading Maniac — Fun Ways To Encourage Reading Success (a guide for parents of reluctant readers); and The Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle Cookbook. Her BeckyLand blog can be found at http:/ and her healthy living website/blog is She is a highly functioning chocoholic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Column: The Business of Writing: The CLM (Career-Limiting Move) by Linda Rohrbough

Back when I was a technology reporter, the rumor was Bill Gates’ e-mail address was known to every employee at Microsoft. But to e-mail Bill without an extremely good reason was known as a CLM – a career-limiting move. There are CLMs available to everyone, however, and writers are no exception.

Most recently, I watched a doozie CLM when a first-time novelist posted on a loop a long rant about an unfavorable review she received on She got a bunch of writers stirred up to go after the reviewer.

The author listed all the things she did to get the reviewer’s one-star mention of her book pulled. But Amazon refused to do it. It’s important to note the review was of a first novel that’s received all kinds of attention, including a video trailer pre-release from the publisher. Plus Amazon had over thirty five-star reviews of the book the first week it was out.

Just for grins, I looked up the one-star reviewer. She’d done 830 other reviews, was in the top 500 of reviewers with Amazon, has two college degrees, a number of medical disorders including scoliosis, and a strong following. Oh boy. Talk about a CLM.

I got on the loop and posted the reviewer’s credentials, then I said short and sweet my advice would be to thank the reviewer. I didn’t say this on the loop, but not only is this the right thing to do, it’s a smart business move. If a reviewer with a following gets a thank you from an author, they might consider looking at the next book that author writes. If they get a bunch of flack from the author and his/her friends, you think they’ll review that author’s books again? And as they say, even bad publicity is still publicity.

But it gets worse. This little Amazon controversy I was telling you about reached the ears of the publisher. So this writer got on the loop, thanked everyone for their support, but asked that they please stop going after the reviewer and Amazon. Further, she turned around to blame the people on the loop by saying her publisher insinuated she was behind some of the ugly comments aimed at the reviewer.

In my opinion, that insinuation was true. If she had only complained to her circle of friends, and kept it off a public loop, her publisher might not even know there’s a one-star review on

I was concerned this author’s first book may be her last. But I heard she got another contract. She got lucky, in my humble opinion.

After watching that whole drama play out, I took away five things.

First, everyone is not going to like every book. Eat, Pray, Love, the national best-seller by Elizabeth Gilbert, last time I checked had over 2,500 reviews with 560 one-star reviews. In fact, I took a look at several best-sellers and all had some one-star reviews.

Second, it’s important to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. When I was a reporter, I had people clamoring at me every day to look at their product or review their book. It got old fast, and I was being paid. Can I tell you how many thank yous I got? Maybe one in a hundred.

Third, maybe there is improvement to be made. I got some very harsh but useful reviews in college when I was a sophomore invited by the professors into the graduate-level creative writing courses. The graduate students made no secret they resented my presence as an undergrad, so they never pulled their punches. And no one has ever been meaner than that, before or since.

Fourth, I want to be prepared to accept some adversity and respond in a way that leaves the door open for further success. Do I dread a poor review? You bet. But I also want to be smart and not limit myself.

Fifth, I never hear my best-selling friends talk about their bad reviews. And I mean never. Talking about bad reviews is about the same as telling an agent you’re querying about all the other agents who have rejected your book. Not a smart move.

Overall, I’d say there are lots of CLMs in this business. And fighting with a book reviewer is near the top of the list. I said all this because I’m talking to myself as much as anyone else. With my new book out, I want to set realistic expectations, focus on the good, and have a plan in place to handle myself and the situation when things don’t go the way I’d like. I hope sharing my plan has helped you.

About the Writer:  Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." An iPhone App of her popular three-step formula workshop for writers, “Pitch Your Book,” is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Column: Ten Things That Come To Mind on the Occasion of Finishing a Book Proposal by Deb Courtney

(In which a writer shares her actual thoughts as experienced in the first few minutes after the actual completion of an actual book proposal.) 

