The Hybrid Author: A Guide to Publishing 99¢ #Kindle sale

Saturday and Sunday, January 16 – 17, The Hybrid Author: A Guide to Publishing, 2nd Edition is on sale for $.99 on Kindle as part of a countdown sale that ends January 22nd, 2016.

This new guide to the evolving publishing industry is written with candor, insight and Ms. Sagan’s personal experience as a seasoned hybrid author.alternate Hybrid cover (3)

In this second edition Mrs. Sagan answers every request from readers of the first edition. You’ll immediately find:

  • Active resource links for all your writing needs
  • Discoverability tips to reach current and evolving markets
  • Advice for the Author/Entrepreneur that you can put to work today

G is for Galilee

Sea of GalileeWriting books about first-century Palestine begins with knowing the setting. When you look at a contemporary or ancient map you’ll find the Sea of Galilee about 100 miles north of Jerusalem. Galilee was a northern region of Palestine under Roman rule at the time of Christ. The town of Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary were from and where Jesus grew up after their return from Egypt, is located in this region. Capernaum, the town where Peter, Andrew, James, and John lived and fished, is on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.

When I wrote the first draft of The Fisherman’s Wife, a story about Peter’s wife, I envisioned a scene in which the men pulled their heavy fishing boat onto the sand. However, when I did further research and looked at pictures of the actual shoreline on the Sea of Galilee at Capernaum I realized that it is rocky, not sandy. I had to rewrite the scene.

I also found that since Galilee had no natural harbors there were many manmade harbors built around the shore. Then I found an archaeological photograph of a wide, rock breakwater that had been built out into what would have been the water at the time to provide shelter for the fishing boats from storms.

Present day Nazareth has a first-century village for visiting tourists and a website that provides pictures of ancient daily life as acted out there. I also studied the layout of ancient Capernaum from archeological information. Combined with my other daily life research, it gave me a much clearer picture of the setting for my stories.

Since I can’t literally go back in time to visit and see for myself the places I write about, the research helps me tell a story that can take me there and take my readers there.

Reasons to Write

I often hear people say, “I really want to be a writer, but I have such a busy schedule.” or “I need to find the time to write someday.” or “I’ve always wanted to write, but just am not sure what to write about.”

book - pencil writing

The stock answer is to write what you know. However, I’d like to give you my take on that statement and share some reasons why to write and how to break the log jam a little bit at a time.  Life has a way of throwing things at you or there is always something to do that will get in your way.

Consider these:

1. You have thoughts that you need to get out – write them in a spiral notebook to get them off your chest. This doesn’t have to be for publication, but can be just for you.

2. Write lists to clear your mind. People have published books of lists. You don’t have to publish yours, but it is writing.

3. Journal. You don’t have to write in it every day, just write in it when you want to. Many writers journal regularly. I don’t, I am more irregular with my journal.

4. Keep a notebook to use as an idea log. Write your thoughts as they flow out so you don’t loose them. It could become a collection of story ideas or completed short stories.

5. Write because you can’t not write. Just get it out of your system. Do it on a computer or with a pen in your hand.

6. Let your mind wander when you’re trying to work out a problem. Write about something that comes to mind that has nothing to do with the issue and it may help you find the solution.

7. Write because it’s what you think about when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night.

These are only a few of many reasons to write in spite of what is happening in your life. It gets the muse going so you can write the “great American novel.”

Evaluate, Consummate, and Propagate

Book FestivalDon’t get excited, this isn’t a blog on sex education. This is advice for my fellow writers. Here we are in the seventh month of the year and if you haven’t evaluated where you are with your writing goals so far for 2013, then its a good time to take a few minutes out and do that. That’s where the evaluate comes in. I recommend that you take a look at those things you’ve already accomplished or how far you’ve come on the  projects you’re still working on. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Don’t beat yourself up for everything you have not done. At the same time, unless there is a good reason why you haven’t accomplished more then ask yourself what prevents you from getting more done on your writing goals? What do you need to do so that you can accomplish your goals. What do you need to do so you can write? At times in the past, the answer for me was to leave the house and go to the library or coffee shop for a couple of hours so I could clear my mind enough to write. Maybe it is sitting out in your backyard away from the family for an hour every evening while they watch TV.

What could I possibly mean by consummate and what does it have to do with writing? The meaning of consummate is to complete or perfect in every way; to finish. First, get it done. Then be sure that you edit your work. Whether you self-publish or go through a royalty publisher you want your best work out there. Who wants the reader to wonder how you ever got “this thing” into print with sooo many errors in it. How embarrassing. I know from experience that no matter how many eyes are on a manuscript that sometimes a few typos or mistakes can slip through, but do your best to perfect your work as much as possible before you put it out there.

