Friday, March 16, 2012

Teen Writing Tips: 7 Things You Can Do This Spring Break to Hone Your Craft

Teen Writing Tips: 7 Things You Can Do This Spring Break to Hone Your Craft

Whenever students asked me why I became a journalist, I told them that I always wanted to be a writer ever since I was in high school. I loved to read (I’m a mystery buff so I bought Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie books), and I enjoyed it so much that I knew even way back then that I wanted to tell my stories to the world.
Having the dream, however, is just the first step to reach my goal. The next few steps involves working every day to attain that dream. I spent hundreds of hours writing in my journal and working in campus newspapers so that I can tell my stories and get them published so that other people can read them.

I know that you have this dream too. The spring break is the ideal time for you to take that first baby step to become a novelist or a magazine editor in the future. After all, you have a choice now to spend your time with your writing and not having to deal with term papers and examinations.
Here are seven things that you can do this spring break to improve your writing:

1. Join a teen writing camp – the only way for you to know if the poem or essay that you keep hidden in one of your files in your computer is of any good is to let someone else read it. When you sign up for the writing camp, you’ll get the opportunity to have your work reviewed by peers and mentors (writing teachers and professional writers). You’ll also get the chance to explore other ideas, develop your own portfolio and get some tips on how to submit your stories to teen magazines.
2. Enroll in an online writing course – this is an alternative to writing camp and ideal for those who might be traveling but still want to brush up on their writing. These online courses run for about six weeks and like writing camps, you’ll also get your writing pieces reviewed by your peers and a teacher – but this time via the Internet. Enrolling in an online writing course is also more convenient as it gives you the time and space to learn at your own pace.

3. Get yourself a writing coach – another option is to get yourself your own online writing tutor. This is someone who can coach you one-on-one and give you a more detailed critique of your work. Having your own writing tutor also means that you have a mentor all year-round.
4. Brush up on your grammar and spelling – you might be the most imaginative writer, you might have a lot of ideas, but if you can’t even construct a sentence without proper subject-verb agreement then there’s no way that you can produce a story that people will want to read.

5. Read more – I can’t stress this enough. If you want to become a writer then you have to read a lot. How can you develop your ability to tell a story if you have no clue at all about plot, character or dialogue.
This time, however, you can chuck out everything in your required reading list and just read what you enjoy reading – sci-fi, paranormal romance, chick lit. From there, take the time to read more deeply. These are some questions that you might want to answer to figure out for yourself what’s the story is all about enabling you to learn how to construct the story:

a. What is the problem that needs to be solved in this story?
b. Who are the main characters and how does the author describe them? How do they speak, act, think?

c. How did the main characters solve the problem?
6. Hang out with your favorite authors online – most of your favorite authors are now blogging to connect to their net savvy readers. They also give updates on Twitter and have a Facebook fan page with tons of followers.

Go read their blogs, leave comments, ask questions on how they write – most authors are willing to help aspiring writers. After all, the only way for anyone to grow as a writer is to share what they know.
7. Set up your own blog – and have the discipline to maintain it by blogging at least once a week. Writing is a craft and to improve your craft, you need to practice.

The good thing about blogging is you can get to write whatever you want, while at the same time give you a chance to share what you write to your readers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

7 Book Title Templates That Grab Your Book Readers By the Collar by Earma Brown

Is your book title the best it can be? Could it use some work to do its job effectively? Don't let your book get lost in the sea of information streaming into your reader's consciousness each day. Instead, write a sizzling title designed to hook your potential readers and draw them in for the read.

One of the most important skills to develop as a marketer of your book is the skill of creating attention-grabbing titles. When you master this skill you may use it in every aspect of your writing to attract more readers, more sales, improve your cash flow and increase your profits.

You will need title writing skill for your book titles, chapter titles, sub-heading. Even bullet points will have pulling power if they are developed correctly. Don't forget your website. Your website will need passionate headings to capture the attention of your web visitors.

In fact, all marketing material from your 5 page sales letter, tri-fold brochure or email campaign to the 2 line classified ad needs the attention grabbing power of a great headline.

Titles set the stage for your potential audience. They either work to grab your potential reader by the collar and pull them in for the read or they don't. Top titles create excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm for more. You want your titles to express the heart and passion of your message. Here are 7 top title templates to help create your grab-you-by-the-collar titles:

1. Command your book readers through your book title.

"Get Clients Now!"

Most will say they don't like being told what to do. But our human psyche seems to respond in spite of what we like. The command has an immediate effect. Why? It connects with the "Yes, I want that" spot within us all. Commands reassure you that helpful advice will follow to help you get what you want from the advice. It tells the readers it's possible to achieve the benefit the author is claiming.

2. Include a How to in your book title.

"How to Make Your Article Marketing Go the Extra Mile"

People love magic pills, miracle solutions or just plain old EASY. They love to learn with simple steps, easy ways and most of all fast. Combine it with a powerful benefit and you will reel your reader in every time. You decide. Does the title above, "How to Make Your Article Marketing Go the Extra Mile" or "8 Ways to Format Your Article"

3. Write a book title using a provocative statement.

"7 Book Writing Mistakes that Stamp Loser On Your Self Published Book"
Are you saying I could be making mistakes that stamp loser on my self published book? You would want to know especially, if you've been working hard to self publish in excellence. Provocative statements pull at our attention like an electric shock. They make us curious. They sometimes make us mad. They make us feel a lot of different things but most of all they make us read.

4. Ask a question in your book title.

"Are You Getting Enough Sex In Your Marriage?

Most times people unconsciously answer the question you pose in their minds. The key is to provide the answers in your copy including statistics. For example, "Have you felt afraid to buy online? Like it or not, many are still cautious of buying on the web. A Boston Consulting Group Consumer Survey found that 70% of respondents worry about making purchases online."

5. Make a big promise in your book title.

"How to Increase Sales 400% by Using Article Marketing"

People will turn away from hype and never come back. But if you have a big gun promise, don't be afraid to pull it out and use it. Consider carefully and use sparingly; then make your big promise and deliver. People will remember your promises and come back for more or purchase. Don't forget to include the specific delivery or 'how to' in the content inside your big promise titled book.

6. Perplex your readers with a confusing book title.

"Eat the Book Writing Elephant One Bite at a Time"

Develop curiosity into your title. A seemingly opposite simile works like a charm. Use this one cautiously. Even so, sometimes the title that doesn't make a lot of sense will pull your audience in for the read. Would the title above arouse your curiosity? The confusing title can capture the attention of your audience just to see what it's about.

7. Offer your top benefit in the book's title.

"Think and Grow Rich"

A winning non-fiction title immediately communicates the benefit readers will gain after reading your book. Benefit-oriented books often use the problem-solution approach. Master (A) this skill or technique and get (B) this benefit. Readers buy non-fiction books for a "benefit" for something that will help them, grow them, profit more, less expense, less trouble, gain more time, less stress, better relationships, better health, less drama, less trauma, more energy and vitality and less fatigue.

Develop the above valuable skill and you add magnetic pulling power and punch to all your marketing documents including your front book cover and chapter titles that will get your message read. Book titles set the stage for your potential audience. They either grab your potential reader by the collar or they don't. Write a book title that gets your reader's attention and make them want to read your important message. Title well and prosper!

Earma Brown, 12 year author and business owner helps small business owners and writers who want to write their best book now! Earma mentors other writers and business professionals through her monthly ezine "iScribe." Send any email to for free mini-course "Jumpstart Writing Your Book" or visit her at