Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Case For Slow Writing

Those of us with Italian backgrounds will know that you don’t make an authentic pasta sauce in an hour. It should be cooked slowly, the ingredients added one by one, at the right time.

First the meats must be browned, next the onions, the herbs, spices and tomatoes incorporated. Then the mixture must simmer for two, three, four hours until it is a thick, mouthwatering sugo, the succulent meat falling off the bones….

It’s good to cook slowly.

But this is a writing blog, right? Yes.

And it’s okay to write slowly too, blending words, sentences and paragraphs together, adding them to just the right part, in the proper sequence.

Time spent writing can often look like this:

You write a few lines, the thoughts are flowing. You’re in the zone. Then life rips you out after what seems like a mere five minutes. You go back to the computer, type another line or two, only to be summoned by the real world again.

If this describes you, don’t worry — the story still brews while you attend to reality, the words sub-consciously simmering as you do what you need to.

There are only two situations when you really must write fast:

1. When you have a contract or a time limit. Writers quickly learn to write with speed when they have a pressing deadline. Students know the perils of handing in late assignments.

2. When you write for a living. If writing is the only way you earn money, then your income is tied to your output.

The rest of us are free to savour our writing if that’s what we want to do. Incidentally, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King are two of many authors who wrote novels at a snail’s pace. And there are lots of valid reasons why writing might take a long time.

Maybe you:

·         have a life.

·         are just starting.

·         don’t need the money.

·         are a meticulous researcher.

·         like looking for exactly the right words.

·         need time to gather your thoughts and assemble the most salient.

Or maybe you write simply because, fast or slow, it’s good for your soul. Amen.

Whether you take a day or three to write a brief article, a month or four to produce a short story, a year or more to draft a novel, I’m here to say, it’s okay to take your time. While ever you are making progress and you haven’t given up, if writing makes you happy, there’s no reason to feel guilty about doing it slowly.

Savour each word, each sentence, each paragraph.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Endorsements, sometimes called "Blurbs," are wonderful and often witty comments about your book provided by respected authors, journalists, entertainers, and industry experts connected to your topic. They're also one of the strongest sales tools an author has in their book sales toolbox. These short quotes should be gathered both before and after your book is published. Once you've gathered your endorsements what do you do with them? Here's a list of ten ways to get the most out of your well earned endorsements:

1. Book Cover. Readers respect the opinion of others, especially respected authors and industry experts. Endorsements gathered before production should be included on your book cover. In addition to placing your blurbs on the back cover, a great, short endorsement on the front will increase your sales.

2. Inside Your Book. Place pre-publication endorsements on a page or two just inside the front cover of your book. If you don't have pre-publication blurbs, consider adding your blurbs on your next printing.

3. "What Others Are Saying" Page. Collect your best endorsements and reviews on a single page and include it in your media kit. Positive endorsements will increase your press coverage.

4. Promotional Materials. When creating postcards, bookmarks, flyers, brochures and other give-a-way items, include an endorsement. They send the message, "Don't take my word for it, this is what others think of my book."

5. Tip Sheets: Create a tip sheet to include in your media kit and as a handout. Tip sheets, sometimes called a "One Page," include four basic elements: About the Book, About the Author, Book Statistics, and Order Information. A callout box or sidebar with a blurb about your book is an excellent addition.

6. Website. Include call out boxes or sidebars on your website that contain your endorsement quotes. Boxes add interest to your website. Your site visitors will view them as testimonials from others adding a level of trust.

7. Email Signature. Endorsements included with a link to your website draw interest and attention to your email signature.

8. Advertisements. Include a quality endorsement quote or two in all your print and online advertisements.

9. Query Letters. Include an endorsement or two in query letters when selling editors on stories connected to your book.

10. Press Releases. Use endorsements as quotes in your press releases. This will add interest and value to your book related news items. Additionally, a great endorsement from a recognized name is press release worthy on its own.