Behind the Rewrite With Stacy Juba: Rewriting An Old Manuscript

Behind the Rewrite With Stacy Juba: Rewriting An Old Manuscript

As a freelance developmental editor, I often send long editorial letters and suggest major rewrites. When clients are discouraged, I remind them that I’m an author, too, and can relate to difficult rewrites. However, I’m not entirely sure they believe me! So, I’m going to prove it in two Behind the Rewrite posts, starting with this one focusing on rewriting an old manuscript—my young adult ice hockey novel, Offsides. Watch for another post on rewriting my chick lit novel, Fooling Around With Cinderella.These books are about as opposite as you can get, but they share one thing in common.

Heavy rewrites!

Rewriting an old manuscript

I wrote the original version of Offsides, the sequel to my YA hockey novel Face-Off, back in 1992 when I was a teenager. Although Face-Off had been published with great success when I was eighteen, garnering positive reviews in Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal, Offsides was rejected by my publisher. There had been a lot of turnover at the company, and all the editors I knew had left. Even though I was receiving fan mail from kids begging for a sequel, the book got rejected with a form letter. At the time, I was incredibly disappointed.

In hindsight, I’m relieved as that story wasn’t ready to be told back then. Twenty-five years later, I rewrote my original draft and published it. The hard copy had been buried in a drawer and I paid someone to scan it so that I could work with it digitally. The published version of Offsides is so much better than the manuscript penned by my 19-year-old self. Part of Face-Off‘s charm is that it was writhttps://www.shortcutsforwriters.com/rewriting-an-old-manuscript/ten by a teenager for teenagers. The characters grow quite a bit in the sequel, and I’m glad that I was able to bring a different level of maturity to the story, a maturity that I wasn’t capable of conveying as a teenager. It was also fun updating the book with references to texting and social media.

But more importantly, over the decades, I’ve grown as a writer and editor. My self-editing skills in 1992 and my self-editing skills now aren’t even comparable. Below is an unedited scene from my original draft of Offsides. I’ll let you read it, and then I’ll give you my editorial assessment before sharing the published version. The scene is between two of “my McKendrick boys,” twin hockey players Brad and T.J., the protagonists. They tell the story in alternating viewpoints for each chapter.

Unedited Version From 1992

That night, Brad turned on his side, the moonlight pouring through the window. In the bottom bunk, T.J. shifted.
“You awake?” T.J. asked.
“Yep.”
“Can I tell you something?”
“What?”
“I’m going to BC”
“Even if you get accepted at Harvard?”
“I’m not gonna get accepted,” T.J. said.“How do you know?”
“I didn’t apply.”
It was quiet except for a car passing outside. Its lights flickered against the wall.
“What do you mean? You told everyone you did.”
”I didn’t want Dad to find out.”
“But he keeps asking you about it. What are you gonna do?”
“Say I didn’t.”
“And let him think you weren’t good enough? T.J., you should tell him the truth,” Brad said.
“Do you know how ticked off he’ll be?”
“So let him be. It’s your decision, T.J. You’ve got to take a stand.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Brad rolled over.
“How come you’re still awake?” T.J. asked.
“I’ve been thinking about college, and if I’d still be going if I didn’t have hockey.”
“Sure you would. I told you, your grades have improved a lot.”
“I wouldn’t have a chance at BU.”
“You don’t know that,” T.J. replied. “It doesn’t matter how you get there, Brad, just as long as you get there.”
”I guess. Now do me a favor and shut up. I’m exhausted.”
“If you’d tell Dad about Harvard for me I could get to sleep.”
“Forget it. I want to reach my eighteenth birthday,” Brad said, and T.J. pushed up on his bunk.

Editorial Notes To Myself

First, the scene is a bit choppy. There’s a lot of dialogue and not much description or internal thought to balance it out. By just reading this passage, it’s not clear whose head we’re supposed to be in. Probably Brad’s, since he is mentioned first, but we never get in his thoughts. Dialogue was always one of my strengths, but I didn’t master deep point of view until my thirties.

Another issue is that the boys, who are high school seniors, are talking about going straight to college to play Division 1 ice hockey. Nowadays, that’s not the typical route. Before joining a D1 men’s hockey team, most players need to delay college and spend time developing their skills in a high-level junior league. I’m not sure how it worked in 1992—whether thing have changed since then, or whether I just didn’t research it enough and got it all wrong. There was no Internet back then, so research wasn’t as easy as it is today.

The scene also lacks conflict and tension. Below is my final version. I’ll put some notes in bold so you can see why I made these changes.

