"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June is Audiobook Month

June is Audiobook Month, when the Audio Publishers Association encourages people to give listening to books a try.
Check out posts on the best audiobooks, and why audiobooks aren't cheating. Did you know you could access complete audiobooks for FREE on YouTube?
Have you tried an audiobook? Which are your favorites? When do you listen to them?

Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 Ligonier Valley Writers Flash Fiction Contest‏

Ligonier Valley Writers is pleased to announce that there will be NO ENTRY FEE for this contest.

Submission Guidelines:
  1. This year's topic is Cemeteries, Asylums, Mausoleums, Haunted Houses, and any other spooky, creepy, or weird place your imagination can devise. It's all about location, location, location!
  2. Flash fiction means that the story must be less than 1,000 words long. And please, no poetry.
  3. Let's save a few trees and submit electronically. Please place your story in the body of an email and send it to Ed Kelemen at ed.kel@verizon.netDo not send it as an attachment. Attachments will not be opened. The subject line of your entry must read “Flash Fiction Entry.” Otherwise, it will be sent to the trash folder unopened.
  4. Include a short bio, no more than 150 words, with your story.
  5. Include the following statement with your entry:
“I, (Your Name) , hereby give the Ligonier Valley Writers the right to read my story titled “-------------------” at various venues during the Halloween season of 2014, and a one-time right to publish the story online at http://www.lvwonline.org/. The rights revert to me six months after the story is published.” Include your name, address and contact information.
  1. Winning entries will be read at various places during the Halloween season of 2014. Winning writers will be invited to read their stories at those locations.
  2. Winning entries will also be published on the Ligonier Valley Writers website.
  3. Prizes will be awarded as follows:
First Prize - $50
Second Prize - $25
Third Prize - $15
There will also be Three Honorable Mentions.

All winning entries, including honorable mentions, will also receive a one-year complimentary membership in Ligonier Valley Writers, which permits them to attend most LVW events free or at reduced prices.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Writing Concerns

I feel like most writers blogs are recycling the same articles over and over again recently. Sometimes, seeing the same information from various sources helps to drive the information home into your long term memory. Sometimes, it just becomes annoying.

What do you think? What topics are you interested in learning more about? Inspiration, Writer's Block, Clubs/Organizations, Exercises, Grammar, Writing Life, How-to's, Editing, Publication, Promotion, or something else?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Texas Gulf Coast Writers Short Story Contest

Texas Gulf Coast Writers presents its 2014 Short Story ContestThis must be your original unpublished work. Fiction or creative nonfiction of up to 2,500 words may be submitted.  TGCW Members may enter for FREE. Nonmembers will be charged $10 per entry.

Each person may enter ONLY ONE SHORT STORY: one fiction OR one creative nonfiction, but not both! Deadline is the close of the August 11 meeting! Emailed entries are not accepted. If a contestant lives out of town, he/she may mail in their submission to the PO BOX listed on their site.

PRIZES: First place will receive a cash prize in the amount of $50, second place will receive a cash prize in the amount of $25, and third place will receive a certificate. Complete guidelines can be found: http://www.texasgulfcoastwriters.blogspot.com/2014/06/2014-texas-gulf-coast-writers-short.html

Winners and awards will be presented at either the Sept or Oct 2014 meeting. Questions may be left in the comment section on their blog, or sent to their email.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Military Releases

In recent years, stories involving the military - both fiction and nonfiction - seem to have become more prevalent and appealed to a wider audience. Now, with the scandals of the VA investigations and the release of Bergdahl, even more eyes are watching.

A larger number of readers want to know what life is like for our military. They want to see proof of what is happening, and they long for both stories of scandal and heroism. When they are unsatisfied with the tales provided by "officials", they are turning to real life accounts from military personnel.

One recent release is Phil Klay's Redeployment

These short stories about Marines in Iraq seem to be brutally frank about the traumas and moral compromises of a new era of war. Klay saw them firsthand: saying he spent a year in Iraq with the Marines. I have not read this one yet, but I must admit my interest is piqued. 

Have you read this one? What other military themed books would you recommend?

Friday, June 6, 2014

12 Tips for a Successful Book Tour

The last few years have seen a decrease in the old-fashioned book tour. Technology has allowed authors to replace the physical with virtual tools. Blog tours and other social media have ruled the writers marketing bag. Yet, research shows face-to-face marketing remains the most effective.

If the current business climate is to be believed, then more authors need to return to the road for success to be achieved. Yet, organizing the more traditional tour can be both difficult and expensive. Here are 12 tips to help you in achieving a successful book tour.

1)      Write a Great Book – More and more authors are rushing to publication. Self-publishing has catered to writers egos and allowed them to chase volume instead of quality. Put off the tour for a year while you improve writing and create the best product.

2)      Find Dependable Transportation – It might be exciting to have your main character break down in the middle of nowhere, but it’s no fun in real life. And very seldom is “Mr. Right” the one to find you!

