Monday, July 21, 2014

Working for Free: Part Three - Anyone Can Write

At some point their career, most professional writers, no matter what their genre of fiction or area of expertise will meet someone who says, “Well, how hard can it be.” After all, anyone can write, right? That’s like saying that if you know how to swim you can compete in the Olympics or just because you’re able to hold a paintbrush you can create a masterpiece.

It doesn’t work that way, of course. Yet because so many people are able to write, whether it’s a scribbled memo, signing a check, or filling in an application form, some individuals think that they can easily take up writing professionally. This fallacy doesn’t help to persuade people to view writers as having valuable talents.

For example, take online writing for websites, blog postings or social media. Sometimes companies or the graphic design companies that create their websites contact professional writers. This was because they want to have good quality writing on their websites in order to look professional and sell more of their products and services. However, once they realize that writers actually charge a fee for their work services commensurate with their level of expertise, these companies have second thoughts.

The cost of a professional writer simply isn’t in their budget. So they decide to either do the writing themselves or hire people to write for a much smaller fee. The results are usually predictable but at least everyone saved money. Unfortunately, there’s soon the realization that the company website text is littered with errors and looks highly unprofessional. The company is also losing business to a competitor who budgeted for a professional writer when they created their own website. This isn’t always the case, of course, and there are still clients out there who appreciate that quality is rarely cheap. Yet, there are also people who will continue to dismiss the cost of writing and editing pages for a professional website and say to themselves, “Well, how hard can it be?”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Excerpt from The Sorcerer's Letterbox

England 1470

Brother William gazed into the ball of polished glass. Tantalizing glimpses of the future, shrouded in mist and shadows, flickered and disappeared. Carefully, he put the ball back into its velvet sack and ran his fingers over the exquisitely decorated box in front of him. It perfectly matched the image that he had just seen.

He heard footsteps coming up the stairs. That must be the queen, he thought, opening the door. She has come at last.

“Your Majesty,” he said, and bowed as she swept into the room.

“Brother William, I presume?” said the queen.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”

She walked over to the tiny window and peered down at the unmarked carriage waiting below.

“I risk a great deal coming here,” said the queen, lowering the hood of her cloak. “ My enemies have spread rumours that I practise the dark arts. My own brother-in-law, the Duke of Gloucester, believes that I bewitched the king into marriage. It will do me no good if I am seen with you in this inn. It is said you are a sorcerer.”

“Your Majesty,” protested Brother William, “I am but a humble monk.”

“You were a monk,” the queen corrected him, as she sat at the table. “I know your story, Brother William. You were banished from the monastery, and now there is a price on your head. “Your messenger said that you had a vision that harm would come to my son and that you would give me something to protect him.” She pointed to the box. “Is this it?”
“Indeed it is, Your Majesty.”

With trembling hands, Brother William gently pushed the box across the table toward her.
The queen studied the painted figures on the sides, lifted the lid and peered in.

“It seems like an ordinary box to me. My son’s christening is on the morrow. What more can you tell me?”

Brother William shook his head. “One day the prince will be in grave danger; this box will protect him. He must always keep it close at hand.”

“But how does it work?”

“When the time comes, he must place a letter inside the box, and it will bring him aid when he most needs it.”

“You speak in riddles, old man!” snapped the queen, grabbing the box. “I can tarry no longer.”

Without a backward glance, she hurried from the room, clutching the box tightly under the folds of her cloak.

Brother William quickly gathered up the velvet sack and prepared to leave. Moments after the queen’s carriage departed, he heard a loud pounding at the door and shouts from the street below. It was the sheriff’s men.

But by the time they reached the upstairs room, Brother William had disappeared.

You can learn more about Th Sorcerer's Letterbox and the historical background to the story on my website. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Camps in Calgary and area

I’m available to visit summer camps in the Calgary area each July and August. 

I can be a special guest or work as part of the programming. I have a number of presentations, workshops, and other programs that are suitable for summer camps, but am very flexible. I’m happy to discuss ways in which my programs can fit in with the general theme of your camp for a particular week.
I also offer my five day playwriting program for local community associations and other groups. This can be run as a morning or afternoon camp for small groups of children ages nine to twelve.

Contact me about rates and availability for summer camps this July and August. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Writing Services for Website Content

A good first impression is still very important and your website is often the first place people will encounter your company and it’s products and services.