Final Version 

That night, Brad lay awake in the top bunk, staring at the ceiling. A night light glimmered in the corner and shadows bathed the small television, TV stand, and student desk. All the discussion about junior and college reminded him how drastically his life was changing. His parents splitting up last December with no reconciliation in sight. Playing his final season of high school hockey with friends he’d known for years. And even though Brad believed he had a chance of making the NHL, the long winding road ahead scared the hell out of him. (Note the setting details and internal thought. These additions help us to visualize the room better and clearly establish that Brad is the viewpoint character of this scene.)

What if he didn’t like his host family? Even though they got on his nerves, Brad would miss his own boisterous family. What if he didn’t click with his new coaches or had a difficult time adjusting to a higher level of play? Then there was Sherry. His friends thought their relationship was a high school thing. Brad thought it was more. If he joined a junior team in the Northeast rather than the Midwest, could he talk her out of Florida? (Note that there is even more internal thought here to help us get deep into Brad’s head. The host family and junior team references were rewrites to reflect a more believable path to D1 hockey.)

In the bottom bunk, T.J. shifted, and the mattress creaked. “You awake?”

“Yeah,” Brad said.

“Thanks for trying with Dad. I’m so sick of him pushing me about college. It’s probably better I’m not going next fall. I’d have no clue what to major in.”

“What happened to management and leadership?”

“That’s just what I’ve been telling scouts. You’re lucky to have your major picked out.”

Having an interest in broadcasting didn’t mean Brad would excel at it. As their father stated, academics wasn’t his strength, and college was harder than high school. Brad sighed, his stomach clenching in a knot. (More internal thought to keep the scene in Brad’s POV.)

“What’s wrong?” T.J. asked.

It was quiet except for a car driving into the resident parking lot. Brad didn’t know how much to admit. What was he supposed to say? That he feared getting homesick and not fitting in? That despite his big talk, he worried that he wouldn’t be good enough? (More internal thought. I have gotten much better at deep POV since writing the original draft as a teen.)

“Is it Sherry and the Florida thing?”

“Yeah. It’s Sherry.” Might as well confess that much since T.J. suspected it was bothering him. “I’m wondering whether she’d stay if I played junior locally.”

“You mean in the NCDC?”

The National Collegiate Development Conference was a tuition-free junior league in the Northeast, making it an attractive opportunity for players throughout the region. Brad rolled onto his side and peered over the edge of his bed though he couldn’t see T.J.’s face in the darkness. (Here I added some more authenticity about junior hockey and a little description.)

“It’s a good league. A lot of their guys are getting commitments. Trey wants to get on one of those teams.”

“Yeah, but I thought we were both going for the USHL,” T.J. said.

They’d selected the more established USHL as a first choice because so many D1 players and NHL draft picks had ties to the league. Brad and T.J. met some scouts at camp and had been corresponding with several over email. They might not get on the same team, but they’d agreed this was their ideal steppingstone. (Note how the dialogue in the rewrite has more tension than the original and hints at more problems.)

“What, I can’t change my mind?” Brad leaned up on his elbow, glaring down at the lower bunk.

“Because of a girl?” T.J. asked sharply. “You’re seventeen.”

“Sherry’s not just some girl. You have a new girlfriend every other week, so don’t go giving me relationship advice.” Brad and Sherry disagreed over how long it would take his brother to dump Kayla. Sherry expected them to attend Prom together. Brad gave it till mid-January before T.J. claimed she was too clingy and moved on to someone else. (This gets us into Brad’s head and also gives insight into T.J.)

Swearing under his breath, T.J. got up and crossed the room. He switched on the light, and Brad winced. “Damn it, T.J.”

T.J. paced in his Bayview T-shirt and sweatpants. They both wore exercise clothes to bed and worked out when they woke up. “Even if you two stayed in New England, how often do you think you’d see her? Your life will revolve around hockey. You’ll have games on weekends, a lot of them away games. She’ll be busy with school. I don’t get the logic here.”

“I’d see her a lot more than if she’s in Florida and I’m in freakin’ Nebraska,” Brad growled. (This dialogue is more interesting than in the original as it shows conflict between them.)

“All I’m saying is you’ll be wrapped up in the team. Do you really think it’s fair to pressure her to give up Florida? I get that you’ll miss her. But you’ll both come home sometimes. In between, you can FaceTime and text.” (I added the FaceTiming and texting to make it more current for today’s readers.)

Brad flopped onto his back, the fight seeping out of him. “You think I’m being selfish?”

“You’re just not thinking this through.”

“But long-distance is hard. It might not work.”

“Dude, it’s your high school girlfriend. Stop stressing over this. Who knows if you’ll even be together next year?” T.J. flicked off the light. (This is a much stronger ending for the scene.)

