STAYING ENCOURAGED

Life is such a hoot, isn’t it? Like the Sinatra song goes, “That’s Life.” Every life has its ups and downs, people that kick us when we’re down and others that lift us up, and situations that “feel” right and end up “wrong.” Today’s headlines reflect that nothing much has really changed with the species of Human Being since Cain killed Abel.

Sunset on the Matanzas, Feb 2020

An old seminary story goes like this.

A graduate, names Charles, excited and on fire for the Lord and spreading a message of love, hope and peace to the uneducated world, left school sure that he and his new wife would make a huge difference. One of his teachers, a man who’d also become a friend, counseled him at the graduation party.

“Remember to say, ‘Here I am, Lord’ and then let the Lord do the rest. He will make sure that every need is met and you won’t be burned out in five years.”

Well, Charles and his bride went off to region after region of non-Christian communities and taught them about the love of Christ. They begged, borrowed and built schools, dug wells, and brought in medical training for villages. However, in year five, Charles and Nadia returned to the U.S. in ill-health and resigned to the fact that they were failures. With no money to their name, Charles reached out to his mentor and friend for a lift from the airport and a place to stay until he could find paying work.

The mentor collected them and hugged them warmly, placing their two bags in the car and took them to his home. After long showers, a bowl of stew and some hot biscuits, the couple settled in the den with their friend.

“So, how are you two? I’ve been praying for you every day. Your last letter sounded like you were so busy, I had to take a nap after reading it. Did you do all that the Lord asked you to do?”

The wife looked at her husband, then replied. “I believe that we did. But apparently, it wasn’t enough.”

The mentor nodded and looked at the grad. “Is that how you feel, Charles?

Charles nodded, his gaze on the floor. “Day in, day out, mosquitoes the size of airplanes, sickness, babies dying, no water–” His eyes were moist when he looked at his friend. “They didn’t change.”

“I see,” said the teacher.

They sat in the quiet for few moment when Nadia asked, “What more could we have done?” She took her husband’s hand in hers and they waited for a reply.

The teacher smiled. “You can still do it,” he said kindly. “Have faith that God the Father was at work, too. We can only do what we’re told to do. The results of those activities are God’s work, not ours.”

While the world is feeling crazy to most of us, we can still be steady in who we are. Our reactions and attitudes are directly within our control but changing others is not. Never has been. Each and every kindness we show, kind word we offer, donation we can make in time, talent or treasure will be used by our creator to make a difference to someone. President Abraham Lincoln, the president that established Thanksgiving in this nation, once said: “I would rather be a little nobody than an evil somebody.” Me, too.

One of my very good friends gave me a beautiful wooden sign that hangs in my office: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” It reminds me daily that I am in control of what I think, do, and say. I can be a light or a dark cloud – and I don’t have to think too long about which the Lord would prefer I be.

Keep reading, writing, and sharing yourself in the world! You are awesome and your words have power. I urge all of us writers to choose-and use-them wisely. I bet we can help shape a kinder world.

Nancy Q.

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WORKSHOPS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

While it’s true we aren’t sharing war-stories over cups of java at conferences or even local meetings these days, there has been a great deal of information generously shared across the Internet via Zoom, Google Team, Skype, Free Conference Call and other platforms.

Here are some of the fun ones I now have. I know, you don’t get the added bonus of being able to listen in on or participate in the live Q&A, but there’s still a great deal of expertise here for you to learn from! And, the Q&A is a good reason to get yourself out there to learn things for yourself! Thanks to Rik for Gary’s presentation BOTH times!

FREE LIVE MASTERCLASS
3 Shifts Women Writers Need to Make: How to Finish Your Nonfiction Book!

Also, if you’d like to purchase your own copies of some amazingly wonderful writing workshops, you’ll be delighted at this site where you can buy the downloads for under $10! Go visit VWTapes.com and you can select the conference and topic you’d like to have in your possession! The list of awesome conferences is longer than I am tall, so take a look and get something you’d just LOVE to learn about!

I hope you enjoy them! Keep reading and writing and being kind to yourself and others! You are loved, greatly!

Nancy Q.

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Repackaging Just Might Save Your Brand

Your book took a monumental amount of time/energy/money to get it out in front of your readers. You sold some books and got some terrific reviews, even some super-nice emails! Back in the time when you could meet with book club members or do in-person book sales, you enjoyed your time with fans and sold books, too. Bravo!! Way to go.

