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The Art & Business of Writing
16 minutes | 13 hours ago
078: Your Inner Critic: Foe—or Misunderstood Friend?
As writers, we’re told to silence, ignore, or drown out the voice of our inner critic…but is that the right advice? On today’s episode, I share an excerpt from the book “Unleash the Writer Within” by Cec Murphey that could change the way you relate to your inner voice. “Unleash the Writer Within” is available on Amazon. The post 078: Your Inner Critic: Foe—or Misunderstood Friend? appeared first on Chris Jones, Ink: How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book.
42 minutes | 21 days ago
077: How to Dance to the Lyrics w/ Dwayne Ratleff
Dwayne Ratleff knew he was different at a young age. Growing up gay and black in the 1960s, Dwayne learned how to be comfortable in his own skin and live life on his own terms. On this episode, he talks about his book, “Dancing to the Lyrics,” growing up gay and black, and the importance of accepting yourself, living counterculture, and shedding societal labels in order to find true freedom. More About Dwayne Dwayne Ratleff was born in Ohio but grew up in Baltimore and Connecticut. As a product of the segregated Baltimore school system, he did not learn to read or write until the age of ten. After moving to Connecticut, he spent the first two years there as a Special Education Student. This quickly changed and he graduated high school with honors. Dwayne opted not to pursue college, choosing a blue-collar job as the swiftest exit out of poverty as it allowed a wage earner to have a decent standard of living without much education. Eventually, he saved enough money to relocate to San Francisco, where he lived for the next forty years. He met his husband there and the two have since moved to the Palm Springs area one and a half years ago. His book is a gift from a young boy who never thought he would learn to read and write. If anyone would have told him when he was in Special Ed that he would someday write a book, he would have laughed in their face. Shortly after beginning the task of writing his book, he lost most of the use of his left hand in a tragic accident. Not to be deterred, he typed the book with one finger on his right hand. Although hard at times, growing up Black and Gay in the Sixties was a blessing. “I did not ‘fit in’ so I did not even try,” he says. “There was no peer pressure because I did not have peers. This provided a special kind of freedom.” Connect with Dwayne Instagram Amazon Author Page The post 077: How to Dance to the Lyrics w/ Dwayne Ratleff appeared first on Chris Jones, Ink: How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book.
42 minutes | a month ago
076: How to Turn Your Stories Into Short Films w/ James Noll
James Noll has worked as a sandwich maker, a yogurt dispenser, a daycare provider, a video store clerk, a daycare provider (again), a summer camp counselor, a waiter, a prep. cook, a sandwich maker (again), a line cook, a security guard, a line cook (again), a waiter (again), a bartender, a librarian, and a teacher. Somewhere in there he played drums in punk rock bands, recorded several albums, and wrote dozens of short stories and a handful of novels. In this episode, James discusses: How he got started as a writer How he chose his genre Pivoting into authorship The evolution of self-publishing (2013 to present) The need for authors to be fearless and to try new ways to expose audiences to their books Turning a story into a short film How he found his director and crew Challenges and triumphs of the process Why you should try converting your stories to short films Connect with James: Website Instagram Facebook Amazon Author Page BookBub The post 076: How to Turn Your Stories Into Short Films w/ James Noll appeared first on Chris Jones, Ink: How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book.
