Have you ever wondered how to become a ghostwriter? My friend JB Favour, a ghostwriter and coach for aspiring ghostwriters, stopped by to explain how to become a “Ghost” and busted some common myths. Read JB’s post below.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asks me how they could become a ghostwriter–I’d be able to buy out my favorite Nike sneakers in every color possible. Thing is, ghostwriting has become a buzzing topic especially with the mouthwatering pay attached to it whenever it makes the news. Emphasis on the news, because not every ghostwriter gets to make headlines unless by facts you are ghostwriting for a public figure or celebrity. Now how many of us actually belong to that elite category? No shades, I’m not there either.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, back to the million dollar question. How does one become a ghostwriter? In this quirky yet informative article, I’ll be guiding anyone who has ever wanted to become a Ghost through some common myths and busting them along the way.
Myth 1: Anyone can become a ghostwriter.
Yes and no.
How can anyone become a ghostwriter? I’ll answer this in simple, plain baby language.
By waking up one morning and declaring that you wanna become one! Seriously, mindset first. You have to actually want it enough to get it. And I say this because you will need to put in some serious work and it is only if you want it bad enough that you can stick around till the end.
Next, you have to brush up your writing skills if you don’t already have one. Many writers recommend reading as one sure way to do this and I gladly agree. Books will open you up to a lot of awesome vocabulary and give you an idea of how a good book should look and sound. If you don’t have a strong command of language–abort mission. One of the key requirements of ghostwriting entails being able to express and communicate accurately in the language of your specialization. For example, if your primary writing language is French, what good will it do you to try writing in French without understanding French grammar or tenses first? Now you get me.
Fixing up your fluency in the language of your choice is my ultimate first step recommendation. Take spelling classes, grammar lessons, vocabulary classes, dust your writing and comprehension skills first.
So, nope! Anyone who doesn’t have a good command of the language they intend to write in cannot become a ghostwriter. Well, realistically they can tag themselves ghostwriters on any freelance platform of their choice as is common these days, but we all know how that pans out in the long run.
But, if this doesn’t apply to you – congratulations, you may now proceed to;
Myth 2: You can’t have proof of your work.
Big fat lie. Being a ghostwriter doesn’t mean you have no proof of work. Sure as Ghosts who typically sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), you cannot disclose that you are the ghostwriter for a work you do unless by sheer will the author decides to give you credit in any way. Typically by ghostwriting, you’re signing away the rights to any material or work you develop under the limitations of an NDA. So how then can a Ghost show that they truly are a writer?
Easy peasy. We write. Tons of ghostwriters have gone on to become bestselling authors of their own book. So while you cannot claim a work you’ve ghostwritten, you can write yours. Next, you definitely need to have an online digital footprint. I’m sorry but people should be able to find out who you are with a simple Google search or you’re not serious about business.
Build a portfolio or get a simple website and leave samples of what your writing style looks like. There are so many options and if you want to start with a free one–I’d recommend Journo Portfolio. Nope, this is not an ad, it is the one I use and I’m a big fan of the analytics feature it allows users for the free version. Grab a template and edit it to your style and voila – you can start uploading samples.
Myth 3: You must be on freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and the rest to get clients.
Who says so? No seriously, who is selling this lie? As much as this is not in any way a discredit to those who are actually getting paid their worth on these platforms, the majority of freelancers can agree with me when I say, these places house the most modern form of slavery. The constant bidding and bargaining, the bulk jobs and the fact that these platforms leave freelancers at the mercy of prospective clients who can simply wake up one morning and cancel an order. Talk about audacity–yep, you can find it all on these platforms.
Every time a newbie Ghost approaches me, I hear one sad, frustrating story after the other. So here’s a secret for free.
In the last two years, the least I’ve ever earned for ghostwriting a book was $2000 – $2500 for a word count of 50k words. Prices go higher depending on project size, amount of research needed and of course if I’ll be doing an interview, I’ll get paid for that too. Memoirs and autobiographies which have been my special forte for a while have different rates beginning from $3000 – $15,000 depending on the project.
