Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Challenge and Website Forum

I've begun a rather intense challenge. I've set up a schedule to make 13 publications in 24 months. That means writing around one novel or short story every 2 months for two years.

The good news? You can join me! Maybe just for a few months, or for the whole 24 - your choice. Post your updates, chat about hiccoughs and life stuff, and get a bit of accountability in my new website forum, Writing Talk!

Sign up today!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Creative Writing Coaching - Do you need it?

Writing a novel is hard. Period. It is a lot of work with virtually no feedback during the process. While some people prefer the void when getting the words down, others need someone who has realistic understanding and expectations of where you are in the process. Sadly, as supportive as friends and family can be, they don't always know that a first draft isn't going to be a clean story.

This is where you might want to consider a writing coach.

What is Creative Writing Coaching?

Well, it's when you pay someone to encourage and advise you on your creative writing project. A good coach will be a sounding board, throw out some ideas for you to use or to launch from, show you the value of each step of the sometimes painfully slow writing process, and get you to keep going!

When do you need a writing coach?

You can use a coach when you first start, to help you learn the ropes and make sure you don't get discouraged by the whole, daunting process. You can also use a coach on your 50th novel to keep you on track, because we all need that at times.

While you usually want to get a writing coach in at the beginning of a project, in the idea stage, you can hire a writing coach at any time during the process. Be aware that a coach may require an additional fee or (paid) time to get caught up if you hire them halfway through.

What should you look for in a writing coach?

  1. Communication Style While a coach who is familiar with your genre is helpful, the point of a coach is to advise you on the more general writing process. So, it is more important to find someone whose communication style resonates with you.
  2. Experience in Format/Length You should look for someone who has experience writing the length of stories that you are working on. A short story plots and writes very differently than a novel. Many coaches have worked on writing various lengths of story, but you'll want to make sure the one you are looking at can do the format you need.
  3. Availability Be upfront with deadlines, and make sure the coach you are looking at hiring can work with that schedule. Rush jobs may warrant a rush surcharge to make up for the coach having to rearrange other aspects of their schedule.
  4. Accessibility This is how the writing coach plans on communicating with you. Most coaches use primarily text based communications, such as email, instant messaging (IM), etc. However, some coaches will also offer regular voice or video conferencing via phone, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. If you prefer to be able to speak to the coach, it may be a priority to find someone who can do that.
  5. Pricing A lot of factors go into pricing. A coach who is in high demand will likely charge more, as will a coach with years of experience. A coach who offers more in accessibility may charge more simply to cover the costs of any software needed to maintain that accessibility. While writing coaches, like editors, are an investment in your writing, you still need to find someone within your ability to pay them.

How do you find and hire a writing coach?

The best way to find a coach is by word of mouth. Ask your favorite editor or writer(s) if they know any. You can also ask around your writing groups, IRL or online.

Another way to find coaches is to google it. There are dozens of listings through writing journals, publishers, organizations, etc. The disadvantage here is that you don't know anything about them, and listings may be outdated.

Once you find someone, take the time to talk with them about their services. Pay attention to how quickly they get back to you, and how well they communicate with you. This is a good indication of how they will do the same while rendering services.

Lastly, don't forget to leave a review! As with authors, editors and writing coaches love having customers leave feedback, which they can use to promote their services. Even a few sentences is awesome! You can also ask if they offer any referral bonuses or discounts!

Good luck!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Whispers of Hope - Last Chance to PREORDER!

