Category Archives: Writing

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – Part 22: Flying – By the Seat of Your Pants

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-two:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 22: Flying – By the Seat of Your Pants

My husband and I have major differences when it comes to attacking a project. He’s the plan-and-research guy. I’m the gal who starts right away and screeches to a halt in the middle of the mess to realize that I don’t know where I am or how I got there.

In the world of book-writing, these two approaches are generally labeled as Planner (or Plotter) versus Pantster. Pantster refers to”flying by the seat of your pants.” I’m a Planner with my research, which I define, lay out, and adamantly pursue. I also get to know my characters very well before I write their “stories.” However, when it comes to writing the story, I’m pretty much a Pantster. I love the creativity and freedom writing as a Pantster engenders.

IMG_05431(I AM glad my husband is a Planner, because he is also a pilot, and I DO NOT want my pilot to fly by the seat of his pants!)

If you are a Planner, you’re probably doing just fine with your first draft. You’re following your outline and you’re staying on track.

If you are, like me, a Pantster, you may have followed your creative urges and pushed your novel into an entirely different – or new and improved – plotline. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it may include painting yourself into a corner. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve spent a lot of time in that corner!

Experience has taught me a few tricks about agilely exiting from corners without ruining a great paint job (i.e., your new and improved plot line.)

1. Don’t get discouraged. Writing is hard work, especially first and second draft writing. Everyone needs to reread and edit, even Planners.

2. If you’re stuck, go back to the beginning of your novel and read what you’ve written. As you read, jot down the ideas, main characters, and developments in each chapter. Use only a few sentences per chapter.

3. When a chapter veers off in strange, unproductive directions (It doesn’t advance the plot.), note that, but don’t stop to rewrite at this point.

4. Read until you think your novel has reached the “Great Desert of Hopelessness.”

5. Stop.

6. Contemplate. Where do you want to go? If you don’t have the end of your novel rattling around in your head somewhere, this is the time to formulate your last chapter.

7. Write the last chapter. You will likely change this, but for now, in this painted-into-the-corner moment, it gives you a goal.

8. Again start at the beginning of your novel, and this time jot down any “travel” notes beside your chapter notes. How do you need to change this chapter to eventually arrive at your last chapter?

9. Rewrite. Don’t spend a lot of angst on wording or those bits of minor research you haven’t completed. You’ll have time for that later. Now is when you get the plot back on track. Don’t be afraid to cut bad chapters or rotten paragraphs.

10. When you’ve finished rewriting to your satisfaction, jot down where you’re going with the next series of chapters. I know that sounds like Planning, but it’s really only Reminding.

If you’re like me, you may need to repeat these steps more than once during the first draft, but it’s worth the effort! Keep writing!

Question for you: Are you a Planner or a Pantster? (Not only with writing, but in life, too!)

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back December 18, 2014, for part 23. (Note the change in schedule for that month due to Christmas.)

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Picture Book Idea Month (aka PiBoIdMo) began today!

Today is a great day for picture book authors and illustrators.

Today is the first day of Picture Book Idea Month 2014, also known as PiBoIdMo. (Learn more HERE.) Thanks to Tara Lazar who is the creator of this inspiring challenge, November 1-30 is brainstorming month for those of us who appreciate the push, nudge, encouragement to capture our ideas. (Read my interview with Tara HERE.) This morning before I was out of bed I was thinking about this being Day One of PiBoIdMo and how I just didn’t want to get out of my bed yet … and an idea came to me for a picture book! Yay! I still haven’t written it down but that’s next on my to-do list. Maybe in the next couple of brainstorming days I can add to that story by coming up with my character’s name and a great title for the book. Or maybe I will settle on those today – now the imagination wheels have begun to turn again. Either way, I will try to keep track on my blog as I progress with this year’s PiBoIdMo challenge.

piboidmo2014wordpressbannerIt is not too late if you are interested take part in Picture Book Idea Month; you have until midnight of November 7 to read about it and register HERE.