Want To Read The Book?

hockey novel

Face-Off’s McKendrick brothers return in this explosive sequel, an action-packed hockey book for teens and tweens.

Twin hockey stars T.J. and Brad have finally resolved their differences and forged a friendship on and off the ice. Now high school seniors, they focus on landing a commitment to a D1 school.

What should have been the best year ever takes a nasty hit when the boys’ parents announce their divorce, and Brad makes a mistake that could impact his game eligibility. Meanwhile, T.J. faces off against their father, who opposes his decision to delay college and pursue junior hockey.

Adding to the tension are a rebellious kid brother, girlfriend trouble, and recruiting pressure. The turmoil threatens to drive the twins apart just when they need to work together the most. With a championship title and their futures at stake, T.J. and Brad must fight to keep from going offsides.

Buy it on Amazon

Visit the Hockey Rivals website

Listen to a sample of the Audible audiobook below.

Watch the book trailer:

More About Me

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my writing and editing process! Maybe it will inspire some of you to rewrite an old manuscript. There are some manuscripts in my drawer that will remain there, but Offsides was one that I knew had potential.

You’re probably aware that I’m a freelance editor and creator of online courses for writers. (If you don’t know that, then feel free to explore my website!)

I’ve also written books about theme park princesses, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. I’ve had novels ranked as #5 and #11 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. You can learn more about my books on my other websites.

Main author website

Hockey website and blog

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers Freebies including a 5-day line editing course, Facebook group, and resource for naming your characters.

Check out Shortcuts for Writers affordable courses including Book Editing Blueprint: A Step by Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, the Energize Your Writing Toolkit: Cheat Sheets for Character Emotions, and Time Management Blueprint: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book.

3 Free Tools For Authorpreneurs: Build Your Indie Author Empire

3 Free Tools For Authorpreneurs: Build Your Indie Author Empire

authorpreneurs

Many authors think of themselves as artists or creatives, and that’s definitely true, however, they are also entrepreneurs. In the literary world, we call them authorpreneurs. Your book is a product. If you want it to to sell, you need a solid business plan and an effective marketing strategy.

In essence, authorpreneurs are the the president of their own publishing empire. They have to manage multiple projects and deadlines, and often oversee hired help such as freelance editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, website designers, formatters, and virtual assistants. Authorpreneurs handle finances, advertising, public relations, and promotion. They run ad campaigns, send out newsletters, maintain social media accounts, and build a network of bloggers and reviewers. They may have one author brand, such as writing a steamy romance series, or they may write in multiple genres.

Many authorpreneurs have multiple income streams from avenues like audiobook editions, affiliate marketing, coaching, or online courses. These creative entrepreneurs have a lot of responsibility on their plates.

Luckily, I know someone who can teach you the ins and outs of being a successful authorpreneur. Brit Poe of Thriving Scribes has three free resources to get you headed in the right direction, and she also has a series of paid workshops for those who want to go deeper. Brit helps help indie fiction authors combine their creative and CEO sides to build thriving author careers.

Free Resources For Authorpreneurs

Get these freebies from Brit:

Authorpreneur: Activated (Free) A binge-worthy audio series teaching all the secrets behind showing up as the CEO of your author business and #crushingit. You’re going to be diving into five secrets to authorpreneur CEOship. Each day you will receive a short 5-10 minute audio training giving you the knowledge you need to implement. You’ll also get actionable workbooks and daily transcripts.

Authorpreneur Stage Quiz(Free) Take this quiz to find out which authorpreneur stage you are in right now and get immediate access to a custom action plan based on your stage.

Authorpreneur Profit Calculator (Free) Want to know just how many book sales it’ll take to bring a profit into your author business? Let Brit show you.  

Paid Workshops For Authorpreneurs

Brit also has a series of paid workshops called the Authorpreneur Unleashed: Workshop Bundle. These five workshops give you everything you truly need to show up as an authorpreneur CEO.

You can choose to purchase ALL five workshops at a discount or pick and choose the individual workshops you want. Here are the authorpreneur classes you will find on her website.

