Professionalism in Writing

Professional writers are those who are paid for their work. An amateur is someone who writes but doesn’t get paid for it. Hobbyists spend some spare time doing what they enjoy. In this case, we’re talking about writing. Most writers don’t make enough money on their book sales to do nothing but write. However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t write professionally.

What does it take to operate at a professional level? First, learn as much as you can about the writing craft. Second, treat your writing as a profession. Third, use a good editor and take the time to draft and re-draft your manuscripts.

The most difficult part of writing professionally is the tedious process of polishing your writing before publication. It’s not my favorite part of the process. I’ve realized that it’s okay not to like the last little detail polishing but it isn’t okay not to do it. This is one of the main things that separates the professional and the amateur.

What to Write About

We’re nearing the end of September and Fall is definitely in the air. If you’re planning on taking part in National Novel Writing Month in November then you may need to make a decision about just what subject you plan on writing about.

As you all know, I’m a history buff and love historical novels – writing as well as reading them. One answer to the question “What should I write about?” is to look for historical anniversaries. We are currently at the beginning of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial. We are also approaching the Centennial of World War I.

April of 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

May 2012 is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

These can get you started.

Fall Writer Conferences

5 AUTUMN CONFERENCES

WritersMarket.com lists hundreds of writing conferences for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for children, journalism, and more. Here are five coming up in autumn:

 

Austin Film Festival & Conference will be happening in Austin, Texas, October 20-27. The conference portion of it will last October 20-23.

 

The James River Writers Conference will be taking place in Richmond, Virginia, from October 6-8 at the Library of Virginia.

 

From October 21-23, the South Carolina Writers Workshop will be hosted at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort.

 

On November 12, Towson University will host the Baltimore Writers’ Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Steve Almond is slated as the keynote speaker.

 

Flathead River Writers Conference takes place October 1-2 at Flathead Valley Community College in Montana.

Book Discussion Guides

I’ve noticed that there are more books available in the last couple of years that include a discussion guide at the back of the book. If you’ve published fiction or nonfiction and don’t have a list of questions at the back, then you haven’t missed the boat.

I suggest that you develop a group of discussion questions that are available to readers. Book clubs or discussion groups can have access to the guides and download them for free. Post the documents on your website, put a link on your blog, or make them available on Goodreads.

Did you know that you can have an author page on Goodreads? It’s a great place to let readers know about your books and Discussion Guides.

Let people in your network know that the guides are available. Tweet about them. Talk about them on Facebook and in your online groups.

Examples can be found at Discussion Guides. These are my own new guides. Give it a try. You’re giving added value to your readers and making your books more appealing to Book Clubs and Discussion groups.

10 Favorite Christian Authors

As you all know, I love to read. The following list of authors give their readers great stories and characters that you’ll never forget. If you haven’t read any of their books or maybe haven’t read one of their books in a long time. I recommend that you give their new books a read. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

1. Beverly Lewis

2. Francine Rivers

3. Terri Blackstock

4. Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

5. Angela Hunt

6. Bodie and Brock Thoene

7. Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

8. Karen Kingsbury

9. Jerry B. Jenkins

10. Randy Alcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a Note

I know that the posts have been a little sporadic and unpredictable over the past couple of weeks. I apologize and am back on schedule for this new week for the regular Tues – Thurs – Saturday posts. Family challenges and the loss of a dear friend have had their impact on things.

I hope all is going well and each of you are writing. I hope you’ll participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. Go to NaNoWriMo

September Writing Classes

The location for the Memoir class in September has been changed from the East Branch Library to the Amarillo YMCA South at 4101 S. Hillside, Amarillo, TX. Call ahead and reserve a spot 367-8047. We meet every Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:00pm. Each month has a different subject.

Hope to see some of you there.

Also, don’t forget the Write In Retreat on September 23 – 24th. See coming events for details. If you can’t come Friday afternoon come for Saturday at the lower rate. Both days – $75 which includes snacks, handouts, a yoga class, lunch on Saturday, and personal writing time when you can ask specific questions about your manuscript.