Here’s the secret to building fans and keeping books selling: (Drum roll, please…) Write the next really good book and get it out to the fans, regularly. This is true for fiction and non-fiction books. If you’re traditionally published, your publisher is going to want a minimum of a book a year; and that’s not a bad model for all of us to shoot for.

It’s very likely that you’ve written a fun short story or some poetry or maybe even a novelette, or an essay you’re proud of that can be expanded easily into a small book. If not, you are an expert on something, and that knowledge can provide an answer to a problem for someone else. Those things have more value than you think!

Repurpose those articles into a mini-book that you can put out as an Ebook for .99 – 2.49! Give your readers something new to read while you’re working on that next full-length book. Those poems that you’ve written but shared with very few would be a wonderful gift when bundled together, with or without some applicable photos that you’ve taken along the way. In ALWAYS CHASING ‘EM, Daria and I pulled together a collection of some of our short mysteries, many already published years ago but no longer available, but also some that placed or even won contests but never saw publication before. We’ve heard it has been a fun read for our fans which is what we wanted it to be!

The bottom line is that to impact YOUR bottom line, you have to keep great material out in front of your readers so they don’t forget you and so they don’t lose their precious enthusiasm for your work! Enthusiastic readers are your biggest asset – so look through those archived works and see what you might be able to repurpose for those fans!

Do you have three or more books finished and they’ve been out awhile? How about offering a boxed set for readers? New look, new format – no new writing really required! Or how about turning it into an audiobook? There are a good number of ways to spark new interest in older work, which results in new interest in new work, too!

And in this unusual time, remember to treat yourself kindly – that will make being patient easier, too. Productivity will probably be down a bit – no worries. Every day, invest in some quality quiet time, a nap when needed, eat well, get a walk in the outdoors and be grateful for all of the blessings in your life, great or small.

Keep reading and writing!

Nancy Q.

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Freelance Markets of Interest

Don’t worry, be happy!

There are few things that will positively impact your writing skills, energy, and portfolio, like writing to specific criteria on a deadline. Enter the freelance writing job! There isn’t a single one of us that isn’t delighted to get a check for something we’ve written! It’s an awesome feeling.

Submitting a great article to a trade publication is one way to get this started and who isn’t interested in being paid for their expertise and/or research? Remember that you are a storyteller as you polish that piece, and include color, texture, and triggers that bind the reader to the piece! What magazines do you read? Why? Their website will have information regarding submitting to them.

Have a favorite paper you’ve written for something or a topic you’ve worked hard to learn well? Who is looking for – or has published in the past – something similar? That’s your target market. Write-edit-polish-send-repeat.

Here are few recent markets I’ve been made aware of from the Worldwide Freelance Writers Newsletter:

PTO Today, USA
A magazine published four times a year for leaders of parent groups (often called parent-teacher organizations) at the 80,000 elementary and middle schools across the United States. Articles focus on helping the volunteer leaders of these groups run their organizations more efficiently and support their schools more effectively. Pay ranges from $150 to $500.


Preaching, USA
A website that provides tools and ideas for pastors and church leaders to help them lead well. Three categories of editorial content: feature articles, sermon manuscripts, and homiletic resources. Pays up to $50 honorarium upon publication.


Proceedings, USA
The monthly magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute. Welcomes constructive controversy. Paying market.

Keep reading, writing and staying positive! There’s enormous power in all three.

Be well and see you next week.

Nancy Q.

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Patience is a strategy

WRITERS STRUGGLING TO WRITE

I read these on the BookBub blog the other day and thought how many of us may need to read them! AND – put them into practice.

When life gives you lemons . . . .

“I think the most important thing is to not compare yourself to anyone else — including the old you. Just decide what you can reasonably get done in a day and then do it. I’m certainly not writing at my usual pace or my usual quality. It’s okay. It’s all okay.” 

Taylor Jenkins ReidNYT bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

“Even though we mostly work from home, and theoretically our job should not feel terribly different right now, it does. If you’re finding it hard to focus for hours at a time, you’re in the majority. For that reason, I’ve tried to give myself the grace of NOT writing when I’m too scattered. I do research or edit or write in a different genre, using muscle memory more than creativity. I think when we feel so uncertain, it’s hard to be certain about what we put down on a page… and that’s okay. ‘Writing like normal’ can’t happen when the world isn’t normal; don’t blame yourself if you need to press pause.” 

