Saturday, February 24, 2024

Best Published Author Advice of 2023

 


This is The LIST of the 

Best Advice from 

Published Authors in 2023!


At the start of 2023, I wasn't sure if I was still going to publish this Writing Teazurs Blog. I felt it took time away from my own writing. I had stepped away from children's book writing over ten years ago to move to Bend, Oregon, and help my husband in his new endeavor, Paleo Magazine. During that time, I lost myself in other worlds far away from kid's books. 


But after reaching out to a few amazing new authors, feeling their excitement for their books, and receiving their awesome advice, I knew I had to keep it up!


Promoting authors is a passion of mine.


I absolutely love reading about their journeys and cheering them on through publications, school visits, and conferences. Their enthusiasm feeds my creativity and helps me keep writing, editing, and going. 


Someday, I will be a published author, too. But until then, I am here for you, authors! Cheers to your success. May there be many!


Our first author interview of January 2023 was the lovely and talented...


Sydney Dunlap and her book,  It Happened on Saturday.  

Interview with Sydney Dunlap KidLit Author 


Advice for new writers:
 My main advice for aspiring authors would be to do what works best for them and not feel that they have to follow a certain strategy just because it works for someone else.






Also in January, we heard from Heather Murphy Capps and her book INDIGO & IDA.

DEBUT Author Heather Murphy Capps


The best advice I have for querying is to be thoughtful about reaching out to agents who are specifically looking for elements in your manuscript. It’s not worth your time to just throw a million queries into the wind without researching who is looking for what. The Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL on Twitter) website is invaluable as a starting point, as is social media.








Heading into March, we spoke with Lindsay Fryc and her debut Emma and the Queen of Featherstone. 

Debut Middle-Grade Author Lindsay Fryc



I love Save the Cat Writes a Novel and The Emotional Craft of Fiction. 
I am a huge plotter when writing, so save the cat makes plotting the beats easier for me so I can continue to write the novel. If I don’t have those beats, it's nearly impossible for me to finish a project. Also, the Emotional Craft of Fiction is great when you are crafting emotional scenes and want them to be impactful on the reader. Those two books are must-haves for aspiring authors.








Next up is our interview with Constance Lombardo and her book, Tiny Spoon vs Little Fork and Everybody Says Meow!

Interview with Constance Lombardo


It's vitally important to have your work critiqued by peers (and to listen and be open to change.) I believe anyone who wants to write professionally should either join a group or find beta readers. 





In May, we start off with one of the youngest authors I've interviewed...Emilia Ramos Samper and her book Crown of Scales and Wonder.

Author Interview with Emilia Ramos Samper





For writer's tools, I use Dabble, a plotting tool for writers. Another thing that helps quite a bit is sticky notes: I jot down ideas that come to mind on sticky notes and paste them straight on the wall! It’s useful to get my thoughts organized.



We also interviewed an amazing mother, Tine, who is promoting her late son's debut book... 
Aboard the Time Line





 When talking to kids about depression...

I think the most important is to 

keep a dialogue going. 


And also to take expectations off the table. By that, I mean if your child says that they cannot continue at Uni/school - whatever, etc., then listen! Support them- get professional help.  Try and build up interests/hobbies… go for walks with them (if you can get them out). And sometimes think radical. 





We also checked out Jennifer Bosma and Christian Children's Books, 
I Know the Plans & The Baby Garden

On having a long marriage:love giving advice for marriage. I would encourage the couple to continue being adventurous and visit new locations together. This summer, we are going to a music festival in Montana on our daughter’s recommendation; usually, we hike, float, or fish there. This is mixing it up


Ending our month of May was Savannah Hendricks and her books on coming of age, wholesome romance, and picture books. 





On Book Bans: We need to take off the kid gloves instead of putting them on. As a writer of wholesome and clean, I would say that yes, books should have an age-appropriate label that mirror movies and TV. Doesn’t mean kids won’t read them. We all know kids watch movies that are not rated for them. But guidance is important, and then parents or a reader can make an informed decision. 



As we warmed into June, Suma Subramaniam gave us some great advice as we checked out her book The Runaway Dosa & She Sang for India & Namaste is a Greeting. 