Unleash Your Bestseller Mindset. What you’ll learn:
Why mindset is important as an authorpreneur
The most common mindset blocks that hold authors back
Developing strong beliefs
Growth mindset vs scarcity mindset and how to make the shift
Overcoming fear in authorship
Tools for uncovering any mindset issues regarding authorship so you get out of your own way

Unleash Your Authorpreneur Vision. What you’ll learn:
How to make your author journey fit your ideal author lifestyle
Developing your ultra-aligned author business plan
Putting in place a business foundation that feels good and supports your journey
How to choose projects that will get your ideal reader’s attention and open doors for all that you desire
What market research is and how to perform it in a way that will lead to more freedom and fulfillment

Unleash Your Indie Author Identity. What you’ll learn:
Understanding the pieces of your online presence and how they play together
Creating your personal author brand
Designing a consistent author brand identity
What are the essential pieces of your author platform
How to create an aligned author platform strategy

Unleash Your Reader Magnetism Strategy. What you’ll learn:
Launching vs evergreen marketing for authors
How to get out of the write, publish, launch cycle
What is a sales funnel and how do you design a funnel for yourself
How to make your author platform work for you
The psychology behind selling, buying, and sales
What kind of content should you create as an author
What actually sells books and what wastes time

Unleash Your CEO Habits. What you’ll learn:
Key habits of high-functioning authorpreneurs (and not-so-high-functioning)
The 3 hats an authorpreneur wears – and the specific tasks each one calls for
How to incorporated CEO dates
Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks that will set you up for long-term success
How to plan your goals and take action like an authorpreneur CEO
Designing your ideal week in a way that feels good and moves the needle
How to avoid burnout and consistently shatter glass ceilings in your author journey

Want to learn how to be a profitable authorpreneur? Visit the Authorpreneur Unleashed page on Thriving Scribes.

Affiliate links were used in this post, however, I’m only an affiliate for products that I recommend.

 

 

Improve Your Skills With These Free Grammar Resources

Improve Your Skills With These Free Grammar Resources

 

 

Grammar Resources

I’ve found some wonderful free grammar resources to share from my friend Ellen at Grammar Lion, which you’ll find listed below. As a freelance developmental editor and line editor, I work with a lot of writers. Many of them have problems with grammar and punctuation and I explain that they will definitely need to hire a copyeditor and proofreader for their final draft.

Some of my clients have grammar struggles due to learning disabilities, or maybe English isn’t their first language. For others, grammar doesn’t come as naturally to them as the creative part of writing a book. They might have errors in every line of the manuscript, or they may just need to brush up on certain rules such as when to use a comma and how to punctuate dialogue. For many of them, high school English class was a long time ago.

While I do light copyediting on my clients’ manuscripts, my focus is on developmental and line editing. There’s no sense fixing all the commas and run-on sentences when the manuscript needs structural rewrites as all those little changes will become obsolete. I will never specialize in copyediting or proofreading as in all honesty, I don’t like it. I find it tedious, and while I have a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style on my bookshelf, that is one monster of a book. It’s huge with small print, and I don’t enjoy hunting through it, trying to find the answer to small stylistic questions. I’d much rather brainstorm with the author on how to flesh out a character, or tinker with a sentence to make it more active and engaging.

When I work with a client who struggles with grammar and punctuation, my job as the developmental editor isn’t to fix the mistakes. Instead, my role is to point out the problems to make sure the writer is aware of it. I’ll give a few examples of how to make a sentence grammatically correct and point the client toward resources to help with their weaknesses.

First, I recommend purchasing ProWritingAid, a grammar checker and style editor. You can watch my YouTube demo of ProWritingAid here and get my special discount code and bonus offer.

Second, I recommend that these writers visit my friend Ellen Feld at Grammar Lion, the creator/instructor of online grammar refresher courses that have served over 44,000 students. She’s worn a variety of editorial hats, including newspaper reporter and copy chief, personal essayist, website reviewer, writing coach, and developmental editor. Ellen has a master’s degree in writing from the Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the children’s storybook Paragon and Jubilee.

You can find out more about her free grammar resources and paid grammar course below. While copyeditors and proofreaders may always be necessary for some authors, the more you can improve your grammar skills on your own, the better off you’ll be. Some copyeditors charge by the hour, so if you turn in a cleaner manuscript, it will lower your cost. Even if they charge a flat fee, that might be for one round of copyediting. I’ve seen manuscripts so riddled with errors that it would take multiple rounds of copyediting and proofreading to get it ready for publication. If you submit a more polished draft, you can reduce your expenses. Ellen’s courses are a great investment for writers who need to do a deep dive into grammar and punctuation or refresh their skills.

Free Grammar Resources


Grammar lion

Grammar Lion: Comma Mini-Course (Free) – Master the comma and write more effectively starting today with this free mini-course. Don’t let this little punctuation mark slow you down. Stop random comma use and say goodbye to wasting time on comma decisions. In approximately thirty minutes, you’ll know when to say yes to a comma. You’ll also learn when to say no.

Grammar Lion Pretest (Free) – Grammar can be fun when you know the rules! Try the pretest to gauge your grammar know-how. Challenge yourself with thirty-three grammar questions.

