Category Archives: Community

Why You Need A Writers Community Like You Need Cake

How do you know if you are a rich writer?

If we are rich writers, we use words like Paula Deen uses butter and cream. We liberally pour out our ideas and our vision into our paragraphs and prose. Maybe we add in sweetness and flavor and texture who we are and what we care about in every book. We sculpt our words together like sugary icing roses along a cake and we present our final, finished projects as grand feasts for the world, allowing our readers to savor each morsel and each portion.  If we are rich writers, the solitary act of creating is a full and satisfying one.

But I’d like to suggest that more satisfaction that comes when we are connected to writer friends who are making their own sweet compositions.

 

You are, indeed, rich, if you have written books by the dozens, won awards, and sold many copies.

But you are richer still if you have close friends who coached you along the way.

Every success, every victory, every instance of #AuthorHappiness is just one tiny blip on this long writing journey, that is, quite honestly, a lonely one, but is magnified when it is shared. And the sad, dark times are so much easier with their comfort.

The rejection letters will come. Let those around us buy us a drink. 

The 1 star reviews will trickle in. Let those around us say, “They just don’t get your brilliance.”

The doors will close. The publishing house will go under. The disappointments are a given if we choose writer as our identity.

Within a group of writers, you have mentors and proteges, you have advice and warnings, you celebrations and sorrows. You can squeeze each others’ hands and say, “it is scary,” but you can do it. Or, “you are good, hang in there” or “this happened to me once!”

 

Writers, as tempting as it is to wrap yourself up in a solitary, lonely world with just your characters and your computer as your companions, please don’t neglect the importance of community. Reach out to other writers. We need you too.

1. Get a Mentor.

In Online Writing Groups, such as Facebook’s 10 Minute Novelists, you can meet people who are little further ahead of you in your writing journey. Ask them questions. Get them to read your stuff. Receive their feedback graciously.

2. Join A Group.

By hanging around writers who have the same goals as you, you will learn a lot about craftsmanship, character development, plot, and setting. Also? Hanging out with other writers is just fun. They rejoice with you when you succeed and buy you drinks when you don’t.

3. Take a Class.

Check out your local library, community college or adult education center for writing classes. Some are even online! By working with an instructor, you will be able to get important feedback and grasp concepts you might not through just educating yourself.  This link has a list of free and not-so-free writing courses!

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4. Be humble and teachable.

No matter how much you’ve written or how many books you’ve sold, there’s always room to improve. And even if you were Pulitzer worthy, you’d still need to know about publishing, marketing, and social media. Be open to learning all you can. Arrogance doesn’t go far in this field.

How do you find other writers?  There are tons of ways! But the easiest is to join my group 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook.

Your writing life will be all the richer for it.


 

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

12 Reasons You Should Go To a Writers Conference

 

One way to grow as a writer is to attend a writers conference!

Now, I’m not a writers conference junkie, but I’d like to be. I know enough about them to understand that if you are in a climate controlled hotel ballroom, surrounded by writers from all over the world, with speakers and experts in front of you, then you’re in a great place to grow.

12 Reasons To Go To A Writers Conference by Katharine Grubb

Why?

You need to meet other writers in person.

In my limited conference experience, I’m always amazed at the diversity of the writers that I meet. They all aren’t bloggers like me. My writer friends don’t all have tendencies to publish quirky comedies like me. They may not know the first thing about writing a novel in 10 minutes a day. Because I do get the honor of meeting them, I expand my horizons. I’m encouraged by what they tell me. I’m interested in their projects and check them out. And I alway come away with new friends.

You need to practice your pitch.

Even if you never sit down with an agent or publisher, you will meet other writers who want to know what you write. You’ll need to be able to tell them in just thirty seconds. This takes practice. At a conference, you’ll have plenty of it.

The FIRST EVER Conference for 10 Minute Novelists will be held August 9-11, 2018 in Cincinnati, OH. We’re featuring Donald Maass, James Scott Bell and Janice Hardy! Come and learn with us!

You need to learn at the feet of experts.

Any conference worth the price of admission will have speakers there who know more about the various aspects of writing than you do. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to ask questions of these experts. You can find out how they came to their conclusions and what advice they may have for you. Take advantage of any down time that you get to pick their brains and learn.

You need to get away from your life for a while.

At the last conference I attended, I got to spend fourteen glorious hours alone in a hotel room. I really loved it. For the first time in history, I ordered a pizza and ate it alone. I watched a Hitchcock movie and I wrote 3000 words without anyone interrupting me. It was heaven. I felt so refreshed the next day when I had to fly home.

You need to get some perspective.

If you are discouraged about your writing for whatever reason, a conference may have the people you need to encourage you. Many times we need to know that we aren’t alone in our professional struggles. Sometimes we need the brutal truth. Sometimes we need to look at our careers, not our current project. I think that getting out of one’s own setting can make a big difference in how we see ourselves.

You need to have one on one time with an agent.

Agents often don’t sign authors unless they have met them first. This is, in reality, a business relationship and many agents want writers that they can click with. Even if you aren’t quite ready for an agent, it wouldn’t hurt to get to know them, practice your pitch and get some questions answered.

You need to get advice.

Conferences are great places to get advice. Sometimes this advice comes from the speakers and workshops. Sometimes it comes from who you sat next to at lunch. None of us are so together that we can’t use a little insight. You can also eavesdrop if you want. Your neighbor may have asked the question you’ve always wanted to ask.

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You need freebies.

Depending on the size of the conference, sponsors will hand out swag. At the last conference I attended, there were t-shirts, coupons to local businesses, and other things that were given to the coordinators just for the attendees.

You need to find out more about your genre.

Conferences are great places to buddy up with people who know your genre inside and out. You may gain fresh insight and advice for your genre in a way that you could never have online. Some genres have their own conferences — like ACFW or RWA. Check out this list of conferences and see if your genre has an event you can go to.

You need to be a bit more humble.

Besides wading through the endless bins of used books at my local library’s annual sale, nothing makes me more humble than meeting a bunch of writers. Many of them have been writing longer than I have. Many have bigger platforms than I do. When I’m at a conference, especially a big one. I’m a pretty little fish. This is good for me. The day that I’m too big to go, or too important to engage, or too accomplished not to attend will be a sad, sad day.

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You need to get feedback.

Many conferences have contests or critique opportunities. These are good for you! You can learn where your weaknesses lie. Also, you can gain wisdom from the more mature and experienced. And you can even win something grand if you’re good enough.

You need to feel that you are not alone.

Writers, as tempting as it is to wrap yourself up in a solitary, lonely world with just your characters and your computer as your companions, please don’t neglect the importance of community. Reach out to other writers. Do this with online groups, local groups or conferences.

Conferences have the potential of making you a savvier, stronger writer. As you plan your 2017, make a commitment to get better and invest in yourself.


If you liked this post, you’ll like:

Free & Not-So-Free Writers’ Conferences For The Poor And Anthropophobic and

Top 10 Pro Tips For Attending A Writing Conference


 

a href=”http://www.10minutenovelists.com/img_7013/”>Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

Plan Your Conferences The Right Way

by Jane Steen

It’s Conference Season!

What now?

Ever finished a conference season feeling you didn’t get much value for your money? Or are you still waiting to go to your first writers’ conference, paralyzed by the choices out there or worried about the cost? Here are some practical tips to help you approach next year’s conferences in great shape.

 

Decide on your needs

It’s best to approach conference season in light of your unique needs. Do you need to soak up advice about the writing craft? Do you want to learn about self-publishing? Do you want to pitch a story to agents? Do you want to make connections within your genre? Take a few minutes and write down your goals for next year. Then write down the one thing you’d like to achieve to make that year shine for you.

Make a shortlist

Don’t just focus on that conference your friend always goes to and which sounds cool. Search on “writers conference” and research what’s out there, then make a shortlist of conferences that might fit your needs and research some more. Make a spreadsheet to record the vital stats of each conference on your list—where it’s to be held, how much it costs, and what kind of sessions, workshops, classes or opportunities it offered this year (because next year’s offerings won’t be publicized until quite near the conference date).

