Titling Your work

Vintage Printing Press

Vintage Printing Press

Over the last week or so I’ve been consumed with thoughts of book titles. I remember a Chapter meeting some time ago where we discussed changing the name of your protagonist or “killing your child.” If you’re a writer reading this, then you should be very familiar with that phrase. I don’t think, however, there is a term or phrase labeling the act of changing the name of your novel. Although, it is the same premise. Recently, I located an off the wall website called Titlescorer. What features are offered at this website? For one, it rates the title of any work by giving the percentage of chances it will publish with that current heading. I’m just mentioning this in passing, I haven’t been sold yet. Personally, I don’t know if I’ll ever be won over. In any event, I placed my first work there, “A Mother’s Prayers,” and got a score of 10.2% – meaning that is the chance of that book being published if I kept it that way. I then added my second work, “The Wrought Iron Bridge,” and got a score of 20.2 – somewhat better. Mind you, I stopped right there, and didn’t bother assessing anything else. I’m not one who’s sold on these type things.

It is pretty commonly known in the industry that a large publishing house will most assuredly change your original choice. But, a small house is more willing to let you hold onto it. I must say, for someone like myself who is aspiring, and have been for some time, that is a fairly scary thing. Meaning, what I already call my manuscripts have become like cement in my brain; changing them now would most assuredly bring on a tantrum. However, I made the firm decision to change that first manuscript, “A Mother’s Prayers.” Reason being – I already knew a movie existed with the same title. I didn’t know this though, until way after I had completed the work, and for so long I had a kind of stubbornness with regard to any alteration. Nevertheless, after some thought, and researching the issue I had a sort of epiphany, which gave me inspiration and the willingness to make changes. Subsequently, I actually became quite excited.

I’ve been thinking about Sidney Sheldon’s The Sky Is Falling and J. D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. There really is no hard and fast rule when it comes to titling your book. Although, through the years I’ve learned it’s fairly common to use something from the language in the manuscript – be it dialogue or otherwise. If you’ve read the two books I noted here, then you’ll know these authors did just that. Personally, I like that process – that is, if you’re certain not to give away any clues on plots or the like. I’ve also realized you should put Google to the test, and then, make notes as to your results. This way, you can remember what you have to work with. Some time ago, when I googled that first manuscript – if I hadn’t entertained a new title, I’d deserve the sentence of working at that day job forever. But, how does one invest hour after hour – putting body and soul in a work, and then, have someone say, maybe callously even, this should be called whatever. On the other side of that coin, however, this is one profession that doesn’t fit with inflexibility.

So, after all of this, I refuse to walk around believing that a website can make a decision on my book publishing based on what I called it. Ten, twenty or ninety percent does not matter whatsoever to me. I’m one who believes you have to go with your instincts, and that holds true for book names, as well as genres and story ideas. I mean, if you’re going to bed and waking up with a specific idea in your head, and you know nothing has been done similar – go for it.  Now, since I like to share, tell me what method you like using when it comes to titling your work.

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

A Sea Of Blogs

One In A Million

We made it – 2012, and the writing continues.  I told myself, I need to crank up the writing this year.  In my mind’s eye I’m envisioning more short stories, the re-writing or cleaning up I should say of another one of my manuscripts, and definitely begin that second children’s chapter book.  Now, notice I said writing – I mentioned nothing about actually getting the work published.  Remember last week’s post? My plans, and God’s plans?  I know I need to submit, submit, submit.  I’m also aware that I have to continue throwing up words on the page.  But, as for that actual contract….well, you already should have that figured out.

