Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 28, 2013

It’s mostly been a good week. We had a revival at our church last Sunday through Wednesday and, for the first time in years, I was able to attend every service. The speaker was unusually good, very unique. I told him he should be a writer as he shared anecdotes from his life, and then gave them spiritual applications. . . . Saturday we celebrated our youngest daughter’s birthday and for the next three weeks, our three children will be 48, 49, and 50. (I know that’s hard to believe from my picture that I have kids that old!) . . . The one sad happening was hearing of the death of my dear friend Eleanore Forder, who her husband Reg called “The First Lady of Christian Writers’ Conferences.” The Phoenix conference won’t be the same this November without her smiling face at the registration desk. Pray for Reg as he goes through this year without her help.
Thought for Today:

“We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow” (Fulton Oursler).
Laugh for Today:
(from Sheila Heil’s newsletter): I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"
Book Review:

The Freedom of Letting Go is the perfect book to read to begin the new year. It covers the following topics:
Letting Go of Grief;
Letting Go of Failures—Your Own and Other People’s;
Letting Go of Your Successes;
Letting Go of Possessions;
Letting Go of the Hurts in Your Life;
Letting Go of Your Children;
Letting Go of Health Issues;
Letting Go of Your Youth;
Letting Go of Guilt;
Letting Go of Control;
Letting Go of Worry;
Letting Go of Doubt;
Letting Go of Fear; and
The Land Beyond Letting Go.
Book may be purchased on Amazon or send a check (or PayPal) to me at: 701 South Dobson Rd., #350, Mesa, AZ 85202. I’m also available to give this talk in the Maricopa County area.

Writers’ Tips
(The words below are part of the Foreword written by Sally E. Stuart, former editor of the Christian Writers Market Guide, for my book A Step in the Write Direction. I think this Foreword by itself gives a lot of good advice for writers!)
So you want to be a writer! I understand that feeling. Although I’m not one of those people who grew up always wanting to write, from the time I wrote my first article in the late 1960s I’ve wanted to do nothing else. Writing consumes my time and my passion.
I hear from would-be writers like you all the time. People who started with a great more passion than I did, but who have no idea how to move from the manuscript phase to publication. Although the Christian Writers’ Market Guide will lead you to appropriate markets for your writing projects—and tell you how to submit to them—there is so much more you need to know to prepare for that giant step toward publication.
Writing is like any other new business you might want to get into. It has its own rules, guidelines, and even language. If you want to enter the arena of publishing, you first need to be in the know about what preliminary steps you need to take—and what is expected of you as a writer. …
Many of those writers I hear from who want to know how to get published have been working sometimes for years on their writing project. They may hold in their hands a finished or nearly finished project that they want to see published as quickly as possible.
They often assume that it’s just a matter of writing what they want to say, sending it off to an editor, and it gets published. What they don’t understand—as I didn’t at the beginning—is that each editor has a list of guidelines that have been prepared to help the writer come to them with a manuscript that fits their criteria—such as the right length and the right slant to fit their specific needs. And ultimately it needs to be on a topic their readers want to read about.
What this means for you as a writer is that your manuscript can be too long or too short or does not target the appropriate market for that publisher. It is critical that you see and follow those guidelines from the beginning of your writing project so you don’t have to go back to square one and do a lot of rewriting.
Another problem I run into quite often is expressed by writers who have written something, but they don’t know what category it falls into when identifying potential markets in the market guide….This is a critical step in both writing with a specific audience in mind and finding those publications or book publishers open to what you have to offer.
Unfortunately I find a lot of writers who may have a great premise for their writing project, but it is written to too broad an audience—or to no identifiable audience at all.
For example, writing a book or story for children probably won’t sell unless you target
it to children of a particular age. Or, writing an article on money management for adults may not sell unless you target it to adults in a certain stage in life. Each publication or publisher targets a specific audience, so you need to know who that audience is and write your material to reflect their specific needs.
* * *