Don’t forget that you can preorder your copy of Whispers of Hope😀for 99c for a limited time 
A snippet of Precious Scars, in the Lexis Infinitum Whispers of Hope anthology by Sarah Buhrman - Author.
Preorder your copy
Enter the Preorder Giveaway
Add to your TBR
Join the release day shenanigans
100% of proceeds will be donated to TWLOHA & beyondblue

In honor of Whispers of Hope, an anthology benefiting Beyond Blue & TWLOHA, we wanted to take a moment to #SilencetheShame and #BreakTheSilence
We would love to share your story, completely anonymous, during our release party. If you are interested, please fill out the form HERE.
If you or anybody you know needs help, please reach out.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Goal Setting - A Go Indie Now Live Panel

I was honored to be asked to join this panel discussion on GoIndieNow! It's a great channel with TONS of resources for authors and recommendations for readers!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Minutiae of Life is Not a Failing

There is so much going on with the average life, many people feel as though their free-time is virtually non-existent anyways. When you throw in self-employment, working at home, kids, or financial distress (and the lack of flexibility to "buy time", such as ordering out instead of cooking from scratch) into the mix, it becomes exponential.

Generally, authors will have most or all of these factors working in their lives. It drags on your psyche, making it harder to focus on details (such as grammar) or to be creative. This means that an author's job just got more difficult.
Don't get me wrong. Most careers have their own version of this. This isn't a whine about how tough it is for an author. It's a reassurance.

Authors (and other creatives) often struggle with confidence in their abilities. The slow nature of sales can compound this. The lack of concrete responses to marketing doesn't help. All-in-all, there is a reason for stereotype of the alcoholic writer.

Trust me on one thing, though. None of that is a reflection on your value or skill as a writer or as a person.

We need to hear that more often. No matter how much we feel as though we are failing, it really isn't much of a metric. The history books are filled with artists and authors who were considered failures right up until their deaths.

So, if you are reading this, you aren't dead - you've still got a chance to make it. Keep writing!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

I've been getting so many reviews recently, I'm barely able to keep up with them all! There is no way I could have posted each and every one, so I'm going to just give you some links instead.

All-in-all, not a bad collection of reviews! I hope you check them out, particularly if you've been eyeing one of my books. The assessment of another reader might just be what makes up your mind!

If you are an author or reviewer, you can see the different kinds of reviews that people leave. All are completely valid (yeah, even the occasional 1 or 2 stars). If you aren't sure you can do reviewing, this should help you see that anything at all is a good review - it's the second best way to love your author!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Honoring Reader's Preferences

I’ve talked a lot about writing elitism. This time, it’s about perspective.

I can’t go more than a few days without seeing something ranting and railing about how “some readers” won’t read present tense, or 2nd person perspective, or other less common tenses. Mostly I find that it is done by writers who are pushing to have their own writing style “accepted” by more people.

I get it. Sometimes we write stuff that is a bit too far off the beaten path for the mainstream. I understand that frustration.

I like big “but”s.

BUT, when a writer does this, it doesn’t often come across as “oh, look, you should give this a chance.” It is more of a sneering, looking-down-one’s-nose rant about how the plebs just can’t understand how much they are missing. In case the point was missed, most of these call people some degree of stupid, narrow-minded, or uneducated. Because they prefer certain styles of writing.

Take a moment to think about that, from the reader’s perspective.

Any time a writer pushes the idea that you are some kind of fool for liking a specific genre, for preferring present tense over past (or vice versa), for liking the Hero’s Journey storyline format… they are insulting you for having a preference.

The funniest part is that most will backtrack and say things along the lines of “if you just give it a chance.” Funny, because people who read, tend to read a LOT. They have preferences because they’ve read a LOT. Most are willing to try new things, but few are willing to try something that they’ve tried (and disliked) before.

As a reader, I have preferences. If something sounds particularly good but is outside those preferences, I’ll still give it a go. That doesn’t change the fact that it is up to the author to make me want to leave my preferences.

One million new books every year are published. These books cross all genres, all styles. It is not up to me as a reader to throw out what I like and don’t like each and every time just to give a book a chance. It is up to me as an author to make people interested enough in my work to give it a chance.

That’s how that works.

It is also up to me as an author to accept that my style of writing, POV choice, 1st/2nd/3rd person perspective, etc, may not be what an individual reader enjoys. Accept it, and move on to the next reader, who likes the type of book I’ve written, or is at least interested in it enough to give it a chance.

My writing is not important enough to trump your right to have preferences and opinions. And vice versa.