3)      Take a Companion – If you can find another author planning a tour, maybe you can work together and share the costs of travel. Besides, more than one name on an ad has a better chance of drawing an audience. Just be sure to pick someone you get along with since you will be sharing close quarters for the duration of the tour.

4)      Allow Yourself Time – Take enough time to walk around and meet people. Not just at the book event, but enjoy the town itself. Visiting local businesses gives you more of that face-to-face time which helps with success, and the more places you see, the more your tour can be enjoyed like a vacation!

5)      Careful Selection – If you can choose places where you have family or friends, they can help you organize events, get around more comfortably, and perhaps put you up for the night or provide a meal or two.

6)      Visit Schools – Primary, secondary, and college teachers are all happy to have writers visit their classrooms. And local media is sometimes more likely to cover an event involving students.

7)      Donate to Public Libraries – Librarians love to meet writers. They can help point you in the right direction for local marketing opportunities. They are also more likely to recommend authors they have met when making suggestions to the reading community.

8)      Take Freebies – Personalized bookmarks, pens, or items mentioned in your book can go a long way with readers. Be sure to have your name and contact info (website) on each item.

9)      Contact Media – Contact local media as soon as you schedule an event. Print, TV, and radio formats may all be interested in an author visit.

10)  Don’t Get Frustrated – The world does not owe you anything. It’s perfectly normal for an unknown author to draw dismally small crowds. Be grateful, and maintain your confidence. I’d rather make one sale, and feel a connection with a reader than just read to a roomful of people who won’t remember me the next week.

11)  Take Notes – Keep a journal of what you learn, experience, and wish you had done differently. This will be great for planning the next book tour.

12)  Have Fun – I can’t help you with this. Only you have the power to spend your time doing things you enjoy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

12 Copyright Q’s and A’s

The information provided below is based on United States law. If you live in another country, we’d love to hear in the comments how your laws differ or agree with our own.

1.      What is copyright? The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, rent, reproduce, derive from, display, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. Copyright protects the tangible expression of ideas (such as manuscripts, paintings, recordings), but not the ideas themselves.

2.      What types of copyrighted material will an editor or agent encounter? Mostly literary, musical, dramatic, and pictorial works.

3.      When does a work become copyrighted? As soon as it becomes a tangible creation. In other words, as soon as it becomes perceptible to the human eyes, a device, or machine. Or more exactly, as soon as it is written, painted, etc.

4.      How long does copyright last? The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the creator plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors. To determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work, consult chapter 3 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code). More information on the term of copyright can be found in Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright, and Circular 1,Copyright Basics. 

5.      Do I have to renew my copyright? No. Works created on or after January 1, 1978, are not subject to renewal registration. As to works published or registered prior to January 1, 1978, renewal registration is optional after 28 years but does provide certain legal advantages. For information on how to file a renewal application as well as the legal benefit for doing so, see Circular 15, Renewal of Copyright, and Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright.

6.      What is “fair use”? The doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

7.      Why would I want to register a copyright? In cases where plagiarism or theft are suspected, a certified or registered with the government copyright helps clarify the legal owner.

8.      How can I obtain a “registered” copyright? To register a work, submit a completed application form, a nonrefundable filing fee, which is $35 if you register online; and a nonreturnable copy or copies of the work to be registered. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Registration Procedures.” 

9.      Who owns a “work for hire?” The owner of a publication owns the copyright to all work done by full-time staff in the course of their daily jobs, and to outside work for explicitly stated purposes. To see what types of agreements you should sign, please visit: http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-rights-should-you-offer.html

10.  How do I know what is in the “public domain” and no longer “copyrightable”? No U.S. copyright granted before September 19, 1906, can still be in effect; all renewals and extensions will have expired under the old law. Works copyrighted between September 19, 1906 and December 31, 1977, were entitled to a 28-year protection, plus one 28-year renewal. For works copyrighted since then, refer to #4.

11.  How do I find out when a work was registered with the Copyright Office? At your request, the Copyright Office will search its records, for a fee.

12.  What about international copyrights? See what copyright claim appears on the work itself. If there is a foreign copyright, find out if the nation in question and the United States practice reciprocal respect of one another’s copyright. The U.S. copyright Office can help.

For more help answering copyright questions, please visit: http://www.copyright.gov/

Sunday, June 1, 2014

NCW Nonfiction Competition

Northern Colorado Writers is hosting its 4th annual Personal Essay/Creative Nonfiction contest. Prizes are 1st: $1,000; 2nd: $250; 3rd: $100. Winners, honorable mentions, and editor's picks of this contest and the other two in the series (Poetry July 1 - September 30) will be published in and receive a free copy of the winners' anthology POOLED INK. Also, one winner (or editor's pick) among all categories will win full tuition to the 2015 NCW Conference next March. Entry fee is $20. Final judge for nonfiction this year is Ms. Laura Pritchett. Any style, up to 5,000 words. Deadline is June 30, 2014. See website for submission guidelines: http://northerncoloradowriters.com/upcoming-events-mainmenu-133/writing-contests/307-2012-writing-contests