1.  Vodka.  Need Vodka.
2.  Writing is vile, wretched and hard.  What was I thinking?
3.  Holy crap, I am freaking brilliant. 
4.  Uh, this is terrible.  Awful.  What was I thinking?
5.  38 pages.  This is perfect.  The best book proposal ever written.  Clearly I will land an amazing book deal in the next few moments.
6.  What was I thinking?!?!?!?
7.  It feels excellent to have finished such a long, involved and detailed task. Even if the idea doesn’t sell right away, I am pleased with the accomplishment of having gotten this far.
8.  I am an idiot.  The rejections will be epic and unparalleled, and I will forevermore sit on the double super-secret blacklist that all agents have, which they take out and laugh about over fabulous martinis in Manhattan, while sitting in bars from which I am also clearly banned for life.
9.  I finished, I finished.  Nyah, nyah, na-nyah nyah!
10.  So.  Schizophrenia.  At least I have that going for me.

Actual thoughts.  I kid you not.  Still, it feels good to have finished the whole non-fiction book proposal.  Now I wait.  And hope the schizophrenia does not get the best of me in the meantime….

About the Writer:  Deb Courtney has a degree in fiction from the University of South Florida, has published several short stories, and has written freelance for such publications as The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Business Journal. She is a frequent speaker at Pikes Peak Writers events.

She lives in the foothills in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she has a winter view of Pikes Peak (which is to say she can see it only when all the leaves are off the trees). She shares her home with a driving-age teen, two cross-eyed slightly brain-damaged felines, and likely has squirrels in her attic. And that's not a euphemism.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Column: Screenwriting – Adaptation: How to Do It by Karen Albright Lin

As discussed in the last blog post, there are many forms of writing that can be adapted to film.  Because the most common is novel to script, my example assumes you are moving from book to screenplay.

If you have a novel, there are three common ways of approaching adaptation to film.  Each has advantages and disadvantages. 

1)  Follow the book beat by beat.

  -   Outline is there for you and YA length lends itself (Holes is a good example)

  - It can come off crowded with characters, jerky and melodramatic (motivation doesn’t match action).
  - You will have to cut the story down to 2 hours—at 1 page per minute
  - You will likely anger some readers.

2)  Work from key scenes.

  - Pick most colorful, dramatic scenes.

  - Scenes tied together artificially will not look like the novel.
  - Again, you’ll anger some readers.

3)  Construct an original screenplay based on the book.

  - Nail down the premise, decide on an appropriate POV (maybe different than the book’s)
  - Determine beginning/middle/end, write a treatment and first chapter (called a master scene script).

  - Must start from scratch and reduce to filmable dimensions.
  - Still you’ll get complaints from readers.
Despite all the reader belly-aching, the biggest box-office successes tend to be adaptations.  Since Oscars began in 1927-28, more than 3/4 of the Best Picture awards have gone to adaptations of novels.  William Goldman is proof that a script can be made from a book without being 100% true to the book and without disappointing readers or viewers.  When adapting Marathon Man, his own novel, he kept only one scene from the book (Olivier in the diamond district).  Stephen King didn’t like Stanley Kubrick’s handling of The Shining, but the movie is brilliant if you don’t connect it to the source material.   

The moral of this posting: Choose the right story, learn the craft, and be flexible.  Write a screenplay that keeps the soul of the book and you may touch many more people with your story.  In my next post I’ll discuss useful steps to take as you prepare to turn a novel into a screenplay.  Until then, keep your dialogue snappy and your directions brief.  Don’t step on the director.  Avoid dusk and dawn.

About the Writer: Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker and award-winning author of novels, cookbooks, and screenplays. She’s written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and PPW Contest. Find out more at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reminder: Write Brain - Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WHAT: Elementary, My Dear Writer: Using Criminal Profiling to Enhance Your Characters
& Dialogue with author j.a. kazimer

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.) on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WHERE: Police Station Community Room, 7850 Goddard St., Colorado Springs


In this workshop, you will learn the techniques criminal profilers use to catch serial killers, and then use these tricks in your writing to deepen your characters, and enhance your dialogue by writing between the lines. Bring pen and paper for in-class exercises.