Jodi PicoultNYT bestselling author of The Book of Two Ways

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MARKETING SECRETS 101

Fractured-Tour-Banner

This post will be quick as I’m chasing yet another deadline! I hope this finds you well and taking good care of yourself as well as your tribe!! Oh – and have a safe and Happy 4th of July! 

Here we go!

  • KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. What TV shows do they watch? Movies? What music do they enjoy? What do they do on weekends for enjoyment? How do you do this, you ask? Join reader groups online and get to know those readers. Do you write in a specific genre? Just Google that genre and/or sub-genre and you’ll find many places you can visit to learn about YOUR potential readers. Have people emailed you about one of your books or a talk you gave? What was important to them? Make up a character sketch of that “ideal reader” and keep those points in mind when writing your book and your marketing copy!
  • REACH YOUR READERS where they hang out. Where do your friends go on Social Media? Google for the stats if you have the demographic information for your reader and find out where they are. This way you can focus on paid advertising or even promotional offers in those places.
  • BE A CONSISTANT MEMBER OF THE TRIBE. Join groups before you launch your book. Read, contribute, listen, and learn from the group. Sure, it’s okay to mention your book, writing challenges, etc in some contexts, but those tribes don’t exist for our promotions. They exist to be in relationship with one another, so get known as a useful and healthy member of the tribe and that tribe will be eager to support you when that book comes out! If you are a writer, you’d better be a pretty active reader, too – so relate to reader groups as a reader!
  • BE RELIABLE with your blog posts, your newsletters, your Facebook updates, or any other Social Media information. Industry statistics show that Social Media work is only effective when done on a regular schedule and those posts provide value for the reader.
  • DO THE THING YOU ENJOY and that enjoyment will shine through. Do you love blogging and hate Facebook? Well, do the blog and then just tell the blog where your Facebook page is – you don’t have to go to FB at all! Do you love Instagram and find that fun and exciting for you? Then do Instagram – which is owned by Facebook by the way. Love those short tweets? Then Twitter is your game. Whatever your love, use it and provide quality content, consistently! You’ll be building fans steadily.
  • WRITE THE NEXT BOOK! Writing the next book for your fans is the best thing you can do to build your writing career. Don’t cut corners – put out that same quality that they’ve learned to rely on you for, and plan to do it as often as you can!
  • BE FLEXIBLE and willing to try new things. Learn from reader input and learn from writer input. Have a colorful and wacky idea for a reader event on Facebook Live or Google Teams? Go for it! It might be the perfect thing. Have you gotten a terrific offer to advertise in a cool magazine like Redbook or Woman’s World? If you can do it with your budget and you feel strongly about doing it – go ahead!

Keep reading and writing – we’ll see you next week!!

Nancy Q.

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Bookshop.org

IBPA ImageAs a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association, I am privy to a lot of great industry support, information, and changes. One of the things that has come out of the COVID-19 support commitment is a Member Roundtable. Good information, great input from other members, and being a small publisher who now publishes one of her two series in addition to publishing other authors, that input is very valuable.

Two weeks ago, I learned a great deal about BookShop.org. We’re going to put up a bookstore of our own on the site to help our authors sell books and gain exposure, but maybe the more appealing aspect for me as a writer and a publisher is that by doing that I can help support Indie Bookstores. And if writers aren’t going to support independent bookstores, we’re very foolish. That’s like cowboys doing nothing about the extinction of cows.

They are a B Corporation – one committed to working for the public good. CEO Andy Hunter explained why he built BookShop.org, what it means to independent book stores, and how everyone and anyone that supports those stores from the authors to the reviewers will benefit from working with BookShop.org. He’s designed an amazing business model – and in less than 3 months has wrestled away just over 2% of Amazon’s book sales!

The profits on a book sale are divided in such a way that ALL indie bookstores will benefit from the general fund which receives 10% of each sale. There’s a complete list of indies stores that are members – and some of them carry my books so I can tell you I’ll be supporting them at BookShop.org.

Success in publishing requires many symbiotic relationships. As an author, you can establish an affiliate site and get paid 10% for your sales. Amazon pays 4.5% to affiliates. And, the professional reviewers signing up to support BookShop.org are an impressive lot, too. Companies like Buzzfeed and Literary Hub have led the way but Andy reported that that list doubles each week.

As of June 10, sales at BookShop.org have reached 300,000 per day, a number they’d hoped to reach by end of the year. The world is demanding all sorts of change – and the growth of this enterprise is evidence that readers are included in that. There are lots of future plans for BookShop.org to remain competitive with Amazon but the bottom line is this:  by paying a bit more for our books we are working together to save the industry of independent bookstores.

