Storytelling is an art form that has been around for thousands of years. It’s a way for people to share their experiences, beliefs, and values with others. Good storytelling forges emotional connections with the audience. The most powerful stories make the audience feel something, be it joy, sadness, fear, or excitement. To create this emotional connection, the storyteller must use a variety of techniques, such as
Characterization is creating believable, relatable characters with clear motivations, desires, and flaws. Your characters are people your readers will come to know and care about as they drive the action of your story forward. There should also be a clear arc of change in the character(s) throughout the story.
The setting is the place and time in which a story takes place. It should also add to a story’s atmosphere and mood.
Dialogue is the conversation that takes place between characters. It should be natural, believable, and reveal the characters’ personalities, emotions, and motivations.
5. Literary devices and descriptive language
Storytelling uses literary devices like symbolism, metaphor, and imagery, used to add depth and meaning to a story making it more memorable.
The language you use in your story is what brings it to life. Descriptive language uses vivid word pictures to help your readers visualize the world in which your story takes place. Use descriptive language to build layers in your story. This includes using symbolism (when an object or element is used to represent something else), metaphors (writing about one thing and describing it as if it were something else), and other literary devices to add depth and meaning to your story.
6. Balance showing and telling
The art of storytelling also finds a balance between showing and telling. Showing is when the storyteller describes what happens as the actions unfold (including thoughts and dialogue) while telling is when the storyteller simply gives information to state what is happening. Showing provides insight into the characters’ inner worlds of thought and emotion; telling lacks the same depth.
The key to a great story is the ability to create an emotional connection with the audience, and with the proper techniques, you can create stories that will stay with your readers long after they’ve finished reading.
Get into a good book–new educational and fiction books just published.
Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 2: Fallen Angel
Join Braelynn and her friends as they face their greatest challenge yet!
Inheriting her grandmother’s ring and the family curse was just the beginning for Braelynn. A few years have passed since then. Braelynn and her friends have graduated high school and set up a supernatural detective agency of sorts, helping people cleanse their homes of malevolent spirits and paranormal creatures. When what should be a case of a simple haunting turns out to be a portend of dark things to come, Braelynn soon realizes that she’s up against a fallen angel with powers the likes of which she never imagined.
Braelynn realizes she’s been chosen to fight against this force of darkness. It is her calling to navigate the dangerous world of otherworldly attachments, shapeshifters, and the mysterious troika, who follows her every move. Along the way, she meets other hunters who become her allies and friends as they battle to save the world from the chaos and destruction of Armageddon and their souls from eternal damnation. With the fate of the world at stake, they set out to defeat the fallen angel in a dangerous quest that will push them to their limits and test their strength and courage.
Set in a contemporary world where magic and the paranormal are real, this thrilling tale of adventure, danger, and self-discovery will keep readers on the edge of their seats. With its thrilling blend of contemporary magical realism, paranormal and urban fantasy, the supernatural, and a touch of romance, this book is sure to leave readers eager for more.
Buy Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 2: Fallen Angel at Amazon.
365-Day Writing Challenge: A Year of Writing Prompts
Looking for a way to keep your creativity flowing every day of the year?
TAKE THE 365-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE
With 365 writing prompts, one for each day of the year, you’ll never be short on inspiration. Use this book to jumpstart your writing routine, break through writer’s block, or simply explore new ideas, genres, settings, and characters. With a year’s worth of prompts at your fingertips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more prolific and confident writer.
365 DAYS, 365 WRITING PROMPTS
Are you ready to take the challenge?
Get ready to explore new ideas and develop your writing skills with this amazing resource.
Start your writing journey today and see where these prompts take you!
If a student has difficulty meeting some of the expectations for a course, it doesn’t mean they cannot meet any of the other expectations. In this case, as a teacher, your goal is to pivot to differentiate your instruction while figuring out how else you might get students to demonstrate achievement of as many of the remaining expectations as they can.
The goal of this book is to illustrate methods of differentiated instruction, demonstrating how teachers might pivot their practice and change their approaches to allow their students to shine.
Longtime teacher Elise Abram’s eureka moment happened while teaching grade 11 college-level students when she noticed that students had difficulty recalling and analyzing fiction when presented with the text but not after watching the film version of the text. Using the concept of differentiated instruction (changing the efforts of the teacher to accommodate the students in front of them), Abram switched out film versions of texts for the remainder of the semester and saw a marked improvement in student performance.
The purpose of this book is to share this unit with you should you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Inside, you will find:
Organizers you can photocopy and use in your practice.
How to use choice boards to differentiate your assignments.