Your on line copy reflects your professionalism or lack of it. You need to take pride in what you have on the web. If it appears you don’t really care what your site looks like, the customer will assume your products may be similarly slipshod. 
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for website content writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for copywriting for website content.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Working for Free: Part Two - Hidden Costs

For many writers of children’s non-fiction books, there’s usually a contracted fee and no royalties. However, once again, payment is made once the work’s completed, rather than during the writing process. In addition, although there’s a fee for writing the book, it may involve far more research than you anticipated when signing the contract. There may also be a great deal of editing, especially if the client decides to take a new direction with the non-fiction book or article. Consequently your fee per hour ends up being much less than you might have initially calculated.

You may decide to pitch a non-fiction book to a publisher hoping that they’ll publish it. Yet this can involve a colossal amount of work with no guarantee that you’ll eventually be paid for it. This might also apply to writing copy for websites, blog postings, or for magazine articles. However, much of this is the life of the freelancer and is largely unavoidable. For freelancers in most professions, the freedom to live life as one chooses has to be balanced with the inevitable financial insecurity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available Online


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide, which is available in ebook and print versions.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Kobo               
Amazon UK                       Amazon Germany       Amazon France           
Amazon Japan                  Amazon USA (paperback)

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hear Here - Author Readings Online

People are always interested in hearing an author read from their own work. Children in particular, especially those who have read and enjoyed the novels, are usually captivated when an author reads from their own book during a personal appearance at a school, library, literary festival or other event.

Here on my website, you can listen to interviews and readings from The Alchemist's PortraitThe Clone ConspiracyThe Emerald Curse and The Heretic's Tomb, recorded on Calgary's CKUA radio network, plus a reading from The Sorcerer's Letterbox, recorded during my appearance at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University in September and October

Writing Historical Fiction is an online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary running from September 22 to November 3. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Copywriting Services for Business

The way in which you communicate with your customers is a vital component  of your business and well written content can be the difference between success and failure. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and market segments and offer a variety of copywriting services including website content, blogs and newsletters, social media including Facebook and Twitter, brochures, direct mail, sales letters, press releases, newspaper and magazine advertising and more. 
Contact me for details regarding copywriting services and my portfolio of completed projects.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Working for Free: Part One - The Writing Process

Sooner or later, every professional writer is approached about working for free. This might not seem like something anyone would want to do, but it’s a very familiar situation for writers. For example, when you’re writing your first novel, possibly at the weekend or in the evenings if you have a job in the real world, no one is paying you for that work. If a publisher accepts your manuscript for publication, you might receive some kind of advance but any work to revise the book and complete any edits will all be on your own time. 

Of course, you’re hoping that the book will eventually sell some copies. Even if you don’t sell millions, you might at least attract enough buyers to convince you that you’ve not worked so hard for nothing. However, you’re still not getting paid while you write the book. Children’s authors have the opportunity to be paid for vising schools and talk about their work, but the initial creative period all transpires in your own time and with no financial rewards.

Even if you’re an established writer, every novel isn’t paid work while your writing it, but there’s hopefully income later. This is a situation faced by many self-employed people all the time, whether they’re plumbers, electricians, painters, and numerous other professions. They might receive a deposit from their client as an act of good faith, somewhat like a writer’s advance, but the bulk of the fee isn’t paid until the work is completed.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What is Substantive Editing?

You’ve finished your first novel after years of painstaking work. You’re sure it could be a best seller and everyone you know is very enthusiastic. Yet your manuscript is returned by publishers, with a form letter providing no clues as to why they didn’t like it. Having your work independently evaluated gives you an unbiased opinion, helping you to tighten your manuscript and fix problems you may have overlooked.
substantive edit involves detailed content assessment. This may include comments on characterization, setting, dialogue, believability, structure, plot, language, research and references. It also includes a summary of the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of your writing, along with comments on writing technique, format, technical ability and market potential. 
A substantive edit is different to copy editing, which is performed by an experienced professional. Copy editing covers grammar, spelling, punctuation and many other details that writers are sometimes unaware of but publishers care deeply about. Substantive editing also differs from proof reading, which checks the final details before a book or article is printed or published. Following an in-depth substantive edit, both copy editing and proof reading are still needed before publication.
I offer substantive editing services for most genres. You can visit my website for further information or contact me directly for an estimate. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Excerpt from The Alchemist's Portrait

Sally’s mouth was moving but she made no sound. Matthew watched in horror as van der Leyden approached the table, brandishing a long knife. Matthew flung the door wide open and launched himself at him. The alchemist lurched backwards, struggling to regain his footing. Matthew then grabbed a bowl filled with red powder and threw it in his face. Instinctively, van der Leyden moved his hands to his eyes and dropped the knife. At the same time, the spell restraining Sally was lifted and she jumped from the table.