For me, that’s worth a whole lot!

Check them out at BOOKSHOP.ORG and download the brochure for authors – or publishers. I think you’ll see the value for your book sales.

Stay safe, stay well and I’ll see you next week!

Nancy Q.

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How are you???

BookBrushImage-2020-5-14-21-727Please let me know what you’ve been doing during the Stay-at-home order where you are! Emails so far range from “I can’t focus so I’m sleeping a lot” to “I’ve written an entire novel and reorganized my 2000 square foot house.”

I fall between those two extremes. One of the most powerful and unforgettable blogs of encouragement I’ve read in the past few months wrote, “It’s okay if you’re not okay.”

Those six words were like an epiphany for me. Initially, I wondered what was wrong with me – I struggled to focus and giving up, tackled the closets and the file cabinets. I shredded tons of stuff that needed it, found clothes that will better suit others, and found the little pocket knife I lost while moving in December. That about describes March 17 – April 1.

It was an April Fool’s Day that didn’t happen. But I read that blog. And laughed for quite a while. I brought up an old short story, worked about an hour on it, filed it in a new file with a new file name, and took a nap. When I woke up, I didn’t feel guilty about that nap. It was okay if I wasn’t okay. And a nap helped.

I’ve learned in a different context how to take care of myself – and that’s been a gift. I did complete the final draft of the next Amazing Grace story – KEEPING FAITH. Daria and I cooked up the wacky idea of thanking our fans for their faithfulness during this long wait for new book with a short collection of our short stories – the ones that either won awards or were published many years ago. So, that’s coming together nicely and will be launched on July 4! For a mere $1.99!

Announcement Ad.2The WC Publishing team came together and got Nick Marziani’s new novel published and launched on May 31, an appropriate day to launch a Catholic Christian action-adventure novel! We decided to launch despite all the reasons why it might not be a good idea – is there any time better than the present one? Maybe – or maybe not.

I’ve learned about the wonders of Draft2Digital (thank you, Jack!) and have jumped on the Indie Bookstore bandwagon and now shop at BookShop.org for my books (thanks to IBPA!) Our business model has changed to take advantage of some of these more advantageous platforms and for our authors, I suspect they’ll see more sales and just maybe, by working together and sharing those victories with the world, we’ll save the Indie Bookstore. And, we’d better. 

I’m still taking a short nap almost every afternoon. I swim for a half-hour in the morning at the community pool, have breakfast and work until noon. I take a break – focus is still a challenge many days – then I go back to work. I have resumed keeping my tasks written down on a calendar where I can see them and mark them off – but  not so many I could never get them done. Being home is now helping me to be far more productive at the company and my writing.

So, I hope that even though the world may be opening up again, you’ll be careful and take care of your mind and your body. Laugh much, hug your loved ones when you can and if you can’t visit, call them – often. Wash your hands and wear your mask when indoors with people.

Set yourself free of the expectations that you’re too cool to get caught up in all that’s going on in the world. That you’re too strong to be affected. That you “should have” gotten more done in the past three months. Kiss that “should have” goodbye and remember, “It’s okay to not be okay.”

Writers write – that’s how we stay sane. I’m not at all convinced that it matters what you write, just as long as you write some, every day.

Stay well and I’ll see you next week! And don’t forget – let me know what you’ve been doing, or struggling with, okay? Email me at nancy@NLQuatrano.com. I send you a big virus and germ-free hug! 

Nancy Q.

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PEACE AMIDST THE CHAOS

I pray daily for peace in our hearts, our homes, our neighborhoods and towns, our nation and in our world. Peace is something that, with the help of our loving Lord, we can have despite the chaos, heartache, injustice, violence, and hatred that swirls around us. I believe that all lives matter from the unborn to the very old. I’ve learned that truth the very hardest of ways.

But, peace and change will always begin with us. With me. And I can – you can – we all can – reach out each day and be kinder than we were yesterday, gentler in our thoughts than we were yesterday, quieter in our words than we were yesterday.

I urge you to continue to write, to experience the emotions of this time and capture them in your journal, your dialogue, your plot lines, your poetry, your artwork. And to do it all with peace in your heart and mind.

Some writing industry tidbits to encourage you –

In Nova Scotia, there’s a special type of bookstore that’s doing well – with books and other things, too! https://www.buzznick.com/bookstore-with-cats/

How to start blogging. Jane Friedman offers a definitive guide for authors.

