Business Cards for Creative Types

Business card

A writer wants their words to be memorable, but there’s another item they want everyone to notice…their business card.

 Your name, email address, photo and website are sufficient introductory information. Experts argue if you really need to add your writing genre. If your website has links to your Facebook fan page, Pinterest page and Twitter feed, there is no need to include those items on your card. Likewise, your home address and phone number are superfluous.

 When designing your own calling card, keep in mind your primary objective. There are three types of literary business cards: trade, personal and marketing.

 Trade business cards are best for self-published authors or freelance writers. These could include email address and website, so potential clients can contact you for jobs.

 Personal business cards work for authors linked to a traditional publishing house, where they want name recognition. These are perfect for networking with readers and other writers. This card should contain information about you, not your books. Social media links could also be included on a personal card.

 Marketing business cards focus on the product you are promoting, rather than the genre or author. This type of card is for each successive book you produce and market.

 A photo helps people remember you. However, make sure it’s a head-shot only. You may have a fabulous body, but a business card is no place to flaunt it.

 Lauren Ruth, literary agent of Slush Pile Tales, throws away generic business cards she receives from authors. The types she keeps are the ones with the author’s photo and a printed pitch on the back of the card. “I knew exactly who this author was,” she said.

 You may want to include the main tagline from your pitch on the front of your business card. “Non-preachy inspirational fiction” and “quirky small-town romance” might be two fun examples.

 Vista Print is usually the first place new writers go for business cards. They have tons of choices and bargain-basement prices. A simple set of 500 is under $25. Staples.com is having a sale right now, 250 full-color, matte finish business cards for $20 (regularly $30), with free shipping. Other printers are Zazzle.com, Uprinting.com and Printrunner.com.

 A template makes designing your own business card a snap. Most printers have several to choose from, depending on your needs. Once you have decided on a style for your card, color and content can be addressed. Simple, but memorable, are the watch words.

 Who should you give these fabulous communication creations to? Everyone! Friends, family and acquaintances can share your business cards with people they know. Fellow writers meet industry professionals all the time. They might remember you would be a perfect fit for a certain agent or publisher. The networking ripples could extend beyond the whole literary pond.

 “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea. “–David Belasco, the Bishop of Broadway

Credits: Author Business Cards, Lauren Ruth, from www.slushpiletales.wordpress.com; The Best Business Cards for Creative Writers, Jennifer Stone, from www.ehow.com; Author Business Cards are Different, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, from www.jenniferswriting.blogspot.com.

June’s Writer Feature

KWA’s June Writer Feature: Carol Englehaupt

Carol prof (1)

Carol writes middle grade, adult cozy mystery, fantasy, and YA paranormal as C.L. Roth.

Her current work in progress is the sequel to her middle grade fantasy, Cosmic Shift, titled Cosmic Chaos.

Writing has given her a separate life from her son, an artist with cerebral palsy.  “I am a full-time caregiver. Writing allows me to be ‘me’ and not an extension of somebody else.”

When asked what she would like to pass along to fellow writers, she replied, “Learn the craft to the best of your ability and get your social networking in place way before you need it.”

Carol’s latest release, Bone Weary is available now at Amazon, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble.

When her husband quits his job to take an extended vacation to Australia, a woman and her disabled son head for Weary, KS. She didn’t count on a town-wide feud, a stalker, or bones in the fruit cellar.

Want more from Carol? Keep up with her at her site.

Party On, Wayne: Gathering Research From Area Festivals and Cultural Events

Wayne's WorldWriting conferences and conventions are informative and helpful in the quest for publication. However, there are a slew of cultural and fun events in this area that can enrich your prose with flavor, color and depth. You may want to attend these festivals and research subjects of interest to your readers. Make sure to get contact information from event organizers and participants to use in future projects.

Historical Fiction

Steamboating in Missouri and Iowa, exhibit and lecture, opens April 27, 2013, National Archives Central Plains Region, Kansas City, MO; Night at the Museum II, April 2014, National Frontier Trails Museum, Independence, MO; 23rd Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival, May 25-26, 2013, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, May 4-June 2, 2013, The Castle of Muskogee, Muskogee, OK.

Hobbies

30th Annual Kansas Numismatic Association Coin & Stamp Show, June 15, 2013 at the Cessna Activity Center in Wichita, KS; Wichita Flight Festival, September 28, 2013, at Col. James Jabara Airport, Wichita, KS; Red Slough Birding Convention, May 2014, Idabel, OK.

Foods

Prague Kolache Festival, May 2014, Main Street, Prague, OK; Italian Wine Tasting, May 21, 2013, Ciao Italian Kitchen, Wichita, KS; Tabouleh Fest, May 11, 2013, Main Street, Bristow, OK; Ethnic Enrichment Festival, August 16-18, 2013, Swope Park, Kansas City, MO.