Tips for creating groups, techniques, and student seating during collaborative activities
Suggestions for writing effective paragraphs and summaries.
How to get students to make meaningful text-to-world connections.
Ways for students to discuss theme in a text no matter the format.
Checklist rubrics and other ways to evaluate student work, be it diagnostic, formative, or summative
Whether you use this book as a unit plan or break it up into a series of individual lessons you can employ in your practice, this book is sure to give you a better understanding of how college-level students work and learn.
A good plot will keep your readers interested in your characters and events. Without a lively and multi-layered plot that leads to a satisfying resolution, readers are unlikely to finish your book. Here are five important tips for writing a compelling plot:
A strong idea will set the stage for the story and guide the characters and events. Start with a strong concept that is clear, interesting, and unique, with the potential for adding twists and turns as you build toward your climax.
Characters are at the heart of any story, and readers must relate to the characters if they are to care about them. Characters should have distinct personalities, motivations, and goals, and they should be fully developed and well-rounded if they are to pass as real people.
Tension and conflict drive a story forward toward the climax by generating suspense. Conflict is rooted in the characters’ goals and desires. The character’s journey toward attaining their goals and dealing with the conflicts they encounter provides the tension of a story, which should escalate as the story progresses. This is what keeps the readers on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next.
Use subtext—the story’s underlying meaning—to add depth to your plot and complexity to your story. It is also what makes it multi-layered and gives it a deeper meaning. Subtext is usually incorporated into your story with the use of symbolism, metaphors, and themes.
The story should come full circle at the end, with the characters having faced and resolved all conflicts in a way the reader will find satisfying and fulfilling.
In the end, it’s important to remember that writing a compelling plot takes time and effort. It’s a process of trial and error and is not always easy, but by following these tips and continuing to practice and improve your writing, you can create a story that will keep your readers engaged until the very end.
As a self-published author, it is essential to understand how important marketing is when it comes to the success of your book. Though it can be tempting to focus only on the writing and publishing process, your book may struggle to reach its audience and achieve the sales you desire without a strong marketing strategy.
Marketing helps increase the visibility of your book and attract potential readers. It is a crucial part of the publishing process and can mean the difference between a successful book and one that goes largely unnoticed.
As a self-published author, it is important to focus on maximizing your reach. With so many books available, it is imperative to find ways to stand out so you can reach as many potential readers as possible. A comprehensive marketing strategy can help you do just while ensuring your book has the best chance at success.
2. Marketing Strategies for Self-Published Authors
As a self-published author, there are several strategies you can utilize to market your book and increase visibility. Some effective marketing strategies for self-published authors include:
Building an online platform: An online platform, such as a website or blog, can be a powerful tool for marketing your book, providing a central location where readers can learn more about you and your work. It can also help establish you as an authority in your field.
Utilizing social media: Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can be excellent tools for connecting with potential readers and promoting your book. Posting regular updates, excerpts, and other engaging content can help to build an audience that will drive book sales.
Networking and building partnerships: Building relationships with other authors, industry professionals, and influencers can be a great way to market your book. Forming partnerships with others can provide opportunities for cross-promotion, joint events, and other collaborative efforts that can help increase your reach.
Running paid advertising campaigns: Paid advertising, such as sponsored posts on social media or Google Ads, can be an effective way to reach your target audience to drive book sales. These campaigns can be tailored to specific demographics and locations, making it easier to reach your ideal reader.
3. The Importance of a Strong Online Presence
In today’s digital age, it is essential for self-published authors to have a strong online presence. A well-designed website can serve as a central hub for all of your marketing efforts and portray a professional persona for potential readers. Your website can include information about your book(s), an author bio, media appearances, and other relevant content.
Email marketing is another powerful tool for reaching potential readers. Building an email list allows you to communicate with your audience directly to promote your book through newsletters, special offers, and other updates.
Utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques also helps increase your website’s visibility, making it easier for potential readers to discover your book(s). Optimizing your website’s content for specific keywords can help improve your search engine rankings, increasing the chance that you and your book(s) will be found by readers.
4. Traditional Marketing Strategies for Self-Published Authors
While the Internet has significantly changed the way books are marketed and sold, there is still something to be said for traditional marketing strategies for self-published authors. Some traditional marketing strategies to consider include:
Utilizing local resources and events: Local events, such as book festivals, author talks, book clubs, and gift shows, can be excellent opportunities to promote your book(s) and connect with potential readers.