Right now, I’d like to talk about blogging.  In early 2011, a friend hipped me to this Word Press site.  Let me just sneak in here – I paid $95.00 to another Web Hoster to run a website, and like those commercials – the person I contracted to help me build it, never, ever showed up.  Okay, he came once, but I had to wind up firing him.  Each week I got another excuse.  So, when he finally made it the one time, the only news he had for me involved my need of a new computer.  I purchased a new system, and months later he still had not returned to build my site, putting me on the map.  See, this is exactly what I mean about timing.  In the meantime, the clock continued to tick, and before I knew it 2010 whipped by like cars on a freeway.  Before I realized it, we had slipped into the beginning of 2011, which is when my friend told me of this site.  Because, I had a new computer, WOW!  I surprised even me, in how I could actually set everything up on my own.  Who needs computer geeks?

So now, here I am nine months out, and not at all ungrateful, but all I can think of is, how does a person get themselves known in a sea of blogs.  I mean there is another commercial about detergent for dishwashers.  It features a blogger; some kind of food critic or something along those lines person.  What I’m getting at is, try going to Google, Bing or Yahoo on any, any subject – along with all the other information that comes up, there is also a host of blog material on that same topic.  Now, we know about the “slush pile” in the publisher’s office, but mercy me, does the entire world want to write a book, and have a website?  Remember the song “New York, New York? If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere?” But, please – can being the best you can put you to the front of that line?  Has anyone even seen the front of the line? Please, can you give me directions to the front of the line? Whoo, it’s a mind-blowing concept, which makes me recall something else I read quite some time ago.  If you want to write, make sure you marry someone rich to make certain you don’t go hungry.  In any event, I realize that a published author should run a site to keep their readers up to date.  I guess what I’m saying is, after nine months, I have seriously become a little weary of this way too crowded pool.

In an effort to stop my head from spinning, I tell myself, this is all a part of the journey. I am well aware of that tidbit of information.  So, like the little yellow man in my picture, will I have to devise a gimmick to get me to the head of this congested environment, like maybe turning green or do I patiently wait on…oh, who knows what?  At the least, I figure I’ll have to wait the year, at which point I will have gotten my $95.00 worth, and God will say, “Okay, everyone out of the pool.  It’s Veronica’s turn.”  If that’s the case, then look toward April 30th with me. I’ll mark my calendar, and you mark yours as well.  But, hey, I just had a thought about the nine month thing.  It takes that long to give birth, yes?  In that case, I should be ready, right now, to deliver some gigantic happening to assist in my moving ahead of this throng. Hey, is it not MY dream?

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

Children’s Books-No Picnic

Why would anyone want to write a children’s book when it’s the most difficult category in which to obtain a publishing, anything. Believe me, I know this first hand. But, what is moving deep within a person that pushes them on, regardless of the odds? Now, we’ve established that it’s difficult to stir a publisher’s curiosity. But, with a driving force the story lines continue to bubble, because of the love for this particular type. The affection for it makes developing the tale so easy to create. However, through it all, I’m left wondering what fashions the desire, since this genre is so opposite to any other. Maybe it’s a combination of a host of reasons beginning with the writer being a child in his/her own right; young at heart, so to speak. Or just that the end result will be a happy fable, all wrapped up with the fact the author loves children.

I think back to my childhood – I read everyday, every week. I would make my way to the school library once every three or four days, and load my arms with as many books as my little skinny arms could carry. Then, instead of socializing, I’d immediately crack one of those covers, and allow the author’s blood and tears to take me to the land created between those hard covers. I recall on many occasions even having difficulty lifting my head to walk. Could those writers have influenced me to want to develop my space in time – leaving me with a desire to recreate a loved childhood, lost to the years?

Maybe the writer enjoys recalling the time playing outside? As for me I never wanted to go in the house. I always wanted daylight, which meant I could stay out forever. Perhaps a special childhood friendship is the motive, and recreating that alliance on paper will hold those memories close to the heart. Because we know we grow up so fast, and when you reach a certain age, one realizes how fast the years have gone by – didn’t I have my twelfth birthday two years ago? Therefore, why not preserve those precious moments. Watching youngsters play; listening to their heartfelt laughter, and understanding how simple life is then – the way they roll around in the grass, jump rope or play hopscotch without being ridiculed. Does the writer still have these desires, admitting to themselves it really did end too soon, and they weren’t done being a child?