Paranormal and Science Fiction

Fort Reno Ghost Tour, May 18, 2013, El Reno, OK; Tombstone Tales, May 19, 2013, Newkirk, OK; Kansas City Ghost & Gangsters Tour, every Friday and Saturday through July 2013, Kansas City, MO; Steampunk Day, May 25, 2013, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS.

People and Lifestyles

Kid Fest, May 2014 at Century II Expo Hall, Wichita, KS; 2013 Homeschool Conference, May 31-June 1, Century II, Wichita, KS; Just For her Expo Kansas, organized by HERLIFE Magazine, June 7-9, 2013, Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS; Festa Italiana 2013, June 2013, Zona Rosa, Kansas City, MO; Germanfest, May 3-5, 2013, Tulsa, OK; 1800s Lawn Social, May 2014, George M. Murrell Home, Park Hill, OK.

Wes Brummer, Featured KWA Writer

bar non candy barsWes Brummer still laments the end of the Bar None candy bar.  He probably wishes he had one to crunch through while working on his novel, Dust and Roses, a historical of Depression-era Kansas.  History is what Wes loves.  He writes, I feel a story makes the history more alive and compelling.  It doesn’t matter if it is far-fetched, as long as the setting is accurate and the characters are well driven.”

Wes is the recipient of several awards from the 2012 KWA Poetry and Prose Contest.  The first chapter of his novel won 2nd place, and his story Wes Brummer jpegGhost of a Chance won both 1st place in Short Fiction AND 3rd place in Humor!  You can read both by downloading our contest anthology, Words out of the Flatlands.   You can also read more from Wes by visiting his blog, Journey of a Novelist.

When asked about what this writer is reading, Wes acknowledges his latest resolution: “Read Local. Forget those NYT bestselling authors.”  He does his best to support his fellow KWA members.

As for advice for writers, Wes admits, “Hey, I’m just starting out!” but goes on to say, “be sure to follow through with the promises you make in a story.  Deliver on everything… If you talk about the possibility of something, either deliver it or take it out.”

Wise words from a great writer!

Katherine Pritchett, Featured KWA Writer

K PritchettKatherine Pritchett is a gal that says she has “rarely met a book I didn’t like.” A prolific writer and collaborator, Katherine considers herself primarily a novelist, although she has written articles, papers and policy at work.  She says that she loves “the luxury afforded by the word count to dig deep into the characters and the complex events that shape them.”

Several projects are in the works:

For short pieces, Katherine writes two blogs.  Through My Window expresses living with an attitude of gratitude, of being thankful for things often taken for granted. Diary of a Wimpy Dog chronicles her life with a manipulative Labrador retriever, and their other animal friends.

Katherine’s current project, Dr. Wonderful, is a romance between a surgeon and a paramedic.

When popular surgeon Rand McQuarrie challenges female paramedic Kris Evans, she dares him to observe a shift with her crew. Together they fight to save a patient and find the beginnings of mutual respect. The respect grows into attraction, despite misunderstandings and conflicts. The many demands of their jobs place on them is part of the conflict, and they struggle to find time to be together. And when they finally agree on a future, it is suddenly placed in jeopardy.

Her Richard Matthews novels, More Than a Point of Honor and The Judas Seat, are available at Barnes & Noble.

Katherine has also collaborated on a novel with her critique group: Baby Makes Three . Inspired by the life of a famous stripper who married a billionaire, had a baby and then died, leaving paternity of the baby in question, this book explores how it COULD have happened.

Katherine notes that new writers should “Never go with your first draft. Write, re-write, re-write again, edit some more, have others read it, then let it sit under the bed for six months to a year and edit again before you even consider it ready. And to quote Winny Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”

For more news and information about Katherine Pritchett’s work, visit Ramblings about Life and Writing.

Member Profiles

As we continue to improve our website platform, the KWA would like to provide a new venue for our members to share profiles, information about upcoming releases, and their personal website information.  Periodically, we want to showcase what our wonderful members are up to!  That means we’ll need our members to provide us with great biographical and authorial information.

Be prepared to answer some questions, like:  Writer’s Name (this may be different than your ‘real name,’ but since we are in the business of promoting you as a writer, give us the name you would like the public to know you by); and Email (this would be only for the Website Coordinator to contact you about the date when your profile would be featured).

The questions are to help us describe you to our website visitors.  Anything you write will be recast in third person.  Feel free to leave questions blank if they don’t apply to you at this time.  Each feature will be approximately 200-500 words, depending on the amount of information you provide.