Reaching out to bookstores and libraries: Many bookstores and libraries are willing to stock self-published books, especially if they are locally based or written by local authors. Reaching out to these institutions and offering to do readings, book signings, or other events can be a great way to promote your book(s).
Utilizing traditional media outlets: Traditional media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, and radio programs, can be excellent ways to promote your book(s) to reach a wider audience. Consider reaching out to these outlets to offer to do interviews or write articles to promote your book.
Local writing groups: Besides offering master classes and networking opportunities, many local writing groups have connections to booksellers and book-selling opportunities in your community. Those with a membership fee might also subsidize tables at events, allowing authors to participate in expensive, large shows, such as Word on the Street, that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Go online to see if you can join an active writing group near you and the perks they offer when it comes to connecting with other authors and booksellers in your area.
It is essential for self-published authors to understand the importance of marketing when it comes to the success of their book(s). To increase your visibility, reach potential readers and drive book sales, create a comprehensive marketing strategy, including both online and traditional tactics.
By focusing on maximizing your reach and increasing your visibility, you will give your book(s) the best chance of success. Don’t be afraid to try new marketing strategies and continuously evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Once you have a strong marketing plan in place, you can effectively promote your book and be on your way to reaching your publishing goals.
Do you have a tried and true method for increasing your visibility as an author and reaching more readers to increase book sales? Please share what has and/or has not worked for you in the comments below.
When I set out of my writing odyssey, never once did I consider writing young adult fiction (or YA). But the more I taught teens, and the more I spoke with colleagues teaching English and in the library at school, the more curious I became about it.
And after writing two YA novels and finishing up a third, I have to admit, writing YA feels like coming home.
If you’ve never considered writing YA, here are three reasons why you should give the genre a try.
1. Everyone relates
Every single adult on the face of this earth was a young adult at one point in time. And while I may never have had to compete for my life in a game, or never attended wizard school, I can nevertheless relate. Writing YA forces me to think outside of my comfort zone, to a time when bullies scared me, and I had to fight my parents for my independence, and I wanted to die after getting a huge, red and white zit on the tip of my nose. Writing YA brings me back to a time when even the smallest failure felt like a catastrophe. Now imagine being at a tender age and a part of a real catastrophe. Facing a major event you don’t understand from a heightened, hormonal point of view can’t help but make for an interesting story.
2. Shy away from nothing
Remember Judy Blume? She was popular in the seventies and eighties because she wrote about sexual awakening, acceptance in the family unit, and questioning your religion. Times have changed drastically since then. War continues to be a threat for some and a reality for so many. Terrorism, cyber-bullying, sexual predators, drugs and date rape are also reality in too many social spheres. YA fiction depicts teens coping in the modern world with issues that might send any sane adult into the corner to weep. Seeing someone cope with their problems and emerge victorious can’t be anything but empowering for readers of all ages.
3. Writing YA is hard challenging
YA fiction is not a watered down version of its adult counterpart, and writing it is hard. Narratives have to be smart with endearing, quick-witted characters. Worlds have to be immersive. Storylines must be believable. If you take YA on as a challenge, you will go down in the annals of literature with the likes of JK Rowling, Veronica Roth, Jodi Picoult, Johm Green, and James Dashner—no small feat….if you are up to it.
What genre do you write in? Is your manuscript complete? Whether you write for middle-grade (8 – 12), young adults (12 – 18), new adults (18+) or just plain adults, EMSA Publishing wants to hear from you.
Having an edited, ready-for-publication manuscript is paramount when searching for a publisher or an agent. Some vanity publishers—like EMSA Publishing—will provide editing in exchange for a percentage of the royalties. Others will provide you with a list of approved editors and ask you to pay from your own pocket for their services. Similarly, when self-publishing, the onus is on you to self-edit and/or hire an editor to get your manuscript up to standards.
In today’s economy, hiring an editor isn’t financially feasible for most of us. Authors are forced to become jacks-of-all-trades as a result, writing, publishing, advertising and editing on their own. Out of that array, editing is perhaps the most difficult to master, especially when it’s on your own manuscript.
Two reasons why self-editing is hard
Reason One – lack of education
Whether your highest level of education is a high school diploma or graduate degree, chances are you were never formally taught grammar in school. This is especially true if only a decade or so has passed since your graduation. I remember, in middle school, having to parse sentences to pick out the subject, object, predicate, etc. I was never very good at it because I was never formally taught any of the rules. My knowledge of grammar is more intuitive than practical—if it sounds good, it’s probably grammatically correct. When in doubt, I can always look it up online, a luxury I didn’t have in middle school.