Thanks, Sally, for the good words, and I pray all of you have a good week spreading the gospel through the printed page!
Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--January 21, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction
January 21, 2013
January Special: 10% editing discount on book manuscripts if paid in advance (by check or through PayPal).
RIP Stan Musial! I met Stan in the Philadelphia airport a number of years ago. He was passing out autographed photos. Gave me one and asked me if I wanted more, so I got one for my brother and son. We talked awhile, discussing the on-going baseball strike, then I asked him if I could take his picture. He said okay, if I'd wait till we got to St. Louis. When I boarded the plane, he was sitting in first class with another man (bodyguard, I don't know). I thought, "Yeah, he knows that by the time us peons get off the plane, he'll be long gone." To my surprise, when I got off at St. Louis he was waiting for me. Handing my camera to his friend, he put his arm around me and now I have a picture of the two of us together.
No great news to report this week! No health problems, no proofreading jobs, but a couple of editing jobs. Finished an ABC picture book and sent it to the publisher, the same one who’s publishing the Rhyme Time Bible Stories for Little Ones picture book.
Goal this year: MARKETING! I have about 12 manuscripts finished that need to be sent out. For some reason, editors aren’t knocking at my door (or my e-mail box) asking if I have anything!
Thought for Today:
"Don't be so preoccupied with the destination that you bypass the beauty of experiencing God in the journey" (Dr. Stephen Trammell).
Laugh for Today:
A church congregation decided to have four worship services each Sunday. There was one for those new to the faith; another for those who liked traditional worship; one for those who'd lost their faith and would like to get it back; and another for those who had bad experiences with churches and were complaining about it. The church came up with a different name for each of the four services: "Finders," "Keepers," "Losers," "Weepers."
Guest Blog
Author, Speaker, Former Brave Girl
13 Tips for Writers

1. If you want to be a writer, you have to be willing to learn, be rejected, and work hard.

2. Wherever you are at in your writing expertise, you have a lot more to learn. Be teachable!

3. There is an overwhelming amount of information and options on the internet. Find a few resources/blogs/people you trust and stick with them for most of what you need to know. It gets very overwhelming doing random searches for information, so do it sparingly.
4. Major publishers are harder to get in than ever. If you don't have a following of thousands of people already, expect it to be nearly impossible. I know that's disappointing, but I'd rather tell you now than tell you that after you waiting 6 months for a rejection letter.

5. Subsidy publishers are eager for your book, but that's because you will be paying them and so they will make money whether you do or not. I have not heard of one yet that has worked out to an author's benefit. Be very careful about any publisher that makes you pay them first--and that's not for printing books, it's for the actually publishing of your book (and possibly some "marketing" on their part, usually this runs in the thousands of dollars before you ever see your first book).

6. Self-publishing is easier, cheaper, and you get a book a lot sooner than other options, but know that you are the 100% sole marketer responsible. If you are self-motivated, have a great message, and believe in your book, this can work great for you. Self-publishing is also good for someone who only wants to run a few copies rather than ordering hundreds up front (if you do POD—Print On Demand—rather than one that starts the print run in the hundreds of copies).

7. If you choose to self-publish, PLEASE create a good product. I can't tell you many books I've seen and read from Amazon that have typos, grammatical errors, very homemade covers, or just aren't good writing. Kindle and POD have helped make self-publishing not the stigma of lack-of-quality it used to be, but books like that put the whole group down again.

8. Whatever you decide about publishing, get an editor or have lots of people read the book before you ever put it out there. You can have 50 people read it, and the 51st will find that elusive typo everybody else missed. Believe me, it happened to me, except the person was about the 450th and the book was already on the market! Find people who will give honest feedback. This is one of my favorite parts in the process because I get to experience my book from a new reader's eyes. What was confusing? Did I get a fact wrong? Can I make this clearer? Is it age-appropriate?

Typos can really change your storyline...and they lived sappily ever after....oops, I mean happily ever after!
Let's eat grandma...or rather Let's eat, grandma.
He was doping...I mean hoping.