Are you a member of KWA interested in doing a writer’s profile?  Click the link below and fill out the electronic form.  April Pameticky will then be in contact with you about when your profile will be shared online.  It is our goal to do several member profiles a month, promoting through Twitter and Facebook.  Feel like your ready?  Great! Let’s click and go!

http://KWA.form2go.com/83566.html

Platform Building: Identify, Engage and Commit to Your Tribe

New home construction framing.Building a strong and successful author’s platform is every bit as vital as the construction of a dream home. It takes the raw materials of discipline and dedication to your tribe, or audience. As a writer, you are the proprietor of Company You, and must take control of your own marketing and public relations. Counting on a literary agent or publisher to handle this for you is antiquated thinking.

Pillars of an author’s platform include: book/blog writing, guest posting on other blogs, vlog/podcasts, published articles in magazines or periodicals, public speaking and networking via traditional or social media.

Identify your tribe/reader. Add value to your website/web presence for the audience. What are their characteristics?

Engage your tribe. Reply to comments and questions promptly. Write a blog. Let them know your speaking calendar. Post daily content on a Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, Google+ profile, or Pinterest page.

Commit to your tribe. Like a skilled juggler, keep the balls of social media in the air with discipline. Make a commitment to your brand and audience. Don’t let too much time go by without connecting with them. As your platform grows, the stronger it will become.

If you are unpublished, Michael Hyatt’s latest book, Platform, recommends you spend 90 percent of your time writing and 10 percent on platform building. This is true for fiction or non-fiction genres; however, non-fiction writers should have a strong online presence. You want to be considered an expert in your field.

The most important thing is to keep your numbers growing. Even if you only have 15 minutes a day, you can use the time efficiently. Post content or ask questions on your Twitter feed, Pinterest or Facebook fan page, then read two or three other’s blog posts, and give feedback.

Write a guest post on other author’s blogs, especially those who share your genre. If you offer space on your blog, most writers are happy to reciprocate. The Biblical adage, “Do unto others…” fits nicely in this case.

My blog’s focus is encouragement, so I post an inspirational quote and Scripture every day on my Facebook fan page. Consider what might add value to your online presence for your readers. Use organizational and scheduling tools like HootSuite. It’s a huge timesaver.

Check out the social media presence of authors in your genre, or one you respect. Glean what speaks to you, and then find your own niche. The time to build your platform is now, before you sell your first book. At least have the structure in place, so you can hit the ground running when your time comes.

“If you want to get a publishing deal, you need a platform to prove your books will sell.”—Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn

Sources: Who Needs a Platform?, Are You Hitting a Bulls Eye With Your Target Audience?, From Blog to Book: Building an Online Platform, Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building? www.rachellegardner.com; The 15-Minute Writer (Part 3): Building Your Platform, Building Your Author Platform Before The Contract, 4 Pillars to Build an Effective Social Media Platform, www.wordservewatercooler.com.

Dear Diary: Journaling for Writers

Girl's DiaryThe Hubster and I recently spent time with our daughter in Dallas, and took the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum. There was an exhibit of Otto Frank’s family photographs, father of noted diarist Anne Frank.  Diary of a Young Girl was a life-changing book for me, along with many other adolescents. Anne’s naïve, yet honest account of her time spent hiding from the Nazis is one of the best-selling diaries in history.

Journaling is useful for increased creativity for writers, documenting personal milestones and information to be used in future projects, and synthesizing personal stress. It’s a terrific way to create balance in your life. The sheer act of venting your pent-up emotions on paper is cathartic.

Writing in a diary gives you an opportunity to separate yourself from the events of the day and place them in their proper perspective. When you see a problem written out on paper, it becomes more bite-sized. The space that nebulous thoughts take up in your brain pan could be put to good use thinking about a new story line or lead character.

Noted personal productivity speaker David Allen wrote an article titled, “Finding Your Inside Time,” at www.writersdigest.com. This piece shares insights into fighting stress and frustration in your work and personal life through journaling. “Sometimes core-dumping is the best way to get started when nothing else is flowing—just an objectification of what is on my internal landscape,” said Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Viking).

In addition to Diary of a Young Girl, other famous diaries are The Journals of Sylvia Plath, Notebooks by Tennessee Williams and Go Ask Alice. Historical journals belonging to Lewis & Clark and several U.S. presidents are held in high esteem.

Group journaling is another avenue to make time for writing and networking with other writers. Each person in the group can take a turn conjuring up writing prompts. Reading aloud to the group should not be compulsory, but encouraged. New insights into self and others will be discovered and bonds formed through sharing your inner life.

It’s always a good idea to reread your diary entries, if only to see how your voice has evolved over the years. Keep the focus on your talent, not the busyness of everyday life. Besides, the contents of your personal journal will make a juicy memoir some day!