All this and never having to pitch on any of these freelancer sites. In my early days when I first started, I signed up on as many of them as possible in a bid to get one single gig. Soon enough after burning out, I quit and found a way to get myself to the kind of clients I wanted without having to engage in pitiful bargaining.
Today, I teach those who I coach how to make a career out of ghostwriting, doing it their way and breaking free from the industry’s stereotypes. Listen, there are clients who will PAY. You’ve got to believe this.
You don’t have to offer work for free, accept poor rates, or even work with middle men or agencies just to get gigs. And you certainly don’t need freelancing platforms to earn. You can be a ghostwriter by simply being good at what you do and learning to find your type of clients the right way.
Lastly, there are several pathways to having a successful career in ghostwriting and mainstream is often not the only stream. Carve your path and walk the walk. It can be hard, but there’s nothing consistency, effort and knowledge won’t get you.
More About JB Favour
Meet JB Favour, a passionate ghostwriter with a talent for turning ideas into captivating stories. With over five years of experience in the industry, JB has worked with a diverse range of clients, from memoirists to business leaders, trauma/abuse survivors and inspirational icons to bring their stories to life.
As a seasoned wordsmith, she understands that everyone has a unique story to tell, and is honored to be entrusted with the task of sharing it with the world. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for capturing the essence of a person’s voice, JB has helped countless clients to connect with their audience and inspire others with their message.
But JB’s work isn’t just about writing words on a page–it’s about creating a legacy. By helping people to tell their stories, she believes that they can make a lasting impact on the world and leave a meaningful legacy for future generations.
When she is not ghostwriting, she is running her agency FAVES_PEN, which is a content, branding and marketing agency for businesses and entrepreneurs who want to grow sustainable brands. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, listening to BTS and binging on K-drama.
Author and book coach Meredith R. Stoddard is visiting today to share 5 essential research tips for fiction writers. I met Meredith because we both had chapters included in Launchpad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book and were interviewed on a YouTube show together. Her chapter is full of valuable advice on how to do research, so I asked her if she would share some tips for my audience. Her post is below.
What can a fantasy author tell you about researching fiction? First, that it doesn’t matter what genre you write; believability is key. For everything from historical fiction to sci-fi, keeping your readers immersed in your story depends on making them believe what you are writing. That means that even when writing about the magic system in a fantasy book, or describing a government in a dystopian world, we have to start by grounding it in something familiar to your audience. Those things that readers already know to be true are the foundation that we can use to build castles, spaceships, and fairy realms. Even a fantasy writer like me, has to ground some things in reality, or at least the semblance of reality.
#1 Put yourself in your characters’ shoes
Building a credible world for your characters to move through, and telling how your characters relate to that world means that we need to know everything from what they eat to how they sleep. Where do your characters shop? What do they wear? Which jobs do they have? What kind of laws affect their daily lives?
Fortunately, YouTube is full of videos showing people walking through places, and activities that can give you clues. You can search for “day in the life” videos by location, profession, or demographic. There are videos of markets and grocery stores, and cooking videos of national or regional dishes. All of these things can give you ideas for describing how your characters live. If your settings are real, you can use Google Street View to walk around many places in the world.
#2 Research for all five senses
You’ve probably heard that you should write for all five senses. That means you should also research for all five senses. Your readers are going to want to know what your fictional world and even your characters smell like. They’ll want to know the sounds, tastes, textures, and sights of the world you’re creating and how your characters perceive them. Pay attention to those details while researching. Those details will draw your readers in.
#3 Look for more than just the facts
The way we and our characters experience the world is subjective. Just as much as facts make your work believable, giving your readers opinions and letting them react to the world around them is important. This helps with characterization and gives your work an emotional punch. Reaction videos and product reviews are great sources for understanding people’s opinions and seeing how they react to events. Listening to people tell their own stories is also helpful.