19 minutes | a month ago
075: How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Press Kit for Your Book
When you want to make it easy for bloggers, editors, journalists, show producers, and podcast hosts to give you guest posting/contribution opportunities, write a story about you, or interview you, what’s your best resource for getting their attention? A press kit, of course. A press kit, sometimes called a media kit, is an information packet or a page on your website that contains information about you or your product or service and why you or it are newsworthy. A press kit gives potential interviewers easy access to you and your brand. A well-organized press kit makes conducting interviews and creating story angles about you and your brand more enticing for their readers, viewers, or listeners. Since few people take the time to create a press kit, you’re also giving yourself a leg up on your competition. A well-executed press kit has the power to get you to the top of the stack of media opportunities with bloggers, journalists, show producers, and podcasters. When you’re networking and reaching out to media sources, your press kit will be just a click away. Plus, it makes you look organized and professional, two things that make reporters’ jobs easier. Once you’ve created your press kit, make it easily accessible by including a “Press Kit” or “Media Inquiries” link in the footer of your website, or as a link in the text of your “About” page. You can also have a PDF copy stored on your hard drive or in your cloud drive for easy access. Your press kit functions like part resume and part biography. It is a collection of information, photos, and articles about you and your company that answers frequently asked questions and shows off your professional image. The goal of the press kit should be to grab attention, make a lasting impression, and pique just enough interest and curiosity about you and your business that will make its recipients contact you for more information. In this episode, you’ll learn how to assemble a press kit, create a one sheeter, and build the confidence to get more interviews to promote your book. Download the visual guide here Download a sample of my one sheeter here The post 075: How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Press Kit for Your Book appeared first on Chris Jones, Ink: How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book.
16 minutes | a month ago
074: How Minimalism Made Me a More Productive Writer
My first foray into minimalism started when I read Walden many years ago. It swept me into Henry David Thoreau’s off-the-grid living and minimalist ideology. Next came Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Work Week when he quoted William of Occam, who said, ” It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.” Then I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2017 on a whim. I knew nothing about Marie Kondo or what she did. I had the book in my Audible account somehow and listened to it. Then all the pieces came together this year when I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. When he talked about how environment was one key to ensuring successful habits stick, it all fell into place. That’s when I looked at all the stuff on my desk and in my desk, on my computer, and in my phone and wondered if these things were, as David Allan says in his book Getting Things Done, taking up precious psychic RAM by getting free space in my mental hard drive. Since doing these eight things I’m about to mention to you, I have felt my energy go up, my drive and focus increase, my productivity heightens, my ability to start and finish tasks more rapidly improved, and this has been since the end of January. Deleted Unnecessary Software. I opened my storage setting on my MacBook and one-by-one, got rid of all the software I was no longer using him — even one’s I paid for. One that comes to mind that we all use as writers is Office 365. If left unchecked, it can hog gobs of RAM. I deleted everything but Word. I use that almost daily. I reasoned that I can always download Apple Keynote if I need to make presentations and since I like it better than PowerPoint, and as for Excel, I can use Google Sheets when I need to open the occasional spreadsheet. I use Airtable for that work anyway, as it’s a better database. Organized, Optimized, and Decluttered Digital Files. I worked on my filing system and decided to one-by-one restructure each folder, labeling the contents by type and function. As tedious as it was, it has been the biggest source of joy in everything I’ve done. Here is an example. One of my clients is an online publication, and so what I did was create subfolders under his main folder for each month of the year (e.g., 01 |January 2021; 02 | February 2021; all the way to 12 | December 2021. Inside those folders would be sub-folders with all the departments within the publication (e.g., Conditions, Treatments, Wellness, Technology, etc.). Inside those subfolders would another set of subfolders for a Creative Brief, Art, Draft, HTML, Sourcing. I did this for every client and my business files. Each meticulously organized. Then I got a subscription to iDrive. iDrive is an online file storage system. It’s not like a working/collaborative cloud storage like Dropbox, but more a cloud-based external hard drive. I backed up my entire