Category Archives: MoGo7000

The Fastest Route to Publication–It’s as Easy as 1-2-3! Plus Let’s Celebrate These Writers!

Photo courtesy of BillLongshaw/FreeDigitalPhoto

Photo courtesy of BillLongshaw/FreeDigitalPhoto

Well, it’s the 2nd Tuesday, so that means we’ll start with some tips for writers!

Some of you have heard my story of writing a poem in first grade. You know that in high school I worked on the newspaper staff and was editor of the literary journal. Some have heard me say that by the time I was in college I knew that one day I would write a book…and the next thing I knew, I was forty.

At that point, I figured my life was half over. If I was going to write a book, I’d better get started!

But do you know the rest of the story?

I sat down and wrote a book. It only took me about three months to dash from start to finish, but I was confident it would be the next great American novel for kids. I remember the day I dropped the first batch of ten envelopes in the mailbox. “Oh my. What am I going to do when five publishers want my book at the same time? Oh, my!” (I’m dead serious. That’s exactly what I thought.)

But instead of a bidding war, the submissions received 10 rejections before the stamps were dry. (Yes, those were the days when you had to actually lick the stamps, too!)

The years came and went and I continued to recycle that book over and over and over, confident that I’d eventually find an editor who had sense enough to see what a gold mine my book would be for his or her publishing house. I did this for at least 5 years, never considering that perhaps, just maybe, I needed to learn something about writing.

In my rush to see my name in print, it took me 7 years, lots of conferences, and lots of rejections to dash across the publication finish line. And it took 10 years to have a published book!

I had a simple 1-2-3- plan for publication: 1)feel the urge, 2)write the book, and 3)collect a big fat advance.

Oh, if only it were that easy! For most of us, successful writing is a tortoise event, not a hare one. A cross-country event, not a sprint.

If you want to write a book and then spend 10 years trying to get it published, that’s fine. After all, it’s your book, you can do whatever you want. But if you really want to cross the finish line as a writer, here are the 1-2-3′s to help you get there faster.

1.  Take the time to learn the craft. If you don’t get anything from this post, I hope you get this: There are no shortcuts. I once heard bestselling author, T. Davis Bunn, say something like, “Would someone decide he wants to be a concert pianist, learn to bang out Chopsticks, and then expect to play Carnegie Hall? Would someone decide to be an artist, slap a little paint on a canvas, and then expect a buyer to pay her for it? Of course not! But that’s exactly what we do when we simply sit down, write a book, and think it’s going to be sold.”

So, instead of jumping straight into a book, start at the beginning. Find a local writer’s group, take a class at the community college, and attend writing conferences. Read instructional books and follow instructional writing blogs like this one. (You could sit and read the archives and have your own writer’s conference right in the comfort of your own home!) Learn the techniques of good writing, apply them to your work, and get valid feedback from others who know what to look for. This doesn’t mean you can’t be working on your book from the beginning, but you need to be learning the craft in the process.

2.  Start with short pieces. Many of us start out with a big dream to write and sell a book. And it could happen. Possibly. But your chances for publication may actually increase if you start out small by submitting articles and stories. And for some editors, agents, and publishing houses, the chances of publishing a book are greater if you’ve already proven you can write publishable short pieces. And the good news is, I post writing opportunities right here on The Christian Writer’s Den every third Tuesday of the month, listing places that are looking for writers.

3.  Write a blog. Yes, writing a blog can help you in your race to the writing finish line. Good blogging requires discipline, writing skills, and promotion. All this will help you build a platform while building your writing paper trail. A blog rarely leads to a book contract, although it could happen. But the better goal is to use that time to make connections while learning to write well. Visit Edie Melson’s blog, The Write Conversation, for great posts about blogging and social media.

So there you have it, the 1-2-3 of writing for publication. The steps are simple, but they certainly aren’t easy. The dash to the finish line not be a sprint, but follow these steps and you’re more likely to win your cross-country goal of publication.

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s celebrate your kudos!

Congratulations to these Christian Writer’s Den friends who are working hard and reaching their goals!

1. Nancy Foss (NC): My first book, Lord, Change Him; He’s Such a Jerk: Finding Hope for an Unhappy Marriage, was just published. I’m looking forward to seeing where God will take me this year.