As for me I undoubtedly needed more time. I loved laying in the grass, climbing trees, and riding my bike. Which again states, for me, it may be about reconstructing a bygone era; a time when no worries abound, and summer spelled staying outside until the lightning bugs appeared. Then, chasing and catching them until a parent’s voice summoned. After all of this, I’m still wondering, and asking what drove the greats, George Washington Carver, C.S. Lewis, and Beatrix Potter – how can I possibly hope to be such a writer? Did they also have a longing to return to their childhood? What makes one want to contribute to the young mind? Is it an attempt to be part of a child’s development; bestowing the same morals as were instilled in us by our parents or a combination of the two? Too many questions, too few answers. All I know is that writing children’s books is so close to my heart, and extremely fulfilling. I pass these questions on like handing off the Olympic torch – if you have a love of writing children’s books, take a minute – tell me why, and maybe your answers will resolve some of my nagging questions.

Photos courtesy of iStockPhoto

A New Millennium

It took me the longest time to warm up to the social networking craze. Who remembers the old days when most of an author’s promotions, were done by their publisher?  I don’t know when all this happened, it took place so rapidly, but being more active in self-promotion is key to staying in the game these days. Along with self-publishing that has sprung forth, a person’s participation in advertising is crucial.  Then, out of nowhere entered Facebook and Twitter. I recall watching hosts of television shows, and listening to radio announcers close with: Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  I also recall talking to myself about all the meetings and workshops I know I missed on the subjects. But, my response to all of it remained the same, “Well, I’m not gonna.” My uppermost desire two years ago simply involved acquiring a website. I wanted that more than anything else.

Then, suddenly, that door opened and I became catapulted, literally into cyberspace. At that time I still held true to my first instincts. I did not want private/personal information floating around the Internet. But, everywhere I turned, even though I heard my own complaints echoed from others, a force continued to pull me in.  So, here I am, two years down the road with a website, a Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Fan Page account.  At the time I had no idea the kicking and screaming worked as a harness, so to speak-holding me back from all that I could be, as well as, limiting the exposure of my name to my immediate circle of family and friends.  If one desires a career in writing, a ton of  directions are already out there. The person hoping for this must jump on the road, and follow the signs – they are clearly posted. Now, some may ask what is it that I’m promoting on a Fan Page, since I am not yet published. I look at it this way, if I’m not out there, no one will ever know who I am. If I want a career in writing, I’ve got to hustle. Besides, when that “call” does come, I’ll already have been frolicking in the pool, which means my daily routine shouldn’t be upset that drastically. In addition, the cheering section will already be in place, don’t you think?

If someone wants to do this, it will take some time. I remember doing a little each day; adding one feature, and then another.  When I got that down, I moved on. This way, you don’t become overwhelmed, because it does engulf every aspect of your thoughts. Let me preface what I’m about to say with, I am not patting myself on the back at all – my computer skills are strictly limited to word processing, and that is all.  But, I have surprised even me. I set up my website, Twitter, and Facebook account, all on my own. My Fan Page, however, did require some assistance.  But then, the other day, I surprised myself again by adding a  Fan Page “Like” button to my website. What I’m getting at is, if I can do this anyone can. Then, the other day, a sister writer sent a tweet about how she liked Twitter much more than Facebook. I said to myself – “self…I’ve been saying that since the beginning.”  I responded to her tweet, “Does that mean you’re less social if you like Twitter better?” Her answer, “No, you’re more social.” I must say, all of this has taken me, by complete surprise.

To sum up all I’ve been saying is, we have come, somehow into another new millennium, and if you “wanna be” anything, but are not yet involved in any of this social networking, then you’re standing on the outside peering through the window, watching the smoke. Don’t you think you should get on board, and strap in – otherwise you may get left behind choking and gagging on the space dust.