hard drive over many hours. Back on my computer (within my Dropbox), I deleted all the files I haven’t used or would not be using again and those I hadn’t used in months. This whittled my drive down to fewer than 10 folders. I set iDrive to automatically update three days a week — on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday — and now every time I finish a project, I send it to iDrive and delete it from my computer to keep the clutter from mounting. If you’re interested in iDrive, they’re running a 95% off promotion. You can get 5 TB of $3.95 for the entire year (it’s normally $55). Made a One Notebook, One Sketchbook, One Book, One Magazine, and One of Each Type of Writing Utensil Rule. With my computer now a productivity machine, I limited the amount of space other objects could have on my desk. Those things were journals, sketchbooks, books, magazines, and writing utensils. This was a hard one because I can justify having multiple journals, lots of pens, and books I’m “reading.” When I got honest with myself, I knew I could whittle these down to the basics and call it a day, and so I did. I have one main writing journal for my morning pages; my business notebook for jotting down ideas, thoughts, and meeting notes; my copy of The Artist’s Way; important business papers that need addressing this month (if I file those, I’ll forget!), the latest Quill magazine, and one Micron sketching pen, a highlighter, a pencil, and a blue and black pen. When I need more, I can visit the supply closet. Had a Shred Party. I realized I had papers everywhere. So, I used my camera on my iPhone and shot the important stuff into Evernote. I kept vitally important papers (i.e., vital records, business paperwork, and tax documents) in folders, but everything else got shredded. All said and done, I had two grocery-store-sized brown paper bags full of shredded papers. It’s something I now do every day the mail comes. I decide to file it, shoot it, or shred it. And with magazines, after you read them, recycle them. If there is content that resonates with you, find the article online and clip it into Evernote. Got Rid of Cord Clutter. How many iPhone charging cables do you need? How many Kindle charging cables do you need? How many Android charging cables do you need? You only have one desk, so one of each necessary cable. Rather than stick them in your desk drawer, you can put them in your supply closet to use as spares when the others lose their ability to charge devices. I was swimming in small and medium-sized device cables. I now have one for my wireless headset and one for my iPhone (and AirPods). Inbox Zero. Email inflow can be a nightmare. Ever stare 1,200 messages down in your inbox before? About nine months ago, I discovered an email handler called Spark. Spark allows me to snooze an email, pin messages, and arrange my inbox using preset categories. I’ve seen the bottom of my inbox more since using this than I ever have. I read and delete, and if something is important, I can file it, or if it’s actionable, but not today, I can snooze it and tell it when you come back into my inbox, and then it disappears! This handler costs nothing but has been worth everything. Pair it with a subscription to Unroll.me and your inbox will be as clean as a whistle. Organized Everything in Trello. Over the years I’ve gotten frustrated with how CRMs are not creative people and small business friendly, so I revisited Trello after a several-year hiatus, and I’m glad I did. Trello allows me to store all my work and to-dos in the interface and I can link all my files into it, so projects stay together. It allows you to link Evernote notes, Google Drive products, links, etc. This move caused me to get rid of my large desk notebook that I used to house my written to-do list. Now it’s all digital. I Continue to Write in Scrivener as My Main Vehicle. I’ll be the first to tell you that as a writer and journalist, I hate having an endless trail of Word documents. Scrivener allows me to do all my writing and import all my research into the same interface. So, when I have a transcript of an interview, I use spilt screen mode and write in the left pane and read from the right. It’s been how I have done for the past two years. Most people use Scrivener for novels and books, I which do, but I discovered that for writing stories and content, it’s a brilliant tool for keeping all your writing in one place without the mess Word documents in a folder. Bonus: This is more of a productivity hack than minimalism, but order everything online. Amazon is fast (one-and two-day shipping), Door Dash is convenient, and many grocery stores will deliver your food for free when you reach a certain price threshold. I promise you, I save hours doing these things. A normal two-hour grocery store excursion is now 20 minutes of online ordering and 10 minutes of putting it away. This leaves me more time for work, exercise, and family. Think of time you can reclaim by outsourcing those tasks to a front porch delivery. So that’s it. This has been how I’ve gained back my time, energy, and focus. I’m far more productive, organized, and efficient a writer now than I have been in some time. If any of this was helpful, let me know in the comments below. What are some ways minimalism has made you a more productive writer?
7 minutes | 2 months ago
073: The Hiatus is … Over!