2. Ellen Andersen (SC): I had a devotion, Forgive Them? Why Should I?, published at the end of January by Christian Devotions.

3. Barbara Parentini (NC): It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you about my inspirational greeting cards, Soaring Hearts. In the last six months there have been wonderful developments. First: The desire of my heart was to see the cards perch in a hospital gift shop. There is now a large selection in my hometown, Springfield, Ohio, at The Gardenview Gift Shop in Springfield Regional Medical Center. My nursing school is rooted in the new hospital, so God answered my prayer in such a lovely way! Second: Soaring Hearts and the entire “Sea Glass Collection” is in Yoder’s Gift Shop. Yoder’s is the most well-known Amish restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. My family and I have been frequent customers for decades! They are known for their amazing pies, delicious food, and beautiful gift shop. Yoder’s now stocks a wide assortment of Soaring Hearts. Third: I was approached over a year ago about this, and I’ve been chosen as the card vendor for The Garden Club of North Carolina’s 91st Annual Event. Several vendors and I will have our booths set up at the Sheraton Imperial (Emperor Blvd by RDU Airport) in Durham, NC, for the statewide event, April 17-19, 2016. The ladies of the garden club have been welcoming and enthusiastic about the cards. I will feature my Garden Grace Collection which I intend to grow this year. And to note, I’m in the process of editing my long-awaited book, SEA GLASS, a journal/devotional for those who love the sea, filled with Scripture, devotions, poetry, and inspiring prose. I plan to paint pages with sea glass colors and design. I’ve been compiling this over several years, and am excited this will be finished in 2016. Thank you, Vonda, for always being so supportive about my writing and creative endeavors. Blessings!

4. Tracy Crump (MS): I am honored to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul chose my story “A Glorious Ride,” previously published in their Inspiration for the Young at Heart, to be included in the upcoming For Mom, with Love, which will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Way to go, writers! And friends, if you didn’t see your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where I’ll have a new list of writing opportunities just for you!

mogo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who MoGo’d in January?

These friends wrote at least 7000 words on a book project in January and earned an entry in the 2016 drawing for $100 at the end of the year!

#1: Diana Leagh Matthews – 32,765 words
#2: Susan Baganz – 14,703 words
#3: Tim Suddeth – 20,248 words
#4: Amanda Everett – 7,466 words

Woo-hoo! We’re off to a great start, gang! And readers, if you want to join in the fun and have a bunch of chances to win $100 at the end of the year, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge. It’s free!

Well that does it for the 2nd Tuesday of February. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll take a look at writing opportunities and conferences.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Call-Outs for Kudos & MoGo7000 and Who Won Cheri Cowell’s Book?

newspapersIt’s the 1st Tuesday, so it’s time to hear from you: Calling All Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you! It doesn’t matter how small the success may seem to you, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Who Worked on Their Book MoGo7000 in January?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in January, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your January results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in January. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday).

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Cheri Cowell cover PeaceAnd Who Won Cheri Cowell’s Book, 365 Devotions for Peace?

According to Random.org, the winner is…

Bonita Bandaries!

Congratulations, Bonita! All you need to do is contact me with your snail mail address and Cheri will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win…You KNOW you want this book! So here’s a direct Amazon link to 365 Devotions for Peace, by Cheri Cowell. Enjoy!

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Well, friends, that does it for our Writer’s Headlines this week. Be sure to check back next week when you can learn The Fastest Route to Publication–It’s as Easy as 1-2-3! We’ll also be celebrating you, so be sure to send me your good news!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Celebration Day: Kudos, MoGo7000 Qualifiers, and Who Won $100?

fireworks PixabayIt’s time to celebrate YOU with our Christian Writer’s Den Kudos!

Congratulations to the following CWD friends who’ve been doing the work and finding success!

