Monday, September 30, 2013

Writing Classes in North Calgary - November and December

Headline News - Classes with Northern Hills Community Association at Cardel Place - November 16 to December 14, 10.00 am to 11.30 am 

These classes take a look at journalism and discover just what exactly goes into creating newspaper stories. Just as the plot of a novel has a beginning, middle and end, a news story has a headline, lead, body and conclusion. Participants will create their own unique examples of newspaper writing, such as news stories, attention grabbing headlines, advertising, book and movie reviews, articles on topics such as celebrity gossip, entertainment news, fashion, sports, lifestyle, recipes, real estate and more. 

Classes run on November 16, 23, 30, December 7 and 14, from 10.00 am to 11.30 am and are held at Cardel Place, 11950 Country Village Link NE, Calgary AB.

Call 403 226 6422 for further details. Costs are $50 for Northern Hills Community Association members and $75 for non members. Payment is due at the time of registration.

School Programs, Presentations and Workshops

I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing. 

I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - University of Calgary, Saturday, November 2

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - Saturday, November 2

This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

Empty Expressions - Copywriting for Business, Online and Social Media

Here are a few more examples of meaningless phrases seen all too often online.

‘A reputation for quality.’ This makes me curious as to where this reputation of yours originates from and what you did to earn it.

‘We stand behind our product and/or service.’ I know what this is supposed to mean, but it always makes me think that the person is standing behind the counter and refusing to come out and serve me or answer my questions.

‘We will beat any other offer.’ Really? You will beat any deal I have been offered, no matter how ridiculous it is or how low the price is? This is one promise that any company has difficulty keeping.

‘We pride ourselves on our attention to detail’. This might mean that they will check over the small print in any contract you sign with them, but it remains unclear as to how they might deal with other aspects of the transaction.

You need to banish the fluff of meaningless phrases and a good copywriter will ensure that your web pages are free of things like this.

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and markets. Contact me directly for details of rates and fees regarding copywriting services.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rejection of Authors: Part Eight - Remember, Everybody Gets Rejected

In any profession, everyone has to start somewhere and writers are no different. Every published author out there was once an unpublished author. Even writers who have sold millions of books were told at some point early in their careers that they would never be published. And of course if they had stopped submitting their work, they would never have been successful. Yes, it can be daunting, but no one ever succeeded by stopping trying. 
Fourteen publishers, including big names such as Penguin and Harper Collins, rejected J K Rowling’s manuscript for the first novel in the Harry Potter series, while A Wrinkle in Time received almost thirty rejections over the course of a decade before securing a publisher. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected by twenty publishers, while Stephen King’s first novel Carrie was rejected by dozens as well. Margaret Mitchell received thirty eight rejections for Gone with the Wind and Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected so many times that she initially self published it. John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by a dozen publishers and sixteen agents, before it was published and launched his career as a best seller. 
So although you might be receiving rejections, rest assured you’re in good company, so keep sending out your work, because you never know when your time will come.

On my website, you can find details of my coaching programscreative writing workshopsonline writing workshopsediting services, ghost writing and copywriting for business.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Meaningless Phrases - Copywriting for Business, Online and Social Media

Perhaps your website also uses the infamous phrase inviting people to ‘visit us for all your (insert industry sector here) needs’? While this no doubt represents a very pleasant invitation, it doesn’t really say much about you. Nor does a claim to offer ‘the very best in customer service’ or to posses anything that is ‘state of the art’. If the home page on your website includes such words as ‘our 80,000 square foot facility is state of the art’, what does that actually mean and more importantly, why would your customers care? What benefits does the size of your building actually provide the customer with?

Size may matter to you, but what matters most to your client is whether, for example, you can provide difficult to obtain, fully warranted parts, that can be shipped overnight at 20% less than your competitors. This is the sort of thing people want to know in order to buy from you and pointless buzzwords and catchphrases will do nothing to inspire ongoing customer loyalty. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and markets. Contact me directly for details of rates and fees regarding copywriting services.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Writing for Children and Young Adults - Classes at Mount Royal University October/November/ December

Writing for Children and Young Adults. Evening classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary from October 30 to December 4, 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm. 

Explore the process of writing books for children and young adults aged 8 to 12. Focus on structure, character development and research, and their importance in your stories. Examine how to turn a creative story idea into a marketable, finished manuscript.

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coaching and Workshops

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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rejection of Authors: Part Seven - The Numbers Game

If a publisher rejects your work, they will not be publishing it, pure and simple. However, it also means that you are at least getting your writing out there. I’ve lost count of the number of people I speak to who have written a novel and still not sent it out. Yes, you have to feel its ready and in some ways it never will be, but some people are so fearful of rejection that they never submit anything at all. 

Rejections can often come with constructive criticism and suggestions for additions or improvements. Rejections also show that you’ve got the courage to actually send your work out and move toward becoming a professional writer. And once you have a rejection, you can of course now send it out to the next publisher on your list, preferably on the same day. Always have something out there doing the rounds, in my opinion. After all, some publishers can take six months or longer to reply. The more you submit, the more rejections you may receive, but the more chances you have of being accepted too. Someone once informed me that they never bought lottery tickets because they never won anything. Well, you’ll certainly never attract the attention of an editor or publisher if you don’t send anything out, so start submitting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Children's Writer's Guide - Now Available on Amazon

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.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Amazon UK     
Amazon Germany             Amazon France           Amazon Japan

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