Writing Tips

Your Writing Voice

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Here’s another writing quote to help motivate you to get your entry in:

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Writer’s Block

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Don’t let writer’s block get the better of you. Every writer experiences it, though some won’t acknowledge it. Many writers just believe they just need to keep writing to overcome it. I agree.

Artwork by Donna Munro using Graphic Stock

If you don’t even know where to start your entry in the Umoja Writing Competition here’s a few ideas to find some inspiration and get writing:

  • Doodle until you come up with a drawing that inspires you.
  • Write the words ‘writer’s block’ in the middle of a page. Outside this word write all the words that make you feel blocked.
  • Read your last story again. Remember how well you write.
  • Go outside. What do you see? Sunshine? Butterflies? Wet grass? Write about it.
  • What is something funny or sweet a child you know did? (helping with the theme here)
  • Go to your inspiration file in your computer (I use OneNote). You do have one don’t you?
  • Just start writing. Anything. Rubbish even. Until it becomes inspired writing.

So get writing. You can start sending your entries in only six days. Go to: Rules and Entry Form page to download. Good luck.


Be resolute on your New Year’s Resolutions

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Let’s get writing.

Warm Witty Words

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2015 is here and what did we learn from last year? The most important thing I learnt is that time flies and we need to make the most of every moment in case there are no more. Most of us make New Year’s Resolutions and I guess they are a good way of looking forward to the New Year with goals and direction. Unfortunately most people don’t keep their resolutions and they’ll make them over again and again.  They say, “I want to quit smoking” but make no effort in giving up the smokes. No patches, no chewing gum, even no cold turkey, just keep on chuffing away. Then there’s the people who say I’ll lose weight but months after the New Year starts they are still eating badly and haven’t started exercising.

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Why do people do this? Are they only reciting a resolution because, that’s just what you do…

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Enjoy the festive season and keep writing

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Whatever your race or religion we wish you peace on earth and happiness during the festive season. People of the world unite in the cause of Umoja or Unity.

May all your dreams come true and health stay with you. We hope you have spare time to write and special moments with your family and friends.

Christmas graphic (Graphic Stock).
Christmas graphic (Graphic Stock).

Please come back early in the New Year when we’ll have the announcement of next year’s competition and updated application forms for Umoja Writing Competition.

To the Umoja Orphanage Kenya and the Rotary Clubs and other supporters we thank you for your wonderful work and hope it continues until every child and family in the area are self-sufficient and happy.

You want to write a Book? What about marketing?

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I’ve worked in the publishing industry as a book marketing publicist. It was a rewarding job that I loved, because I could help writers fulfill their dreams with their published work. I still keep in touch with the industry and continue to write and market for other writers.

One thing I found, was that most writers have no idea what goes on after they’ve finished writing the book. Most can’t conceive what happens in the publishing industry. Since you’ve obviously showed and interest in writing I thought you might enjoy the following article I wrote while I worked for a small boutique publisher. 


9.00am Arrive at work. Catch up with staff on the latest happenings. Check my emails. Reply to an author who is waiting to hear from a bookstore about a signing. Reply to a radio producer about interviewing an author and agree to send her a review copy. Reply to an author about marketing so far and what more that author can do to sell books. Reply to author with a broken ankle to not worry about marketing as I will continue to do things from my end that will not include her doing signings or interviews other than by phone. Phone elderly author to explain to him how bookstores work. During this time there are constant interruptions, phone calls, requests to organize 2nd payment lodgement, notes to myself on a pad beside my desk to follow up. As I go through the emails and other correspondence I record everything in a history document in the marketing file for each book. This keeps track of all marketing to let the author know what is complete and where the leads have gone. I also then store finalized emails into the folder and then delete from my Outlook folder.

9.30am Going through my notes, some of which will be in my notepad and others saved to Outlook task I complete various duties. Follow up on advertising online. Send media release to national media for a book with a topical theme (peace in the Middle East). This involves rewording the release, drafting the email (including the release), finding the appropriate database and emailing. Then I record that this has been done in the marketing history.

10.00am Make a coffee and sip at desk as I go through an advertising strategy list. With a minimal budget over a three-month period I have to be selective as to where we advertise. As many of our authors are elderly and writing to leave a keepsake I regularly target senior’s magazines. I’ll also include some online site and writer’s group publications. Update database when some emails are rejected.

10.15am A new book arrives from the printer. I love this time. I look at the cover and flick through the pages. Usually I have already started a Marketing Folder for books before they hit my desk. In this folder I include another folder for correspondence, the documents book release, media release, poster, congratulations letter and history. I open the history document (a Word file) record the date the book has been released (already I have the book title, ISBN, RRP, author info etc.). I then open the congratulations letter and add the author and book details, when the intense marketing phase will be complete and all other information that the author needs about marketing. I attach a link to the author’s book on the Zeus Publications website so buyers can go direct to purchase. This is emailed to the author.

I then draft the book release from the template. This is similar to the media release but has the publisher/bookseller’s terms of trade at the bottom for the bookstore to purchase. You’ll see how a media release is drafted in my previous posting. I print out two posters to go with the author’s books.

10.50am Phoned a bookstore in Victoria to see if they would be purchasing stock of a certain book. One book is ready to be entered into the industry databases. These include Bowkerlink, Neilson/James Bennet, Titlepage and Seek. It takes at least eight weeks for books to show up on these sites so we always complete this process three months before a book is due for release. I have an Excel file to keep track of when books are input into these databases. I then record the book information in the Zeus catalogue.

11.30 Three books are read y for their CIP (Cataloguing in Publication). I enter these details on the National Library of Australia site. This registers the book on their catalogue prior to publication. If you look at the title page of a book (in the first few pages) you’ll see the CIP information. This includes: author, title, ISBN, subjects and Dewey number. I then update my master list so that I know the CIP has been applied for. I have to get the date of birth of one author and as I know she works weekdays I email her that I need this info to apply for her CIP. Within a few minutes I receive confirmation emails from NLA and store these in the CIP folder for the books.

12.00noon Loaded book information on our online bookstore website using Expression Web. Packaged a review copy of a book for a radio station including a with compliments personal note.

12.30pm Stopped for lunch with work colleagues.

1.00pm Finished loading information on online bookstore. Took call from author to discuss marketing. Checked new release titles marketing folders and sent more media and book releases out.

1.45pm Complete the bi-monthly newsletter. This includes writing the articles, compiling information such as book signings, launches and milestones of authors. I then give the completed newsletter to our Chief editor to proofread before I post it onto the website.

3.30pm Post to Twitter, Facebook and check WordPress blog for spam comments.

(First published on Inky Fresh Press Blog June 2011).