About j.a. kazimer: Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, j.a. escaped at a young age, and now lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. Books include The Junkie Tales (Obscure Publishing, 2010), Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes (Obscure Publishing, 2010), The Body Dwellers (Solstice Publishing, 2011), CURSES! A F**ked Up Fairytale (forthcoming from Kensington, March 2012), and Holy Socks and Dirtier Demons (forthcoming from Champagne Books, April 2012). 

j.a. kazimer holds a master's degree in forensic psychology, and has worked as a private investigator, bartender, and most recently at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What I Learned from the Unabomber by j.a. kazimer

Believe it or not, the Unabomber taught me a lot, as did Ted Bundy, the Boston Strangler, and homegrown Colorado serial murder Scott Kimball.

About evil, sure.

But something else, too.

They taught me about being a better writer.

And not in the way one might think.

While studying for my master’s degree in forensic psychology, I discovered behavioral evidence analysis, better known as Criminal Profiling, which changed my life and my writing forever. If you’ve watched the show Criminal Minds you probably have an idea about how a criminal profile is used to catch bad guys.

But have you considered how that same process can be used in your writing?

Trust me, it can help. Immensely. Especially if you struggle with dialogue, or more importantly, the spaces between what your characters say and what they really mean. 

The beauty of well written dialogue is what is not ‘said’.  Think about it.

“Go ahead, make my day.”

Take the above line, spoken through the gravelly voice of Clint Eastwood, his eyes squinty and cold.  

Menacing, right?  

Now consider the same line, said in the baby voice of Jennifer Tilly, her lips pouty and red.

Not the same, huh?

So it’s not always the words between the quotes that create the tension in a scene. And this is where profiling can help. Criminal profiling infers offender traits based upon actions, and that should be the goal of every writer. Readers want to interact with our story, to infer character traits and motivations, to play Sherlock Holmes to our Watson, even in a category romance.

On July 19th, I’ll be hosting a workshop for the PPW to give writers a look at criminal profiling tools and how they can be used to make the reader’s day.  I hope to see you there.

About the Writer: Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, j.a. escaped at a young age, and now lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. Books include The Junkie Tales (Obscure Publishing, 2010), Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes (Obscure Publishing, 2010), and The Body Dwellers (Solstice Publishing, 2011).

Forthcoming books include, CURSES! A F**ked Up Fairytale (Kensington, March 2012) and Holy Socks and Dirtier Demons (Champagne Books, Spring 2012).

j.a. kazimer holds a master's degree in forensic psychology, and has worked as a PI, bartender, and most recently at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Q&A with John Hart by Robin Widmar

Bestselling author John Hart was a keynote speaker at the 2011 Pikes Peak Writers Conference. As the conference was winding down, John sat down with me to answer a few questions before he headed home.

PPW: So far, what is the greatest joy of being a full-time writer?

JH: All of it! (laughs) I mean, it’s a life changer, it really is. I would say it’s a freedom issue, the expression of ultimate freedom. I choose what I want to do. Literally, if I want to work on a Saturday night, if I want to take off Monday morning, if I want to take Wednesday off to be with my kids, it doesn’t matter. The thing about that is you do tend to lose track of time and days. You have to keep a schedule.

PPW: What prompted you to take your writing to an outside office rather than working at home? Was it just a matter of getting out of the house and away from the distractions of your family?

JH: All the things you just described. My wife, the children – they understand intellectually how my process works, but they don’t get it. My wife won’t hesitate to stick her head in and say, “John, this will just take one second.” Right? She doesn’t understand that now I’m going to spend another hour getting back into the scene and it’s not one second, it’s two hours.

The other part is, I had so many years as a lawyer and a stockbroker, so going to an office provides a sense of transition from home to work. And I like to have my space. I’ll be writing at home when we move to Virginia…for at least a couple months, as I have before.

During the Saturday lunch at conference, John shared that he and his family were moving to a rural Virginia farm so that his kids could have a “Huckleberry Finn” sort of childhood similar to his own. The land carries a bit of history, as Thomas Jefferson crossed it regularly to haul building materials to his own property. It is also dear to John because he and a friend were able to buy the property from a developer whose plans tanked with the economy.