Welcome back to the Art & Business of Writing podcast. I am your host Chris Jones, and I am … BACK! It’s been nearly three full years (March 30, 2018) since my last podcast episode so, before we get rocking and rolling and picking up where we left off, let’s play some catch up, because my writing life has been an exciting adventure. Roman poet Ovid once said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” And I can say for sure that after three years—and a few false starts when I wanted to bring the show back and was prohibited by life and COVID fallout (i.e. helping manage the family, teach my kids, and balance work)—I’m teeming with good ideas and a fresh outlook. So, after pausing the show in 2018, here’s what I managed to get myself into: I’ve ghostwritten a couple of books with some fantastic authors. I’ve collaborated with another author to produce an inspiring work. I’ve done a bit of developmental editing as well as general book editing. I’ve been working with Morgan James Publishing as an acquisitions editor. I’m in the market now for business books and memoirs, so if that’s you, be sure to reach out to me. I’m excited about one in particular called Fundraising Is by Patrick Belcher. That’s coming this fall. I’ve coached a number of new authors and taken a few through my synopsis course and others all the way through to self-publishing on Ingram Spark and Amazon. I’ve continued to be a mainstay in the magazine world where I function like an off-site managing editor for a couple of magazines and health website called SpineNation. I’ve also written quite a bit over the past few years for publications. In the midst of that, COVID-19 struck and, gratefully, no one in my family was affected by the virus itself, but we all felt the change. I took on a broader role with my family and helped the kids with virtual learning. In January, I went into my annual eye exam where I spoke to my optometrist about some distorted vision in my right eye. After watching me bomb on the eye exam and then reading m scans, he had me see an ophthalmologist across town who diagnosed me with a detached retina and had me go into surgery at a retina specialist’s office over an hour and 15 minutes away. If you’ve never had your retina worked on, it’s fascinating. The ophthalmologist puts a gas bubble into your eye, and you spend the next several days with your head down to allow the bubble to press your retina back into place, so it can reattach itself. Then you walk face down and sleep face down for another week to 10 days. Unfortunately for me, after three weeks, more retinal damage was discovered, and I endured a second surgery a month later. So here we are. I’m three weeks post-op, but everything looks good. I can work, I can do cardio (no weights), and it’s probably 6 or so months before I’ll be able to drive again. Now that we’re all caught up, be sure to email me or find me on Instagram and tell me how your writing life has been and what you’ve accomplished since we last spoke. I’ll be back next week and until then … write on.
9 minutes | 3 years ago
072: [Series] Writing a Book from Start to Finish
Writing a book is nearly always on the tops of New Year’s Resolutions and goals. This week, I’m introducing a 15-week podcast boot camp on how to write your book from start to finish. Here are the topics we will cover. Episode 073: The Writer’s Mindset & Daily Habits Episode 074: Who is Your Avatar? Episode 075: Developing Your Book Idea Episode 076: Tools of the Trade Episode 077: Writing Your Book Synopsis Episode 078: Developing Your Book Outline Episode 079: Ways to Get the Writing Done Episode 080: How to Start & Build Your Email List Episode 081: Choosing the Best Social Media Platform/s Episode 082: Building Your Author Website Episode 083: Book Editors & Editing Styles Episode 084: Choosing & Working with Beta Readers Episode 085: The All-Important ISBN Episode 086: Uploading on Amazon, KDP & IngramSpark Episode 087: Launch Parties Some of the episodes will have links to downloads in the show notes that you can use between episodes as homework to help you get closer to writing a book. I’m looking forward to helping you on this journey.
41 minutes | 3 years ago
071: How to Win at Book Festivals (Rebroadcast)
It’s book festival season. In this rebroadcast episode, I talk with children’s book author Tasha Fuller about how authors can be successful at these events. I chose to do this episode as a replay since we are entering spring and many cities and regions are beginning to launch their annual book festivals. If you’re planning on attending a book festival this year, you’ll want to hear these marketing tips that will help you to engage with more readers and sell more books. Next week, we’ll begin a new series on book authorship from start to published.