Each November since 2010 I have worked on a YA fiction novel, last year being the least I added to it. With a little regret, this year I decided to not participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This means I may not even finish my novel, but I surely want to! My problems are tiredness, trying to beat back depression, too much going on in my brain as it is – including all I feel I have to do or should be doing but not wanting to overextend myself further. I care about my own health, and if I get sick I am of little help to anyone else. My dad needs me, my sister needs my contributed half in caring for Dad, my husband and daughters even need me sometimes. And, of course, little Meyya needs me.  Okay, there. Does that sound convincing enough?

Even though this month I’m not officially adding to my novel through NaNoWriMo, my fiction story stays on the back burner of my mind. I’m not sure how to bring it to its natural end yet, but the characters won’t go away. It seems they’re telling me this is a novel that needs to be completed, which I plan to do. In fact, I’m kind of excited to see how it turns out!

What it comes down to is I believe my biggest problem may be lack of adequate organization of my time. Well, that and I get distracted easily. And I’m tired. And I have so many ideas and things I want to do.  hmm  Yeah, I’ll go back to the first point – lack of adequate organization of my time.  (Can anybody relate to this?)

Share with me your thoughts on this.

What do you find to be the main thing that prevents you from moving forward, and how do you conquer it? Any tips for me on how to better divide and manage my time?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 21: the Dreaded Pace Plague

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-one:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 21: The Dreaded Pace Plague

Last month we talked about decreasing the tension at certain points in your novel or your story (See # 20. Down, Down, Down) We included the unavoidable tension-easers like page breaks and the ends of chapters, and the scripted, necessary tension-easers that keep the readers “in” the story by varying the pace of the action.

IMG_1426Photograph Copyright 2002, Neil Harrison.

Today, we’ll discuss those tension easers that are NOT wanted. Most of these are self-explanatory and easily corrected if the writer is watchful. Here’s my list:

1. A difficult word or name.

If you’ve read my Alaska novels, you know that I’m incredibly guilty in this area. Most of the names of my main characters in these novels are Native words. I was aware of the negative aspect of this choice, but I decided the authenticity was worth it. Maybe I was right or maybe I was wrong, but if you elect to use difficult names or words be sure you weigh the consequences. They do slow the reader down.

2. A poorly constructed sentence.

One of the best ways to catch these in your writing — besides having a good editor — is to be sure one of your rewrites is verbal. When you stumble over your own sentence, you know it needs tweaking.

3. The author tells the story instead of showing it through the character’s eyes.

I could write a book about this one, so to shorten things up, I’ll just refer you to post #6 in this series, “20/20.”

4. Typos and grammatical errors.

A last careful rewrite, which I’ll discuss in a future post, is essential to eliminate this problem. Nonetheless, a few mistakes will still creep in. Most readers will tolerate those few.

5. Long passages of description.

Today’s readers prefer to have description offered in small doses. Cut, cut, cut! You’ll be able to give the same information via the more pace-friendly method of using a sentence on one page and two sentences on another, a phrase here and there.

6. Blatant preaching, even if the main character is the preacher.

Readers pick up a novel because they want a story. Let the story carry your theme and play out any convictions you are trying to address. Your reader will find it more convincing and you’re more likely to win a following for your second novel!

7. Non-visual writing.

If you can’t see it when you write it, close your eyes and visualize until you can. Then, write the scene.

8. Lack of sensory description.

Your readers want to know not only what your characters do but what they hear, taste, feel, see, and smell!

9. Long internal monologues by your characters.

What I said about preaching? Ditto.

10. Stilted and unrealistic dialogue.

Read your dialogue out loud. Everyone uses a different vocabulary for speaking than they do for writing. For your dialogue, use a speaking vocabulary. If you’re having trouble with a dialect or just everyday language in your dialogues, watch and LISTEN to a television show or a movie. Then write.