Grammar Lion: A Grammar Refresher(Paid) This comprehensive online course will help you navigate the linguistic twists and turns of American English grammar. Take your time and enjoy twelve weeks of learning. I have gone through the course myself, and love how Ellen includes quizzes to assess your skills and determine whether you need to continue reviewing a topic. She gives lots of examples and makes the intimidating world of grammar much easier to navigate.

If you need to review your grammar skills, start with the free comma mini-course and the pretest. You’ll be on your way to mastering grammar and punctuation in no time.

Please note that affiliate links are included in this post, so I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase, however, I’m only an affiliate for products that I recommend.

 

Self-Editing Tips For The Indie Author Podcast Interview @lkhillbooks

Self-Editing Tips For The Indie Author Podcast Interview @lkhillbooks

Self-editing tips

Do you know you need editing, but are worried about how you’re going to afford it? Would you love to do a lot of it yourself, but know you have blinders on when it comes to your own work and that self-editing may not be your strong suit? Never fear! Recently, my friend Liesel Hill interviewed me on The Prolific Author Podcast. The topic was self-editing tips for the indie author. You can also find the interview at the bottom of this post.

I’m an author herself, and as someone who also does a lot of editing for other indie authors and has created a self-editing online course, I have a unique perspective. Give the interview a listen to learn some self-editing tips and find out how you can improve your revision and rewriting skills. You just might save yourself tons of time and expense on editing!

If you haven’t listened to The Prolific Author Podcast before, you’re in for a treat. Liesel is a USA bestselling author and Story Clarity Coach, and her podcast is a wealth of information on everything from story craft to book marketing tips. Here is her description of the podcast:

Do you dream of making your living writing fiction, but don’t know where to start? Believe me, I understand. I worried and struggled over my writing for years, afraid it was cheesy and amateurish, and not TRULY resonating with readers. Meanwhile, at every turn, I was told I couldn’t make money this way. It takes too much time and hard work. It’s not a “real” job. I bet you can relate, right?

Well, I’m gonna let you in on a secret the traditional publishing industry—and let’s face it—most of society at large, don’t want you to know: it’s VERY possible to become a career author. To make your living writing stories full emotion, passion and morality.

With all the upheaval and negativity in our world, people NEED your stories more than ever before. Stories only you can bring to them. I created this podcast to show you how. And I promise it will take less time than you think. So, join the revolution of authors following their passion and changing lives, both their own, and those of their readers. WE…are prolific authors!

Listen to our interview below.

Free Time Management For #Writers 5-Day Challenge #Writing

Free Time Management For #Writers 5-Day Challenge #Writing

Could you use some time management tips? Then you’re invited to check out my free 5-day Time Management for Writers challenge. Every day from Thursday, June 17 through Monday, June 21, I’ll be giving my followers a small challenge on Facebook and Instagram. It will be something quick and easy to do.

The challenges will tie into the four pillars of time management that I discuss in my new class, Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book. These pillars are: Electronic Clutter, External Clutter, Internal Clutter, and Calendars and Planning.

How to participate: I’ll be posting the challenges in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group every morning at 9 a.m. EST. I’ll put it in the Announcements, and you’ll be able to find an identical post on my Instagram account also.

Enter For Prizes!

Prizes include erasable highlighters, retractable ballpoint pens, and planner stickers. To enter each giveaway, you have to comment on the day’s post on Facebook or Instagram. (Or both!)

You’ll get extra entries if you invite friends to the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group (just make sure you let me know in the comments) or tag friends on Instagram.

If you’d like to take a deep dive into Time Management, then check out my full course, Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book.

New Time Management For Writers Course – Includes Bonuses

New Time Management For Writers Course – Includes Bonuses

I’m so excited! My brand new course, called Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, is now available.

This self-paced, comprehensive course will guide you through the process of organizing your life one step at a time so that you can become healthier and happier while boosting your creativity and productivity.

It can feel impossible to balance your dreams with a day job, family responsibilities, household chores, and a never-ending list of distractions all vying for your attention. Everything seems urgent and you’re pulled in too many directions, which can result in fatigue, stress, irritability, and frustration that you lack the time and energy to pursue your passion.

Manage Your Time

Through a series of engaging written lessons and short video tutorials that get straight to the point, you’ll assess your life in four key areas: Electronic Clutter, External Clutter, Internal Clutter, and the logistics of Getting Things Done.

In Time Management Blueprint, we’ll cover:

Tackling email and social media
Organizing your digital files and bookmarks
Automating routine tasks
Decluttering your home and setting up an inspiring work or writing environment
Unwinding, improving focus, and getting into a flow state
Handling distractions and interruptions
Prioritizing, planning, and breaking down goals into manageable steps
Mastering your calendar
Pushing through creative blocks and setbacks
Nailing your writing or work sessions

finding time to write a book

If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and reclaim control, then Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, will give you powerful and practical tools to succeed and find balance.