Reason Two – it’s not how our brains work
As a writer, you’re too close to your work. Nick Stockton’s article, What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos, says writing is a critical thinking task. When you challenge you brain with higher-level thinking, it tends to generalize. You remember where you wanted to take the story and your brain fills in the blanks, glossing over the errors. It’s hard to edit your own work, not because you can’t or don’t know how to fix the issues, but rather, because you know what should be on the page so well that your brain doesn’t realize it’s not there.
Even with the cards seemingly stacked against you, there are still techniques you can use to help with this aspect of the publication process.
Five Ways You Can Make Self-Editing Easier
Give yourself some wait time.
Put your work away for a day, a week, or a month. If you give your brain time to forget what you’ve written and come at it with fresh eyes, it might help to find issues you missed before.
Read your work aloud.
Sometimes hearing your work will help you to find grammatical problems. When you read, don’t just vocalize your words. Read slowly and really try to listen to what you are saying.
Pay attention to spell- and grammar-check, but be skeptical.
Sometimes, spell- and grammar-check marks correctly spelled words and stylistic sentences as incorrect. While that doesn’t mean it is an actual error, it is worth checking it out. Check online against the rules when in doubt.
Use online applications to help with the process.
Websites like PaperRater that have built-in grammar and style checks can be useful, but take all suggestions with a grain of salt. I particularly like the HemingwayApp site which marks difficult words and sentences, and highlights phrases in passive voice. HemingwayApp will also categorize your reading level for difficulty, which can be helpful to for authors writing for children and teens.
Read your work from the bottom up.
Fool your brain by reading your work backwards, sentence by sentence. This can help you find sentences that don’t make sense, or those with errors in grammar, even though it’s a really awkward way to review your work.
Do you have any other suggestions or sites that will help with the editing process? If so, please share them in the comments below.
Most of my experience in the world of publishing has been helping friends and colleagues to get their work published, so I never had the need to create a social media presence for what I do. But when I decided to go pro, I realized that my business was going nowhere without an online platform.
Starting an online platform from scratch is a lot of work with little return, at least in the beginning. Nevertheless, in today’s digital market, it’s exactly what I had to do. It’s also exactly what many first time authors need to do, and so I thought I’d share the process with you.
Without further ado, here is my beginner’s guide to building an online platform:
Claim your domain name.
A domain name is how potential fans will find you on the web. You can choose from virtually any name or phrase, so long as it hasn’t already been registered. Many authors choose their book title as a domain name, but I suggest using the name under which you publish. That way you can create a separate page for each book and keep site maintenance to a minimum.
Build a web page.
Take a breath…this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. There are quite a few really good point and click interfaces out there. I like WordPress, but you can also use Wix or Weebly and forward your domain name to your site. Pages you might want to include on your site include synopses of your books including buy links, and a brief biography which lists ways to contact you. While a blog is not mandatory, it’s a good way to pique reader interest, particularly if you blog about writing and the writing process, and/or the subject and genre in which you write.
Claim your social media accounts.
Create a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Pinterest, Storify, and GooglePlus account in your name. If your name is taken, try adding the word “author” or “books” to it. Social media is a great way to publicize your work and draw reader attention.
Link your social media for cross-posts.
You can join your social media accounts to post to each other, which is a huge time-saver. By cross-posting, your blog can post to select social media for you, Twitter can post to Facebook and vice-versa. Same with GoodReads. Some websites (like WordPress) will even let you create a widget that shows your last few Twitter and Facebook posts on your website. GoodReads has code that will display your To Be Read list, or the title of the book you are currently reading in a sidebar, all of which can help make connections between you and your readers. Use a scheduling site like HootSuite to enable you to post during peak hours, if you can’t physically post at those times yourself.
Create social media buzz.
Post to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest regularly. I usually make an advertising post about once a week. The rest of the time I’m reposting materials about publishing and writing that I find on the web and that my followers might find interesting. I also post a notification to social media any time I add something to my blog or earn accolades on the web for my work. I reserve sites like Storify, GooglePlus and LinkedIn exclusively to promote posts about my own work.
Follow and friend like-minded people.
Search up hashtags for your genre and content on Twitter and follow a few of the people that post them. Join Facebook groups for writers and lovers of similar genres and content. Interact regularly by liking, sharing, and retweeting. Engage and interact with your followers and friends and they’ll follow suit. Before you know it you’ll be networking like a pro, selling books with little effort, which, after all, is the primary reason you embarked on the journey to create an author platform in the first place.
Do you have any other ideas for beginning writers wanting to set up an online presence? If so, share your tips in the comments below.