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”—Anais Nin

Sources: “Keep Your Hand Moving,” Christa Allan, guest blogger on www.rachellegardner.com; “The Power of Group Journaling,” Suzanne C. Goodsell, www.writersdigest.com

How to Write a Killer Author Bio in Three Easy Steps

A clean, concise author biography is your calling card, and can mean the difference between future sales and languishing in the bookstore bargain bin. Creative writing may be your bread and butter, but tooting your own horn can be a difficult task. Here are three categories to consider:

  1. Short form: Two sentences. In third person. Name, book title, publisher, where they can find you online. Around 25 words.
  2. Medium form: For speaking engagements, magazine articles, brochures. In third person. Name, book title, publisher, where they can find you, education, and background, if it pertains to your writing. Around 50 words.
  3. Long form: For query letters. In first person. One quarter (around 50 words) of the page for fiction. A little longer for non-fiction (add your platform and credentials). Push the current project, not your life story.

Make it professional, but with your personality; include memberships in literary associations, degrees in literature or creative writing, book awards and reviews.

Make a list of all possible facts, then start paring it down. Choose three credits to highlight. Keep personal information to a minimum. Readers want to know where to find you on the internet and other books you have written.

Share your newly-crafted bio with your critique group. Members can give you input on what to work on.

Don’t mistake this accomplishment, “Jane recently trained her tom cat, Sir Licksalot, to fetch the evening paper,” with this one, “Jane received second place for her essay titled, ‘Jambalaya,’ in the Deep South Gazette’s annual literary competition.”

Don’t talk about this life experience, “Hortense spent her teen years in and out of Juvenile Hall,” when this one is so much more relevant, “Hortense’s two decades as an EMT give her unique qualifications to write medical drama.”

Compose a biography like you’re writing a novel. Write and revise. Whittle it down until there is no visible fat. Your bio must be lean and mean! Below are two of mine, which I am currently crafting.

“Carol J. Martin is a veteran blogger, inspirational writer/speaker and Kansas Writers Association member. Female in Motion Devotions, her first book, received semi-finalist status in the Munce Group’s 2012 Writing Contest. Female in Motion can be found at www.fim-carol.blogspot.com.”

“While it began in 2007 as an exercise blog, Female in Motion (www.fim-carol.blogspot.com) quickly became more of a personal journal: Life as a Midwestern wife, empty-nester, inspirational writer/speaker, cancer survivor and most notably, Christian. Female in Motion Devotions, my first book, was a semi-finalist in the Munce Group’s 2012 Writing Contest. My faith simply wraps itself around everything I write and I consider it my mission to encourage women to seek God’s will for their lives.”

“Biography lends to death a new terror.”—Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Credits: www.rachellegardner.com, www.ehow.com, www.wordservewatercooler.com, www.freelancewriting.com, www.lulu.com/blog

Incorporating the Five Senses in Your Writing

I’m a foodie. The anticipation and joy in my heart that I experience while waiting for a restaurant entrée or homemade dinner is ridiculous. When the steaming plate is finally placed before me, I’m blissful. It is a feast for the senses.

If you want to engage a reader into your written world, you must incorporate sensory data, so their imaginations will ignite. Sense memory is one of the quickest ways to transport an audience into your novel. When describing the plate of Mexican food above, I could say that it looked good…but what does “good” look like? “The enchiladas were covered with melted cheese and spicy ranchero sauce,” immediately transports you south of the border.

Let’s go further, using all five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.

 

The combo plate included four enchiladas and a taco.

The combination enchilada plate at Carmelita’s was generous enough to feed four hungry lumberjacks.

The food smelled good.

As the server set the fragrant offering before me, the chile relleno’s spicy aroma tickled my nose.

 I heard music playing.

The mariachi band’s salsa tune was accented by the syncopated rhythm of the electronic cash register.

I ate my dinner.

My mouth discovered the creamy center of the queso blanco and spinach enchilada, while a hint of nutmeg in the béchamel sauce intrigued my tongue.

I grabbed my plate.

The stoneware platter was sizzling hot; I placed my blistered finger on the icy margarita glass.

 

Adding sensory details to a piece of prose imparts multidimensional imagery that readers crave. Jessica Bell, author of Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing, says that her writing changed when she added concreteness. “My writing had become cinematic, it had movement, my characters were three dimensional and I didn’t even have to mention their personality traits because I was showing them. But above all, my writing evoked emotion.”

 “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”–Anton Chekhov

 

Sources: WordServe Water Cooler, WritersDigest.com, novel-writing-help.com, writingcenterunderground.wordpress.com.