Many of you know me as a fiction writer and developmental editor. This course is all about editing different aspects of your life. In addition to the lessons and videos, you’ll get extensive cheat sheets recapping all the key points of the course, a workbook, spreadsheets, habit trackers, and more.

Bonuses

The below bonuses are always included with the course.

5-minute meditation – Unwind with the guided meditation, Pressing Pausecontributed by Melanie Steele. This audio is one of her Monday Meditations for the Writer’s Soul.

4 free Trello boards – Start organizing your life with free Trello templates offered by Brit Poe of Thriving Scribes. Brit, creator of the in-depth course Trello 4 Authors, has shared four boards from her paid program. You’ll get her Day Board, Week Board, Year Board, and Goals and Intentions Board.  

Writing productivity spreadsheet – Track your word counts with this user-friendly spreadsheet offered by Rahel Wallace, author brand coach and creator of the Indie Author Support: Prosperity Through Community Facebook group.

Start managing your time better so you can be healthier, happier, and more productive. Enroll here!

Free Facebook Ads For Authors Introduction With @MDCooperAuthor

Free Facebook Ads For Authors Introduction With @MDCooperAuthor

 

facebook ads for authorsHave you been wondering whether it’s worth your time and money to run Facebook ads for your books? My friend Malorie Cooper of The Writing Wives has volunteered to visit my Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group to lead a short introductory workshop. This free event will be held Monday, June 7 at 12 p.m. EST inside the Shortcuts group. A replay will be available, but it you attend live, you can ask questions.

Facebook ads are pivotal for Malorie, a New York Times bestselling author. In fact, it was Facebook ads that finally put her on the map that led her to earning her letters and being able to go full time as an author in 2016. She will show what Facebook ads have done for her career and what they can do for yours with real working examples.

Mal will also talk about her Facebook Ads Beginner Class coming up on June 23 at 6:30 p.m. EST. That more in-depth course is just $35 and will teach you how to set up your business account, how the ad system in Facebook is structured, and how to create ads, duplicate ads, and update ads. She’ll also walk you through how to tell if an ad is working well, and shut down ones that aren’t.

If you’re looking for a Facebook ad mentor for your books, or just want to see what it’s all about, join the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group and watch for the video on June 7.

 

How Can Authors Use Military Tropes? Join The Blog Hop @AuthorEncounter)

How Can Authors Use Military Tropes? Join The Blog Hop @AuthorEncounter)

military tropes

I’m participating in a blog hop and scavenger hunt hosted by my friends at The Author Encounter. I love how it’s devoted to military tropes.

Crafting military fiction, whether it’s romance, fantasy, mystery, or any other genre mix, isn’t easy. Each story has unique challenges. However, creating believable, relatable characters, scenes and plot lines is a goal all authors aspire to no matter how they write. That is why so many authors use tropes to get their creative juices flowing in familiar ways to encourage their readers to fall in love with their stories.

What is a trope? Or more specifically what is a military trope? A military trope is a commonplace, recognizable plot element, theme, or visual cue that conveys something about the military.

Tropes can help make an alien situation or fictional scene feel familiar especially for those of us with no military experiences. So, using tropes in the right way can make your reader love your story that much more. Many readers across genres love military elements added to storylines. A great place to find ideas for military tropes is from other authors.

how authors use military tropes

Get inspired by other authors’ use of tropes readers love, such as the veteran finding new adventures, the special forces soldier, the unknowing hero, or teaching kids about the American flag. Whether you use tropes in a Tom Clancy style or old school like our favorite WWII vets: this blog hop will be an advantage.

Military Appreciation Month officially recognized by Congress in May 1999, incorporates many holidays celebrating our women and men in the Armed Forces. Join us for a literary approach to celebrating the soldiers and families that proudly serve and protect our country.

Click the links and match the authors to the tropes to win! 

Here are the rules and prizes!

Free Workshop: How To Promote Your Book With Podcasts With @irenegabelnick

Free Workshop: How To Promote Your Book With Podcasts With @irenegabelnick

Are you an author who could use some publicity for your book? Irene Gabelnick will lead the live workshop, How to Promote Your Book with Podcasts: the Fastest Way to Get Radio and Podcast Interviews, on April 29 at 11 a.m. EST. This special event will be held in my Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group on Facebook. Irene will share book marketing secrets for getting free media interviews to promote your book.

Irene GabelnickIrene is the international bestselling author of Podcast Power: The Zipping It Up Guide to Land Podcast and Radio Interviews Fast! This ebook shows you a quick and easy system to land live radio and podcast interviews. It includes email templates to get you booked in the media, build your brand, and get seen. She also works with entrepreneurs, speakers, and coaches, guiding them through the process of writing their book.