Plan your time

When making your shortlist, note the dates of those conferences and compare them with your work and home calendars. Think about graduations, house moves, milestone events for family members, and work commitments for you and anyone else who’s going to be needed at home while you’re away. You might even need to plan around medical needs—if you know you’re heading for a knee replacement, get it done well before the conference.

Calculate the cost

There’s nothing worse than drawing near to the date of a conference and then realizing it’s going to make a much bigger hole in your bank account than you’d thought. Especially since conference fees are often non-refundable past a certain date, as the conference organizers have to make financial commitments based on the fees they’ve received. So be smart—once you’ve figured out one to three hot contenders for your time and money, calculate just how much money that’s going to be. You’ll be paying for the conference fee, a hotel stay, possibly meals (check this), travel to and from the conference, a new outfit or two and about $200 in incidental expenses. Think of the conference as a working vacation in an expensive resort, and you’ll get the picture.

If you’re not going to be able to afford the total cost of the conference, don’t sign up.

Don’t just assume the money will be there when you need it. Strategize alternatives—could you forgo a vacation to pay for the conference (negotiate this with your spouse if you have one)? Could you go to the cheaper local conference instead? Could you stay with a friend instead of at the hotel, or share a hotel room? Does the conference award scholarships, and how do you apply?

Be careful if you’re asked to be on a panel or help present a workshop at a conference, as many conferences expect presenters to work for nothing or next to nothing, to pay for their hotel room and travel, etc. If finances are an issue, make sure you know what the deal is before you say yes. Dropping out later because you’ve realized you can’t afford the trip will be awkward all round.

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Register early

If you’ve ascertained you can afford your target conference, sign up as early as you can. The early bird usually gets lower fees, the most favorable hotel rate, and guaranteed participation in events that fill up fast. Make a note of the date past which there’s no refund for cancellations, and set a reminder to review your schedule before the no-refund date to make sure nothing new has cropped up at work or at home.

Want to pitch? Research your agents

If you’re signing up for a conference because you have a manuscript to pitch to an agent or publisher, or think you’ll have one ready by the conference date, research those industry professionals meticulously before you sign up. You might only get one or two pitch sessions, so make sure you’re pitching to the very best fit you can find. And if you draw near the conference date and realize your manuscript won’t be ready after all, contact the organizers and release your spots to someone else. Don’t pitch an incomplete manuscript.

If you find these suggestions helpful, let us know in the comments. I have a few more for you—and perhaps Katharine will let me come back again!


Historical Romance Author Jane Steen

Jane Steen was born in England and, despite having spent more years out of the British Isles than in, still has a British accent according to just about every American she meets.
Around the edges of her professional occupations and raising children, she stuck her nose in a book at every available opportunity and at one time seemed on course to become the proverbial eternal student. Common sense prevailed, though, and eventually she had the bright idea of putting her passion for books together with her love of business and writing to become a self-published author.
Jane has lived in three countries and is currently to be found in the Chicago suburbs with her long-suffering husband and two adult daughters. Her book, House of Closed Doors can be found here. 

Five Signs To Keep Writers From Going Wrong

By TLC Nielsen

Are you a Writer Gone Wrong?

10 minute novelists are an upbeat, happy group of writers striving to be all they can word-ly be.

But unbeknownst to many is another, small group of writers who hoard their words, shudder from social interaction with other (competing) authors, and cannot restrain themselves from talking/chatting/emailing about their books, blogs and other writings far more than necessary. This group of writers took dangerous forks on the writerly road, ending up down a path they never intended to take.

Here are 5 road signs to keep you, and me, from joining Writers Gone Wrong!

5 Road Signs To Keep Writers From Going Wrong by TLC Nielsen

Road Sign #1 Writing Conferences- To go or Not to go

Beware the path that leads you away from attending writing conferences. I’m thankful my writing path started 6 years ago when a persistent writing friend invited me to a local, annual writing conference. Yes, it was expensive, but so is any 4-day conference with room and board attached. It took two years of writing for a scholarship before I won a full-ride award. By attending this conference, I moved from being an amateur writer to becoming a serious wordsmith. I proved to myself, my family and other writers that I was “in it to win it.” I have gone to a yearly writing conference ever since and I wouldn’t have finished my novel without the support I found there. Attending a conference also gave me a deadline, making me work harder and smarter to have my one-sheet, short biography, and manuscripts ready to go.

Road Sign #2 Word Hoarding versus Sharing

Finding an amazing critique group requires some hunting and some sacrifice of time but the alternative is scary. Left to themselves, writers gone wrong will think everything they’ve written is amazing or, more like me, that it all stinks and should be destroyed before anyone can smell, I mean read it. Writers need to be actively involved with a peer group of fellow wordsmiths they can trust to help them edit and improve. The first draft isn’t called the “vomit” draft1 for no reason.

It took me three years of attending that local writing conference before I found a handful of writers who lived close enough to me to start a critique group. I trust these writers because of their keen insight and the amazing works they share with the group. I had been involved with a library writers’ group previously, which left me scarred and scared; there were a few alpha writers who positioned themselves to be in control. That was my first experience with writers gone wrong and it took me ten years before I would try again. So, as a self-confessed word hoarder, I implore all writers to become word sharers, even if it means starting your own critique group and having to be its president for a few years. The benefits far outweigh the sacrifice.

“Writers need to be actively involved with a peer group of fellow wordsmiths they can trust to help them edit and improve.” — TLC Nielsen

It’s truly an honor and privilege for me to be involved with the serious writers in the On the Border chapter. When this group first started, we looked at a variety of organizations before choosing to join Word Weavers, International. These organizations are a great way to get support and find writing groups in your area. I joined the 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook about the same time my critique group started and my fellow writers, both online and in-person, are responsible for my success as a word sharer on this word-strewn journey…together.

I joined the 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook about the same time my critique group started and my fellow writers, both online and in-person, are responsible for my success as a word sharer on this word-strewn journey…together.

Road Sign #3 Lone Ranger or Accountability Partner – that is the question

Writers who’ve gone wrong may sometimes attend a writing conference and occasionally pop into a critique group. They may be too much of the lone ranger type to seek out a mentor or accountability partner. When I attended my first conference five years ago, the presenters hammered out the trifecta of writer success: conferences, critique groups and one-on-one relationships. Eugene H. Peterson in a 2017 publication summed it up well: “I am not myself by myself.”2 He may have been referring to the church, but I think his statement stands for writers – I am not my writerly self by myself. If no one reads my words, I am simply a journal writer, not an author. To be an authentic author takes accountability, sometimes the uncomfortable kind.

Road Sign #4 Using Your Writerly Powers for Good or…

Do you give or take in your writing? Literary agent Leslie Stobbe said if you want to be a writer, then write! 3 Find an organization to use your skills to help, for the need of volunteer writers is vast. There are numerous ways to use your word powers for good. Here are two basic mainstays: always a) quote your sources and b) ask for permission to use other folks’ words whenever possible.

However, there can be a dark side to having writerly powers, when it’s too easy for authors to stray into taking more than they give.  Oh, they may pretend to offer something for free but there’s a catch – you owe them. A true gift comes with no strings attached. It takes dedicated effort to use words to help others, whether offering to write guest blogs for writer friends, volunteering free writing services to a worthy organization, or sending thoughtful letters to others – just give back full-heartedly. And remember the advice from Leslie, if you’re a writer – then write.

“Being a participating member of 10 Minute Novelists is a great start!”

— TLC Nielsen

Road Sign #5 Decimal Point Growth or Decline

In chatting with my mother, a published botanist, she encouraged me to mention becoming Decimal Point writers, “people who are incrementally increasing their skills.”4 She clarified that even though 1.4 writers are still considered at “1” a small increase to 1.6 catapults them towards “2.”

Writers who have gone wrong, however, tend to think in extremes – I’m a “10+” or I’m a “0”. I’m learning to celebrate the small incremental steps of my writing journey in order to dodge the doubt that plagues me. My small successes include reading books for pleasure while on the stationary bike, writing a monthly blog and bringing something, anything, to the critique group to which I belong. I’m also entrusting my novel to beta readers, a step of trust in my word-ly journey. 

While my book has not been published yet, I hold on to the 10 minutes a day commitment that gets me ever closer to my goal. 