Children’s Books-No Picnic

Why would anyone want to write a children’s book when it’s the most difficult category in which to obtain a publishing, anything. Believe me, I know this first hand. But, what is moving deep within a person that pushes them on, regardless of the odds? Now, we’ve established that it’s difficult to stir a publisher’s curiosity. But, with a driving force the story lines continue to bubble, because of the love for this particular type. The affection for it makes developing the tale so easy to create. However, through it all, I’m left wondering what fashions the desire, since this genre is so opposite to any other. Maybe it’s a combination of a host of reasons beginning with the writer being a child in his/her own right; young at heart, so to speak. Or just that the end result will be a happy fable, all wrapped up with the fact the author loves children.

I think back to my childhood – I read everyday, every week. I would make my way to the school library once every three or four days, and load my arms with as many books as my little skinny arms could carry. Then, instead of socializing, I’d immediately crack one of those covers, and allow the author’s blood and tears to take me to the land created between those hard covers. I recall on many occasions even having difficulty lifting my head to walk. Could those writers have influenced me to want to develop my space in time – leaving me with a desire to recreate a loved childhood, lost to the years?

Maybe the writer enjoys recalling the time playing outside? As for me I never wanted to go in the house. I always wanted daylight, which meant I could stay out forever. Perhaps a special childhood friendship is the motive, and recreating that alliance on paper will hold those memories close to the heart. Because we know we grow up so fast, and when you reach a certain age, one realizes how fast the years have gone by – didn’t I have my twelfth birthday two years ago? Therefore, why not preserve those precious moments. Watching youngsters play; listening to their heartfelt laughter, and understanding how simple life is then – the way they roll around in the grass, jump rope or play hopscotch without being ridiculed. Does the writer still have these desires, admitting to themselves it really did end too soon, and they weren’t done being a child?

As for me I undoubtedly needed more time. I loved laying in the grass, climbing trees, and riding my bike. Which again states, for me, it may be about reconstructing a bygone era; a time when no worries abound, and summer spelled staying outside until the lightning bugs appeared. Then, chasing and catching them until a parent’s voice summoned. After all of this, I’m still wondering, and asking what drove the greats, George Washington Carver, C.S. Lewis, and Beatrix Potter – how can I possibly hope to be such a writer? Did they also have a longing to return to their childhood? What makes one want to contribute to the young mind? Is it an attempt to be part of a child’s development; bestowing the same morals as were instilled in us by our parents or a combination of the two? Too many questions, too few answers. All I know is that writing children’s books is so close to my heart, and extremely fulfilling. I pass these questions on like handing off the Olympic torch – if you have a love of writing children’s books, take a minute – tell me why, and maybe your answers will resolve some of my nagging questions.

Photos courtesy of iStockPhoto

Here A Blog, There A Blog, Everywhere A Blog Blog

In today’s post I decided to go Trade for a change, instead of…….uh…….well, the dart in the dart board thing.  Therefore, anyone reading this who is not in the “business,” may want to look away.  I am continuing my effort to try to find my niche in this blog community, and in doing so, have given myself headaches coming up with topics to write about that would interest anyone.  I must admit, since the loss of my mother, I’ve had a really hard time putting words to paper.  Although, I must say after that first post, the sentences have been gushing out of me like water over Victoria Falls.  And, it’s a good thing, because I had a fear my desire to write would soon prove as extinct as the Milkman.  Staying on topic, it has been difficult to drive, go to work, or even lay down; I have to do it all with pen and paper.

But, am I writing things worth reading?  Someone said to me, “I really didn’t know how to respond to your post because it wasn’t something that interested me.”  Okay, I’m a big girl, I can take criticism, but “Wow!!!”  Word Press, in their “Getting Started” section, takes one through a process to help find their place, if you will.  I’ve done that exercise, and all I come up with is writing.

