Monday, April 27, 2020

3 Ways to Make Yourself Write When It’s the Last Thing You Want to Do

In every writer’s life, there comes a time when putting words down on a page seems impossible. Writer’s block, creative burnout, exhaustion: call it what you want, but when it strikes, you know the next couple of days are going to be brutal.

Most writers have their own methods to handle these issues, whether it’s drinking copious amounts of coffee or cutting themselves off from the Internet. But I firmly believe that positive reinforcement is the best approach for writing success — which is where the following tactics come in! Here are three ways to make yourself write when it’s the last thing you want to do.

1. Focus on the “one cool thing”

Perhaps the most difficult part of writing is staying motivated. A concrete deadline or reward can provide extrinsic motivation, but this will only take you so far. If you want to feel fulfilled by what you’ve written (and therefore motivated to continue writing in the future), you need intrinsic motivation: a personal or emotional connection to what you’re doing.

Even with personal writing, it can be hard to maintain this kind of motivation, and when it comes to writing for school or work, it may seem utterly futile. But just as every cloud has a silver lining, every piece of writing — no matter how academic or dull — contains at least one interesting, unexpected, or fundamentally cool aspect.

This is the key to your intrinsic motivation: not only will the “one cool thing” re-engage you with your own work, it’ll also give you the interesting challenge of conveying it to your readers! For example, back in college, I once wrote a five-page English paper on the significance of bees in Paradise Lost because I wanted to make my professor laugh. I got an A, and have trusted intrinsic motivation ever since.

2. Make post-writing session plans

Another excellent (albeit extrinsic) motivator is having something fun planned after your writing session. This works on two levels: firstly, it gives you a clear-cut reward for a day of writing, and secondly, it holds you accountable to the people with whom you make plans.

Of course, your idea of "fun" will be relative. It could be a big night out or a quiet night in, whichever sounds better to you. Also consider using a writing app to track your progress and make sure you’re meeting your goals; checking these off at the end of the day will be its own reward.

If you’re a real lone wolf — or trying to adhere to social distancing in the current climate — you can make plans with yourself, too: a nice solo dinner or movie night. However, this does take away that prong of social pressure, which I’ve found pretty persuasive even on my most unproductive days. So if you want this tip to work for you, get your friends on board, at least in video chat form.

3. Start fresh every day

By far the best way to avoid creative burnout and keep yourself writing is to set bite-sized, achievable goals each day, and to never pile on work from previously missed writing sessions. Indeed, unless you’re on a super-strict deadline, there’s no reason to put so much pressure on yourself!

To that end, think of every day as a brand-new opportunity to achieve your writing goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you were 500 words short yesterday, and don’t attempt to make it all up the next day. Remember that perfectionism hurts much more than it helps, and your writing doesn’t need to be flawless the first time around — that’s what editing is for!

Those who have trouble letting go of previous failures (like myself) might benefit from meditation, or some other head-clearing routine to confirm that each day truly is a new start. If you perform this same routine just before you begin to write every day, you’ll soon build much better habits around the act of writing itself.

All that said, I won’t deny that writing requires a ridiculous amount of mental and physical energy. But if you adjust your attitude, kill your procrastination patterns, and take things one day at a time, you’ll still get much more joy out of it than pain. Then maybe you, too, can write an article about your favorite writing productivity techniques — and pay all that satisfaction forward to writers just like yourself.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories. She’s not always great at self-motivation, but she certainly tries her hardest!

Register here: PART 1 - MAY 19 and PART 2 - MAY 21

Register here: PART 1 JUNE 9 and PART 2 - JUNE 11.

Monday, April 20, 2020

How to Publish Your Book Now Webinar and Bubba and Squirt Giveaway!

Due to popular demand and with live seminars unable to go on, I am offering How to Publish Your Book Now as two webinars!

Register for Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

* * *

Dancing Lemur Press is giving away 5 copies of Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure!

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Who wants to learn more about book publishing? Or go on an adventure?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Tips for Using Publisher Rocket

After seeing a post about this program on Elizabeth S. Craig’s site, I decided to investigate. Within a day, I’d invested the $97.00 and downloaded it.

What does Publisher Rocket do?

From their website:
Find Keywords that Readers Actually Type Into Amazon
Discover Bestselling Book Categories in Seconds
Learn About Other Authors & Their Sales
Find Profitable AMS Keywords Fast

I’m going to focus on the keywords as that’s the part I’ve used the most.

Keywords are so important – they are how people find your book when doing a search. So, being able to narrow it down to the BEST keywords people are using NOW that will gain your book the most traffic is priceless. It is based on Amazon algorithms and is constantly updating, so the information is fresh.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to use the keywords feature:
  • First, write down all the keywords you are currently using (or will use) for your book. Include both single words and phrases. Phrases work best, but when trying to find the best ones, entering a single word also pulls up a large variety of phrases in Publisher Rocket.
  • Second, go to your book’s page on Amazon and copy the categories your book is ranked in.
  • Third, click on those rankings and check out the categories of other similar books and write those down.
  • Finally, brainstorm any other words or phrases that might apply to your book.