The choices writers make EACH DAY will either expand or contract their growth: in conference attendance, word sharing commitment, community mindfulness and accountability and, most importantly, in giving back.


1 Bob Hostetler, WTP 2016 conference, Wheaton, Illinois. “Vomit draft” quote, source unknown.

2 Eugene H. Peterson, CT Pastors: “The State of Church Ministry in America”, 2017 (p. 30)

3 Leslie Stobbe, WTP 2012 conference, Wheaton, Illinois

4 Botanist Linda W. Curtis, self-published author of three books on plants:

Aquatic Plants of Northeastern Illinois, Bog-Fen Carex of the Upper Midwest and Woodland Carex of the Upper Midwest.  Permission granted


TLC Nielsen fights her writer-gone-wrong tendencies by being the current VP of the Word Weavers On the Border writing chapter, mentoring new attendees at a local writing conference, and belonging to the 10 MN group. She’s editing her first novel, By Land or Sea, and will be attending only one conference this year, at her spouse’s request. She uses her writerly powers for the better by occasionally judging book contests. Her decimal point increases include playing trombone on Rich Rubietta’s CD Resting Places, contributing a story on p. 68 of I Believe in Healing by Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk, belonging to the 365 Writing Club here at 10 MN as well as interviewing ordinary folks with extraordinary stories at this monthly blog: https://lookandbe.blogspot.com.  You can find her occasionally on Twitter as Read2Mii2.

Top 10 Pro Tips For Attending A Writing Conference

by Christina Alexander

February is upon us and that means conference season approaches.

If you are attending your first writing conference, CONGRATULATIONS! You have made the first step to furthering your writing career. While each conference is unique in the opportunities it offers, there are some universal tips to remember in order to get the most out of the conference.

Top 10 Pro Tips For Attending A Writing Conference

1.    Choose Wisely

Conferences are expensive. Often, it’s an issue of saving up money all year before being able to afford to go. Between registration, cost of travel, hotel, food, and other goodies (not taking into account the prep beforehand), you can easily spend up to $2000 per conference. In this case, choosing the right conference is just as important as deciding to attend a conference. Is it hosted by a genre specific organization like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or is it a general conference for all authors like the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference? Each has its own benefits and drawbacks depending on what you are looking to accomplish, and what they provide.

Pro Tip: Last year when many of my writing friends were attending Romantic Times in Las Vegas, I was tempted to attend. But after some careful consideration I decided to attend the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego, CA instead. While RT is fun, and many of my friends were attending, it offers more for published authors. I realized that at this point in my career I would benefit from the networking opportunities and workshops of RWA. I can always attend RT after my books come out. (Admin note: The first ever conference for 10 Minute Novelists will be held in 2018. Watch this spot for more details.)

2.    Plan Ahead

Once you decide on the conference that best suits your needs, plan ahead. Most conferences release workshop schedules to attendees a few weeks before the event. Sit down with the list of workshops (and their room numbers) and a map of the conference facility. Go through the list and see which workshops you want to attend and figure out where they are. Most workshops run 45-minutes, with a 15-minute break in between. You’ll have just enough time to get from one room to the other, and maybe stop by the bathroom on your way.

Pro Tip: I have a confession to make–I am addicted to spreadsheets. When I attended RWA last summer, I went prepared. I took a map of the conference hotel, a list of the workshops, and put them on a spreadsheet. That way I had a visual of what was happening where and at what time. I even color coded it based on the type of workshop it was (craft, chat, research, career, etc). It was a thing of beauty…

3.  Time Management

Hand-in-hand with knowing the schedule ahead of time, is knowing what the best use of your time is. With many workshops occurring at the same time, it’s sometimes difficult to decide which to attend. If you face this dilemma, sit towards the rear of the room. There is no shame in ducking out of one workshop to attend another. It’s common to see people coming and going to listen to different speakers.

Pro Tip: When I found out that some of the workshops I wanted to attend were occurring simultaneous of each other, I panicked. Then I regrouped and took note of which ones were recorded. RWA records many of its workshops and offers them for sale to members. That way I was able to attend the unrecorded workshops and purchase the recordings for my library. Check with your conference, sometimes they’ll offer them for purchase ahead of time at a discount.

4.    The Hunt For Representation

Are your conference offers pitch sessions, and you are seeking representation, it is important to research the industry professionals who will be taking pitches. If you attend a general conference like Writer’s Digest or the Southern California Writer’s Conference, be sure the agent you pitch to represents what you write. It will be a waste of time for both of you if you pitch your literary fiction novel to and agents who only reps children’s books. Even if you are attending a genre specific conference, not all agents or publishers represent the same books. A publisher who produces romance books for the LGBTQ community will not be interested in a small town contemporary romance with straight characters.

Pro Tip: I know it’s tempting to bring your completed manuscript with you to a conference, but I don’t recommend doing so. Most industry professionals will not have time to read with an eye for acquiring, and they do not have the room to pack multiple manuscripts. If you get a request for your manuscript, you will be given specific instructions on how to submit the required documents.

5. Pitch Perfect

You did your research and made a pitch appointment with your dream agent. Do you have your pitch ready? If you don’t, now is the time to write one. If you are having trouble with it, think of your pitch as the back cover copy on your book. What would it read like when your book is published?

Most pitch appointments run anywhere from five to ten minutes. You’ll have a few minutes to give your pitch and some time afterwards to chat with your prospective editor or agent. While you can memorize your pitch, it is always a good idea to keep some notes handy in case your mind goes blank. Don’t worry if your delivery isn’t perfect, industry professionals know most writers are introverts and public speaking–especially in front of strangers–isn’t their thing.

Pro Tip: When I pitched my story I made sure to write it on a 3×5 note card. It kept me on point, and also gave me a place to write questions of my own. The pitch itself only took two minutes, and that left time for the agents to ask me questions about my story and where I see my career going (hint: they’re looking for longevity!), and for me to ask questions about the agent, their agency and how they could help me achieve my goals.

6.    Be Prepared

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared. Not only for your pitch, but also for your workshops. I’ve known some people who get so focused on their pitch appointment, they forget about the workshops and networking opportunities available to them. Make a list of things you will need to bring with you. If you like to handwrite notes, be sure to bring a notebook and pens with you. If you are more technically inclined, a tablet, laptop or mobile phone may be more your style–just be sure to bring a portable charger or two to make sure you are fully charged at all times.

Pro Tip: Many conferences are held at hotels, but the little hotel notepads don’t offer much space for note taking. I always bring extra notepads and pens in case someone needs one. If you’re published, you can even bring a pen with your website or logo on it. What better way to be remembered than as “that nice writer who gave me a pen when I needed one.” Who knows, you may meet a new friend or writing partner this way.

7.    Networking

Opportunities abound to network with other authors, editors, agents and other industry professionals. Aside from the pitch appointments and workshops, there are evening socials, publisher parties, and the ubiquitous hotel bar. I know, writers tend to be a solitary lot but a conference is the perfect time to break out of your shell and make connections. Here are a few things you should have in your networking arsenal.

  • Business Cards: If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to have some business cards made. They should include:
    • Your name
    • Your email and/or phone number
    • Your social media handles
    • Your website, if you have one
    • What you write
    • Optional items include:
      • Your tag line, if you have one
      • A photo headshot
  • Elevator Pitch: You may run into editors and agents in unexpected places and should be ready with your elevator pitch. The premise is that it should only take as long as an elevator ride.
    • Having trouble thinking one up? An easy way to create an elevator pitch is to summarize your story into one sentence of 20 words or less. Similar to how the old TV Guide movie entries used to read.
  • Elevator Introduction: You should be able to introduce yourself at a conference. Confession–I get super nervous around big name authors and editors, so I fan girl. A lot. Which usually means I forget my own name. In order to combat this and at least look like I know what I’m doing, I have a little introduction that I keep handy.
    • “Hi, my name is Christina. I’m a 911 dispatcher by day, historical romance author by night.”
      • It’s fun, it’s quick, and a shows a bit of personality. It’s also a nice ice-breaker to use at the bar and social events.

Pro Tip: I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to say it again. The bathroom is not the place to pitch your book. You can wait a few minutes for your target industry professional to exit the bathroom before you launch into your pitch.