9. Print-On-Demand is the cheapest way to self-publish. I'd recommend Amazon's Createspace. They are user-friendly, have great customer service, and are connected with Kindle, so you can put it up easily on e-book as well. I sell about 3 e-books for every paperback, so getting in with Kindle is important.
10. Spend time on the extras. You may have a fabulous book, but if the two paragraphs on the back are boring, people aren't going to read it. Why spend so much effort on the inside and then fall short on your author bio or your back cover or the one sentence you put on the cover?

11. Invest in a great cover. People say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all do. With Amazon, especially, you're not picking books off shelves and looking through them. People are scanning pages and pages of covers and if yours is boring, or worse, looks cheap, there are millions of better ones to choose from. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go to and check out the covers.
12. Don't let rejection stop you. When I used to write a lot of articles for magazines and such, I began to expect 9 rejections for every 1 acceptance. Once I got the hang of who to write for and how, that number got better, but it was a realistic way to start. There are lots of reasons for being rejected that don't mean your work is bad. Keep going till you find the right readership (unless your work really is bad, in which case, learn and improve!).

13. Don't use God as an excuse for poor quality. That may sound mean, but agents and publishers get wary when someone says, "God gave me this book," or "The words are God’s, so..." and then proceed to say that's
 why the publisher really should want to publish it, or they won't take suggestions for improvements. If God called you to build houses, He would still expect you not only to learn how to build houses, but to build them well. If you just started nailing boards together, telling people God told you to build houses, you would get a bad reputation and actually dishonor your testimony rather than honoring God. So if God has told you to write, do so, but work at becoming the best writer you can be so your work honors Him.
There you have it. If you've learned some good lessons along the way, add to my list! It's always great to learn from someone else, especially someone a few steps farther up the path than we are. Helps us see potholes we might miss from our viewpoint….

Happy Writing! And may you live sappily ever after. =)
* * *
Hope you enjoyed Kimberley’s blog, and have a sappy—I mean happy—week writing!
Donna Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--January 14, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction
January 14, 2013
Not a lot to report from this week. Had a couple of proofreading jobs—very interesting books. One was a book of one-minute prayers for young men. Wish I had a young man to give it to! Working on a new picture book that I hope to take to my critique group tomorrow. And yesterday we celebrated my husband’s 77th birthday. With all his health problems (12 in all), we give thanks every time another birthday rolls around. I think of the words of the Bill Gaither song, “We have this moment today!”
Thought for Today:
15 Exercises We'd Be Better off Without in 2013
  1. Jumping on the bandwagon
  2. Wading through paperwork
  3. Running around in circles
  4. Pushing your luck
  5. Spinning your wheels
  6. Adding fuel to the fire
  7. Beating your head against the wall
  8. Climbing the walls
  9. Beating your own drum
  10. Dragging your heels
  11. Jumping to conclusions
  12. Grasping at straws
  13. Fishing for compliments
  14. Throwing your weight around
  15. Passing the buck (Source unknown)
Laugh for Today:
Is one of your resolutions this year to lose weight? Maybe the following will help:

Italian Pasta Diet—It Really Works
  • You walka pasta da bakery.
  • You walka pasta da candy store.
  • You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
  • You walka pasta da table and fridge.
Writer’s Hints (continued from last week)
  • Delete any words in red as they may not transfer on the final manuscript, and probably wouldn’t be included in the published book as any color adds to the cost.
  • Reduce the number of exclamation points you use. That and all caps looks like you’re shouting at the reader.
  • Keep all your font sizes and styles the same size (Times New Roman. 12 point, is the most popular).
  • Use numbers for percentages, then spell out the word “percent,” unless it’s in someone else’s quotation.
  • Any quotations from popular or religious songs may have to have permission, and the popular ones especially can cost a ton of money. To determine if a song’s in public domain, subtract 75 from the current year, and if it’s copyrighted before then, it’s okay. Otherwise, you can only quote one line, give the title, or paraphrase the words—still giving credit to the author or singer.
  • On the subtitle page, put these words:
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures in this book are taken from ­­­_version you’re using most often, and then give the credit line for the Bible you’re using. This saves you from having to give the version after every Scripture. Also, if you put words in Scripture in italics, rather than putting “italics added” after every verse, just put, also on the subtitle page: Italics in Scripture have been added by the author.
  • Let your words carry the message, then you won’t need all the caps, italics, bold, and exclamation points. Basically, (and I’m putting this in caps) MAKE IT AS EASY FOR THE EDITOR AS POSSIBLE! Having to delete all these extra things will only make him/her more work.
Have a good week writing everyone! Are you keeping up with your writing goals you set on January 1?
Donna Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction--January 7, 2013

A Step in the Write Direction
January 7, 2013
Nothing special to report this week. Just the usual work: editing, proofreading, and our income taxes. (I do them every January 1 just to know what to expect, but don’t mail them until April 15.)
The only unusual events concerned my husband. He’s had multiple sores on his left leg from the ankle to the knee, and then they started appearing on the right leg. His regular doctor ordered antibiotics a couple of weeks ago which didn’t help so he sent him to a dermatologist Thursday who diagnosed it as a “severe case of eczema.” He now has cortisone salve….Then just for excitement, he took a fall in the front yard that night. Luckily most of him fell on the trash bag he was carrying, so he just has a scratched-up nose, some cuts on the forehead, and scraped-up knees. Never a dull moment with him!
Sad report for this week is that my dear friend, Eleanore Forder—Reg’s wife (of American Christian Writers)—was released from the hospital. The cancer is widespread, and there’ll be no treatment—just make her comfortable and give pain management. Hospice will help. Continue to remember both of them in prayer, especially Reg with the 10 or 12 conferences he has scheduled for this year.
Thought for Today:
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Laugh for Today:
A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
Guest Blog:
From “New” Year to Eternity
Sandi Fischer
Standing at an airport gate, one witnesses the many emotions of “hellos” and “goodbyes”. Joyful smiles of greeting and happy embraces for arrivals; long kisses and tearful hugs for those departing. Life is hello. . .life is goodbye. It’s the constant tension of letting go and casting on. King Solomon put it this way: “everything has its season...a time to plant and a time to pluck up...a time to embrace and a time to refrain.” As we turn the page to a new year, we have a choice—to greet it with hope and joy, letting go of the past, or to keep standing at the gate, hanging onto “if onlys.”
As Time begins to write in our new year’s blank book, let us look to embrace one word—opportunity. Let us seek it on days when clouds veil its appearance and on days when it arrives skipping in the sunshine. Let us greet it as God’s way of allowing us to discover all the possibilities it holds. Solomon adds, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Talk about possibilities!
Somehow, as Time records our earthly journal, we sense there is a place of timelessness, a place of only “hellos,” a place the wise King says God has put in our hearts—a place called eternity. Until then, we can appreciate all the prospects a “new year” has to offer.
Writers’ Hints:
Following are notes I sent to an author after editing her manuscript. Perhaps they’ll help you too:
  • Punctuation (periods, commas, etc.) goes inside quotations marks.
  • Delete all bold and most of the all caps, unless needed for emphasis like STOP, DANGER.
  • Delete most of the italics. They break your train of thought. I left in those that were needed to emphasize your thought. Quotations, dialogue, and Scripture verses don’t need to be in italics.
  • No spaces before, between, and after ellipses…
  • The only times single quotation marks are used are within another quotation.
  • The places you had hyphens (other than in hyphenated words) should be what’s called em dashes, made either by typing two hyphens with no space before, between, or after, then when you type the next word and hit the space bar, it makes a dash. Or, in Word, you can make it by clicking on Ctrl, Alt, and the minus key on the number pad.
More of these hints next week.
Have a good week, everyone!
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"