#4 Use Smart Search Terms
The amount of information on the internet is ever-expanding. Sifting through that information to find what you need can be difficult and overwhelming sometimes. Search engines help, but sometimes getting the exact results you’re looking for is a challenge.You can make search engines work for you by using some simple commands to refine your searches.
Putting your terms inside quotation marks will search for your terms exactly, while adding a tilde in front will include synonyms for the words you’re searching on. A dash before a word in your search terms will exclude the word that follows it. This is useful for narrowing searches of common terms. You can specify the kind of results you’re looking for by using location: or filetype: before your search terms. All of these refinements can help you sift through the volumes of information and get the results you need.
#5 Check your sources
Unfortunately, the internet is also full of misinformation or articles that are out-of-date. When you find the information you’re looking for, you should make note of the sources of the information. Because it is so easy to post articles on the internet, it’s important to be skeptical of the information you find. If you’re looking for facts, be sure to use multiple sources for confirmation. Know the business model of websites you are using as sources and be conscious of the potential for bias. Wikipedia is a great resource, but it is crowd-sourced so its accuracy will vary. It does require that editors include their sources, so it makes a good bibliography. You can also use fact-checking websites like Factcheck.org, MediaBiasFactCheck.com and Snopes.com.
There is a lot more I could say aboutresearchingfor fiction. In fact, I wrote a chapter on researching for Launchpad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book with more details. The key thing to remember is that everything we read or observe feeds into what we write. The best research for fiction is observing the world and the people around us.
The Once & Future Series
Celtic legends and modern life collide in this saga of a contemporary woman coming to grips with a destiny set in motion generations ago. Inspired by her unusual childhood in rural Appalachia, Sarah MacAlpin is set on pursuing a career as a folklorist. She had a rough start in life but has worked tirelessly to set herself on the right track. Just when Sarah comes closest to reaching her professional goals, a startling revelation turns her whole world upside down.
The River Maiden, book 1 of the Once & Future series is free on most ebook platforms.
Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book
You can read Meredith’s chapter on research and my chapter on grammar in Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book.
Each focused chapter brings authors and would-be-authors closer to the creation of a story well told and ready for publication. The brainchild of entrepreneur, author, and speaker, Grace Sammon, this book series builds on the wildly popular radio show LAUNCH PAD – celebrating book releases and the authors who create them. With countdown tips, ways to connect directly to the authors, and bonus downloadable planning sheets, LAUNCH PAD delivers a craft book that speaks right to you.
Meredith R. Stoddard is the author of folklore-inspired fiction including her Once & Future Series, a contemporary fantasy series that blends Celtic legends with modern life. She is also a book coach at The Book Grower, and the Communications Director of Bookish Road Trip, a community of readers, writers, and travel lovers where she hosts an Instagram Live program called Author Ride Along. She is a contributor to the Launch Pad Countdown series on writing, publishing and marketing books from Red Penguin Books, and a member of Author Talk Network. Her latest novel Thistle & Lion will be released June 8th, 2023.
Have you ever been to an online writing retreat before? They can really make a difference in your writing career, and I’m excited to tell you about one that’s affordable with fantastic instructors. On May 16 and 17, 2023, my friends, Kat Caldwell and Marci Renée, are launching the first Write With Us! Online Retreat, and it is going to be EPIC!
There will be 7 workshops to attend (recordings are included for those who sign up). The workshops range from finding your next book idea, to outlining your current book, to developing characters, to finding a better hook.
I’ll be leading an interactive workshop on enriching your story through nonverbal communication and body language. I know most of the other instructors personally and can vouch for them as well.
If you have my Energize Your Writing Toolkit, then you may have heard me discuss nonverbal communication before, but this is a brand new workshop where we’ll study examples from published books, zero in on what many writers do wrong, and you’ll get a chance to put your creative skills to the test with some guided prompts. Participants will have the chance to share the mini excerpts they wrote during the workshop.
This is not a summit where you listen to writers talk about writing. Those are awesome (I’ve spoken at and attended several myself), but this is a writing retreat. What makes it different?