Publisher’s Weekly reported this week that print book sales jumped 11% in mid-May over 2019 sales. The largest segment was seen in trade paperbacks, followed by hardcovers. ALL THE NEWS IS NOT BAD!!

Happy Ball Point Pen and Iced Tea Day!!

See you next week! Nancy Q.

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QUICK BYTES and THEMED CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Current news from the COPYRIGHT OFFICE –

NewsNet 825
May 27, 2020

Copyright Office Allows Electronic Submission of Recordation Special Handling Requests

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Copyright Office is further expanding its capabilities to receive electronic submissions for Office services. In addition to the electronic filing options previously announced, the Office is now permitting members of the public to submit requests for expedited processing (known as “special handling”) of document recordation submissions, including notices of termination, by email. A list of the Office’s current physical and electronic submission options for various services is available on our website.

The Copyright Office Public Information Office is available for questions through our website at copyright.gov/help/ or by phone at (202) 707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll-free).

THEMED SUBMISSION CALLS (From AUTHORS PUBLISH):

Prairie Fire: Living in a House on Fire
This Canadian literary magazine accepts fiction, creative non-fiction, essays and poetry from writers in Canada and elsewhere and currently they are reading work on the ‘Living in a House of Fire’ themed issue.  So, how do we, as citizens of this planet, live in a house on fire?

Deadline: 5 June for themed; 30 June 2020 for unthemed
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose or up to 3 poems for themed issue; up to 10,000 words or up to 6 poems for general
Pay: CAD0.10/word, capped at CAD250 for fiction, CAD50-250 for other prose, CAD40/poem
Details here (themed call), here (general submission guidelines) and here  (contributor rates).

Kanstellation: Humans Find Meaning Through Tech
This magazine is accepting fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on ‘Humans Find Meaning Through Tech’. They want “ ‘slightly perverse shift[s] of perspective’ on how humanity and tech thinkwork, and co-exist with each other to produce meaning. 
How is our human instinct to make sense of the world around us sharpened through technology? How do “technologically-mediated societies” produce meaning –– love, kindness, connection? And in what ways do these technologies ease or exacerbate our societal challenges? As rhetorician Kenneth Burke wrote, humans are “symbol-making animals” and we want to know what you make of this techno-symbolic world.” They’re also reading open submissions on the theme of technology.Deadline: 14 June 2020
Length: 350-1,000 words for flash fiction and CNF, 1,200-1,800 words for short fiction and CNF, up to 4 poems
Pay: $30 for flash prose and poetry, $45 for short prose
Details here.

Midnight & Indigo: Speculative Fiction Issue
This is a new platform for Black women writers, and they publish fiction and essays. They want submissions of character-driven speculative fiction/horror from Black women writers for a special issue; this includes, but is not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, superhero fiction, horror, utopian and dystopian fiction, fairytale fantasy, and supernatural fiction.  
For general submissions (short stories, narratives and personal essays), the deadline is 2 August 2020. They also accept book reviews year round, though these are unpaid. Fiction in this category will also be considered for an upcoming anthology.
Deadline: 28 June 2020 for speculative fiction/horror special issue; 2 August 2020 for general submissions
Length: 1,500-6,000 words for fiction; at least 1,200 words for essays
Pay: $75 for stories in print, $50 for stories on website, $50 for nonfiction; general fiction submissions will also be considered for publication in an upcoming anthology, at $125/story.
Details here.

Thema: Three themes
They are accepting short stories, poems, essays, photographs, and art on three themes currently: The Tiny Red Suitcase; The Other Virginia;and A Postcard from the Past. The premise (target theme) must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not incidental, either. They do not accept electronic submissions, except from writers living outside the US.  
Deadline: 1 July 2020 for The Tiny Red Suitcase; 1 November 2020 for The Other Virginia; and 1 March 2021 for A Postcard from the Past
Length: Fewer than 20 pages of prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for short fiction and artwork, $10 for poetry
Details here.

There are 27 more listed in this week’s newsletter! Here’s the link: https://www.authorspublish.com/30-themed-submission-calls-for-june-2020/

Sign up for your copy delivered directly to YOUR inbox, today! (I’m not paid to say this, I just like their stuff a lot!)

Wishing you a week full of blessings, joy and laughter! Oh – and words, right? Keep writing and reading – see you next week.

Nancy Q.

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