1.  Shellie Arnold (OH): My first novel THE SPINDLE CHAIR released in October 2015.

2.  Beth Fortune (SC): I had a Devo published for Christian Devotions in December.

3.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): Thanks to the opportunity posted on Vonda Skelton’s site, Marilyn was a guest blogger in November and December on Jeanne Doyon’s site, Pausing to See God Clearly
Here are the links: http://jeannedoyon.com/grief-isnt-on-the-calendar/
http://jeannedoyon.com/tis-the-season-to-be-overloaded/

4.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I’m going to post monthly on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog Small Acts of Kindness. I’m thrilled she asked me!

5.  Cyn Rogalski (PA): I got to speak at the local Chinese Christian Church in nearby Whitehall, PA on Saturday, Jan 9. A woman I met at church on Wednesday invited me to come with her (she was scheduled to speak) and I also got to speak to the group of young people. A great group!

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Who were the December MoGo7000 qualifers?

These two high-energy writers earned another MoGo7000 entry for the month of December:

#17: Susan Baganz – 23,983 words
#18: Tim Suddeth – 19,749 wordsmogo

Congratulations! You both have had an amazing year of writing by completing (or almost completing) at least one book in 2015. Thanks for letting us follow your journey.

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2016 MoGo7000 Writing Challenge Has Begun–YOU Could Win $100 in Cash!

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 challenge is now underway. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100. AND IT’S ALL FREE!

Each month you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month in 2016 and you receive one entry. Reach it all 12 months and you receive 12 entries! At the beginning of 2017, a winning entry will be selected at Random.org and the winner will receive $100 in cash to use as he or she desires.

And just think, whether you win the money or not, at the end of the year, you could have a completed book, or at least be well on your way to one…and it doesn’t cost you a cent. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

So what are you waiting for? Sit down and get to work. Be sure to mark your beginning and ending for the month, so you’ll know how many words your wrote, then report them when I post the call-out each month.

Isn’t this fun?

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Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Who won $100?

Well, before I announce the winner, let me share some exciting statistics with you:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Would you believe 401,762 new words were written on book projects and reported by Christian Writer’s Den friends in 2015?
  2. Six writers participated in the 2015 challenge.
  3. I know at least two books came out of these months of writing, but I don’t know for sure how many.
  4. And I know one writer is going to be $100 richer. :-)

Congratulations to all the writers who worked hard and made progress in their book projects this year!

So, are you ready to see who won $100 to spend as desired? Drum roll, please…Random.org says the winner of the 2015 MoGo7000 Challenge is…

Susan Baganz!


Woo-hoo, Susan! Congratulations! Now, I just need you to contact me with your snail mail address and I’ll get that check right out to you!

And friends, if you didn’t win, don’t worry. The 2016 MoGo7000 Challenge is now underway! Write at least 7000 new words on a book project in a month and you’ll receive an entry. Get started now and you could have 12 chances to win at the end of the year!

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Thanks for Tweeting!

Who won $100 in the #MoGo7000 #writing challenge? You could win in 2016! @VondaSkelton #amwriting (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for another Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you’ll join us next week as I share a list of writing opportunities, contests, and conferences collected just for you!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Wise Words, Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Outs, and Who Won Delores Liesner’s Book?

Owl pixabay

Let’s start 2016 with a few wise words from the wisest and richest man in who ever lived.

Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words . . . .
Ecclesiastes 5:7a (TLB)

Ouch.

Am I–are you–dreaming instead of doing? Would you join me in making 2016 the Year of Doing?

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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mogo7000 logoWho MoGo’d in December?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in December, you will receive one last entry for the 2015 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your December results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in December. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 challenge has begun! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. But remember, this week’s reporting is for the month of December 2015.

Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Delores Liesner Miracle book cover

Who won a copy of Delores Liesner’s book, Be the Miracle?

And the winner is…

Julie Garmon!

Congratulations, Julie. Simply contact me with your mailing address and Delores will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s an Amazon direct link to Be the Miracle.

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Daddy Skelton at 94 with Max & AveryThank you for your prayers for our family.

 

Wow, what a whirlwind few months it’s been. Thanks to each of you who sent your prayers and sympathies in the death of my precious father-in-love on December 22. He would have been 98yo if he had made it to January 30. This is a picture from 3 years ago when he was 94. He’s dancing with two of his GREAT-grandchildren!

It’s been a difficult experience, especially at the holidays, but you comforted us as only God’s people can do. Thank you!