“Run!” Matthew yelled, grabbing the spell book. “I’ll hold him off.”

Sally mouthed something in reply but she still couldn’t speak.

“Just go!” said Matthew. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Matthew spun around to see van der Leyden coming at him with a cleaver. He dodged, stumbling as the blade sank into the surface of the table.

“You are trying my patience, boy!” van der Leyden bellowed. “I don’t know who you are, but you will pay for this!”

Van der Leyden grabbed another knife and slashed repeatedly at Matthew, forcing him backwards, until he was pressed against a wall.

“It seems your luck has run out,” said Nicolaas van der Leyden.

Van der Leyden’s hand held Matthew’s throat tightly, choking him. Matthew could feel the alchemist’s emerald ring press into his skin. As van der Leyden drew back his knife, Matthew clutched the spell book tightly to his chest for protection. Then he heard a muffled thud and the grip around his throat loosened. Sally was standing behind van de Leyden, holding a heavy brass candlestick. Blood poured out of van de Leyden’s scalp and he staggered, stunned by Sally’s blow.

“Run!” yelled Matthew, still holding the spell book. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Taking advantage of her opponent’s momentary weakness, Sally dashed through the attic door and down the stairs, with Matthew close behind.

As they burst into the studio. Matthew shouted out, “Quick jump into the painting!” And she disappeared into the canvas, with her brother following closely behind.

Once inside the painting, Matthew was startled to find that nothing was the same. Sally was gone and so was Peter. The frame no longer showed a view into the Portrait Gallery. Instead there was a maelstrom of swiftly moving images, like videotape on fast forward. Matthew guessed that the chaos created in the time stream had somehow affected the images in the frame. The scenes were moving too quickly for Matthew to make sense out of them. Straining his eyes to catch the right moment, Matthew walked slowly toward the frame once more. Still gripping the spell book tightly, he stepped into the whirlpool.

You can learn more about The Alchemist's Portrait and the historical background to the story on my website. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coaching and Workshops for Writers

I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.


Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Camps in Calgary and area

I’m available to visit summer camps in the Calgary area each July and August. 

I can be a special guest or work as part of the programming. I have a number of presentations, workshops, and other programs that are suitable for summer camps, but am very flexible. I’m happy to discuss ways in which my programs can fit in with the general theme of your camp for a particular week.
I also offer my five day playwriting program for local community associations and other groups. This can be run as a morning or afternoon camp for small groups of children ages nine to twelve.

Contact me about rates and availability for summer camps this July and August. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Writing Services for Website Content

A good first impression is still very important and your website is often the first place people will encounter your company and it’s products and services.

Your on line copy reflects your professionalism or lack of it. You need to take pride in what you have on the web. If it appears you don’t really care what your site looks like, the customer will assume your products may be similarly slipshod. 
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for website content writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for copywriting for website content.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

PlayWriting Camp in July with the Calgary Arts Summer School Association

PlayWriting Camp will once again will take place this summer from July 14 to 18 with the Calgary Arts Summer School Association

This is a half-day camp (either morning or afternoon) for students ages 7 to 12. In a dramatic and fun-filled week, children will learn how to write, rehearse and perform their own unique play in just five days. Children will create the plot, craft the script, write dialogue and hone their acting skills for their very own dramatic production, which will then be performed at the end of the week. 

Further details and registration information for PlayWriting Camp can be found here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

What is Substantive Editing?

You’ve finished your first novel after years of painstaking work. You’re sure it could be a best seller and everyone you know is very enthusiastic. Yet your manuscript is returned by publishers, with a form letter providing no clues as to why they didn’t like it. Having your work independently evaluated gives you an unbiased opinion, helping you to tighten your manuscript and fix problems you may have overlooked.
substantive edit involves detailed content assessment. This may include comments on characterization, setting, dialogue, believability, structure, plot, language, research and references. It also includes a summary of the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of your writing, along with comments on writing technique, format, technical ability and market potential. 
A substantive edit is different to copy editing, which is performed by an experienced professional. Copy editing covers grammar, spelling, punctuation and many other details that writers are sometimes unaware of but publishers care deeply about. Substantive editing also differs from proof reading, which checks the final details before a book or article is printed or published. Following an in-depth substantive edit, both copy editing and proof reading are still needed before publication.
I offer substantive editing services for most genres. You can visit my website for further information or contact me directly for an estimate. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available Online


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide, which is available in ebook and print versions.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Kobo               
Amazon UK                       Amazon Germany       Amazon France           
Amazon Japan                  Amazon USA (paperback)

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Great Review of The Children's Writer's Guide

 
Here's another great review of The Children's Writer's Guide.