8.    Pack and Dress Wisely

Don’t know what to wear? You can’t go wrong with business casual. While most conferences don’t have a dress code, you will want to present yourself as a professional. Shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops may be appropriate for your hotel room or walking about town, but not necessarily for you pitch session or workshops.

I mentioned before that many conferences are held at hotels, and hotels are notoriously cold in their public rooms. Be sure to bring a sweater and to dress in layers.

Pro Tip: Packing also goes hand-in-hand with being prepared. Make sure to check, and recheck, what you have in your suitcase before you leave. Do not be like me and get to your conference destination only to realize until the first morning of the conference that you forgot to pack appropriate shoes. Luckily, there was a shopping center across the street from the hotel where I was able to buy an emergency pair before things got underway.

9.    Take Care of Yourself

Conferences are busy events. Lasting three to four days, they pack as much activity as they can into such a short amount of time. Workshops start early in the morning and go all day. Then there are the after parties, the publisher parties, the meet and greets, the hotel bar, books signings… the list goes on. It can be an introvert’s worst nightmare, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the most out of it without having a nervous breakdown.

Pro Tips:

  • Be sure to wake up early enough to eat some breakfast, grab a cup of coffee (or two), and mentally prepare for the day.
  • Bring non-perishable snacks with you. Granola or protein bars are small enough to stick in a bag, and can stave off hunger until the next scheduled meal break.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated. Being inside with air conditioning can dehydrate you, even though you’re inside. Water bottles are easy to carry and refill as needed.
  • Try to avoid snacks and drinks that are heavy on the sodium and sugar, as they can dehydrate you.
  • Sitting for long periods of time taking notes can make everything tense up. Take some deep breaths and stretch your back and limbs, and flex your wrists.
  • Stay healthy! Wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitiser. To prevent your skin from drying out too much, keep a travel size hand lotion in your bag.
  • Don’t forget your mouth! Stick lip balm is easily portable and will keep your lips from chapping in the air conditioned rooms, and a tin of mints will keep you fresh for your networking opportunities.
  • If you find yourself overwhelmed by the crowds and activity, take some time for yourself. If it’s close you can go to your room or, if your conference offers it, take advantage of the Quiet Room for a few minutes and recharge.

10. Have Fun

This is the most important tip I can give you: have fun.

Yes, writing is a business and a conference can go a long way to furthering your career. But this is also a time to listen, learn, laugh at the jokes, and make new friends.

When I attended my first writing conference, I didn’t know anybody or the first thing about writing a book. I went with an open mind and an empty notebook. I thought I would learn some new skills and, perhaps, come out with a story idea I could play with. Was I nervous? Absolutely! There’s nothing like being a new person in a new place completely unsure of yourself. I did not expect to walk out of there with new friends, friends who have turned into colleagues and have helped me grow as a writer over the years. You may go in as a solo writer, but you leave as a member of the community with everyone encouraging you on your way.

And that is truly priceless.


Christina Alexandra is a romance writer from Southern California. Always looking for an adventure, she has held many different jobs including both medical and veterinary offices, music teacher, law enforcement instructor, service dog puppy raiser, emergency grief counselor, coroner’s assistant and, currently, an emergency services operator. Christina writes stories set in Georgian and Regency England and credits her varied experiences as the foundation from which she builds true-to-life characters and emotional stories with a unique twist on modern issues. When not researching, writing or working, she spends her time traveling and cooking–oftentimes with a historical flare.

You can connect with Christina online at her website ~ facebook ~ twitter ~ instagram ~ g+

Eleven Truths I Learn When I Delegate Responsibility

If I didn’t delegate my household chores, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

To delegate responsibility means to give a task to someone else. In a way, by allowing someone else to do something, you’ve doubled your efficiency. (I have five kids. This means I can do a lot more than double mine!) To delegate means more than just getting more work done. Delegating also brings people closer.

11 Truths I Learn When I Delegate Responsibility by Katharine Grubb 10 Minute Novelist

I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve learned since I’ve chosen to delegate my household tasks. Here are a few:

Trust builds relationships. When you hand off a job, and allow someone to work for you, you’re saying, “I trust you. Show me what you can do.” Around the house, the stakes are low, so it can be easy to build trust. (I don’t suggest you take this approach with an inexperienced electrician.) Ideally, a volunteer with a job to do will be grateful for that trust. I believe, that given the right situation, they will rise to the occasion and do well because of that trust. With the completion of the job, the bond between the two parties strengthens. This is how teams are build. The joy that can come out of good relationships is far more valuable than the completion of the task.

People are more important than tasks. It is easy to get so wrapped up in the job that needs to be done, that you snap at others. A bad manager will be overly critical or shame workers. Often, this communicates to them that they are unimportant or replaceable. In your delegation, stop and consider how you can communicate to your volunteers that they are valuable regardless of what they contribute. This feeling of acceptance will help insure that they will want to help again.

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.” 

—  Richard Branson

By giving someone something to do, you’re inviting them in on your mission. Of all the reasons to delegate responsibility, this is the best. “Do you want to help?” is a question that, if asked correctly, can be an invitation. The reward for saying, “Sure!” should be shared thanks, credit for a generous contribution and satisfaction for a job well done. When my children were small, I tried to use the word, “blessing” when it came to doing chores around the house. “It blesses me when you pick up your toys.” Or, “when you ask to help, it’s a huge blessing.” Or, “who wants the blessing of doing something for the house?” I wanted to communicate to them that sharing responsibility was a good thing. To this day, they do their chores cheerfully. They are still on mission with me and receive the full reward of it.

People learn by doing. All the verbal instructions in the world can’t substitute for holding something in your hands. If I’ve learned anything in my years as a homeschooling mother, it’s that learners need to see processes and instructions a variety of ways before it clicks. Some are quicker learners than others. A good teacher will be happy to demonstrate, explain and review. Agreed, it does take time to do this well. But this little investment of time can pay off big later. If you delegate responsibility, you’re taking advantage of a teachable moment.

“The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.”

— Eli Broad

Few mistakes are fatal. If I am really honest, then I have to admit my tasks are not life-threatening. If they don’t get done, the worst could be is that we’re inconvenienced. I need to communicate this to my helpers. They need to know that I value them, I value their contribution, but their mistakes are rarely upsetting. If a mistake is a critical one, then I try to handle it calmly and reassuringly. I don’t want any mistake they make to taint our relationship.

Others may have a better solutions than I do. Little kills a spirit more than squashed creativity. I’d love for my helpers to come up with good, creative solutions for the tasks I give them. I always retain veto power, but by letting them have a chance to create, I’m demonstrating trust and good will. They may show me ways to change how I do things.

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.”

— Andrew Carnegie

 I need to separate myself from the task at hand. After good instruction and proper tools, I need my helper to feel free to be themselves in the task. I need them to be confident in the job. I believe the more freedom they feel, the better they’ll be. Even if they mess up, I want them to see the whole task as a positive experience so they’ll be willing to help me again. I believe that my separating myself from the task supports this.

Short term tasks are rarely as important as long term vision. I want my kids to participate in the household responsibilities cheerfully, but more importantly I want them to always feel like they are loved unconditionally by me. This means that I can’t risk losing my cool with them over their mistakes and negligence. I do confront it. I do correct it. But I don’t say hurtful things that might damage our relationship for the future. Short term tasks are important, but certainly not the most important. 

 “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.

— George S. Patton

I have it in me to fire others. Sadly, I’ve had to pull people aside and give them a good talking to. Sometimes they haven’t responded well. Sometimes I’ve had to let others go. This is not something I enjoy. Despite my hard work to be diplomatic and gentle, I don’t like firing people, especially volunteers. But I’m very proud of the fact I can do it.

 I really do need others. I’d love to think that all of my accomplishments are mine alone. No, I’ve had lots of help. Because I chose to delegate some of my responsibilities to willing parties, I’ve come to love them more deeply. I need them not just for the tasks at hand. Others encourage me when I am down. I need to do the same for them.  We are bigger than the sum or our parts. If I played the Lone Ranger game with my life, I’d be pretty miserable.