11. Factual errors in research.

Some readers care desperately about this and some don’t. I’m one of those desperate ones. Although I understand that mistakes happen, and the most carefully researched novels can have errors, a poorly researched novel can make me livid, especially if the errors are manufactured to support the author’s agenda. Do your research. If readers know you’ve done your best, they’ll forgive you for an occasional mistake, and author’s notes are a great place to ask for this forgiveness!

Well, that’s my list. Please add to it! I’d love your input.

Strength to your pen!

Sue

 *Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back November 27, 2014, for part 22.

Do you want to publish your picture book as an eBook? Here’s how!

Hi All!

There has been so much debate about paper books versus eBooks, and I was one whose heels were dug in for a long time about that. There was nothing for me but paper books until eventually I tried eBooks out of necessity. Many people are starting out with them rather than publishing traditionally, and if I was going to review their book I had to accept the new way. I found that it isn’t all bad, and even has good points. :)  I won’t give up my ‘real’ books but I can enjoy eBooks, too.

Times have changed and publishing has definitely turned the corner. Are you a children’s writer who has been toying with the idea of publishing your book for Kindle? Does the process scare you just a little? (Me, too!)

If you read my last post you will find out how to do it much easier than you had anticipated. Kindle Kids Mastery course is now available — and at an introductory price of $70 off! I won’t go into detail about it all over again as you can read about it in my last post, but I will add this:

* Amazon’s surprise release of the free Kindle Kids’ Book Creator
software on September 3 was an utter game-changer.  Now anyone can create a richly illustrated picture book and publish it on Amazon.

* The editors of Children’s Book Insider, the industry’s largest
publication for children’s writers, immediately set about creating a
course that would explain the software and demystify the entire process, from finding illustrations through publishing and marketing illustrated Kindle children’s books.  They’ve called it Kindle Kids Mastery.

* The release of the first Kindle Kids Tablet last week raised the
stakes even higher:  It’s now clear that Amazon intends to go all in on
kids’ books and they’re giving authors the tools to help stock their
store with books.   This is HUGE news for children’s authors and a
golden opportunity for those who establish themselves as Kindle authors RIGHT NOW.  Kindle Kids Mastery allows any writer to do exactly that.

* Kindle Kids Mastery takes authors step by step through the process,
using screen-capture videos to show exactly how to layout, convert and publish their eBooks.  It also uses the same technique to show how to find illustrators, get low-cost design services, upload their eBook, create an Author Page and much more.

* All buyers get lifetime access with free updates. That’s such a great deal!

Because this is the first and only course specifically about Amazon’s plunge into illustrated children’s books and the opportunity it creates, Kindle Kids Mastery is the immediate answer for all writers to take advantage of this opportunity.  So … if you are thinking about it don’t miss out! :) Their special introductory price ends at midnight October 15’14!

Simply click on Kindle Kids Mastery anywhere in this post to view their full table of contents and take their video tour.

I hope you find it as exciting as I do. Let me know when you get your book out there using Kindle Kids Mastery!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Exciting book publishing news, a Q & A, and a limited-time introductory offer!

This is a different review and interview – very exciting game-changing news!

Did you hear Amazon’s big news September 3’14?: Amazon today announced KDP Kids, designed to help children’s book authors prepare, publish and promote both illustrated and chapter books in Kindle Stores worldwide. Children’s book authors can use Amazon’s new Kindle Kids’ Book Creator tool to easily create illustrated children’s books that take advantage of Kindle features like text pop-ups. Once the book is ready, authors can upload it to KDP in just a few simple steps, and use KDP’s category, age and grade range filters to help millions of Amazon customers choose the right books for their kids. Authors can earn royalties of up to 70%, while keeping their rights and maintaining control of their content. Authors can also choose to enroll their books in KDP Select for additional royalty opportunities like Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and access to marketing tools like Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions. Get started today at kdp.amazon.com/kids.”   But first READ ON! 

KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing, and if you would love to attempt it but feel you aren’t tech savvy enough to manage it, or if you just want a good tutorial to help you, there is help I am excited to tell you about! The editors of Children’s Book Insider, the industry’s largest publication for children’s writers, immediately set about creating a course that would explain the software and demystify the entire process, from finding illustrations through publishing and marketing illustrated Kindle children’s books. They’ve called it Kindle Kids Mastery. With no further delay, here’s the information you need, thanks to Jon of Children’s Book Insider. (applause) And please forgive my formatting of this Q & A which may not work out the way I want it to.

What is Kindle Kids Mastery?

A comprehensive online course that teaches authors how to create an illustrated children’s book in Amazon’s new Kids Book Creator software, format, convert it and publish it to Amazon’s Kindle store. The course also covers, in detail, how to find illustrations and offers expert advice for marketing a Kindle eBook.

How is it delivered?
The course is entirely online and includes videos and downloadable PDF transcripts. Buyers get lifetime access, and access to Updates which are being added regularly to the site.
 
 
How much does it cost?

After October 15, 2014, the price will be $197. Until then, the introductory price of $127 is in effect. There are no additional costs – everything is included.

 

What does the course include?

There are nine modules that cover:
* 5 Things You MUST Do Before Creating Your Kindle eBook
* Finding Illustrations and Creating Your eBook Cover (videos cover everything from finding a professional illustrator through using low-cost design services and adapting stock images)
* Creating Your eBook Using Kindle Kids Book Creator Software (a series of videos that allow you to watch over Laura’s shoulder as she creates eBooks in the software. Everything is broken down in the simplest terms, and we explain every major aspect of the software.)
* Uploading to Amazon and Creating Your Author’s Page (Videos that include some very important things, such as how to create a strong description and how to maximize your author page.)
* ONE-ON-ONE SESSIONS: Kindle Marketing Advice From the Pros (three in-depth interviews – on video with full transcripts – with authors who are masters at Kindle marketing. You’ll learn how to get reviews, how to draw readers to you and how to start building a fan base today. Experts include Amy Harrop, Deb Drum, Katie Davis and Beau Blackwell)
* A full eBook on how to adapt your own photographs or stock images and turn them into unique illustrations. We’re on record as saying that hiring a professional illustrator is always the first and best choice, but if your budget doesn’t allow that right now, we’ll show you how to create really cool pieces of art from existing images.
Plus there are cheat sheets, a checklist and more.

 

Who created Kindle Kids Mastery?

The course was personally created by Laura Backes and Jon Bard, editors of Children’s Book Insider for the past 25 years.
 
 
 

QUESTIONS ABOUT KINDLE KIDS’ BOOK CREATOR SOFTWARE:

What, exactly, does this new software allow me to do?
Kindle Kids Book creator is a standalone piece of software that you download on to your computer. It takes you step by step through the creation of an illustrated children’s eBook. You can create in landscape mode (to mimic traditional picture book layouts) or portrait mode (for easy readers, middle grade and YA novels).
Authors can create text pop-ups, so even readers using small screens can easily view text. The software outputs your eBook in .mobi file format, ready to be uploaded to Amazon.
What’s the big deal?
The real breakthrough here is the ability to create heavily illustrated children’s books. And the ability to do it landscape mode, which is traditional for picture books. If you’re creating a young adult novel or other book that doesn’t require much in the way of illustrations, you’re probably better off not using the software and uploading your formatted novel directly to Amazon. But, if you’re creating picture books, illustrated easy readers or illustrated chapter books, this is a major step forward.
What does it cost?
The software is free, and uploading to Amazon is free. Amazon makes money on each sale of your eBook, not on the eBook creation process.
Is it truly something an author with no technical ability can use?
From our testing, we’d say yes. It’s intuitive and nicely designed. There are a few things that true tech newbies may find a bit confusing at first, but they’re easily overcome.
Does this software work on a Mac? (Also: Does this software work on Windows XP?)
According to the official download page, the Windows version works on Windows 7 and 8,so it won’t run on XP. The Mac version runs on OSX version 10.7 and above.
Is anyone making money selling Kindle children’s books on Amazon?
One of the folks we interviewed for Kindle Kids Mastery is a children’s author who is exclusively creating Kindle eBooks. He told us that — just from being part of the Kindle Unlimited plan (Amazon’s Netflix-like subscription service) he’s getting between $1.80-$2.00every time someone downloads and reads one of his books. And that’s on top of his direct sales. So clearly authors — particularly those who have built a promotional platform (blog,social media, mailing list, etc.) and aren’t shy about advocating for their books — are seeing real benefits.
Illustrations are so important. “Any cheap thing will do” probably won’t in the long run, as you’re going to be competing with the very best in illustration.
This is certainly true, but I’ll hearken back to the answer to the question just above this one. The ability to self-publish creates the opportunity for authors to create different types of books with different purposes. If you’re creating a lyrical picture book with text that you’ve slaved over for months, you should absolutely do everything you can to employ the services of a world-class illustrator. But, if you’re putting together something less “meaty” that’s designed to sell as an eBook for $2.99 and provide a child a bit of fun, sharing royalties or paying a big work-for-hire bill may not fit into your budget. In that case, looking for inexpensive alternatives is perfectly reasonable.
The bottom line? If your dreams of self-publishing are being held back by a lack of artistic talent and/or lack of budget to hire a top artist, you shouldn’t just throw in the towel. There are ways to get good quality artwork that can fit your needs. But I’ll certainly agree with your main point — illustrations are extremely important and a talented illustrator can work real magic on a book. In an ideal situation, I would certainly advocate for hiring a professional.