Although I hope to get back in the swing of things very soon, I still ask for patience as I try to catch up. If you have an urgent need that you’re waiting for, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll get to it as soon as possible.

 

Thanks for sharing!

Start the writing year off w/a chance to win $100 w/MoGo7000! Celebrate your successes! @VondaSkelton

I pray God’s richest blessings in 2016 as you continue to shine His light into this needy world.

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 Qualifiers, & Who Won Mary Scro’s Book?

newspapersLet’s start with this month’s kudos!

Congratulations to these Christian Writer’s Den friends who’ve been working hard and making things happen!

1.  Eddie Snipes (GA): It’s been a big month – and year. I was invited to be the keynote speaker in a conference in Washington, and just hit the 20,000 book sales mark this month. I also released my 19th book.

2.  Bonita Bandaries (LA): I recently self-published my newest book, A Promise Kept Inspirational
Guide for Family Caregivers, with CreateSpace and launched it at an event I hosted in November in honor of family caregivers during November, National Family Caregivers Month. 

3.  Cheryl Barker (KS): Blue Mountain Arts purchased my piece “To My Amazing Daughter on Valentine’s Day” for use on an upcoming greeting card. So thankful they are using more of my work.

4.  Tracy Crump (MS): My fifteenth Chicken Soup for the Soul story has just been accepted for My Very Good Very Bad Dog. My friend Andi Lehman has been keeping me busy doing book signings for my last Chicken Soup story in Volunteering and Giving Back. This was Andi’s first CS story about a snake she rehabbed, and we’ve sold books to benefit MS Wildlife Rehabilitation. I also recently co-presented a webinar called “Stirring the Pot: Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Sounds like a chicken soup kind of month!

5.  Lori Hatcher (SC): I’m so excited to be premiering my latest women’s ministry event, “Stepping Out, How Our Footwear Affects our Faith” in two events in early 2016. Spring boarding off of every woman’s love of shoes, I hope to challenge ladies to strap on the footwear that allows them to run the race of faith with confidence.

6.  Andrea Merrell (SC): I am very excited to announce that my book, Praying for the Prodigal, was a 2015 USA Best Book Awards finalist in the Religion: Christian Inspirational category

Congrats to this month’s kudos-worthy writers! And if you didn’t see your name on the list, be sure to check out next week’s Writing Opportunities and you could be well on your way to a publishing success!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Now let’s see who earned entries into the 2015 MoGo7000 Challenge…

#15: Eddie Snipes – 28,670 words
#16: Susan Baganz – 81,131 words

Congratulations, Eddie and Susan! You’re in the running for the $100 cash prize, to be given away in January! And readers, it’s not too late to earn an entry this month. Simply write 7000 new words on a book project in December and you can be in the 2015 drawing in January!

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Mary Scro Intentional Fitness cover

Mary Scro Intentional Warfare coverAnd who won Mary Scro’s book, Intentional Warfare?

I’m so embarrassed that I forgot to announce the winner last week. But all I can say is my brain can only hold so much and these days it’s trying to hold too much. :-(

But today we do have a winner, and that winner is…

Paul Elliott!

Congratulations, Paul. To receive your free copy of Mary’s book, Intentional Warfare, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Mary will get you book right out to you.

And for you who didn’t win the book, here is the direct Amazon links to Intentional Fitness and Intentional Warfare.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’ll be back next week for our monthly writing opportunities collected just for you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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How Many Rejections are Enough to Quit? And Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Outs

Image courtesy of suphakit73/www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73/www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s start with a conversation about rejections. When is it okay for a writer quit trying?

The answer is simple: You can quit whenever you’re ready to fail.

I heard a statistic that the average writer will get 5-10 rejections and quit. I have one thing to say to that: Wimp.

Okay, I know that sounds tough, but hear my heart. The truth is, the only way to fail at this writing thing is to quit. The only way to be considered a failure is to walk away and say you’re done. As long as you’re learning, applying, writing, rewriting, learning, applying, writing, and rewriting, you’re doing the work of a writer. In other words, you ARE a writer.

Some of you have heard my story of getting 63–count ‘em, 63!–rejections before I ever had anything published. Not one single, solitary thing published in 7 or 8 long years of No.