Last but not least — propagate. Keep on writing. Don’t stop. A lesson that I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that you don’t want to stop the flow of articles or books coming out. I focused on writing a couple of nonfiction projects and didn’t keep my fiction series coming out at a regular interval so that there has been a gap between book 2 and book 3 of over two years. That was not very good planning on my part. I won’t let that happen again. I’m back on track again with one in production with the publisher now and another that should be out by Christmas. I need to discipline myself to keep propagating my novels so that the readers have them. If you don’t feed your readers they may go somewhere else.

So all you writers out there — come on and evaluate, consummate, and propagate with me!

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.

Welcome to Chynna T. Laird

Squeezing Writing In Around Life:

My Writing Life While Raising Four Children

by Chynna Laird

One of the questions I get asked most often is, “Where on earth do you find the time for writing with four young children?” Believe me, there are days I wonder the very same thing. But I’ve come to realize that writing isn’t just something I love to do, it’s something I need to do. It helps keep me in touch with that part of myself that isn’t “Mama,” and that’s very important—for all of us. Allow me to explain.

I’m actually a late bloomer as far as getting into writing professionally. It’s not that I never had the time to write I was simply too nervous having my work out there for everyone to read. I mean, who the heck would have been interested in what I had to say? But as time went on, my courage increased with each story or article I’d let the world see until I’d made it almost a full-time gig. Then my Jaimie was born and writing had to stop temporarily.

I knew very early on that my miracle girl struggled with something. None of us knew what it was and she tried telling us in her own ways but we didn’t understand. After two years, we finally got someone—a fantastic OT named, Donna—to listen to our pleas. After a few hours with Jaimie she told us Jaimie had Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Now I’m the sort of person who can deal with anything as long as I have the information. I read every book available at that time, read articles, did online research and absorbed myself completely in understanding this mystery “SPD.”

You see there is much debate on whether SPD is a “real” disorder despite the fact that thousands of families are afflicted by it and tons of research backs it up. That made me angry. I lived with Jaimie each and every day watching how the tiniest things in her environment bothered her and caused her pain—things the rest of us take for granted—and yet it’s still considered “invisible.” That’s when I started writing again.

My passion to help my daughter by helping others understand her became my writing goal. Plus writing for me is therapeutic—it helps me re-focus on what’s important, calms me down when I’m not able to turn my mind off and gets rid of any of residue from the day’s stressors. Most importantly, it makes me feel like I’m doing something proactive in helping Jaimie since I can’t change the world so it doesn’t hurt her, cause her confusion or distress. I can, however, help that world accept her for who she is and see things through her eyes. And now you know how squeezing that writing time in is so important to everyone in my house.

            Hey! You can do it too. Really. I used to get frustrated when I wasn’t able to sit for a writing session for a specified amount of time until I realized I still could. I just needed to write around my life. I took my little Neo keyboard with me to Jaimie’s therapy sessions, typing madly in the waiting room. I stole bits of time during nap or snack times or when the kids were preoccupied with their one half-an hour show I let them watch. Then I stayed up later after they all (finally) fall asleep. When you give yourself those snippets of time throughout the day, it’s like having an expresso. It gives you extra brain energy until the next snippet you’re allowed to have. (Of course, if you’re writing a novel, you may want to wait until you get those larger blocks of time otherwise it will take forever!)

            The most important thing to do is be easy on yourself. Don’t get frustrated if you have a day where the kids need you more than usual and won’t let you escape for a little while—it happens to me all the time. I just remind myself that for every nonproductive day, I get a couple of really productive ones in where I get tons of time to make up the difference.

I look at it this way: God gave me this amazing gift. I may not be the best writer in the world but darn it, I’m right up there with some of the most passionate! My writing has taken on a very specific purpose now, which helps me make that time for writing each and every day—even if it’s just for a few minutes. When I think, “I just don’t have the time today!” I simply look down on Jaimie’s earnest little face and think about how brave she was just getting out of bed that morning to face what her environment had in store for her. And that gives me strength to forge ahead.

Keep writing, Mamas! It matters and it’s so important.

Busy Couple of Months

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, then you know I haven’t been here much for the past couple of months. Without getting into too much detail, I lost my Dad two months ago and have been helping my Mom a lot. We have six adult children and some of them are affected by the down turns in the recent economy over the past year or so and we are expecting a new grand child in September. I’m healing from a broken foot and wrenched back – finally doing much better and getting back to writing and blogging.

I hope you all are having a great summer. Let me know how you’re spending your time.

Talk with you soon!