“Faking” It

Last week, I said I would publish the titles of my most popular blogs from the last six years. However, I have been learning a lot about pen names in the past few days, so I have decided to share that with you instead. (I’ll get back to previous blogs at some point in the future, I assure you.)

I have long been thinking about writing in a different genre from Christian Fiction and when I heard that authors who decide to change genres often change the name under which they publish, I started to dig for information.

Most authors are already aware that a pen name is one which an author chooses to use in place of using their real name. Often called a nom de plume or pseudonym, the author’s real name is likely not known to the public.

For a host of reasons, authors may want to keep their real identity a secret. This is especially true when they want to write in a different genre than they normally do, targeting an entirely different audience. 

You may be interested to know that it is perfectly legal to use a pen name and there is no cost to do so. All major publishing houses allow the use of pen names. 

Something to consider:  If you are trying to keep your identity secret, you must remain incognito at events, festivals, conferences, in press releases, and so on. 

**Want to know more about Pen Names?  Next week’s blog post will delve deeper into the subject. 

Writing Opportunities

I am always looking for new writing avenues, so I Googled 2021 Writing Opportunities and came up with this short list of the most popular and “available” opportunities for authors: Movie and television scripts, grants, magazines (most popular: poetry, relationships, parenting, and personal stories.)

There is a breakdown in each of these categories on www.medium.com. I have no further information on this website except to say that it is fairly new and already has thousands of followers. You may want to check it out. 

**Next week’s blog post will be a list of the Top Twenty of my most-liked blogs from the past six years! I’m due for a walk down memory lane. How about you?

When Is An Author Like a Mosquito?

We’ve had more rain than usual this year in Arizona. And that means mosquitos.

So, I went online to see just how long these pesky critters might be hanging around—and making my life miserable. 

I googled Life Expectancy of the Mosquito. From what I read, it looked like they might be around for awhile.

But that got me thinking …

What is the life expectancy of an author? I’m not referring to the number of years they might live. Just how many years they will write… the total number of years they will practice the craft of writing?

I went to Google. I found information on how many books the average writer reads per year, how long it takes for the average writer to write a book, how much money the average writer makes per year, the average daily word count for an author—in other words, all kinds of information. But I didn’t find any information about how many years they write, on average.

So, I can only speculate that authors write as long as it is profitable for them, as long as they have interest in the craft, until they run out of ideas, as long as the circumstances of their lives don’t change and require their time to be spent differently.

Asking a few authors this question, most said one of these:

“As long as I can.”

“As long as people keep buying my books.”

“As long as I keep waking up each day with a fire within me that can only be quenched by writing.”

“Until I no longer enjoy writing.”

 As for me?

 Like the mosquito, I just may be hanging around for awhile.

You Say I Can’t Use Adverbs?

New authors are taught lots of rules. One of the most notorious—and most resisted—is NOT to use adverbs in our writing.

There are actually some situations where an adverb might be the best choice. When writing a back cover blurb or anything else that has limited space, adverbs may be preferred.

But, when they are used as a crutch instead of choosing a more specific phrase or showing emotion, they should be avoided.

Most adverbs end in -ly. Loudly, sadly, angrily. You get the picture.

Or, do you?

How about showing balled fists and clenched teeth, rather than using those -ly words?

Remember: a good book is like a movie shown with word pictures.

Painting WORD Pictures

En-route to the FICTION section in my local Barnes & Noble Bookstore, the cover of one of the children’s books displayed on a table caught my attention. The art work was breathtaking. I picked it up and flipped through page after page of mesmerizing illustrations. 

In my humble opinion, it is often the Illustrator (and not the author) that should be credited for the success of some of many of these so-called picture books.

I am not a Children’s Author. However, I have read many such books to my kindergartners over the years. And I realized as I stood in the bookstore that one of the things I liked most (and the students responded to) was the VISUAL.

But, writing FICTION, as I do, requires the ability to  paint the VISUAL of my stories with rich vocabulary… to use language to give readers that other dimension necessary for limitless enjoyment.