You better believe I got discouraged. Yes, I wanted to quit. Many times. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t leave a the journey a quitter. I just couldn’t walk away.

I knew I had something to say, something someone would benefit from. If only I could find someone to publish what I was writing. So I tried almost everything: magazine articles, novels, plays, songs, children’s picture books, and devotions, but everything I wrote received a rejection.

So I kept learning, kept attending conferences, kept going to critique group, kept applying what I’d learned, kept writing and rewriting . . . year after year after year.

And then one day, after years of No, the answer was Yes. I had a contract for an article.

But here’s what I want you to know: I didn’t become a writer with that first published article. I had been a writer through all those years of No. I had been a writer because I didn’t quit.

Now, after all these years of writing, I often wonder how different my life would be if I had quit at 63 rejections. What if I’d never sent the 64th submission? No one would have blamed me, that’s for sure. After all, anybody should have enough sense to quit after all that time.

But some things just don’t make sense from a human point of view. Success comes by perseverance and determination, not by avoiding rejection.

The only way to win is to persevere. And the only way to fail is to quit.

Happy writing!

Vonda

Thanks for Tweeting!

How many rejections are enough to quit writing? @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

The only way to win is to persevere. The only way to fail is to quit. @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

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FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

mogo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who MoGo’d in November? And yes, NaNoWriMo numbers count!

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in November, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2015 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your November results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in November. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2015 challenge has one more month. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

It’s not too late! Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

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The Non-Fiction Book: Concept to Contract and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Welcome to the 2nd Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den..Let’s start with a tutorial for your non-fiction book..Books morguefile

 

Although the technique of good writing is a necessary craft that crosses genre lines, there are considerable differences in the planning, writing, and submitting of the fiction vs the non-fiction book. Today we’ll focus on the steps you’ll need to take in order to see your non-fiction book in print.

 

Planning:

  • What do you want to teach?
  • Is there a need?
  • Do your research.
  • What is your focus or slant?
  • Discover your voice.

Writing:Be creative computer Pixabay

  • Create an outline.
  • Write creatively.
  • Write chapter summaries.
  • Write three chapters.
  • Obtain serious critiques of your work and consider hiring an editor.

Before submitting:

Submitting:

  • Use only clean, white paper.
  • Follow correct format.
  • Submit only to those publishers or agents who work with your type of book.
  • Be professional in every way.
  • Don’t give up.

So what are you waiting for? By following these guidelines, you’ll increase your chances of publication and could soon be signing your name on the proverbial dotted line!

Write on!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Non-fiction book tips for #writers – Concept to Contract @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Kudos to Nan Jones, a very special writing friend… 

Nan Jones (NC): “I had my first book signing for The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife on Oct.10th at the Cornerstone Christian Bookstore in Boone, NC. This is a lovely, two-story bookstore that serves our mountain region. I was so honored – it was on my dream list and God graced me with this gift. Also, I was in WalMart and a stranger came up to me and said, “You’re that lady that wrote the book for pastors’ wives!” I just about fell over. We met the next day so she could purchase a signed copy for her pastor’s wife. Sometimes when you think marketing efforts aren’t doing any good, the Lord gives a pat on the back.”

That’s so true, Nan. His word tells that if we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Your experience is a perfect example of how much He wants to bless us!

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mogoAnd look who MoGo’d last month!

#13: Robin Luftig – 15,000 words
#14: Tim Suddeth – 7300 words

Congratulations, writers! You’re in the running for the $100 cash prize, to be given away in January! And readers, don’t forget you still could get two more entries this year, so it’s not too late to start.

And your NaNoWriMo words can count toward MoGo7000, too, so write away and then remember to report your numbers when I put out the call in December!

Okay, friends, that does it for another Tuesday at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thank you for stopping by and joining in. Without you, CWD would be a very lonely place for me. :-)

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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To NaNo or Not? NaNoWriMo Decoded, Call-Outs & Book Give Away

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareVonda here: Writers, are you wondering what all this NaNoWriMo talk is about? Trying to decide if it’s something you should consider? Thanks Edie Melson, here are the answers to your questions! (I’m participating for the first time this year!)