Out here in Cyberspace there are blogs on fashion, music, and technique of every kind.  I’ve heard someone else say, write about your field of expertise – uh, um…..for me that would be cooking or travel – excuse me, done and done.  All right, now my head is spinning.  As a sister writer, Pamela Kinney says, she has epiphanies.  Okay, so I had one – invite some of those writers to explain how they choose topics to discuss and how often.  Keep in mind, these are women who are multi-published, with families and full schedules.  They also carve out time to write and polish their manuscripts, which by the way, is another topic down the cyberstreet and around the bend on another blog.  So, let’s see if I’m on the right track.

Irene Peterson

I’ve kept a journal since I was 15.  It is as natural to me to write as it is for me to breathe.  Whenever anything bothered me or excited me or disappointed me or intrigued me, I’d write about it.  That need to write has never left me.  So I write about anything and everything.  I also use the blog to create stories and document my everyday life.  Other people have set reasons for their blogs…I use mine strictly for myself.  It got me through chemotherapy, heartache, baldness and family problems.  It is my refuge.

Caridad Pineiro

I started blogging about five years ago, because I wanted people to learn more about me, and I wanted to meet new people.  To do that, I started blogging every day, writing short segments on whatever interested me that day; if I had seen a movie, I would write about that, a television show or a book I happened to be working on at the time.  Little by little people started visiting and as they did so, I realized that I needed to be more scheduled.  Based on what my visitors liked most, I developed theme days like Guilty Pleasures Monday with sexy guys or Wicked Wednesdays with even sexier excerpts.  I still blog every weekday and now mix in guest bloggers so my visitors meet new authors.

Beth Trissel

I’m rather eclectic and feature most anything that strikes my fancy—the reason I entitled my blog One Writer’s Way–but I do have a general theme that most of my posts fit into: “Historical and Light Paranormal Romance. Gardening with a focus on herbs, heirloom plants, and country life.”   To this I’ve added posts on great literature, including Winnie the Pooh & Eeyore, films, music, old Southern recipes, but that fits into country life.  I’m mad about great quotes and have done posts simply with witty or inspiring quotes and photographs.  When I first began my blog I didn’t have a clue, but have learned a lot about how to navigate blogger and Word Press.  I prefer the latter site, btw.  Traffic in those first months was slim but I average 200-350+ hits a day now so my readership is growing.

Pamela K. Kinney

I try to get a new post up every day or two, but some weeks the best I can manage is a new one every couple of days.  As I rarely have guests, I do most of them myself.   I enjoy my blog, though.  It’s my own little niche in cyber space and I love decorating it with lovely photographs taken by my talented family, or royalty free images I’ve purchase from istock (a great site) or found somewhere.  Another one of my favorite things to do is illustrate excerpts of my stories.  That can be quite a challenge to find images of people and places for historical settings, but when I’m finished they’re works of art. 

But when you’re a published author with other places to promote and a real life outside of the writing world, it is hard to think of something to write every day. So I have set aside Wednesdays and Fridays as theme days on both blogs.

Wednesdays and Fridays at http://PamelaKKinney.blogspot.com is Weird Wednesday and Supernatural Friday.  Weird Wednesday will have photos of something strange.  Friday is a different subject on anything connected to the supernatural—whether on werewolves, paranormal investigating, another author’s guest blog or interview, a review of a book with the supernatural in it, or many other assorted things concerning this realm. http://SapphirePhelansPassionCorner.blogspot.com has Hot Hunk Wednesday (with photos of hot hunks naturally!) and Romancing on Friday—anything to do with romance by me or a guest blogger.

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So, I think my question has been answered.  It appears I may be on the right track after all.  I just need to keep plugging along.  I think what I’ve been getting at is – does the writer need to blog on syntax or the travel agent on the best airline versus the great guy she met while walking along the shore? Regardless of that little voice shouting in my brain, I’ll continue to ignore it, and write what’s in my heart until my readers demand otherwise.  I’d also like to send a BIG thank you to all my guests today for their time, expertise, and insight.

Blogosphere & Traffic sign photos courtesy of iStockPhoto