“I don’t have a problem with delegation. I love to delegate. I am either lazy enough, or busy enough, or trusting enough, or congenial enough, that the notion leaving tasks in someone else’s lap doesn’t just sound wise to me, it sounds attractive.”

–John Ortberg

Efficiency is a poor teacher. Sure, I can always do things faster myself. But that doesn’t teach anyone anything except to get out of my way. It’s far better for me to guide my teams now, teaching them as I go. When they get the hang of it, I’ll have someone to do work for me. I’ll have gained a lot more in the long run.

I’ll need to work myself out of a job one day. This is especially true with children. By asking them to take responsibilities around the house they are gaining practice for adulthood. They are learning more and more about how to function in the world. Someday they’ll have to make their own meals and do their own laundry. That transition is hard enough, by having skills, at least it will be easier.

I want my people to go on without me. If I do all the work and never allow them the chance to work, then that makes me irreplaceable. While I do want to be irreplaceable in their hearts, I don’t want to render my survivors helpless. If they share in the responsibilities then when I’m gone, temporarily or permanently, they’ll be able to function. I want this for them. I want my purposes to last.

“The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.”


– Sandra Day O’Connor

Everyone should share in the glory of a task. I like it when my kids beam when I say, “I couldn’t do it without them.” This glory basking is a sweet thing to share. I want their team experiences to be pleasant ones. Taking all the credit is a pretty lonely task. I’ve found it only feels good for a second. But sharing credit sows seeds of goodwill that will reap big rewards later.

Micro-managing doesn’t suit me. I feel icky when I constantly correct someone in how they’re doing something for me. I them to volunteer to do it again, so I feel like micromanaging what they do tells them that I don’t want them back. If I micro-manage, I tend to slip into neurosis and I’ve never thought this was an attractive look. Whenever the urge to micro-manage strikes, I try to step back and remind myself that the relationship I have with this person is more important than any detail.

I have five children and live in a modest home.

I have lots of other responsibilities and goals. Because I chose to delegate tasks to them, I not only have met my personal and professional goals, but I’ve also seen them grow into responsible teens and pre-teens. I’ve learned much about the value of delegating. As my children grow and move away, I’m taking these same lessons into other parts of my life and seeing similar success.

By delegating my responsibility, I have become more efficient with my to-do list.

But, in truth, my team has given me much more  than a list that says “Done.”

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

We’re all time-crunched.

Fitting writing in is a huge challenge.

If you’re time-crunched you’ll find writing is a tough fit. To write, you squeeze in a few minutes here or there. You may lug your laptop around everywhere you go, or you may have a notebook and a favorite pen in your bag, ready to go at a moments notice. Or you may even have voice to text software and you’re not afraid to look a little silly speaking into your phone when inspiration hits. You are a 10 minute novelist and you are writing the best you can.

Or are you?

Maybe you’re not. Maybe you believe the best place to write is in a secluded cabin. Or maybe you believe that all you really need is a good two hour chunk somewhere and then you’d be productive. Maybe you think you need all the new apps or all the new software to get the job done. Or maybe you think that quitting that day job and living hand to mouth a while will motivate you. Maybe you just don’t know how to fit your writing goals in to your world?

Never fear! A few of us have figured this out. We’re 10 Minute Novelists. We’re time-crunched and busy. We have a lot of commitments. But we’re still finding time to pursue our dreams.

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

10 Minute Novelists don’t use ‘time-crunched’ as an excuse not to write.

Sandy Stuckless If you have a day job, write on your lunch break…in your car.
Become nocturnal. Write when the owls are awake to keep you company. Turn off the dang TV! It rots your brain anyway! Headphones, especially the noise canceling ones are your best friend. Even if you’re not listening to anything. People think you are and leave you alone.

10 Minute Novelists look for time leaks and make the most of them.

Mariah Danielle Rhudy I’m currently writing in the car with my laptop, external keyboard, and Dr Pepper while waiting for the kids I babysit to get out of school! The car-rider line is the best place to write!

10 Minute Novelists get up earlier.

Harry Marks I have 2 hours in the morning to write before the workday starts. I get up at 4:30 every morning to make sure this happens. I also write on my lunch break and if the motion sickness doesn’t kill me, on the phone on my train ride home in the evening.

10 Minute Novelists stay up later.

Sophia Ryan I keep a recorder on my nightstand so if a perfect piece of prose or dialog blossoms in my brain while I’m in bed, I can capture it immediately. Otherwise I’ll forget it in the morning. Hubby no longer wakes at hearing me whisper strange things in the dark.

10 Minute Novelists sacrifice something else.

Stephanie Smith Diamond I turn off the wifi on all my devices in order to avoid distractions.

10 Minute Novelists set small and manageable goals.

Mariah E. Wilson  When my kids were small I got in the habit of having a notebook with me at all times. I’d find ten minutes while cooking dinner or when the kids were occupied. It’s easier to find time now that they’re older, but I still have a notebook wherever I go.
Meg Brummer I set my computer in a central location and make a goal to write at least five words every time I walk by. Even when I’m really busy I end up with hundreds of words from “drive-by writing” like this.

10 Minute Novelists have a plan and then work that plan!

Dave Burnham I write during my 30 minute lunch break at my day job. I get up earlier at weekends to try and do more and once every couple of weeks I go to the local Panera with my laptop for a couple of hours. If I’m out for the day  I have a notebook and pencil in the car. I sit and write while my wife’s hitting the outlets (after she’s bribed me with coffee to go there!)

10 Minute Novelists make the most of every opportunity.

Molly Neely I rely heavily on the memo app I installed on my phone. That way, I can write during my breaks & lunches when I’m at work.

Sharon Kathleene I take my pen and paper into the bathroom with me, and I don’t care if it’s gross! It might only be a few minutes here or there, but I’m usually able to bang out a couple hundred words while I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

10 Minute Novelists get creative when it comes to their family time.

Shannyn Jordan I unleash the 4 year old on the cats hoping they can distract her long enough for me to write a hundred words.

Laura Salinas If you can give the kids a job that you would normally do quickly but they’ll take 10 minutes to do that will buy you some time something like put the cans away my general rule is will they hurt it or will it hurt them and if neither is true give them more responsibilities those minutes add up and you’re instilling a good work ethic in the short people.

Eric Johnson Send family to the store. Arrange playdates, and tell their spouse they can go to the bar with their friends. Fake your own kidnapping.  Then hide in garage to write. Claim abduction by UFO. Threaten housework., and when family leaves write. 

None of the writers quoted above have a fancy cabin in the woods.

They don’t have four or five hours a day to crank out words. They don’t fit the stereotype that most writers fall into. But all of these time-crunched 10 Minute Novelists have one goal: to write a little bit as often as they can.

10 Minute Novelists believe that momentum and consistency is more important than time allotted or word count.

If you look at your time-crunched life, and squeeze in a little bit of writing here and there you can be a 10 Minute Novelist too!



I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Top 10 Signs That You May Be A 10 Minute Novelist by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

Are Your Big Writing Dreams Worth Finding the Time?

Writing a novel takes hard work. It takes order. It takes discipline and planning. It takes courage and determination and tenacity. Anyone can do it, even if they have only ten minutes a day. (How do I know this? I wrote a novel in ten minute increments. Hence the name of this blog!)

I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends
I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends

Sometimes we think that we also need long, uninterrupted hours, an isolated cabin in the woods, a whiskey habit and a carton of Marlboros to be a writer too. But we don’t. Sometimes we need to stop thinking about how much different our life is from the idealized writer life is and just do what we can. We may have been in the habit of thinking that we can’t write at all unless conditions are perfect, the kids are more cooperative and inspiration strikes.

But I’m here to tell you that there are no such things as perfect conditions for writing.

There are, however, writers out there who make the most of what they do have and accomplish their dreams in less than ideal increments. I call these folks 10 Minute Novelists. 
Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

Are you a 10 Minute Novelist? Ask yourself these questions and see!

1. The baby wakes you at 4:30 and after you settle him back down, your first thought is “How many words can I get in before the whole family wakes up?”

2. While watching a crime show, a prosecutor mentions “solitary!” Your first thought? Solitary confinement? That sounds heavenly! I could get so much done there!

3. You’ve said to yourself “one of these days, when I have the time, I’ll get that book written!” Except that you’ve said it so many times no one believes you.