There will be:
Introductions and sharing time to hear from each other about your writing.
Live workshops with implementable writing tips.
This gives you a chance to be up close and personal with some of the best writing teachers and time to ASK QUESTIONS!
Writing sprints after each workshop
In between the workshops, the Zoom room will be open for sprints.
Giveaways each day! We’re giving away courses, print books and more!
Recently, I was featured on three podcasts for writers and book lovers, and wanted to tell you a little bit about each appearance. As you may know, I LOVE talking about books and writing. I’m grateful to have had the chance to do both during these interviews.
Between the Covers
First, host Stephanie Larkin of Red Penguin Books interviewed a few contributing writers to the new release, Launch Pad: The Countdown To Writing Your Book. This craft book is designed to help writers navigate the emotional ups and downs of finishing a novel, and was led by Emma Dhesi and Grace Sammon.
The episode features interviews with Susanne Dunlap, author of The Courtesan’s Daughter and a certified book coach; Meredith Stoddard, author of The River Maiden: Once & Future Series; Carol Van Den Hende, author of Goodbye, Orchid; and myself.
We discussed our writing processes, what’s inside the Launch Pad book, and valuable tips for writers.
During the episode, Liz also asked me to share a writing prompt. I gave her one that I used to use a lot: I remember. All you do is free write starting with the words, I remember . . . and see what comes out.
Last but not least, my good friend Kat Caldwell interviewed me on her Pencils & Lipstick podcast. This was the third or fourth time I’ve been on the show, and Kat and I always have a good time. The topic of the day was body language and nonverbal communication.
We delved into what those terms mean for writers, why it’s important, common mistakes that writers make, how to freshen up your characters’ emotions, and how to write creative emotional descriptions. You can listen to the episode here or watch it on YouTube below.
Are you struggling to figure out what mistakes to avoid when plotting your novel? Do you feel like your plots lack depth and direction, or as if your storyline is becoming too complicated? If so, I have great news for you!
It’s just $47, and in this course, you’ll learn how to avoid common pitfalls that can derail your storyline and alienate your readers, and gain insights from an experienced author and editor with over 30 years of industry experience. (That would be me!) 😊
With Perfect Your Plot, you’ll discover: ✅ The top 6 plot development mistakes that writers make ✅ Practical examples, inspired by real editorial letters that I’ve written, to help you avoid these mistakes in your own writing ✅ The fine balance between predictability and believability when crafting your plot
The course is packed with valuable information and resources to help you take your plot to the next level. You’ll get instant access to: ✅ 7 video lessons with closed captions ✅ A cheat sheet recap that you can refer to for every manuscript you write ✅ An actionable worksheet that guides you through evaluating your story for plot flaws
And the course comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee, so you can enroll risk-free.
If you’re ready to whip your storyline into shape, then check out Perfect Your Plot. I pored over 10 years of editorial letters to my clients, finding common plot hole patterns, when putting this course together.
I’m so pleased with how this course turned out and how it breaks down the blurb-writing process (which let’s face it, can be annoying) into manageable steps.
Creating a captivating book description that sells can feel like an impossible task for many authors. Boiling down the essence of your story into a few short paragraphs that will draw in potential readers and convince them to purchase your book is no easy feat.
Book Blurbs Made Simple is the mini-course you need to guide you through every step of the process. With valuable insights and techniques, you’ll learn how to create killer book descriptions that entice readers and leave them eager for more.
Whether you’re pursuing traditional publishing or self-publishing, a strong blurb is essential. Remember, you only have seconds to make a first impression. If your description doesn’t grab readers’ attention, your book may never get a chance to find its audience.
When you enroll in this mini course on how to write an effective book blurb, you’ll discover how to:
✔️ Write your book description faster and more effectively without the struggle.
✔️ Avoid common mistakes and use proven techniques to make your blurb stand out.
✔️ Follow a simple formula that you can use every time you need to write a blurb.