PPW: Tell us about the environmental issues that are such strong themes in your books.

JH: When I was a kid, we lived in town but had 472 acres on the river. Down River is sort of a testament to my memories of that farm and that experience. You’ll see if you read King of Lies there’s a pretty big issue of development. For me, it’s the Southern connection to land and place.

PPW: You mentioned in your talk yesterday that you have some favorite charities that you support.

JH: There are charities that I serve on the boards for, the Children’s Museum in Greensboro and the Land Trust for Central North Carolina. I really have two hometowns. There’s Salisbury, where I grew up, and Greensboro. …For Down River and The Last Child, we did big, big fundraiser events for the Children’s Museum and the Land Trust. People who bought tickets to the events were the first in the nation to get copies of the book. There were centerpieces that triptychs of the jacket art with a candle in the middle so it would shine through – they just did a beautiful job. We had a character name raffle. We’ve been really good at getting media, so people were buying (raffle tickets) from all over the state. The woman who won it ended up being the main female character in Iron House.

PPW: Tell us a little bit about what you like to do when you’re not writing.

JH: My downtime, I swear, is all about my kids! My selfish pleasures are movies. I used to play golf. I just bought a new chainsaw. I’ve got some trees down on some of our trails.

PPW: What’s your next project?

JH: (Smiling) It’s probably a little too early to speculate on the record as to what the next book is. I’m working on it. I have ideas.

BIO: John Hart is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies, Down River, and The Last Child. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, John has also won the Barry Award and England’s Steel Dagger Award for best thriller of the year. His books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and can be found in over fifty countries. His fourth novel, Iron House, releases today and is available from your favorite booksellers.
(Photo courtesy of Abigail Seymour Photography)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Write on the Ledge by Mandy Houk

One of my favorite authors happens to be in my online critique group. He also happens to be unpublished.
            For years now, he has been writing novel after novel, only to abandon each one before all the words have made the long journey from his overactive imagination to the page.
            Just a few months ago, my friend posted a new message on our critique group’s Yahoo page. Though he normally tends toward loquaciousness, this email was a record-breaker. His shortest ever.

            I figured out my problem. I’ve been writing scared.