4. You treasure time alone in the bathroom to collect your thoughts and you may have a notebook and pen stashed somewhere just in case you get inspired.

Why can't I write?
That hashtag? That’s our Weekly Chat on Twitter! Join us!

5. Whenever you hear someone say they wrote 3000 words in one day, your first thought isn’t “good for you” your first thought is, “will they press charges if I slap them?”

6. There’s an inch of dust on your laptop.

7. You think that real writers have sprawling desks, live in isolated cabins, chain smoke, drink themselves silly, wear a lot of black and possibly own several cats. Then you decide, well no wonder they write so much, no one could stand to be near them!

8. If you’re honest with yourself, you think that your dreams are selfish. That your responsibilities are far more important and lofty than any silly, childish fantasy. That the desire to write a book is nothing but a vain attempt of mortality. And then you don’t know why you’re so sad.

9. You’ve watched Two And A Half Men and thought more than once, “I could write better dialogue in my sleep!”

10 Somebody once told you that you had talent, but you’ve never found a way to express yourself in writing. And that kind of bugs you. And you don’t know where to begin. Click this to find out how to squeeze in ten minutes to pursue those dreams of yours! 

If any of these are true about you then you may be a 10 Minute Novelists. That means that you are time-crunched writer with big, big dreams.

Join our Facebook group to meet hundreds of writers from all over the world who are just like you. This is such a cool place to hang out, that Writer’s Digest named us one of the best websites for writers in 2016. Many of us are just starting out on our writing adventures. Some of us are very experienced. Some of us have book deals and agents. All of us though know what it’s like to squeeze writing goals around a busy life. Want to start finding an extra 10 minutes today? Here’s how!

Your dreams are worth 10 Minutes. Find them. Put down some words.

Be amazing!

Practical Ways To Find Extra 10 Minutes To Make Your Dreams Come True

I get asked often what my Twitter handle, @10MinNovelist means. If I’m feeling generous, I say, “it means I have to write in the smallest bits of time that I can.”

If I’m feeling a bit snarky, I say, “it means I have five children who like to eat and have clean clothes.”

I call myself @10MinNovelist because I’ve decided my writing dreams were worth finding time for.

I think it’s possible for the busiest of people to carve out a little time daily to do something they love — it just takes vision, creative use of time and space, and discipline, but it can be done.

Help! I Don't Have Time To Write!
Click this graphic to join our Facebook Group! (The nicest bunch of writers you’ll ever meet!)

 Want to join other writers who are finding time to make their dreams come true? Join us on Facebook!

 I also discovered that most domestic chores can be done in less than ten minutes.

 Like the following:

Sort the laundry and start one load.

Fold one basket of clean laundry.

Clean the bathroom.

Vacuum one room in my house.

Dust one room in my house.

Clean out the refrigerator.

Unload the dishwasher and fill it again.

Wipe all the kitchen counters and sweep the floor.

Compile a shopping list.

Start (but not complete) dinner.

This isn’t an exhaustive list.

There are many more tasks around the house that, if broken down in small chunks, can be done every other ten minutes.

If I stay focused on these little tasks, for ten minutes at a time, then I’ve only worked an hour and a half. I have the rest of the day to do what I need to do for myself for my family.

If I have a lengthy list, things like call for dental appointments, or write an article or go to the library, I break it down in to the smallest tasks possible, enlist the help of my children and keep setting my timer.

But there’s even more ways to find time! (It helps if your family is cooperative!)

 1. Delegate Your Responsibilities: You don’t have to do everything! This is exactly why I have a lot of children, so we can share the love that is household chores. It’s only too bad that I didn’t give birth to fully grown tween girls (my girls are the best and work almost as hard as I do!)

2. Reward Yourself After An Unpleasant Task With A Little Writing Time I find that I’m a lot more efficient with my housecleaning when I realize that at the end of it, I get to write. So race yourself. Can you fold that basket of laundry in ten minutes? Can you clean that bathroom in seven? It’s not about quality here, people, it’s about getting the chores done so the creative stuff can take place!

3. Train Your Children To Respect Your Passions Little ones can grasp that Mom needs ten minutes, but they can’t get that Mom needs two hours. Make it manageable for them, and it will pay off big for you later.

4. Be selective in returning calls and answering texts right away. If your friends can’t understand this, perhaps they need to become an unsavory character in your novel.

5. Rethink Television Back when I started my quest for ten minutes a day, the most technology I had at my fingertips was DVR. Now, really, there just isn’t any excuse for claiming that your network TV schedule has interfered with your writing time.

6. Limit Your Internet Time. Be brutal in which blogs you regularly follow in your reader. Spend less time than I do on Facebook. Avoid Pinterest.

 

7. Make Meal Prep Time Efficient Advance planning, make-ahead cooking, use of crock pots, bread machines and rice cookers – all of this can make you necessary job of eating (and hopefully eating well) less time consuming  and allow you more time for writing.

8. Plan Your Laundry Like death and taxes, there will always be dirty clothes to wash, so create a daily strategy in which to handle it. By having a plan in place, you will save precious minutes. We’re looking to find small bits of time, right? Not to save the world.

9. Have A Plan Before You Sleep If you wake up in the morning with no surprises (or at least a minimum) then you will save time, guaranteed. It’s also helpful to get the necessities out of the way as soon as you can and free up time later.

10. Have All You Need, Right Where You Need It. The more organized you are, the more time you will save.

Granted, I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom, my daily responsibilities are limited to the domestic. But I’d like to suggest that anyone can find ten minutes.

The busiest person CAN find time to meet their writing goals. Ten minutes a day is better than nothing at all.

Got any more ideas? Leave them in a comment below!

Or, better still, join us on Twitter every Thursday night, 9PM EST for a chat. Follow this hashtag  #10MinNovelists  and join the fun!

 

 


Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant more tips on how to make Twitter work for you? CONQUERING TWITTER in 10 MINUTES DAY is available! Specifically written for authors, this book will help you think about yourself, your brand, your books, and your goals on Twitter, create great questions to ask and organize your time in such a way that you can get the most out of every tweet.

Available for $.99! 


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Why Writers’ Community Is Like Icing On A Big, Delicious Cake

If we are rich writers, we use words like Paula Deen uses butter and cream.

We liberally pour  out our ideas and our vision into our paragraphs and prose. We add in sweetness and flavor and texture who we are and what we care about in every book. We sculpt our words together like sugary icing roses along a cake and we present our final, finished projects as grand feasts for the world, allowing our readers to savor each morsel and each portion.  If we are rich writers, the solitary act of creating is a full and satisfying one.

But I’d like to suggest that more satisfaction that comes when we are connected to writer friends who are making their own sweet compositions.

 

You are, indeed, rich, if you have written books by the dozens, won awards, and sold many copies.

Why Writers’ Community Is Like Icing On A Big, Delicious Cake
Why Writers’ Community Is Like Icing On A Big, Delicious Cake

But you are richer still if you have close friends who coached you along the way.

Every success, every victory, every instance of #AuthorHappiness is just one tiny blip on this long writing journey, that is, quite honestly, a lonely one, but is magnified when it is shared. And the sad, dark times are so much easier with their comfort.

The rejection letters will come. Let those around us buy us a drink. 

The 1 star reviews will trickle in. Let those around us say, “They just don’t get your brilliance.”

The doors will close. The publishing house will go under. The disappointments are a given if we choose writer as our identity.

Within a group of writers, you have mentors and mentees, you have advice and warnings, you celebrations and sorrows. You can squeeze each others’ hands and say, “it is scary,” but you can do it. Or, “you are good, hang in there” or “this happened to me once!”

How do you find other writers?  There are tons of ways! But the easiest is to join my group 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook.

I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends
I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends

Writers, as tempting as it is to wrap yourself up in a solitary, lonely world with just your characters and your computer as your companions, please don’t neglect the importance of community. Reach out to other writers. We need you too.


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward, PTSD survivor, and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day.Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Her new novel, Soulless Creatures, which is about two 18 year old boys, not vampires, will be released August 2015.