To NaNo or Not? NaNoWriMo Decoded, by Edie Melson

Among those whose heart’s desire is to write a novel, November thoughts turn to the dilemma of NaNoWriMo. For the uneducated, November has long become known as National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is an idea that has exploded in popularity. The idea is that you write the first draft (minimum of 50,000 words) of a novel in one month. At first this may sound ridiculous, but many writing instructors advocate writing your first draft quickly, without editing. James Scott Bell encourages this in his book, The Art of War for Writers. I highly recommend this book, by the way and it was the very first book reviewed on this blog. Curious to learn more? Click here to read the review.
So how do you get involved with NaNoWriMo?
  • First, visit the website and set up an account.
  • Second, familiarize yourself with the site and the many things they offer.
  • Third, start brainstorming ideas.

Yep, I’ve found it helps me to have an idea of where I’m going with my novel. I don’t want to get into the whole plotter or pantster debate, but I highly recommend at least a glimmer of an idea before you start.

Still unconvinced it’s for you? Consider this, people participate in NaNo for many reasons—many of them good—here are just a few to consider.

  • For Fun: maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel. Here’s your time to give it a try.
  • To Jumpstart Your Next Book: if you write professionally, the work of writing can sometimes get in the way of actual writing. NaNo can help you get back on track.
  • An Accountability Group: Some of us just do better when we have to report on our progress. NaNoWriMo actually requires that.
  • A Deadline and Goal: I don’t know about you, but I can do almost anything for a month—give up chocolate, start an exercise program, get familiar with a new routine. Why not try writing a novel?
  • Company in a Lonely Endeavor: writing is a solitary pursuit and can often be intimidating and discouraging. Aligning with a group that has a shared goal and purpose helps alleviate the loneliness and helps keep us motivated.
  • To Win: yes, I admit it. I’m highly competitive and just thinking about NaNoWriMo gets my adrenaline pumping.

Vonda here: Edie and I would love to see who’s participating in NaNoWriMo, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know your NaNoWriMo name (you choose it when you register). Ours are easy to remember: emelson and vondaskelton.

Also, if you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo previously, please share your suggestions and comments based on your experience. Thanks!

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I want to hear about your successes! celebration - Morguefile

Okay, friends, now it’s time to hear from you! We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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mogo7000 logoWho Worked on Their MoGo7000 in October?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in October, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2015 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your October results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in October. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2015 challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 2 months and you’ll have 2 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. Participating in NaNoWriMo? Those words can also count as your Mogo7000 words. And it doesn’t cost you a cent!Broken Butterfly Cover (1)

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Who won Cindy Patterson’s book?

And the winner is…

Tammy Whitehurst!

Congratulations, Tammy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Cindy will get your book right out to you! And friends, I know you’re gonna want Cindy’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Broken Butterfly.

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Well, that does it for our first November meeting. Now get to work and write!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Cindy Patterson

Cindy Patterson headshotHappy 4th Tuesday! I’m excited to share my friend, Cindy Patterson, with you today.

Cindy and I met years ago when I spoke at her church and we’ve kept in touch through the years of writing and taking breaks and writing again. Yes, even though I have a love/hate relationship with technology, right now I’m thankful God allowed us to stay in touch through the demon/angel.

Cindy is not only the author of Broken Butterfly, but she actually wrote several novels through our MoGo7000 Monthly Challenge AND she was our very first winner of the $100 prize in the 2011 MoGo7000 Challenge! As you can see, Cindy is proof that MoGo7000 can help you finish your book. :-)

Be sure to leave a comment for Cindy and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book. Now, let’s get started.

Welcome, Cindy. First of all, I’d love to know what inspired you to write your first book.

You know that point when you reach the end of a really good novel and the depressing feeling that settles over you with an ache making you want more? I had to have that “more,” so I created my own characters, my own story.

In this story, I wanted to give a glimpse of how God can use brokenness and make it whole. I also wanted to share a remarkable love story and to give hope.