            This newsflash was simultaneously surprising…and not surprising. Of all the writers I know, this friend strikes me as gutsy, bold, daring (in plot points, character sketches, and word choices). And yet, it rang true.
            For one thing, if he’s writing scared, that would explain his lack of finished manuscripts.
            For another thing, his words struck a huge chord in me. I dashed off a quick email in response, encouraging him to snap out of it forthwith, and then I opened my own manuscript and took a look.
            What I found was alarming. Words so clean and non-threatening as to be yawn-inducing. And it was easy for me to go back in my mind and remember writing them. I remembered the stiffness in my shoulders. The whispering, nagging voices in the back of my mind. “That’s not believable.” “That analogy’s too out-there. Nobody will like it.” “Who do you think you are, anyway?”
            Then I opened a document that I’d created late in November of 2009. Yes, one of those Novembers. National Novel Writing Month. I had promised my creative writing students that I would try it (for the second time) if they would. So I had to finish, right? Trouble was, I hadn’t started with a new idea. I was trying to finish my work-in-progress. Toward the middle of the month, I had exhausted the plot but was thousands of words short of NaNo’s 50,000.
Facing the prospect of failing my students, I elected to write what I would call “journal entries” from my various characters. My goal was simply to get into their heads so I could write them more convincingly. I knew I would/could never actually use much I was coming up with. Why? Well, because it would be messy. Rough. Not “real” writing.
            But after reading my friend’s email, when I compared my writing from NaNoWriMo to the manuscript I’d been meticulously preparing for public consumption, it was clear: there was far more life in those mucky, not-officially-trying words. More honesty, more edge, more truth, more beauty.
            I didn’t quite know what to do with that realization at the time. I sat there stuck between stunned and saddened. I guess the conclusion I came to, as I closed the documents and shut down my laptop, was that I could never hope to harness the loose, crazy writing into something an agent or a publisher would want. For on thing, multiple narrators are tricky. Only elite, magical writers can pull them off. Yada, yada, yada.
            A month or so later, my family and I went on one of our seat-of-the-pants, marathon road trips (the NaNoWriMo version of family vacations, you could say). One of our stops was the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. The best act of the night (in my family’s humble opinion) was The Steeldrivers. They were skilled musicians, and energized the room to the point that my smile muscles were sore by the end of their four-song set.
            I tried to pinpoint the source of their brilliance a couple of weeks later at my in-the-flesh critique group here in the Springs. I wound up on my feet, even going so far as to physically demonstrate the posture of the musicians and the singer (if you’ve ever seen me tell a story, this should not surprise you).
            Here’s what I realized, even as I spoke: the lead singer in particular was leaned way out toward the shared microphone (so as not to be impaled by the fiddler’s bow), so far that one heel was lifted off the floor. As he sang, I held my breath at some points because I could guess where the notes were going, and I could already hear the exhilarating strain in the notes as he pushed toward the edge of his range. As he leaned and stretched and belted out the tune, I was sure his voice would crack at any moment. And I have never been more thrilled to be wrong.
            My critique group friends are used to my effusiveness, thank goodness, so they were patient with me as I groped for the right words to match my goofy contortions. Finally, I said, “He was on the ledge the whole time. That’s it – he was on the ledge!”
            And I realized then that that quality of on-the-ledge-ness was exactly what my online critique group friend was yearning for. It’s what I had achieved out of desperation in NaNo 2009. And it’s where I was woefully failing in my day-to-day attempts to please those whispering, party-pooping voices in my head.
            That’s where the brilliance is, people. It’s at the ledge. It’s not seat-belted into the car at the gravel-covered “scenic overlook.” It’s not safely behind the informative plaque. It’s at the ledge, where your heart has no choice but to beat faster, because you’re crazy and have no business being there.
Who do you think you are?
            Only supernaturally talented writers can attempt that kind of thing.
            It’s too risky – you ought to be where the footing is safe and sure, not out there where you just might fall (read: never, ever, ever be published).
            You know what? If I can’t write a book that I really and truly love, I don’t want it published. I don’t want people reading the cautious, safe, yawn-inducing stuff that I produce when I’m seat-belted, secure, peering through the windshield of my safely parked car.
            I realize it’s not safe out here on the ledge. But that’s where you’ll find me from now on. Published? Maybe. Alive? Oh, yes. And if I fall, I’ll fall laughing.

About the Writer:  Mandy Houk is a freelance writer and editor, and woefully underpaid home schooling mom. She's sold several nonfiction articles and stories, and placed in a couple of short fiction contests, but she has yet to break into book-length fiction. Her first novel is safely and appropriately in a deep, dark drawer. Her second is in its final rewrite, and will be sent out to agents in 2011. No, really.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Column: Pre-published? Prepare for Success by Linda Rohrbough

There are lots of things pre-published authors can do to prepare for their first break into publishing that are easier to do when the pressure is off. I call this preparing for success. Most of these are not obvious, so I’ll cover those first and save the most important thing for last.

Back Cover Copy and Bio

You know who writes the back cover copy for most books? And the author biography on the inside? Take a wild guess.

It would be nice if some talented editor did the work. But most of the time, I’ve done it. And it’s a lot easier to do when you’re not under time pressure. There are models to follow everywhere – just look at what other publishers and authors put out about their books.

Think Like a Journalist

Part of preparing for that first book coming out is to think like a journalist covering the book and write short paragraphs and even one page press releases to send to the media. If you haven’t seen a press release before, Google press releases, find a few you like, and copy their style.

Social Media

Can’t get away from social media. It’s everywhere. And when you’re published, you’ll be expected to participate. Social media is just a fancy term for short article writing. And here’s where your work on the promotional copy for your book will shine.

Here are a couple of ideas. You’ve got a story for how the idea came to you for the book, so write that up. Another idea is to record any funny or charming stories about things people said to you or things that happened to you related to the book.