Once you have a list of 15-20 words/phrases, open Publisher Rocket and start entering them. You’ll get a list like this:

Now, click on Analyze for phrases that fit your book. It will show you how many books have that tag, how much they collectively make a month, how many Google searches a month, how many Amazon searches a month, and the competition ratio.

What is really key are the last two numbers. You want as many Amazon searches as possible coupled with a competitive score that is low – the farther away from 100, the better. Here are some phrases that rank pretty well:

The secret is to comb the list of phrases that pops up with each search and analyze all that apply – then from that point, start brainstorming other phrases. Sometimes it’s a simple adjustment that makes the difference – self-help to self help – and changing up some of the words in the phrases.

Once you have a list with at least 7 really good phrases, go into your distributor’s site and add those key phrases. (Also pick a #8 & #9 phrase, as some distributors allow more than 7.)

What’s eye-opening is how far off some keywords really are! The words/phrases you are using now might not show up in but 100 searches a month - or the competition is so stiff, no one will ever find your book!

There is a 30-day money-back guarantee. At the moment, it’s a one-time fee for the complete program and all upgrades. However, they state it will be going to a monthly subscription in the future.

Do I recommend it? You bet I do! Thank you, Elizabeth.

What do you use to come up with keywords/phrases? Would you consider using Publisher Rocket?

(Not to be confused with this Rocket, who really doesn’t help with the publishing!)

And hope you are following Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. on Facebook as we are posting videos of the authors reading their books all month long.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Murder - Just Because!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today. (As she is one of Dancing Lemur Press's IWSG Anthology authors.)

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Yolanda  RenĂ©e
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence
"While this book does contain explicit sexual language and graphic violence, it could easily be taken from the daily headlines. The content is plausible and realistic as we look at the world around us. The events in the book are not overly done but give a pragmatic look at the terrifying actions killers can and sometimes do take."

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.

And now…Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his bloody rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. The detective’s reputation is on the line, and he’s going to need a lot more than luck, because this time, Jenkins is driven by more than the thrill of a random kill.

This time, it’s more personal. He’s out for revenge…and his ultimate target is Quaid. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?

Author Yolanda Renee
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her in her own words.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

For more on Yolanda and her writing, you can connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    


This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?

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Please visit Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. on Facebook today and over the next few weeks! We are featuring our authors in short video clips as they read from their books - and there is a giveaway with each one. Just comment to enter.

And is anyone else having this issue? Any Blogger blog I visit that has an embedded (as opposed to pop-up) comment box, I get this:

And that is on my own blog! But I'm still logged into Google and my blog and I can comment on ones with pop-up comment boxes.
I've cleared cache and history - and other ideas?

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Covid-19, and Dancing With Dementia

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology contest 2020 opens on May 6.

We can now reveal the genre and the judges.

The genre – science fiction. (Going back to our first contest, which resulted in Parallels: Felix Was Here.)

Our official judges:

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder
Dan Koboldt is the author of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy (Harper Voyager), the editor of Putting the Science in Fiction (Writers Digest, 2018), and the creator of the sci-fi adventure serial The Triangle (Serial Box, 2019). As a genetics researcher, he has co-authored more than 80 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. He is represented by Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Lynda R. Young, author
Lynda R. Young is an Aussie writing fantasy novels as Elle Cardy. Wielder’s Prize is her debut YA epic fantasy. She is also an editor, game developer, 3D artist, graphic designer, photographer, gamer and more.

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Colleen Oefelein is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars.

Damien Larkin, author
Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was published by Dancing Lemur Press and went on to be longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and is working on his next novel Blood Red Sand.

Ion Newcombe, eidtor and publisher
is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications.

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency
Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Recently, she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words.

David Powers King, author
David's works include Woven, The Undead Road,, and Full Dark: An Anthology. He currently resides in the Mountain West with his wife and 4 children.

Tune in May 6 for the theme and full details.

April 1 question - The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Well, in a nutshell, weird.

I’ve tried to stay ahead of the game by maintaining the 2-week supply of food and necessities they recommend. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many trips to various stores to do so. No one store has everything you need.

I work from home, so that is not a big issue. But everything seems so quiet. And since it’s just me and the cats (as my husband is still reporting for duty) I find it hard to focus. I check the Global Map at least twice a day. I also check One America News Network for national news and WRAL out of Raleigh for “local” news.

I don’t worry so much about myself, but more for our elderly widow neighbor, my husband’s elderly parents, and so many others who are susceptible. I was really worried about the economy until the stimulus package went through. So many business owners and workers needed that. With cancelled events and authors who can’t promote their latest book releases in person, I needed that.

I’m keeping up with family and friends, spread across the country and into Mexico and other countries. Which is good. Like last fall when my cousin died from fire-fighting injuries, it has brought me closer to those I care about most.

And I know God will see us through this mess.

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Jemi Fraser’s DANCING WITH DEMENTIA, Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser
◊ Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
◊ Publisher: Just Jemi Books
◊ eBooks
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.

As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.

•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care

We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA buy links:              Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.

Jemi lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.

For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter       Quick Tips Videos


This tour-wide giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Jemi on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. I hope dementia hasn’t touch your family or friends, but in case it has do you have any tips to share on dealing with this terrible disease?

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What's it been like for you this past month?