You’ll learn through bite-sized videos, each under 7 minutes. Then you’re going to get downloadable resources to help you put the tips into action. These include a:
✔️ 50-page workbook that will guide you through the preparation and writing process
✔️ Cheat sheet recap to keep what you learned at your fingertips
✔️ Adjective Inspiration List to help make your book description sizzle
✔️ Examples and written analysis of 7 successful book blurbs from various categories
As you can probably tell from all that’s included, I could easily charge more for this course, but you know what? I wanted to keep it extremely affordable.
Even if you don’t have a completed manuscript yet, I still recommend that you start thinking about your blurb. In fact, inside the course, I advise writing the blurb before you finish your book. Way before, if possible! I explain why inside the class.
If you’re ready to simplify the blurb-writing process and learn the tips and tricks that will help you create a professional, persuasive, and engaging book description that entices readers, then this course is for you.
Author and writing instructor Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer helps authors confidently write Native American characters through her amazing course Fiction Writing: American Indians. Below, she shares 6 novels that portrayed Native Americans authentically and why these are her picks.
Here’s Sarah with her guest post.
If you want to learn how to write about Native Americans, one of the best ways to start is by reading good books. As a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and author of 15 historical fiction books that feature Native main characters, I’ve compiled a list of 6 books which I feel accurately and authentically portray Native people and cultures.
First, I want to mention that we too often think of American Indians as being a novelty of the old West in the 1800s, or Squanto and Pocahontas and first contact. Though the books on this list are historical fiction (my favorite genre), Native people are alive and well today. Many of these books were written by those very much alive Native people.
I hope these stories inspire you to dig deep when you’re working to create genuine, non-stereotypical American Indian characters.
The Star That Always Stays
Shelved as a young adult novel, this coming of age story follows the true life story of Norvia. She’s a gentle soul with heartbreaking moments at a tender age—her father’s dislike of her Ojibwe blood, and her mother’s remarriage and her request of Norvia—to tell no one of her heritage.
I appreciate so many things in this story. It shows a young girl living in two worlds and embracing both without losing either in the end. I especially loved the character of the Native grandfather, and how authentic he was in action and speech. While I typically steer authors away from falling into the stereotype of the “wise guide” role for Natives, in this story, it’s a natural fit.
We should look to our elders for wisdom and guidance. The beautiful thing about this book is, a “wise guide” is not the only reason for the character.
The main character is on a journey of her own, one removed from the mystical stereotype we often see when Native characters are featured. She’s a regular girl with regular hopes, dreams, mistakes, and heartache. And she’s strongly Ojibwe.
The Star that Always Stays was written by Anna Rose Johnson (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Tribe). This novel is directly based on her great-grandmother.
I have certain pages of this book that I come back to again and again. One is a scene in a kitchen where a cluster of Choctaw women chatter about the men in the other room. There’s something about the dialogue that rings so true, I feel I’m in the kitchen, chuckling along with them.
There is another scene where a pastor contemplates violent revenge. I’ve read it over and over.
This book influenced my first novel (The Executions, Choctaw Tribune Historical Fiction Series Book 1), set in the same years (1890s), a tumultuous time for the old Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. It’s a hard time of injustice, tragedy, and hope.
Strong oral storyteller traditions comes through on the written pages of House of Purple Cedar, blending Native humor and thought-provoking questions for today.
I agree with Joseph Bruchac, who said of the book, “There is nothing else quite like it in its loving, clear-eyed description of a people, a time, and a place that are little-known to most.”
House of Purple Cedar was written by Tim Tingle (Choctaw).
I deeply appreciate how this author wrote an accurate and respectful story of Native history and culture. Based on the true story of Natalie Curtis, it ventures from the east coast in New York to humble dwellings of the Yuma people, and on to several tribes as Natalie finds her place and purpose in the West. She begins to sympathize with the tragic history of Native people in the early 1900s, and sets out to preserve beauty from their culture that is being stripped, song by song.