So when they browse the pages of my books, they too will be mesmerized with the VISUAL that only an author’s words can paint.

Sponsored Product Ads

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Amazon offers four basic ways to advertise products. However, KDP account holders are limited to using just one of them: Sponsored Product Ads.

These ads appear in search results on product pages. They are cost-per-click ads .

After signing in to your KDP Bookshelf, click on Promote and Advertise next to your book’s title. 

You will be given step-by-step directions to write a short “ad” and select how much you are willing to pay each time a prospective buyer clicks on your ad. (Note: This is not per sale. It is per click.)

You will also need to set a max budget for your ad. Once your budget is used, your ad will not show. 

You can renew or rewrite your ad as often as you want.

D.I.Y. for Writers

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For the past five years, the subject matter for my blogs has come from my own “need-to-know” at the time.

When I required information on “show, don’t tell” I shared what I discovered.

The same with point-of-view, internal thoughts, conversation, verb choice, book cover creation, and so on.

They say you learn best by teaching someone else. So, don’t forget to share what you learn with your fellow writers.

You can find my previously-written blogs on all kinds of subjects by going to www.brendapoulosauthor.org and selecting ARCHIVES. 

Some blog posts are more technical. Others are meant for encouragement. I hope you find something helpful by scrolling through the listings.

Just a little tidbit of information today for those of you self-publishing. 

I have always had my covers designed and have also paid for formatting on the Kindle and paperback. However, as I loaded my latest book, Tug of War, onto the Amazon site last week, I noticed that there is both a formatting tool and a Cover Creator that are absolutely FREE. 

If you are comfortable on the computer and have the time to devote to doing these two aspects of publishing yourself, it is a great way to save money. I have writer friends that have turned out some really great looking books.

Happy Writing!

Brenda

 

Linking

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NETWORKING. LINKING. MAKING CONNECTIONS.

That’s the name of the game.

Five years ago, I was told I needed to blog. 

Give content. Encourage.

I got in the habit of writing once a week on each of my websites, www.brendapoulosauthor.org and www.spiritualsnippets.com

That is a lot of writing. I learned to get as much “mileage” as I could from everything I wrote.

One simple way was linking my websites with Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Every time I write on one of my blogs, the content automatically goes to these three other social media avenues.

All I had to do was set and forget.

Authors have more and more to think about nowadays. As many things as we can set up like this, the easier we make it on ourselves.

That means more time for doing what we love—

Writing!

Writing’s “New Normal”

 

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In this unprecedented time, there have been a lot of suggestions on newscasts as to how we can keep our emotional health in tact by sticking to a schedule of work/play at home.

Our writing time is no different.

Keeping to our normal routine as much as possible will do wonders for our outlook, as well as keeping our skills honed.

On the other side of things, we can improve our skills by spending some of our “free” time reading, doing research for our stories, and taking online writing classes.

So, I guess the name of the game is to improve what we can, while at the same time making sure to keep essential skills in place.

Finally, connect with author friends and others on the internet who are writing as well. It’s a great time for sharing ideas! Using Google Docs, Zoom, and other popular programs will still allow your groups to function until things get back to “normal.”

For Auld Lang Syne

 

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Many of us sang poet Robert Burns’ song “Auld Lang Syne” on January first.

Almost no one, however, remembers that those famous words mean “days gone by.” (I looked it up).

A friend tells me that she doesn’t like to read books that require her to keep a dictionary nearby so she can look up unfamiliar words.

She likes to read fiction for pleasure.

I found out that only half of Americans read at an Eighth Grade reading level.

And get this, when reading for fun and relaxation, people prefer to read TWO GRADE LEVELS BELOW what they are capable of reading.

You may want to keep this fact in mind if you are beginning to write a new book this year. In fact, I would suggest that before you publish the one you are currently writing, you pare down any difficult vocabulary.

Make your book a pleasurable read!