Tim Hawkins is one of our family’s favorite comedians. We have watch all of his DVDs multiple times. This particular two minute sketch is the perfect cautionary tale for the author who wants to do a book signing someday.
by Tamela Hancock Murray
I am beyond proud of my uncle, Eldridge Bagley.
Uncle Eldridge is a professional artist. He paints in oil on canvas. Most of his scenes depict Southern rural life in the mid twentieth century. The picture above, from 2001, is entitled Looking for a Brown Mule.
This picture speaks to me. Does it speak to you? Why? Why do you think he chose that title?
Now let’s have some fun. Use your imagination to write a sketch about this picture.[ Read More → ]
by Karen Ball
Focus. We all need it, in our careers, in our lives, even day to day. But as we discussed in previous blogs, there are different kinds of focus. Today we’ll take a look at how you can use Mountaintop Focus to guide you in your career as a writer.
As we discussed before, when you’re on the Mountaintop, you can see for miles and miles. So, first and foremost, Mountaintop Focus is big-picture time. It’s time to consider the whys and wherefores of what you’re doing. To determine—and then review and refine, if needed—your core values and goals. I’m sure you’ve all determined long ago why you’re writing, but it’s a good idea to review those reasons at least once a year to see if they’re still what drives you. Because life changes, and we change as a result. I started out wanting to write fun romance novels, novels that celebrated the wonder of romance and love between a man and a woman. But as life went on, I found myself asking some hard questions about those relationships. And about faith. And surrender. So the driving questions behind my stories changed. As did my core values/goals.[ Read More → ]
How an E-Book is Like the Treadmill at the Gym – One of the better explanations regarding the question of whether you own your e-books or not. Read this and comment below if it helps you understand. It is worth your time.
With Bookselling in Deep Turmoil, Book Sales Are on the Rise – Excellent article by Peter Onos for The Atlantic.
May Holidays – Excellent list of events in May that you can use to promote your book. Thank you Edie Melson for the list!
Literary Agents: Now More Than Ever – Thank you Will Weaver for this great article on The Huffington Post.
Who Inherits Your Copyrights? – If you haven’t thought about this yet, now would be a good time!
A short (20 minute) documentary on the importance of C.S. Lewis. You owe it to yourself to watch it sometime soon. Enjoy![ Read More → ]
by Steve Laube
One of the burdens an artist must bear is the scrutiny of public opinion. It can either be exhilarating or devastating. At the risk of oversimplifying the issue let’s look at some of the categories that define this topic.
Everyone has an opinion. The problem for the author is to determine how much weight to give to those opinions. One mistake a writer will make is to ask someone or group of someones, “What do you think of this?” with “this” being your work or the cover of their latest book.
Think of it this way, if someone is asking for your opinion and genuinely says they want to hear your thoughts, you will give that opinion…and it is often critical. It is as if we don’t feel like we have been “honest” unless we find something wrong or something we don’t like. We can become overly nitpicky and focus on things that are not vital to the design or the composition of the project. And this is where it becomes dangerous for the author. The tendency is to place too much credence on these type of opinions given by those who may not have the experience or know-how to truly be of service. That is not to say their opinions are wrong or misinformed, merely that discernment must be used when filtering these comments.
The gathering of too many opinions can clutter a sure vision or shake your confidence. It can become like the cynical definition of a committee: “A body that keeps minutes but wastes hours.”[ Read More → ]
“The Last Bookshop”
This short film is delightful. It is 20 minutes long, but if you view the first five minutes I think you might be hooked into watching the whole thing.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.
On YouTube the creator of the film actually responds to comments and questions made by viewers! So very rare to see that.
by Tamela Hancock Murray
I just saw a funny short video about how to go from boring to fancy. Examples included labeling the same bread as “bread” and then “artisan bread” and the identical “cheddar” as “aged cheddar.” I would have gone with “artisan” cheddar, myself. The last time our family dined in a restaurant with my in-laws in Connecticut, “Cheese made by Vermont artisans,” was offered as an appetizer.
How about adding letters to an ordinary word? An example: Ye Olde Shoppe. Would you rather shoppe there than shop at Nordstrom?
Does drinking water out of a crystal goblet make the water seem fancier than drinking the same water out of an everyday glass?
How about paying money for water that comes bottled instead of from the tap? I have read articles that claim some bottled water is, in reality, tap water. I don’t know if that’s true.[ Read More → ]
by Karen Ball
After reading Steve’s and Tamela’s thought-provoking blogs on why they don’t finish books, I decided to talk about the flip-side. I totally agree with all that Steve and Tamela said. I’m not among the camp that has to finish a book once I’ve started it. But what a delight it is to find a book that I not only want to finish, but that I wish would never end. Those are rare treasures that live on my bookshelves, friends I can’t wait to be with again.
So here’s why I finished your book—and plan to read it again and again and again:
From the first page I knew the story was powerful—and that spending time in it would be not just worthwhile, but wonderful. Your attention to the ebb and flow of the tale; to making it true to life and heart; to giving me a moment to catch my breath, then plunging me even deeper into the conflict; to the powerful and satisfying ending…it all wove the story together into a tapestry that I will revisit to catch new details and beauties and truths.[ Read More → ]
7 Reasons Your Manuscript Might be Rejected – I loved this post by Darcy Pattison
9 Things to Know Before Your First TV Interview – I would add a 10th. Remember the Media is not your friend. – Be prepared for anything. Including being bumped because of some breaking news (like happened to a client last week…for good reasons!)
How to Market Part-Time While Working Full-Time – Excellent advice.
On Taking Criticism – David Farland addresses one of a writer’s greatest fears.
4 Ways Blogging Will Make You a Better Writer – Dan Blank provides some encouragement.
What Slush Pile Reader Look for in a Story – True confessions
Hemingway on Writing – A selection of his thoughts on the topic culled by the web site “Brain Pickings.”
50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Because of Technology – Infographic. What does is say about me when I still do 19 of these?[ Read More → ]
by Steve Laube
I had been reading and thinking about creativity when I came across the title of today’s post as a chapter by that name in a book called The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry (2011). It stopped me in my tracks. I knew he was right. A cover band plays other people’s music. Often it is a new interpretation of a familiar song and sometimes it is a direct copy, like a tribute band. While popular and entertaining for the moment they rarely have lasting impact.
What sells in our market, also known as “trends,” moves like a chased rabbit, very difficult to capture and quickly shifting its path. To our detriment we often chase these trends in order to find success. After thirty years in the book business I’ve seen this happen time and again. Hot trends of the past include non-fiction books on prophecy, angels, spiritual warfare, Bible promises, heaven, and even martyrdom. In fiction it has been novels that revolved around prairie romance, supernatural battles, and chick-lit. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery it betrays original thinking.[ Read More → ]