 

The ability to self-publish easily is flooding the market with amateurish books. Without gatekeepers (editors) to sift the bad from the good, how can any of us get the attention of readers?
You’re certainly right about the amount of truly bad books being published. But that’s a natural outgrowth of the democratization of the publishing process. The same thing happened to music a decade ago — when anyone with a computer and microphone could record a song and release it online, music fans suddenly found themselves engulfed in a sea of bad music. But they adapted — review blogs, curated lists and recommendation-based services like Pandora helped separate the wheat from the chaff.
We’re still in the very early stages of publishing’s digital revolution. I have no doubt at all that similar outlets will arise in our world to help make sense of the chaos.
But here’s the key — and its a big one: In order to rise above the masses, your work must be excellent. Craft is more important than ever. The path to success right now is by getting word of mouth: parent to parent, teen to teen. Bad books don’t get talked about. Good books do.
Don’t publish crap just because Amazon is making it easy. Work your craft.

 

Doesn’t that sound exciting?! (Thank you Laura and Jon!) Because this is the first and only course specifically about this, Kindle Kids Mastery is
the immediate answer for all writers to take advantage of this
opportunity.
I’ve been in communication with Jon of Children’s Book Insider (who supplied me with the above info) after I learned of their exciting course,
read all the info, listened to an interview with Laura of CBI, became fully convinced and purchased the course! I’d been inspired to consider preparing one of my children’s book manuscripts for converting to an eBook. I know, shocking, since I was one who was so slow and hesitant in even reading eBooks. I love real paper books, but it seems that sometimes the better way to go is electronically, although once a book is an eBook it doesn’t mean it can’t later become a paper book as well. Many do.

Now is your chance to do something about this great price cut before it’s gone. To learn more and get Laura’s “Kindle Kids Mastery” course at the $70 off introductory price, go HERE to Kindle Kids Mastery now! There you’ll find a full table of contents and a video tour.

The $70 discount expires midnight, October 15, 2014! Please don’t put it off and miss this great deal like I tend to do. (But not this time!) And remember: all buyers get lifetime access with free updates!

When you get a book ready to publish with the help of this course, let me know how you liked it.

You can find Kindle Kids’ Book Creator and Kindle Kids Mastery course listed on my Writers Helps page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – Part 20: Down, Down, Down

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty: 

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 20: Down, Down, Down

In my last few posts, we’ve talked about increasing the tension in your novel or story, but you know that old saying, “What goes up must come down.” So today let’s talk about coming down off those tension highs.