 


 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soulless Creatures by Katharine Grubb

Soulless Creatures

by Katharine Grubb

Giveaway ends October 10, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Plan Next Year’s Conference(s) The Right Way — A Guest Post by Jane Steen

Ever finished a conference season feeling you didn’t get much value for your money? Or are you still waiting to go to your first writers’ conference, paralyzed by the choices out there or worried about the cost? Here are some practical tips to help you approach next year’s conferences in great shape.

-- A GUEST POST BY JANE STEEN

Decide on your needs

It’s best to approach conference season in light of your unique needs. Do you need to soak up advice about the writing craft? Do you want to learn about self-publishing? Do you want to pitch a story to agents? Do you want to make connections within your genre? Take a few minutes and write down your goals for next year. Then write down the one thing you’d like to achieve to make that year shine for you.

Make a shortlist

Don’t just focus on that conference your friend always goes to and which sounds cool. Search on “writers conference” and research what’s out there, then make a shortlist of conferences that might fit your needs and research some more. Make a spreadsheet to record the vital stats of each conference on your list—where it’s to be held, how much it costs, and what kind of sessions, workshops, classes or opportunities it offered this year (because next year’s offerings won’t be publicized until quite near the conference date).

Plan your time

When making your shortlist, note the dates of those conferences and compare them with your work and home calendars. Think about graduations, house moves, milestone events for family members, and work commitments for you and anyone else who’s going to be needed at home while you’re away. You might even need to plan around medical needs—if you know you’re heading for a knee replacement, get it done well before the conference.

Calculate the cost

There’s nothing worse than drawing near to the date of a conference and then realizing it’s going to make a much bigger hole in your bank account than you’d thought. Especially since conference fees are often non-refundable past a certain date, as the conference organizers have to make financial commitments based on the fees they’ve received. So be smart—once you’ve figured out one to three hot contenders for your time and money, calculate just how much money that’s going to be. You’ll be paying for the conference fee, a hotel stay, possibly meals (check this), travel to and from the conference, a new outfit or two and about $200 in incidental expenses. Think of the conference as a working vacation in an expensive resort, and you’ll get the picture.

If you’re not going to be able to afford the total cost of the conference, don’t sign up. Don’t just assume the money will be there when you need it. Strategize alternatives—could you forgo a vacation to pay for the conference (negotiate this with your spouse if you have one)? Could you go to the cheaper local conference instead? Could you stay with a friend instead of at the hotel, or share a hotel room? Does the conference award scholarships, and how do you apply?

Be careful if you’re asked to be on a panel or help present a workshop at a conference, as many conferences expect presenters to work for nothing or next to nothing, to pay for their hotel room and travel, etc. If finances are an issue, make sure you know what the deal is before you say yes. Dropping out later because you’ve realized you can’t afford the trip will be awkward all round.

Register early

If you’ve ascertained you can afford your target conference, sign up as early as you can. The early bird usually gets lower fees, the most favorable hotel rate, and guaranteed participation in events that fill up fast. Make a note of the date past which there’s no refund for cancellations, and set a reminder to review your schedule before the no-refund date to make sure nothing new has cropped up at work or at home.

Want to pitch? Research your agents

If you’re signing up for a conference because you have a manuscript to pitch to an agent or publisher, or think you’ll have one ready by the conference date, research those industry professionals meticulously before you sign up. You might only get one or two pitch sessions, so make sure you’re pitching to the very best fit you can find. And if you draw near the conference date and realize your manuscript won’t be ready after all, contact the organizers and release your spots to someone else. Don’t pitch an incomplete manuscript.

If you find these suggestions helpful, let us know in the comments. I have a few more for you—and perhaps Katharine will let me come back again!


Historical Romance Author Jane Steen

Jane Steen was born in England and, despite having spent more years out of the British Isles than in, still has a British accent according to just about every American she meets.
Around the edges of her professional occupations and raising children, she stuck her nose in a book at every available opportunity and at one time seemed on course to become the proverbial eternal student. Common sense prevailed, though, and eventually she had the bright idea of putting her passion for books together with her love of business and writing to become a self-published author.
Jane has lived in three countries and is currently to be found in the Chicago suburbs with her long-suffering husband and two adult daughters. Her book, House of Closed Doors can be found here. 

#Top Ten Ways To Beat Insecurity As A Writer (At Least Temporarily) By Katharine Grubb

 

We are insecure for a lot of reasons.

We’re insecure because we probably have artistic temperaments that makes us feel deeply. We overthink and over analyze. We find it’s easier to dwell on what it negative in our life rather than what is positive. We may have lived in environments in which confidence and boldness was discouraged and despair was fertilized with lies and fear. We may lack skills. We may fear failure. We may long for approval and we know it’s hard to achieve it anywhere, much less in this field. We’ve been burned before. The last person who read our work was mean or hateful or didn’t get us. We’re  bound too tightly to the failures of yesterday. We speak a lot of negative words to ourselves. We compare others’ highlight reel to our bloopers. We are so aware of our weaknesses that we can’t comprehend that we have strengths. We’re too worried about what others think.

Top 10 Ways To Beat Insecurity As A Writer by Katharine Grubb

This insecurity is a poison.

It can seep into our lives, into our motivations, and into the words that we put together. This poison can infect our subconscious, our thoughts, and our habits. It has a paralysis that freezes all of our dreams. It’s a hallucinogen that creates ravenous monsters  that devour our hopes in one bite. It’s contagious. You can be given this pestilence by someone else with their disapproving looks, their snide comments, and their general disrespect of you.

What do you do if you are insecure?

Here are my Top 10 easy fixes for some short term relief from insecurity. The long term fixes my need bigger guns! 

1. Practice writing. You will get better with practice. Set a word count goal or set a time limit, even ten minutes will do, and put in your effort to get better. Strengthen those writing muscles with daily workouts, even a small one.

2. Read. Read books by authors that you would love to be compared to. Study what they are doing. Look for things that you know you can do like them, like character development or dialogue. Look for things that inspire you and analyze why it moves you so.

3. Take time alone. Get away, even for a few minutes, from any people or environment that is not completely supportive.

4. Practice positive self talk. This is tough and it takes practice. Write down truths about who you are.

5. Make a list of things that you are really good at. They don’t have to be writing related. But these are your strengths. And you should be proud of these.

6. Make a list of your accomplishments. Big or small. Things that you did that were hard and you succeeded at. These things should make you hold your head up high.

7. Go for a walk. Or exercise in some way. Exercise releases endorphines and those will make you feel better about yourself. My therapist said that 20 minutes of exercise is worth one dose of Prozac. I totally love this.

8. Write down personal goals. Make them small and measurable. Something for the day, something for the week. Something for the month. And then work toward those goals. Then reward yourself for meeting them.

9.Identify the toxic, discouraging people in your life and do your best to remove yourself from them. This is not easy, but emotional and verbal abuse can wear on your self esteem and wear you down. Stay with healthier people.

10. Eat well. Without getting militant about it, you will feel better and have a better emotional health if you minimize processed foods.

Want more? Stay hydrated. Limit stimulants. Get enough sleep.  Write about why you want to be a writer. What prompted this goal in the first place. Join a writers group. Like 10 Minute Novelists. See a therapist. Seek spiritual help.

Now all of these are practical steps. But this is not a complete list.

Being a writer is hard. Being a human being with emotional needs is harder. But you can do this. Any energy you put into caring for yourself emotionally is worth doing.


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.
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Author Katharine Grubb  lives in Massachusetts, homeschools her five children, bakes bread, does a ridiculous amounts of laundry and sets her timer to write stories in ten minute increments. She believes in this so much she created a Facebook group for it (10 Minute Novelists) and she runs a website for the group: http://www.10minutenovelists.com. Her favorite type of books to read and write are quirky, imaginative tales of romance, faith and humor.


Starting in July, a new weekly newsletter, The Rallying Cry,  will be released from Katharine Grubb. Sign up if you need a weekly dose of encouragement covering all of your life, not just writing. The Rallying Cry  will be an honest, kleenex-worthy, you-can-do-this, faith-filled message of hope for those who need it. You can sign up below.

Starting in July, a new weekly newsletter, The Rallying Cry, will be released from Katharine Grubb. Sign up if you need a weekly dose of encouragement covering all of your life, not just writing. The Rallying Cry will be an honest, kleenex-worthy, you-can-do-this, faith-filled message of hope for those who need it. You can sign up below.