There were many whites in this time period who knew Native culture was being erased from history. In fact, Indian people were labeled the “vanishing race.” Whites like Natalie fought against the erasure, while knowing much was inevitable. Natalie saved what she could.
This book asks the hard question we still ask today: Should non-Natives write Native stories?
I talk about this topic a great deal, and created a digital course, Fiction Writing: American Indians, to equip authors of any ethnic background how to write about Native Americans accurately and respectfully.
I feel this book achieves that.
The Healing of Natalie Curtis was written by Jane Kirkpatrick.
When writing my own novel Anumpa Warrior: Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I, I came back to this book again and again. Code Talker tells the story of the Navajo Code Talkers in WWII from the perspective of Ned Begay, a youth who was among those young Marines off to fight a war on foreign soil.
This young adult novel shows challenges for the multiple races in the United States Military beyond the horrors of war. We learn the true background of many of the Diné (Navajo) who went to fight—what their growing up years were like, and what hardships they faced during them.
Drawing inspiration and facts from interviews with code talker veterans, the author gives an entertaining, enlightening account of the true Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.
Code Talker was written by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki).
Reading this book makes you wonder how much personal tragedy one woman can endure. We explore that through Little Bird—Esther McLish—as she overcomes life’s tragedies one at a time.
This is another story set in the 1890s when justice and fairness was at a minimum. Esther has few places and people to turn to as she fights to get her son enrolled on the final Chickasaw Nation rolls.
Based on true events and written by a descendent of the main character, it masterfully weaves the history together in a way that keeps the story moving while peeling back layers of tribal histories, customs, and truths.
Little Bird was written by Mary Ruth Barnes (Chickasaw).
Hopefully, this brief list of books will help you on your journey to writing American Indian characters. If you want next level learning, I invite you to check out my digital course, Fiction Writing: American Indians.
Fiction authors who want to write about Native Americans face a challenging minefield riddled with dos and don’ts. That’s why I created this course.
There, you can also download a free copy of my ebook, “5 Stereotypes to Avoid When Writing about Native Americans.”
Chi pisa la chike, my fellow author. I will see you again soon.
About the Author
Fiction authors who want to write about Native Americans face a challenging minefield riddled with dos and don’ts, and no clear answers. That is why author and writing instructor Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer created the Fiction Writing: American Indians digital course.
As a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, she has written and published 15 historical fiction books with Native main characters, and over 275 non-fiction articles on Native artists and organizations with representatives from dozens of North American tribes.The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian honored her as a literary artist through their Artist Leadership Program for her work in preserving Choctaw Trail of Tears stories, and she is a First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership alumni.
Through her in-depth, honest course, authors are equipped to write authentic stories that honor First American’s history and culture. Discover more at FictionCourses.com/AmericanIndians.
Affiliate links were included in this post, however, I only promote products that I recommend.
Looking for just the right balance of inspiration, skill building, and a toolbox of writing craft tips? I know just the resource for you. It’s a brand new craft book for writers to read, called LAUNCH PAD: The Countdown to Writing Your Book.
I’m excited to have a chapter included in this jam-packed guide for writers, which gives you the literal ‘launch pad’ for your first (or next!) book. I contributed a chapter on grammar and punctuation, and in it, I delve into the Oxford Comma and how to use it, colons and semicolons, ellipses, and much more.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of outlining your novel or creating rich and complex characters, or want to learn the secret to writing a great scene, Launch Pad has you covered. Learn why using the right point of view in your book is so important and how to choose the right one. Nail those pesky grammar and punctuation slip-ups once and for all and get yourself ‘query ready’.
You’ll also get practical advice on how to research smarter, which tools to use and what you can do if you want to go the extra mile; learn what book coaching is, how it differs from editing, how a coach helps you write your book, and how you can find the right coach for you; and get tips on writing scenes that grab readers’ attention, draw them into your characters’ lives and the world you’ve created, and build up to the big moments you’re working toward later on in the story.