On Time Management: Write every day
 and to write for the child in me even if it is only for fifteen minutes. 
Slowly, the ideas will form, the revisions will happen, and the manuscript will fly off the nest when it finds a home in the big, wide world.





Rounding out June was Ellen L. Ramsey with her debut, A Book for Bear. 




Why read? Books are windows into worlds I may never experience, but I love learning about characters who are different from me as well as characters similar to me. I value books, which are a reflection of people’s thoughts, feelings, and interests. 





Next in July comes Jasmine A. Stirling with Dare to Question



Are you a daring person?
No, but I have absolutely
no problem daring to question authority, whether that be a boss, a school system, a cultural norm, or a reflexive habit.















Next, we learned some amazing ways to illustrate and map with Maria Oglesby Illustrator, Textiles, & Design Artist...

Interview with Maria Oglesby 


Why be an artist?
A career doing work I enjoy has always been more important to me than making a lot of money.










Ending July was our interview with Traditionally Published Debut Middle-Grade Author of Peril at Price Manor, Laura Parnum



If you could go back to your younger self and tell her three things that would help her get published - what would those be?

Number one: It’s not impossible.

Number two: Diligence and patience will pay off—keep going.

And number three: Have fun with it!






Heading into the end of August was our

Karen S. Chow....Traditionally Published Debut Middle-Grade Author of Miracle 



Did you grow up seeing yourself in main characters, in books, or not so much, and how did this influence your work?

I did not see a lot of Asian-American characters in books when I was young. (Mind you, this was in the 80s-90s.) So when I read Grace Lin’s Year of the Dog, I absolutely loved it, and had the realization that I could write about my own life. That’s when I started to write Taiwanese-American characters.


In September 
Ree Augustine was interviewed for her traditionally published debut Hangabout Far From Home


Interview with Ree Augustine and her Debut Hangabout Far From Home


If I gave you a megaphone and the whole world would listen - what one sentence would you yell?


I don’t like to call attention to myself, 
so perhaps I would whisper...

“Laugh every day.”




We skip ahead to November with an interview with a former Editor of Harcourt who is also an award winning author and business owner, Deborah Halverson. 

Interview of Deborah Halverson

When should writers stop revising and editing?

When you're just moving commas around...

For me, that says it all. When the changes you’re making are sentence-level ones that are more about perfecting than anything else, you’re ready to either submit to agents and publishers or hire an editor to bring in a fresh, trained eye to help you know what more needs to be done, if anything, to make it submission-ready.







Finally, we reach December 2023 with an awesome interview with Debut Author Leah Moser
I Am a Thundercloud


Interview with Debut Author Leah Moser - I Am a Thundercloud

Can you share a piece of advice that you've received on your journey to becoming a published author?

Believe in yourself and your stories. Your voice matters!














Thank you to all the authors!

In reflecting on the whirlwind of interviews and insights gathered from the talented authors of 2023, one thing stands out: the unwavering passion and dedication of writers pursuing their dreams.

From seasoned veterans to fresh faces in the literary world, each shared a piece of wisdom that resonated deeply. As I look back on the year, I'm reminded that the journey of a writer is not just about reaching the destination of publication, but about embracing the process, learning from others, and believing in the power of our own stories.

So here's to all the authors who generously shared their experiences and advice, and to the countless stories yet to be written.

As we venture into the new year, may we continue to uplift and inspire one another, knowing that each voice adds richness to the tapestry of literature. Cheers to a future filled with creativity, perseverance, and the boundless possibilities of storytelling.

Write~on,
Angie

And apologies for this coming out in Feb. instead of Jan. - Goal next year - ha!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Writing: Remembering Why


Writing: Remembering Why

Welcome back to Writing Teazurs where we dive deep into the heart of writing, beyond the pages and into the essence of what makes us writers. Today, we're peeling back the layers of the publishing world to reveal the art of writing—a craft so often overshadowed by the hustle of the business side. Let's remember how to keep your love for writing lit, even if the business side tries to snuff it out.


The Double-Edged Sword of Publishing

Publishing is a coveted milestone for many writers, the dream that keeps us typing into the wee hours. Yet, it's also a realm where spreadsheets and sales figures can cast long shadows over the creative process. Money. Money. Money. It's easy to get lost in the maze of marketing, sales, and the pursuit of the next big deal, so much so that the initial love for crafting stories can take a backseat.

It's also easy to become cynical and downright negative about publishing and then spread that to all of your writing buddies. Many people find camaraderie in misery, but I do not. I believe writing is my choice, and I am doing it because I love it. When other writers become too negative about their writing journey, it poisons my creativity. So, I try to stay positive about why I started writing. It wasn't for book deals. It was because I had to write. It was a calling inside of me, not out there on social media or in a business meeting.

I write because it's my form of art, and my art feeds my soul.

So Remember Why You Started

In the whirlwind of deadlines and deals, query letters, and resumes, take a moment to remind yourself why you began writing in the first place. Was it the thrill of creating new worlds? The joy of exploring complex characters? That character who just needs to be brought to life? Or perhaps the catharsis of pouring your soul onto the page? And becoming vulnerable on the page? Reconnecting with your foundational passion for writing can be the compass that guides you back to your creative center.

Protecting your happiness is important. Remember that old saying, "You are what you eat." That doesn't only mean the food you put into your mouth. If you are listening and absorbing negative comments, emotions, or attitudes from other writers, you will eventually become that, too. Be careful who you spend your writing time around and how they feel about the industry. Inevitably, you will repeat some negative news about writing to the next writer you meet, and it goes on and on and on...



Create Without Constraints

One of the purest ways to maintain your love for the craft is to regularly engage in writing that's just for you. No deadlines, no expectations, and certainly no thoughts of publishing. Write because you love to write. Experiment with new styles, dabble in genres you've never tried and let your imagination run wild. This is your sanctuary, a place where the business side of writing cannot tread.

A great way to do this every day is to set a timer for 5-10 minutes and freehand write. I use paper without lines, so I can just be as messy and artsy as I want with my words. It's for me, only me. It's been a wonderful way to connect to my inner muse.

Connect with Fellow Artisans

In a world that often values product over process (we must change this attitude), connecting with like-minded writers who see writing as an art form can be incredibly affirming. Whether it's through writing groups, forums, or workshops focused on the craft, surrounding yourself with people who share your passion for storytelling can reignite your love for the art and remind you that you're not alone in your journey.

Celebrate Small Victories

In the business of writing, success is often measured by sales figures, awards, and contracts. Yet, the art of writing is filled with countless other victories worth celebrating. Finished a challenging chapter? Developed a complex character? Found the perfect metaphor? Taught a writing class? Have you given a great critique? Learned how to create an exciting setting? Queried your first or 100th agent? Showed up to your computer keyboard? Wrote one beautiful sentence?

Celebrate these moments! They are the heartbeat of your writing journey.

Embrace the Journey, Not Just the Destination

Finally, remember that writing is a journey, not a destination. If you love the journey, the writing will follow. The path of a writer is marked by growth, discovery, and the deep satisfaction of expressing oneself. The publishing industry, with its ups and downs, is just one part of this wild adventure. Keep your focus on the joy of the journey itself, and let that joy fuel your continued passion for the craft.




Remember why you began this journey

In the grand tapestry of writing, the threads of art and business are tightly woven together. It helps to remember that at the heart of every writer is an artist, a storyteller driven by a love for the craft. No matter where you are in your publishing journey, never lose sight of that initial spark of passion that set you on this path. Let it light your way through the business fog and back to the pure joy of writing.


Keep cherishing and protecting

your love for the craft,

and may your words always flow freely.


For more thoughts and ideas on the writer's life and to keep your creative flame burning bright, stay tuned to www.teazurs.blogspot.com.



Write~on,

Angie

 


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Introverted Writer's Guide to an Extroverted Writing World



Exercises for the Introverted Writer

in an Extroverted Writing World






Hello, wonderful writers and creatives of all kinds!

Today, I'm writing about a topic I believe is close to many of our hearts - navigating the extroverted world of writing as an introvert. It's no secret that the writing industry, with its networking events, conferences, and the need for self-promotion, can feel a bit daunting for those of us who recharge in solitude.

But fear not!

Here are three powerful exercises to help you embrace your inner extrovert, while staying true to your introverted self.




1. The Power of Visualization

Before stepping into any social setting, practice the art of visualization. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and imagine the upcoming event in detail. See yourself entering the room with a calm and confident demeanor. Visualize engaging in conversations, sharing your ideas about your latest project, and even laughing with fellow writers and industry professionals. This mental rehearsal primes your brain to handle real-life scenarios more confidently.

Visualization, a technique widely used in psychology, works by harnessing the power of our brain's ability to simulate experiences. When we vividly imagine an event before it happens, we're essentially prepping our brain to experience it, creating neural pathways similar to those created during the actual experience. This mental rehearsal can significantly reduce anxiety and increase confidence, as it familiarizes us with potential scenarios and outcomes.

Even extroverted athletes utilize this strategy to enhance their performance; by visualizing their success, they not only mentally prepare for the physical but also cultivate a positive and more confident mindset. This process of visualization taps into our emotions and our unique way of learning, helping to get our mental state in line with our desired outcomes, which improves our real-world performance in every situation, from athletic events to those dreaded social interactions. Oh, in case you didn't know, my background is psychology - I freaking love this stuff! And it works.

Exercise: Spend 10 minutes each night leading up to the event visualizing positive interactions right before you go off to sleep.

Set aside your phone, find a comfortable space, and let your body unwind. Gently close your eyes, and begin to visualize the upcoming event. Picture yourself well-prepared and brimming with confidence, effortlessly mingling within the crowd. Visualize making eye contact, engaging in conversations with ease, and articulating your project with eloquence and passion.

Acknowledge any nervous energy, and consciously channel it down through your body, grounding yourself firmly to the earth. Imagine yourself moving with a poised grace, breathing deeply and rhythmically. Embrace the realization that you are the architect of this moment.

Dedicate a few minutes each night to this practice, focusing on rich, detailed imagery. The more vivid your visualization, the more empowered and prepared you will feel for the actual event.





2. Script It Out

As introverts, spontaneous small talk isn't always our forte. A great strategy is to prepare a few conversation starters or talking points about your writing. This doesn't mean you script the entire conversation (which is impossible and will come off weird!), but having a few go-to topics can ease anxiety and open doors for genuine connections.

Attending a kidlit writers' conference is an exciting opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for children's literature.

Here are some effective conversation starters that can help you engage with fellow writers, illustrators, and industry professionals: Asking About Their Work: "What age group or genre do you specialize in within children's literature? I’d love to hear more about your work." Discussing Current Projects: "Are you currently working on any projects? I'm always interested in hearing what other kidlit writers are creating." Sharing Favorite Books: "What's your all-time favorite children's book? I'm always looking for new inspiration and would love to hear your recommendations." Inquiring About Their Journey: "How did you get started in children's literature? I find everyone’s path to kidlit fascinating." Talking About Conference Sessions: "Have you attended any interesting sessions or workshops today? I'm curious about what others have found valuable." Discussing Industry Trends: "What trends in children's literature have you been excited about lately?" Sharing Challenges and Solutions: "What's the biggest challenge you've faced as a kidlit writer, and how have you overcome it?" Asking About Illustrations: "If they’re an illustrator: How do you approach illustrating for children's books? I'm always amazed at how illustrations bring stories to life." Networking Opportunities: "Do you know of any good kidlit writing groups or online communities? I'm always looking to connect with more writers and illustrators." Offering Compliments: "I really enjoyed your [article, book, presentation, etc.]. Could you tell me more about how it came together?" These conversation starters are designed to open up a dialogue that is both engaging and relevant to the world of children's literature, allowing for meaningful connections and exchanges of ideas. Remember, most attendees are there for similar reasons as you – to learn, network, and share their passion for kidlit.

Exercise: Write down three topics related to your writing or interests in the literary world. Practice these in front of a mirror, with a friend, or even record yourself to gain confidence in your delivery.



3. Mindful Breathing for Grounding

Introverts often feel overwhelmed in crowded or noisy environments. A quick and effective way to regain your composure is through mindful breathing. This technique helps ground you in the present moment and calms the nervous system.

Exercise: Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly for 8 seconds. Do this for a few minutes each day and whenever you need a quick reset at events.

Feeling overwhelmed can disconnect you from the present moment and your physical self. Here are three more effective methods to help you reconnect with your body and regain a sense of calm:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body, one at a time. Start from your toes and work your way up to your head or vice versa. As you focus on each muscle, breathe in deeply as you tense, hold for a few seconds, and then breathe out as you release the tension. This process not only helps to relieve physical tension but also brings your attention back to your body. Mindful Movement or Gentle Exercise: Engaging in gentle, mindful movement, such as yoga, tai chi, or simply going for a walk, can help ground you in your body. Pay attention to each movement, how your feet touch the ground, how your arms move through the air, and the rhythm of your breath. This connection with your body’s movements can help center your mind and reduce feelings of overwhelm. Sensory Engagement: Use your senses to anchor yourself in the present. This can be done through techniques like holding a piece of ice and focusing on the sensation, taking a warm bath or shower and feeling the water on your skin, or engaging in a taste-focused activity like slowly eating a piece of fruit or a favorite treat.

I use fidget spinners for my anxiety. I keep one in my pocket or on a necklace. When I feel overwhelmed, I click or spin the gadget. It helps me come back to my body, as I tend to leave it when I am stressed. This often causes me to lose parts or whole conversations - never a great thing to have happen at a conference or chatting with an agent.

Pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. This sensory input can be very effective in bringing your awareness back to the here and now. Each of these techniques works by redirecting your focus away from overwhelming thoughts and back to your physical being, helping to calm your mind and reestablish a sense of grounding and presence in your body.




Putting Yourself Out There

Armed with these exercises, you're ready to step into the writing world with newfound confidence. Remember, being an introvert has its own set of superpowers – deep thinking, empathy, and a rich inner world, all of which are invaluable in the creative industry. Embrace these qualities, and use the exercises to help bridge the gap.




A Reminder

Some Great Qualities of Introverts are:

Reflective and Thoughtful: Introverts are often deeply reflective and think things through thoroughly before speaking or acting. This can lead to more well-considered decisions and insights. Good Listeners: Introverts tend to be excellent listeners, which is a valuable skill in all types of relationships. They often process what is being said more deeply and offer thoughtful responses. Deep Concentration: Introverts usually have the ability to focus deeply on tasks for extended periods. This can make them great at handling complex tasks that require sustained attention. Independent: Many introverts are comfortable working independently and do not need constant interaction or approval from others. This independence can be a significant asset in both personal and professional settings. Observant: Introverts often have a keen eye for detail and may notice subtleties that others overlook. Their observational skills can provide valuable insights in various situations. Creative and Innovative: The introspective nature of introverts often fuels creativity and innovation. They can be imaginative thinkers who bring unique perspectives to problems and projects. Empathetic and Understanding: Introverts can be highly empathetic, capable of deep understanding and connection with others' feelings. This empathy can make them great friends, partners, and team members. Calm and Composed: In chaotic or high-pressure situations, introverts often maintain a calm and composed demeanor, which can be reassuring to those around them. Self-Aware: Introverts tend to be introspective, leading to high self-awareness. This self-knowledge can be powerful in personal growth and development. Loyal and Committed: When introverts commit to a relationship, project, or cause, they often do so with deep dedication and loyalty, making them reliable and trustworthy individuals.




Meeting Your Agent, Mingling at Conferences, Connecting with Peers

When it comes to finding an agent or mingling at conferences, the key is to start small. Focus on making just one or two meaningful connections rather than trying to meet everyone. I used to think talking to everyone was what I was supposed to do at conferences. Then I'd go home and not remember anyone.

Quality over quantity is your mantra. And don't forget, many industry professionals appreciate the depth and thoughtfulness that introverts bring to the table.

So, remember that your voice is essential and needed in the literary world. Industry professionals want to connect with you. You are valid and what you have to say is worthy, but you must get over your fears and speak up. With a bit of preparation and self-care, you can navigate this extroverted space while staying true to your introverted core.


Happy Writing and Mingling!



And as always, if you'd like to be interviewed on Writing Teazurs Blog - email me at angeazur @ gmail.com

~write-on

Angie