We know that writing is one thing, but when did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m so glad you asked me that question. It was you, Vonda, who first told me I was a writer. You were speaking at my church quite a few years ago and I couldn’t wait to meet you. At the time, I still didn’t feel like a writer, but I headed home with all the tips and resources you gave me and I began this whirlwind of a life and have loved every minute of it. And I know without a doubt, God appointed that brief meeting between you and me.

He sure did! Thank you for letting me know of my small part in your journey. And now, here you are, encouraging and influencing other writers! Speaking of other writers, we’re always interested in knowing who are pantsers and who are plotters. Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m a pantser. No organization whatsoever. I sit down and start pounding at the keys and the words flow like a scene from a movie. Of course, there’s a lot of editing, cutting, and sometimes rearranging to be done after the first draft and even the second, and third. Sometimes I want to try the more organized form of writing to see how that works for me. I may even do that with my next novel. I’m always up for a new challenge.

My three published novels were plotted and it worked well for me. But I’ve just started another novel and for the first time I’m having trouble figuring out the story line. I think I need some inspiration! Do you have something that inspires you while you write?

Music. Reading. The last light of the setting sun filtering through the woods behind my house. Jesus.

I love your title, Broken Butterfly. How is this story special to you?Broken Butterfly Cover (1)

The characters of Broken Butterfly came to me in a very weird dream. I have a lot of those, but this one in particular would not leave me alone until I started their story. It’s hard to pinpoint how this story is special to me without giving too much away, but I will say this, I could not do any of this without God’s help. And in this book in particular, He gave me the twist that brought Broken Butterfly full circle and I remember that moment as if it happened yesterday.

Wow, what a gift that was to you! I have weird dreams, too, but mine have never been insights for a new book! I love your cover, too. Who designed it?

The cover of this book had been in my head for years. I knew I wouldn’t find a pre-made cover that would fit exactly what I was looking for. I needed a young lady, fitting Mallory’s description, who also had a butterfly and dragonfly tattoo visible on her ankle. So, I chose my oldest son’s fiancĂ©, Madison Robinson, to model for me. Her uncle, Mike Parrish, of Tar River Photography, took the picture. The tattoo holds great significance in the story. You’ll have to read to find out why. ;)

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want my readers to connect with my characters and to remember them long after they put the book down. The world needs more Faith, Hope, and Love. This is a clean romance that stirs the heart. The reader is at peace seeing Mallory triumph over her struggles and the reader is empowered to overcome his or her own challenges in life.

Also, domestic abuse is a living, breathing reality for many and I wanted to bring that to light, hoping someone feeling trapped would find the courage to escape, and to ultimately find hope in Jesus.

We’re running out of time, but I’d like to know what writing tip you would offer other writers.

Embrace meaningful relationships with other writers. Don’t compare your success to others. God has His specific plan for you in His own perfect time. Encourage each other and promote not only yourself but those around you. And finally, never stop learning.

Wise words, Cindy. Before we go, would you give us a peek into your current project?

I’m currently working with an editor on Chasing Paradise, the prequel to Broken Butterfly.

Thank you for joining us today and sharing your wisdom and insight into writing. And readers, remember to leave a comment for Cindy and you’ll be in the drawing for her book. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

Thanks for Tweeting!

MoGo7000 $100 winner Cindy Patterson shares writing advice. Win a #free book! #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Cindy Patterson memeBio: Cindy Patterson lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband and three amazing children. Her passions include Jesus, homeschooling, writing, and drama ministry. You’ll find her at any given time with her family on a baseball field watching her youngest son play, as her oldest son and husband coach from the sideline. You can also find her watching her daughter dance, tucked away reading, or cooking when she’s not writing. She’s a member of ACFW.

Here’s where you can find Cindy:

www.CindyPattersonBooks.com

www.CindyPattersonWrites.blogspot.com

https://Twitter.com/cpattersonbks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10450152.Cindy_Patterson

https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Patterson-Inspirational-Romance-Author-299906700157616/

Direct Amazon link to Broken Butterfly

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5 Reasons to Take Your Time with Self-Publishing, Kudos & MoGo7000 Qualifiers

books pixabayLet’s start with 5 Reasons to Take Your Time with Self-Publishing

If you’ve been writing a while, you’ve probably been there . . . at the crossroads of excitement and frustration. You know your concept is salable. Your story is good. Your topic is timely. But you just received another rejection letter. What’s wrong with these people? Why can’t they see the value of your project? Don’t they know this book needs to be out NOW?