If you’d like to attend, be sure to join the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group. New members are welcome. A replay will be available.

Visit Irene’s website for more information about her books, courses, and services.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Free Crime Writers Week For Mystery, Suspense, And Thriller Authors – April 19-23

Free Crime Writers Week For Mystery, Suspense, And Thriller Authors – April 19-23

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. 

tips for crime writers

If you write mystery, suspense, or thrillers (or just love to read them!), then you’ll want to check out ProWritingAid’s free Crime Writer’s Week scheduled for April 19-23. Whether you’re crafting a police procedural, a whodunnit, or a good old-fashioned mystery, you’ll learn how to keep readers turning the pages.

Attend live virtual sessions with bestselling authors, including Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Fiona Cummins, and more. You’ll also get insider publishing advice from Katherine Armstrong, the Deputy Publishing Director for Crime Fiction at Simon & Schuster, attend workshops on writing and editing your novel, and learn from real police advisors to help make your book truly authentic. If you’re a crime reader and not a writer, you’ll get an inside look at the behind-the-scenes of the research and writing process.

Monday’s Sessions

The Elements of a Crime Novel: From Planning to Plot
Presenter: Bestselling Author Leigh Russell

Every genre requires a unique approach, and crime writing is no different. In this session, internationally bestselling crime author Leigh Russell will take you through the key elements of the crime writing process.

Crime Writing: Secrets of the Genre
Presenters: Anne Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez of Pages & Platforms

Do you have an idea for a crime novel but don’t yet know how to structure it? Got some bad deeds, clues, and some scenes that don’t really work together or entertain? In this webinar, you’ll learn the crime story essentials.

Tuesday’s Sessions

Crime Scene Management, Police Interviewing, and Covert Tactics
Presenter: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
Retired detective, bestselling author, and advisor to over 80 crime novelists and TV writers, Graham Bartlett can help your WIP ooze authenticity. Learn how the police use mobile phones, vehicles, CCTV, and social media in their investigations, as well as authentic police interview techniques.

Insider Advice on Getting Published
Presented by: Katherine Armstrong, Deputy Publishing Director, Crime & Thriller Fiction at Simon & Schuster
This session is intended to demystify the publishing process for writers, give advice on how to get published, and answer any questions you might have about traditional publishing.

How to Edit Your Crime Novel with ProWritingAid
Presented by: Hayley Milliman, Head of Education at ProWritingAid
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spent meticulously crafting your crime novel’s plot. If your writing isn’t clear and effective, your readers won’t engage with it. That’s where editing technology can help. In this workshop, we’ll dive into how to use ProWritingAid to make key edits to your crime manuscript.

Wednesday’s Sessions

The History & the Mystery: Selecting and Creating an Authentic Setting for Crime Fiction
Presented by: Fiona Veitch Smith
Author Fiona Veitch Smith will share tips on how to research and build your historical story’s world and the importance of selecting the right investigator within the constraints and possibilities of the period.

Thriller Writer Panel Discussion with Steve Berry, Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, and Karin Slaughter
Presented by: International Thriller Writers (ITW)
Author and ITW Executive Director K.J. Howe will be hosting four of their members for a lively discussion around the joys and pains of writing thrillers. Expect great tips and life lessons from these popular writers as they discuss their writing journeys so far.

Common Police Mistakes Made by Crime Writers and How to Avoid Them
Presented by: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
Graham will be back again to share the most common errors that authors get wrong in their crime novels. Who really runs a homicide investigation? When does a missing person report become a murder enquiry? Find out the answers to these and many more bloopers that could spoil your next bestseller.

Thursday’s Sessions

Debut Dagger Awards Longlist Announcement
Presented by: Crime Writers’ Association
For over two decades, the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents.

How to Market Your Self-Published Crime Novel
Presented by: Nick Stephenson, Author and Founder of Your First 10k Readers
Marketing your book comes down to mastering three key things: traffic, conversions, and scaling up. With the right systems in place for these three things, you can grow your readership and sales without spending your entire day “worrying about marketing.”

Interview with Author Fiona Cummins

Fiona Cummins is the award-winning author of Rattle, The Collector, and The Neighbour. We’ll be chatting to her about breaking into the world of crime writing, and what it’s like to see her fourth book, When I Was Ten, being adapted for television.

The final day of Crime Writer’s Week is available to ProWritingAid Premium subscribers only. We’ll be hosting an editing deep dive, an interview with bestselling author Peter James, and finishing the week with a police expert Q&A. If you don’t have ProWritingAid Premium yet, don’t worry! Crime Writer’s Week participants will receive an exclusive discount in their confirmation email when they sign up.