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The Real Reasons You May Hate Marketing And What You Can Do About It

 

Sadly, if we are to have readers, we have to go find them, convince them that our stories are worth spending money on and do it in somewhat civilized way.

The reasons you hate marketing may have to do with real fears and anxieties. But you can overcome them. 

You poor, poor writers. You pour your heart and soul into your books. You create these magical worlds, these vibrant, three dimensional characters, these intricate plots, these thrilling stories that culminate in an figurative or literal explosion of action and dialogue that leaves your readers breathless, weepy and ready to plunk down more dough for the next installment. And if your reader is going to read it, you have get it in front of the public eye.

The truth? We’d rather not let it be seen. We’d rather hide behind our computer screens and only have the kinds of relationships that require us to type words.

What could those real reasons be?

You’re not sure that you’re  good.

A lack of confidence is normal. Every author goes through that. How To Overcome: Hire a professional editor. Join a critique group through Scribofile.  Get a writing buddy on our Facebook group. Then, ask them for their honest feedback and then weigh what they say carefully. Improve where you need to but believe them when they say it’s good.

You have a creepy association with salesmen.

We all have creepy association with salesmen. Salesmen have a bad rap. They’re known for being slimy, smarmy and untrustworthy. How To Overcome: Just because others are bad sellers doesn’t mean you have to be. Remind yourself that your work is good, it’s worth buying and you have no ulterior motives. Be authentic with all your relationships and you’ll find selling to be easier.

The Real Reasons You May Hate Marketing And What You Can Do About It

You’ve seen the numbers and they’re not encouraging.

Millions and millions have books have been published in many different formats through many different types of publishers and platforms. It’s true that your little bitty book really isn’t much compared to them all. It’s enough to be very discouraged. How To Overcome: Have low expectations. Gain one reader at a time. Be content with small beginnings.

You’re  a little bit embarrassed that you are asking for money to do something you love.

How To Overcome: Change your thinking. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being paid for your hard work. You deserve something of value in exchange for the hard work you’ve put into it. You have talent, you’ve shared it with the world, now receive your compensation. The world operates like this and generosity will certainly open doors for you, you should never apologize for finishing the end of the transaction. This TED video explained to me so beautifully the art of asking. Amanda Palmer made me happy to give up my fear of asking.

asking Amanda Palmer marketing selling ebooks publlishing
Click the image to go right to the Ted link for this video.

You have haters.

We all have haters. That’s the beauty and the problem with art: what’s beautiful to some is repulsive to others. What to do: Thicken your skin a little and make your art the best it can possibly be. Then read all of these accounts of writers who were rejected and lambasted in reviews. Then, go back and read the good things your real fans have to say. There are more people in the world who would agree with them. Wouldn’t it be fun to find them?

You’ve failed before.

All of us have failed. We’ve failed from the first time we tried to walk, or read or even say coherent sentences. Our failure shouldn’t define us, it should just make us more human. What to do: Make a list of all the ways in which you are successful (if you need help, ask someone close to you). Practice saying positive things to yourself.  Try new strategies or approaches or take active steps to learn what you’re doing wrong that will make you more successful as you market.

You don’t want to be one of those pushy writers.

Some writers still haven’t got the message: hard sells get you nowhere. What to do: Don’t follow their example! Instead build relationships, ask questions, engage with people in an authentic way so that they want to buy what you’re selling. You never, ever have to be a slimy salesman.

selling books ebooks marketing hard sell

You’re not sure what you want.

What to do: Answer this: What does success look like to you? Is it thousands of books sold? Is it entertaining your friends and family? Think long and hard about what you want your sales goals to be and then take concrete steps to get there. Once you are on the path to your own desires, you may even find that marketing can be fun.

Or maybe your issues are deeper than this.

If they are, that’s okay.

But please know that lots of writers have to buck up their courage to market their books. This fear of putting yourself out there is pretty common. Consider joining a writing group (like all the sweet folks at 10 Minute Novelists) where you can find encouragement, tips and community. And they might just help you with your big issues.

And let me know if any of this helps.

 

#Top10Tuesday Top Ten Local Resources That Could Help You Sell Books

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The first rule of marketing is finding the right people who want what you have to sell.

And the truth is that selling books is hard. But assuming that your book is an excellent one, it’s free of grammatical and artistic errors, it has a nice, professional cover and you’ve done all you can do to make it a great book then you can sell it.

But first, you may need to start small and have low expectations.

Starting small may mean starting locally.

Your connections in your hometown might be a great place to begin your sales.

This week’s #Top10Tuesday list is all about local places your book could be welcome.

Top Ten Local Resources That Could Help You Sell Books

1. Your local library.

How can I sell my book?

Half my face and my book at my local library.

What to do: Go in person to your local library with copies of your book. Be gracious and humble and introduce yourself as a local author. Ask if they would like to have a copy. If they do, sign it. Then ask them if they do anything to feature local authors, like a presentation or a lecture or a writing course. Be patient and courteous. You never know what will happen as a result of your visit.

2. Other local libraries.

What to do:  After you leave your local branch, research how many more libraries are in a 10-20 mile radius. Do the exact same thing with them as you did with your closest branch. Ask questions. Smile. And whatever you do, stay humble! You want them to like you, not think you’re a pompous jerk just because your name is on a book.

 

3. Local hospitals.

What to do:  Bring several copies of your book to the front desk and say this: “I’d like to donate some reading material to the waiting rooms. Is there someone I need to talk to about this?”  This may not be the place to toot your own horn, perhaps, you should just downplay that your the author. Every hospital will handle this differently. Some may allow you to go to only certain areas. Follow their instructions. Leave one book per waiting area, maybe even stick a bookmark in it. And then be on your way.

4. Local independent bookstores

What to do:  If you haven’t patronized your local independent bookstore, you should start. They are fighting a difficult battle and any support you show them will certainly be reciprocated. Find out first if they would even carry your book. You don’t want to approach a New Age book store with your Amish romance. Next?  Introduce yourself as a local author who is trying to get to know people in the community. See what the manager says and follow whatever policies he has. Worst case scenario? They say they can’t order any specific titles and send you on your way. Best case? They get all excited about your book and give it a place of honor. You won’t know until you ask.

 

5. Local coffee shops.

What to do:  Sometimes coffee shops feature local writers and artists either through live events, sales or or readings. Ask the managers if you can work together. Perhaps if you promised to bring a certain number of guests, they could help you organize a live reading or a release party.

6. Local newspaper

What to do:  In the age of Facebook and Twitter, our local papers aren’t always remembered for their power. Yet, there are people who will only you discover you in the old school way. Contact your local paper and find out if you can send a press release about your book, or be interviewed for a feature story, or buy ad space, or even be reviewed. As with everyone else in your community, be humble and work around their needs and their objectives.

 

7. Senior Centers.

What to do: Much in the same way you approached a hospital, start up a conversation with the staff at a Senior Center and ask if they would like free copies of your book.

8. Local book clubs

What to do:  Check out all your local announcements — either online or off — and track down any local book clubs in your community. Once you find them, expect them to have already decided what they are reading for the next few months. Instead of pushing your title on them, ask them if they would like to have a copy to give away.  This may excite them enough to put your book on their schedule or have you come and read. Do this same thing with as many surrounding communities as possible.

 

9. Consignment Stores

What to do: Local second hand and consignment stores may be very interested in displaying books by a local author. Talk to local merchants and see if they would like to help you sell your book in their store. You won’t know what they’ll say until you ask.

10.  Local events

What to do:  Find out if your local community has a festival and then consider how you can participate. There may be booths to set up or ad space to buy. Then, check out neighboring communities too and join in their fun. With your books, bookmarks and you business cards, you never know who you might meet.

 

Many of the suggestions in this list require giving away copies of your book in the beginning. Don’t freak out over that.

Ideally, someone will read your book for free and then either buy it for themselves or recommend it to a friend. Some of these suggestions will show instant results but some could take months.  But this is worth doing. You’ll meet readers, impact your community and become the better marketer for it.

Got any more ideas? Let’s hear ’em!