1476101_10202851031740638_1363769618_n_002* photo credit given at end of article

Tension reduction isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes the writer needs to give his or her reader “a rest.” If the tension is too high for too long, it can wear your reader out. Too much tension can also rend the veil of disbelief. I’m sure that’s happened to you in your reading life, those books where you think, come on that’s way over the top. At other times, we urge our readers onto a downramp so we can gain enough momentum to swoop them up even higher a few paragraphs or pages later.

Like all tricks of the trade, easing tension takes on the added dimension of the artistic when it’s done effectively. First, let’s address that issue by listing two general classifications of tension-easers.

A. The unavoidable. The unavoidable includes chapter breaks, the turn of a page, or the finger swipe across the screen of your eReader. These are mechanical in nature and not of great concern. Often you can use the unavoidable moments of relaxed tension to your advantage. You might want to check back and read post #19 in this series, “By Hook, Not by Crook,” which discusses effective chapter breaks.

B. The desired. These instances of relaxed tension are the result of well-executed pacing and include the following:

1. A shift in the point-of-view character

2. The solution to a small mystery or a large mystery

3. The completion of a very tense scene

4. A short paragraph of back story

5. A sentence or two of description

The tension-easers in the second category — I’m sure you can think of others I haven’t listed — can be effective tools in any novelist’s arsenal. It’s really all about pace. I usually edit for pace when I’m working on the third draft of my novels, which is one of my “hard copy” reads. I three-hole punch the printed pages of my novel and put them in a binder so I feel like I’m reading a book. Then I get out my red pen! Here’s what I look for:

1. When I catch my mind wandering, I need to up the pace with more tension. (See post #18. Tension)

2. If I begin reading so fast that I forget I’m editing, my pace is probably fine. (My editing might need a kickstart, though!)

3. If a scene does not place a strong visual image in my mind, I probably need to pull back  on the tension and slow the pace with a tension-easer, usually a sentence of description or a very short bit of back story.

4. If I crack up at the implausibility of the scene, I need a change of pace. Often, it’s time to cross out then rewrite whole pages until I have reestablished a believable scenario and my upramp isn’t quite so steep.

I’ve purposely left out one huge category of tension-easers. Those we don’t want to include in our novels.  I hope you’ll come back next month, and we’ll talk about The  Dreaded Pace-Plague!

How do you adjust the tension or the pace of your novel?

Strength to your pen!

Sue

* Photograph, copyright David Massongil, 2010. Used with permission. Thank you, David, I love this photo!

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back October 23, 2014, for part 21.

Create your own promotional products!

Today I’m excited to share with you two helps I have found that writers can use, what is needed but maybe not known to be so simple.

If you are a “creative” looking for an easy way to promote your writing, art, needlework, painting, crafting … whatever work/passion it is … why not create your own promotional products while you’re at it? Here are a couple of very easy ways to do that.

  1. Café Press – you can find thousands of items there! For example: if you are a writer and you want to let people know about your new book or that you are available to write for someone else, you can create your own images to use or choose one already on the Café Press website. They take the image you selected and print it on a t-shirt, mug, bookmarks, cell phone covers … or whatever you like of any of a variety of items. How fun would it be to advertise your own book on a t-shirt by having your book cover design on it! **
  2. Vista Print – you can find a wonderful selection of comparably inexpensive marketing items and promotional tools to personalize with your own design or one they have. They’ll print it for you on address labels, note pads, pens, magnets, letterhead, postcards, brochures, and more of your choosing. **

Both of the above services are ones I use and appreciate. They have very good products, turnaround time and service. You can create your own designs, use ones they already have, personalize however you want. Although it’s easy to do online, they also supply customers with a toll-free number if needed. In my opinion, these both are great ways to obtain items that will help to promote your book, or share whatever interest you have.

** For future reference please find Café Press and Vista Print listed on my Writers’ Helps page with links to their sites; just scroll down to Needing promotional and marketing help.

I hope you will find these to be useful to you.

Have you used either of these services? If so, have you been happy with them?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)