37 minutes | 3 years ago
070: Tips & Tactics for Better Book Launches
One of the most exciting (or more terrifying) aspects to book writing are book launches. Whether you’re about to write a book, are writing a book, or about to publish a book, Candy Zulkosky is going to tell you the ins and outs of book launches and why they need to start from the moment you have a concept for your book. She talks about the timeline for book launches, from getting a cover to getting testimonials from your audience. Follow along to learn more about book launches: The origin of Candy’s nickname CaZ (00:42) Why it’s important for people to tell their stories (02:17) How Candy became the Writer Success Coach (04:05) How Candy became involved with Manifest Publishing (06:08) What Candy loves about coaching authors and helping them to get published (07:21) Key lessons she has learnt as The Writer Success Coach (09:03) Why a book launch starts before the book is completed (10:02) How to get your book cover and what comes next (13:06) Building a community for your book launch (15:15) Where to focus your social media strategy (16:50) Producing a media kit (18:42) Why it’s important to have a separate website for your book (20:27) How to co-ordinate a successful launch day (23:19) Choosing your launch date (24:56) What is a good frequency for emailing and posting to your audience (26:04) The importance of asking for testimonials (27:08) Setting up an Author Central page on Amazon (29:40) How long should you keep promoting your book? (31:02) The importance of having people to support you as you write your book (33:31) Get to Know CaZ: Website Facebook LinkedIn The Writer’s Exchange Facebook Group Courses Let’s Hear from You: Leave a comment below Message me on Twitter Join my Facebook Group Share this show on Twitter or Facebook Leave a review on iTunes Subscribe to The Art & Business of Writing Podcast: iTunes Google Play More options Get Notified on New Episodes and Other News:
32 minutes | 3 years ago
069: How I Got a Book Deal Using a Clever Tweet (with Hannah Carmack)
Hannah Carmack talks about how she went through several rejection letters before a clever 140-character tweet on Twitter caught the attention of a book publisher who offered her a deal for her book. Hannah’s biggest passion in writing is accurate and fair representation all marginalized populations, be it race, gender, or disability. She’s talking today about the process of pitching and finding a publisher through twitter. Follow along: Who Hannah is (00:11) Current book trends and the rise of ‘own voices’ books (00:44) Hannah’s new book and whole she developed the idea (01:28) The challenges of writing this book over the 3-4 years it took (03:10) How having Crohn’s disease impacts Hannah’s writing and her perspective on life (04:40) How Hannah got her book published (06:32) What rejection was like and how to learn from it (07:52) What was causing Hannah to be rejected (08:45) What should be in a decent query letter (09:37) What it is like competing at a pitch contest (10:23) How many queries did Hannah send out (13:50) The reality of indie presses (14:43) How Hannah used twitter pitch events to gain interest from publishers (15:53) When Hannah learned she had been picked up by a publisher (17:25) The winning pitch (18:29) Tips for pitching on twitter (19:30) What it’s like working with NineStar Press (21:08) How the marketing and promotion works (22:30) Using Twitter to get tips on pitching direct from agents (24:03) How Hannah uses twitter to promote herself and reach out to writers and agents (26:04) Hannah’s favorite hashtags (27:05) What Hannah is doing next (27:55) Get to Know Hannah: Website Twitter Facebook Hannah’s Book Other Resources Mentioned: SCBWI Spring Thaw AWP–Association of Writers ALA—American Library Association #Pitmad #Pitdark Let’s Hear from You: Leave a comment below Message me on Twitter Join my Facebook Group Share this show on Twitter or Facebook Leave a review on iTunes Subscribe to The Art & Business of Writing Podcast: iTunes Stitcher Google Play iHeart Radio Get Notified on New Episodes and Other News:
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