Other topics include: developing suspenseful scenes that hook readers; exploring the principles of world building, the best tools for the job, and how to get off the world building merry-go-round; learning about personality types, understanding the role genre plays in the character you write about, and how to find your character’s inner flaw; why you need to both show and tell if you want to uplevel your craft and pull your reader right into your character’s mind; and where to find critique groups (both in-person and virtual), what you can expect from them, and how they’ll help your writing long-term.
You’ll also discover the three things a publishing gatekeeper wants: knowledge, sparkle, and an attention to detail. Each focused chapter of this book brings authors and would-be-authors closer to the creation of a story well-told and ready for publication.
Are you tired of feeling like there’s never enough time in the day to pursue your writing dreams AND take care of your personal life? As a writer, it can be hard juggling writing a book, building your career, spending time with loved ones, doing household chores, and maintaining healthy habits like exercise.
During this recorded, on-demand workshop, you’ll learn how to better manage the four pillars of time management: electronic clutter, external clutter, internal clutter, and getting things done. You’ll also discover why this multidisciplinary approach is so important to writers and how to implement four simple action steps to start using immediately.
As a mom, author, and entrepreneur, I understand firsthand how overwhelming it can be to balance everything on your to-do list. But after going on a quest to find balance and increase my productivity, I developed a four-part framework that has worked wonders for me.
I want to share this framework with you, so you can see time management in a different way and gain a new perspective on how to take control over your schedule and your writing career. Whether you’re struggling with time management or just looking to boost your productivity, this free workshop is for you.
If you’re an author seeking inspiration, skill-building, and a toolbox of writing craft tips, then I have what you need. The new guide for authors, LAUNCH PAD: The Countdown to Writing Your Book, is scheduled for release on Feb. 28, 2023 and this eagerly anticipated book is a literal Launch Pad for your writing career.
I have a chapter included on the most common grammar and punctuation mistakes I see as a freelance developmental editor. This chapter covers everything from the proper use of the Oxford Comma, colons, and semicolons to ellipses and beyond.
But that’s not all. As a special bonus, you can download a handy, free, pdf that offers my ten grammar tips for cleaning up your novel. And to celebrate the book’s imminent release, one of the book’s editors, Emma Dhesi, has hosted a panel discussion featuring contributors.
In the discussion, we shared why we contributed to the book, the subject of our chapters, and what we hope readers will gain from our insights.
Watch the replay of this panel discussion with Kat Caldwell, Lewis Jorstad, Samantha Skal, Janyre Tromp, Grace Sammon, and myself – you’ll get tons of tips about outlining, creating characters, grammar, and much more!
You can also watch Emma interview contributing authors Susanne Dunlap, Linda Rosen, Joe Bunting, Meredith R. Stoddard, Carol Van Den Hende, and Heather Davis in a second panel discussion below.
Find out more about this essential guide for authors here.
Have you ever considered writing a children’s picture book? Because children’s picture books are so short, it can be challenging to tell your story effectively. You have limited space, need to use an age-appropriate vocabulary, and your words have to inspire an illustrator to create vivid pictures. Some writers make it look easy, like A.L. Wegwerth, author of I’m Going to Be a Hockey Star. But writing a picture book is a complex undertaking that takes special skill. Fortunately, A.L. Wegwerth has stopped by to share five of her top tips for aspiring picture book writers. Read her tips below.
I write this as an avid picture book reader as well as a picture book author. I’ve also worked in children’s publishing for over fifteen years so I have an inside perspective that tends toward practical, and for that reason this advice may resonate with some people and not with others.
Without further ado, here are five quick tips for aspiring picture book writers.
Tip #1: Read, Then Write.
If you want to write a picture book, make sure you read picture books. Lots of them. The quality of picture books produced gets better every year. Soak in each book’s wisdom, its innovation or its simplicity. Figure out which authors resonate with you and why. Reading widely also has the added benefit of helping you better understand the picture book market in terms of what gets published and potential comps for your book. I can’t emphasize enough that if you have a goal of getting your book traditionally published, there needs to be a perceived audience for your book. Which brings me to my next point . . .