"There are plenty of writing guides available for writers in every stage of their careers. Simon Rose’s Children’s Writer’s Guide is definitely one of those how-to guides suited for any age writer. This book is smart. It is practical and helpful. It has so much information, it should be 4 books! 

If you are just beginning, or deep into you masterpiece, this book gets your creative juices flowing. It twists your brain and makes you think of things in many different ways with his witty experience guiding you. It also provides a vision to the total process to reaching your goals of being published! I will be donating my copy to a group of 14 year-olds who are finding their voices and beginning their journey. I'm glad I bought it."

The Children's Writer's Guide is available as a paperback and as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo.

Hear Here - Author Readings Online

People are always interested in hearing an author read from their own work. Children in particular, especially those who have read and enjoyed the novels, are usually captivated when an author reads from their own book during a personal appearance at a school, library, literary festival or other event.

Here on my website, you can listen to interviews and readings from The Alchemist's PortraitThe Clone ConspiracyThe Emerald Curse and The Heretic's Tomb, recorded on Calgary's CKUA radio network, plus a reading from The Sorcerer's Letterbox, recorded during my appearance at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ghostwriting Services

Is there a book you desperately want to write? Maybe you’re an expert in your field, well respected by colleagues, who are all convinced that you should become an author. Yet there’s no time in your busy schedule to actually sit down and write.
Perhaps you’re a performer or artist, eager to commit your experiences to paper? Or you have a great idea for a self-help book, a how-to manual, a cookery book, a tourism or restaurant guide? Or are you wanting to write your autobiography or the biography of someone else in your family?
I'm available for ghostwriting in a wide range of genres, including the arts, biographies, business, children/YA/ teen fiction and non-fiction, food, history, historical fiction, fantasy, health, how-to/self-help, humor, inspirational, memoir, military, multicultural, music, mystery, nature, parenting, pets, picture books, culture, romance, science fiction, sports, travel and more.
Whatever the subject, fiction or non-fiction, for adults or for children, I'm available for collaboration on your next project.
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for ghostwriting.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide on Pinterest


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how to get started as a writer. Topics covered include where ideas come from, editing and revision, choosing character names, the importance of research, magic in stories for children, marketing and promotion and more.

The Children's Writer's Guide is available as a paperback and as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Camps in Calgary and area

I’m available to visit summer camps in the Calgary area each July and August. 

I can be a special guest or work as part of the programming. I have a number of presentations, workshops, and other programs that are suitable for summer camps, but am very flexible. I’m happy to discuss ways in which my programs can fit in with the general theme of your camp for a particular week.
I also offer my five day playwriting program for local community associations and other groups. This can be run as a morning or afternoon camp for small groups of children ages nine to twelve.

Contact me about rates and availability for summer camps this July and August. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Great Review of The Children's Writer's Guide

 
Check out this great review of The Children's Writer's Guide.

"I illustrate children’s books occasionally and I know many of you have ideas for children’s books or you may have written a few stories yourself (and a wonderful number of you have commissioned illustrations of your writing from me). Simon Rose’s The Children’s Writer’s Guide is the perfect handbook to take you from finding a unique, untold story of your own, to launching your published work in bookstores.



The author has taught classes at the local university and this book comes out of his experience teaching in person, making the benefits available to many more!

My first impression was of a very straightforward guide which covered each topic necessary to the author, without getting bogged down by in-depth over explaining. After all, the person most likely to pick up this book “knows” about books and topics, and simply needs the direction and clear path provided by this guide. 

This book is also an excellent resource for accomplished authors who wish to become more prolific, using a system of efficacy to create more books in a shorter amount of time."

Katana Leigh 
Artist and Illustrator

The Children's Writer's Guide is available as a paperback and as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coaching and Workshops for Writers

I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.

Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.