Self-publishing is looking better by the day.

I’m the first to tell you there are lots of great reasons to self-publish, and I’ve talked about the subject several times here at the Christian Writer’s Den. If you’d like to take a look, check out these links to Three Points to Consider if You’re Considering Self-Publishing, How to Tell Your Amazing Life Story, and Do I Really Need an Agent?

But I’m also the first to admit that there are some particularly good reasons NOT to jump into self-publishing. Time is one of them.

In this on-demand world of instant gratification, self-publication can be seen as a quick way to get your book out and in the hands of excited readers. That could be the case; however, successful self-publishing usually takes time. Before you self-publish, you need to consider these five truths about writing.

  1. Good writing takes time. It’s sad to think back on the many writers I know who sat down, wrote a book, and self-published it because they had to get it out now. Years later, many of them wish they had taken the time to do the real work of a good writer. I’ve admitted in several posts that I wrote my first children’s novel in a matter of 2-3 months, edited it as I went along, and immediately sent it out to editors and agents. After all, I knew I was a good writer, and it wasn’t only my mother who confirmed it. My high school teachers and college professors did, too. But I was wrong. After years of rejection, I finally learned that for most professional writers, good writing takes multiple rewrites, critiques by other writers, and some time between writing and publishing.
  2. Good editing takes time. Proper editing involves much more than proofreading and requires more skill than a read-through. Quality editing is a volleying experience between you and your editor. After you do your own writing and rewriting, you submit the project to the editor for his input, and he bounces the project back to you. You then do more corrections, sometimes large chunks of rewrites, and send the project back to the editor for more input and conversations regarding differing opinions. This could happen multiple times over multiple days and weeks, perhaps even months. A good editor is worth paying for.
  3. Good covers take time. If we’re honest, it’s often easy to pick out a self-published book by simply looking at the cover. Like the editing process, a good cover requires a back-and-forth effort with a graphic artist or cover designer. Several options should be offered, with input and feedback from both the author and the designer. Remember, the first think a potential buyer will see is the cover. To give your book the best chance at success, take the time required to have an eye-catching, quality cover.
  4. Good marketing strategy takes time. Don’t wait until you have your book to plan your marketing strategy. My bestselling author friends, Edie Melson and DiAnn Mills, have developed an excellent class on this very topic. “An Author Roadmap to Find Your Superhighway for Marketing and Branding” will be coming to writers conferences around the country beginning this month, and you don’t want to miss it. These successful authors will teach a timeline of when to do what, and believe me, it starts long before your book is out.
  5. Good publishing takes time. It’s not unusual for traditional publishing to take 1-2 years from contract to release while self-publishing can allow you to get your book written and published within weeks. But as you can see from this list, speed is not the best indicator of success. Some may argue that traditionally published books have come out quickly and been very successful, such as those related to current events and headline news. But remember, those publishers have a full staff of experts working around the clock to create that successful, quickly published book. Most of us don’t have such staff at our disposal.

Although self-published books can release on a shorter timeline than traditionally published ones, most successful books are the results of good writing, good editing, good covers, good marketing strategy, and a good investment of time.

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Kudos to YOU!celebration - Morguefile

These Christian Writer’s Den friends have been working hard and congratulations are in order!

1.  Andrea Merrell (SC): I had a two-page article about prodigals in the September issue of
Reach Out Columbia magazine.

2.  Dee Dee Parker (NC): Dee Dee won the first place award in the Southern Living Magazine’s Short Fiction Contest and is featured in the October issue!

3.  Susan Baganz (WI): Susan has finished another contracted book in a series!

Congratulations, writers! I’m proud of you. :-)

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mogoWho MoGo’d in September?

We only had one MoGo-er for September, but she blew it out of the water!

#12: Susan Baganz – 27,871 words

Congrats, Susan!

Writers, you have three more months in 2015 to earn entries into the drawing for $100. MoGo7000 Challenge guidelines are here. It’s free!

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That does it for today. Writers, don’t forget to help another writer today. :-)

Vonda

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