Tip #2: Consider Your Audience.
A picture book has two audiences: the child and the parent whose lap the child sits on. Make sure your story has elements that appeal to both. It not only makes bedtime or story time more enjoyable for the parents, but I truly believe it affects your book sales. People are more likely to purchase a book as a gift or recommend it to others if they found it enjoyable (and not just their kid).
Tip #3: Choose Your Words Carefully.
A picture book is a collaboration between an author and illustrator. Make sure your words leave space for the illustrator to tell the story. As a picture book writer, focus on action and dialogue and avoid descriptions unless they are vital to the story (the illustrator can take care of that.) Picture books are great ways to build kids’ visual literacy (i.e., the ability to read and make sense of visual images). The words and art work together to tell a story; when the words repeat what is in the illustrations, the story becomes redundant.
Tip #4: Keep The Story Moving With Page Turns.
There are so many things I love about the picture book format, but I think my favorite is how effective page turns can be. Page turns aid in pacing and, when done effectively, help keep readers reading. Page turns can act as a cliffhanger, reveal something surprising, add humor, or create excitement or suspense. Use them to your advantage. When writing your picture book, consider the book map—what text will go on each page. Don’t forget to leave space for the title page, copyright info, etc.
Tip #5: You Are Not Beholden To Rhyme.
If you’re thinking that you should write your picture book in rhyme, don’t. If writing in rhyme doesn’t come naturally, please don’t try. What are some clues that your rhyme is not working? When sticking to the rhyme scheme dictates the plot of the book. When it feels forced, like when you awkwardly structure sentences simply to maintain the rhyme. Rhyme can also feel overused if you’re using a common rhyme scheme. All this said, if rhyming comes easily to you, by all means run with it. But there’s nothing that will make me close a book quicker (or, at the very least, groan audibly) than a book with an unnatural or forced rhyme.
These are five tips for picture book writing, but I could have written five hundred. I think the biggest thing that has helped me in my picture writing is to give up the idea of perfection—especially on the first draft. I’ve found that the more I write, the better my work becomes. So keep writing!
More About The Book
The very first hockey practice can be a little scary, but not if you are planning to be the world’s greatest hockey superstar! Follow the action and relish the dreams of a confident young boy as he begins his journey to hockey stardom. See what happens at a hockey practice, learn about the excitement and fun of the game, and experience the lovable chaos of the ice arena. With humor and a little bit of attitude, A.L. Wegwerth has written a great introduction to the sport, while Alana McCarthy’s vivid style brings the game to life for future hockey stars.
Aimed at kids ages 3-7, the story was published by River Horse Books.
A.L. Wegwerth, AKA Amber Ross, writes books for kids that are filled with imagination, playfulness, and humor. She’s a product director by day, a hockey coach by night, a mom 24/7, and an author in the early morning (and whenever else she might fit it in).
I also teach a course called Book Editing Blueprint, A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, a complete step-by-step system that teaches you how to spot the flaws in your novel and fix them so that you can ditch the overwhelm, save time and money, and better your chances of impressing readers, agents, and publishers. In addition, I work with authors one-on-one as a freelance developmental editor and line editor.
Daria teaches a course called the No Time Writer, showing you how to use time-saving techniques to unleash the writer within and discover your unique writing process. Also through her one-on-one premium mentorship, she helps new and ambitious authors discover their unique writing system that works perfectly for them.
As an author of over 10 books and over 300 podcast episodes, Daria has helped more than 100 students from all over the world find the inspiration to finish their first drafts and become one step closer to publishing their books.
As you can imagine, Daria and I have a lot to say on the subject of time management and writing routines. During the podcast episode, we shared our favorite tips on how to plan out your writing year. It was a fantastic conversation packed full of actionable advice about weekly planning, quarterly planning, and how to break down big tasks like editing a book into smaller steps.
Listen to the podcast episode about planning your writing year here: