Friday, August 30, 2013

Paying it Forward in Your Writing Career

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even someone who edits for a living can use a second set of eyes.

No doubt most of you are familiar with the concept of “Paying it Forward.” In Catholic terms, it could be considered just good old-fashioned generosity. We are kind to others and try to help others, whether or not we receive any repayment for it. We trust that God will treat us with the same generosity we show towards others.

How, then, can we pay it forward in our writing careers? In the July/August 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, thriller and young adult author Jordan Dane shares how she keeps a framed sticky note on her desk. It has one word on it: “Fantastic.”  It was written by bestselling author Sharon Sala who encouraged Dane and helped find her an agent. This is a beautiful example of paying it forward. Dane writes, “When I asked how I could repay her kindness, she said, ‘Do the same for someone else.’”

Not all of us are bestselling authors with the power of connecting a fledgling writer to an agent, but we all have the power to offer encouragement and support to our fellow writers. We can help other writers in a variety of ways.

Here are five ways to Pay it Forward:

1)      Write a (Kind) Review – I’ve written a lot of reviews in my life and I can usually find something kind to say about a book.  I’m not saying you should give it five stars if it doesn’t deserve it, but have an open mind and a kind pen. As writers, we can appreciate the hard work that goes into writing a book. Treat others’ works the way you want your latest book to be treated. If you truly cannot say something kind, sometimes the best thing to do is not review it. (This is usually the tactic I take). There are plenty of good books out there to promote. There is no reason to tear someone down.

2)      Buy a book – We all appreciate when someone buys our books. Especially now, with Kindle versions, it is often possible to spend 99 cents and support an author. Whether you intend to read the book or not, the price of a cup of coffee or a candy bar can go a long way in helping another author.

3)      Be a beta reader. This is where those criticism tools can really come in handy. If someone asks you to read and comment on her work in progress, it is a great honor. Yes, it is time consuming, but we can all use the honest feedback at the point in the story-writing process when one can actually make changes.

4)      Use Social Media to help promote other writings – I don’t know about you, but I hate shameless self-promotion. I find promoting other efforts much easier to do. So, go ahead and share about that great book you just read or about another author’s media interview or article.

5)      Connect writers with those who can help them. As I stated at the beginning, we don’t all have the power to introduce someone to an agent, but we can make the connections we do have. As our own careers progress, those connections become greater.

Living generously is good for the soul and for one’s career. Pay it forward in your writing career and you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Literary Wedding Dress

Looking for a different sort of wedding dress? How about one made of book pages? That's what designer Jennifer Pritchard Couchman did with this dress. Read more about it at The Dress Made of Books.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review of "The Rose Ring" by Reader's Favorite

I submitted "The Rose Ring" to Reader's Favorite a while ago for review. They offer quick turnaround on reviews if you pay for them, but I chose to utilize the free service. I had used it with "Through the Open Window" and was pleased with the service, and I was just as pleased this time around. As a writer it is wonderful to know that someone has read and appreciated something one has written. And seeing that I designed the cover as well, I was gratified that she found it attractive. Truly, this review made my day.

Reviewer Brenda Casto had this to say.

The Rose Ring by Anne Faye is certainly a book with a pretty cover, but the story that unfolds is emotionally charged, keeping me riveted until the end. Julia Manning has carried the hurt of being left at the altar ten years ago by her then fiancee Zach Richards. To get through her days she works as an assistant manager at a bookstore and also volunteers to read at a local nursing home. Julia's mother pushes her to find a man and settle down and even fixes her up with Steve, a man who had a crush on Julia years ago. As the relationship between Julia and Steve starts to develop, Zach comes back into the picture, and Julia realizes she still has feelings for him. Meanwhile Elizabeth Phelps, a dementia patient at the nursing home sees Julia wearing a rose ring that she is convinced was her engagement ring given to her by the love of her life Joseph Wynn. As Julia befriends Elizabeth she can't help but wonder about the story of Joseph, and whether the ring might in fact be Elizabeth's and if so why she and Joseph never married. As Julia solves the mystery of Elizabeth and Joseph's story she will also figure out what path she should take for her future.

Anne Faye writes a contemporary story, that also has a firm foot in the past. While I enjoyed Julia's story it was the story of Elizabeth and Joe that was so emotionally charged I couldn't put it down. Journal entries and the letters that Joe wrote to Elizabeth transported me back to the mid-forties. The longing and hope that Elizabeth had as she gets each letter from Joe,and the excruciating news that she finally got took my breath away. Then the author provides a twist that totally blindsided me, but also allowed me to understand the need that Elizabeth had for granting forgiveness!

I honestly felt the emotions flow off the pages. The author does a wonderful job of transitioning between the past and present, providing two stories that ultimately tie together in the end providing a few life lessons along the way! The Rose Ring was far from predictable, providing a very satisfying story. I became so consumed by it I actually read it in one sitting. A heart touching story with characters that I won't forget!