For example, I gave my sister my novel. A couple of days later at her house, her husband came up, handed me the book in front of the whole family, then walked away. He and I have never been friends, but he’s not the silent type. I made a joke about a 100 percent refund. He rummaged around in the kitchen, came back and handed me a pen. My eyes got moist when I realized I had forgotten to autograph the book. As soon as I finished, he came back and got it. I realized that was probably the highest compliment he could have paid me.

Boy, I just relived that telling it to you here. But my point is stories like this, or even shorter, work well for social media, like Facebook.


Many authors have a blog where they promote their own work. They invite other authors in to talk about their book. The visiting authors invite their followers to the blog so the blog author gets extra exposure as well.

“Talking” about the book is writing an article that answers certain questions the blogger has prepared. One of the ways to practice for blogs is to look at other blogs to see the questions asked a visiting author, then prepare answers about your own book. Save these in a file you’ll use later when it’s your turn to do a blog tour.

One Page Promotional Piece

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used the one page promotional pieces I came up with for both my book and my app. I took the copy for them both from the proposals I wrote that my agents used to sell the projects. (If you don’t know how to write a proposal, there’s lots of material out there on doing it, including an article on my website.)

The one pager promotional piece is a cut-to-the-chase overview. I included thumbnail views of the front of the book or the graphics for the app. I even added QR codes so they could be mounted on a wall or a bulletin board and people with smart phones could go to a website for more information. You won’t have the graphics until your work is almost published, but you can learn how to do the QR codes (or whatever is “in” at the time) and you can prepare most of the text. It’s important to keep these to one printed page, no longer. I’ve put them up on my website in .pdf format so you can see them. Click here to see the .pdf for The Prophetess One: At Risk and here for the .pdf for my iPhone App “Pitch Your Book.”

The Most Important Task

Keep writing. However, Andrea Brown (who owns the Andrea Brown Literary Agency) told me don’t bother writing a sequel to a book that has not yet been published. If you come up with a series, write the first book, plot the others, work on the proposal for the series, then start on another idea. When you sell the first book in a series, then write the others as quickly as you can whether you’ve sold them or not.


Do not trot this material out to an editor or agent during a pitch session or send it along with your queries or manuscripts. This is your preparation work. Putting it in front of a publishing professional when you are unpublished will just make you look like a desperate wanna be. Once you’re published, you can say to your editor that you’ve prepared a few things and would they like to see them? If they say yes, send them along. If they say no, then respect that. You’ll still need this stuff for yourself whether your publishing house wants to use it or not.

Bottom Line

When your book is out there, you’ll be thanking yourself for doing this work now. Even if you need to make major changes to a press release, a promotional piece, or a blog entry, it’s much easier to change something that’s already created than to figure it out from scratch. Plus you can develop a style that you can use across your communication pieces that will start to uniquely reflect you. And that is the mark of a professional.

About the Writer:

Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with awards for fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." An iPhone App of her popular three-step formula workshop for writers, “Pitch Your Book,” is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Youth Writing Club - Tuesday Night 7/5/2011

Reminder - the PPW Summer Youth Writing Club meets Tuesday evening, July 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Do you know a young person 14 or older who writes fiction or is thinking of giving it a try?  If so, please encourage him or her to come to the club meeting tonight.  It's completely free!

These meetings are FOR high-schoolers and LED BY high-schoolers, with support, resources, and supervision provided by Pikes Peak Writers. 

If you are writing fiction--or if you're thinking about giving it a try-- please join us! Come ask those burning questions. Meet other youth writers. Get advice, information and resources on the craft and the business of writing fiction.  hese Club Meetings will also address the content of the Write Brain workshop for that month in order to help prepare any youth who want to attend the Write Brain.  

Note: All youth ages 14+ are invited to attend the free summer Write Brain workshops.  Written parental permission is required for those under 18 years old.

The Youth Club meets on the first Tuesday of each summer month (June, July, August) at the Police Station Community Room located at 7850 Goddard Street in Colorado Springs, CO (near the Chapel Hills Mal).

For more information on all of PPW's summer programs, including the Youth Club, look for links on the PPW home page at