Friday’s Sessions

How to Edit Your Crime Novel
Presented by: Hayley Milliman, ProWritingAid’s Head of Education
As nice as it would be, writing your crime novel isn’t over when you type “The End.” In fact, the actual work is just beginning. During the editing process, your novel will go from rough first draft to thrilling final manuscript. In this workshop, Hayley will walk you through the most important edits you should make to ensure your book is publish-ready.

Interview with Author Peter James
Peter James has become synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners. He has won over 40 awards for his work and achieved 17 Sunday Times Bestsellers to date. Learn from the master what it takes to write gripping crime novels that keep readers hooked.

Police Advisor Q&A
Presented by: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
This is your chance to bring YOUR questions about police work and crime scene investigations to Graham Bartlett, retired detective, bestselling author and advisor to over 80 crime novelists (including Peter James).

Sign up once to get access to every event. You don’t have to attend every event, or attend live—all webinars will be recorded and sent out the following day. So, even if you are not able to make certain dates/times, it’s still worth registering to get the recordings.

 

My Latest Interviews: 3 Podcasts To Listen To While Driving

My Latest Interviews: 3 Podcasts To Listen To While Driving

I love guesting on podcasts. It’s always so much fun chatting with the host about topics I love. Below are three recent interviews where I discussed everything from online course creation to writing and editing books to turning my hobby into a business. Check out their past episodes also. These are great podcasts to listen to while driving or working around the house.

The Course Creator’s MBA Podcast

Guesting on this podcast was a thrill for me as I’m such a fan girl. I found the podcast invaluable when I was developing my first online course, and I still listen to it regularly. On this episode, Destini Copp interviewed me about expanding my business from writing and editing books to creating online courses for writers. The episode is part of  a series where Destini chats with course creators about their journey in their online course business, how they got started, the challenges they’ve experienced, and how they overcame them. My signature course, Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, empowers fiction writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money.

Destini and I chatted about how I educated herself on marketing, website development, and sales funnels which has led to success in my online course business.

Undercurrent Stories

I stumbled onto a new podcast favorite in Undercover Stories hosted by Bob Welles. The show explores the interests that people have and seeks to discover more on a wide variety of subjects. Each episode features a guest telling all about their interest, why they do it, and Bob uncovers some fascinating stories in the process.

At some point in their lives many people have thought about writing a book. This desire is sadly often thwarted due to fears about time, commitment, and the technical aspects of editing and publishing. Since I’ve faced all these challenges, I shared with Bob and his listeners how by breaking the writing process into steps, it is possible to both enjoy the creativity of writing and produce a publishable book.

Hustle Like Hannah Podcast

podcasts

I also enjoyed talking with host Hannah Lockwood on another new favorite, the Hustle Like Hannah Podcast, your “how-to” guide and inspiration for turning your creative side into a business opportunity. Hannah, the owner of Hannah Danielle Dance, chats with inspiring people who have turned their creative hobby into a business, sharing their stories and tips to help listeners realize their potential.

Since the second novel in my Storybook Valley chick lit series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, features a dance teacher who dreams of opening her own studio, it was fun talking with Hannah, someone who has accomplished that goal. I shared about my passions for writing and publishing books, editing, and developing online courses for writers, and we discussed my journey toward making those dreams come true.

What To Expect From Literary Agents And Editors @AuthorEncounter

What To Expect From Literary Agents And Editors @AuthorEncounter

what to expect from literary agentsHave you ever wondered what to expect from literary agents and editors? You’ll get an in-depth look during the panel discussion, The E & A Experience, organized by The Author Encounter. (You can watch it at the bottom of this post!) It was part of their event, Authors March Forward, held March 20 via Zoom and streamed to Facebook.

Nan Jenkins and Bethany Averie, co-founders of The Author Encounter, believe the concept “Keep moving forward” is essential to success as a professional author.

“Moving forward, developing connections, and learning from the people who have been there are the foundations for career success.” says Nan Jenkins. “The Author Encounter strives to create opportunities for authors using these foundations for career growth.”

Bethany Averie moderated the panel, which focused on common mistakes seen in the manuscript, how agents go about accepting books, and how freelance editors work with clients. I was a panelist along with literary agents Hannah VanVels of the Belcastro Agency, Ann Rose of the Prospect Agency, and freelance editor Deb Ewing.

There were lots of great takeaways. You’ll hear about the biggest pet peeves, get valuable insight into query letters, gain a better understanding of why rejection happens, and learn more about the editing process.

Thanks to Bethany and Nan for permission to embed this discussion on my blog. Visit The Author Encounter for more information about their upcoming events and how to join as an author or supporter member.

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