Friday, January 16, 2015

Writer Tip of the day

“There are some 100-page books that feel long and some 1,000-page books that feel short.” ~ Leonard Sweet

Use your words wisely.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writer Tip for the day


Be careful not to add anyone to your mailing list without getting their permission. You don't want to drive away potential readers.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Proposals that Shine

Book Proposals that Shine
by Natalie Hanemann

As a former in-house editor at a publishing house, I have logged many hours going through the slush piles of book proposals. The majority of the proposals came from unpublished authors and the quality of the proposal varied widely. It’s easy to dismiss a proposal that is sloppy or has insufficient data. Here are some tips for a book proposal that will make you stand apart from the crowd.

It’s important to remember than an editor only has a few minutes to review your proposal, so you want to hook them immediately and spend their time wisely. Here are the basics of what the editor needs to know:

· Is this your first book or have you published before?

· If you’ve had books published previously, provide the details (title, year, publishing house, and how many units you sold).

· A one-sentence description. It can take FOREVER to come up with the perfect one, but it is worth the time to be able to distill your story into a sentence that captures its essence. Here is an example: “A tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father-a crusading local lawyer-risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.” [To Kill a Mockingbird] Work hard to get your sentence just right.

· A short synopsis. Here you’ll share the protagonist, his/her goal, the obstacles, the outcome.

· A long synopsis. Here you’ll be more detailed about the primary characters and the different conflicts. Unless the publishing house requests it, do not send a chapter by chapter summary.

· Is your idea a standalone or a part of a series? If a series, share brief summaries of future books and how much time you need to write the subsequent books. Include if the first book in the series is complete or how many months until it will be complete.

· Books in the industry that are similar to the book you wrote. It’s best to compare your book with one that has the same audience (i.e. Christian fiction, secular). TIP: don’t compare yourself to Stephen King or Nora Roberts. Even if you write stories just like theirs, it just isn’t realistic or helpful.

· What kind of platform or outreach do you have? Include groups of people or memberships where you would be able to promote your book. If the numbers are good, include # of FB friends and Twitter followers. Also include a list of possible endorsers, authors you know or who you’ve networked with.

· A short biography about yourself. 4-6 paragraphs highlighting your writing life and a little bit about who you are. The tone of this bio should be professional but show a little bit of your personality. If your proposal is presented in a voice that is too familiar, it can count against you. Similarly, if the tone is too formal, it may come across as dry.

· Sample chapters. Three is normally sufficient. Make sure your sample chapters are polished and sparkling! No typos or amateur errors; don’t be sloppy. No matter how mediocre your proposal is, if the story is good, they’ll overlook the rest.

· Don’t email or call the in-house editor to ask for a status update on your proposal. Reviewing prospective projects isn’t a top priority so it can sometimes take a couple of months before your proposal is looked at. Try to be patient.

· In all things, be succinct. Trim your sentences so they are efficient. Say things in as few words as possible. This can become a game of sorts. Try to whittle down 500 words to 400. It can be done, I assure you, but it takes some practice.

· Don’t provide a cover. With software programs today, it’s easy to let your creativity creep into design and “I’m just gonna see what I come up with” can turn into hours of work on a cover that you feel will make you stand out. Well, it does make you stand out, but not in the best way. Book design is a fine art and should be undertaken by designers. If you have a niece or uncle who is in school for design, don’t be tempted when they ask if they can mock up a book cover for your WIP.

· Pray before you hit Send and then leave it in God’s hands.

· If you get rejected, whatever you do, don’t go on social media and start talking trash about the publisher. In fact, don’t ever use social media for an emotional outburst. It’s unprofessional and reflects poorly on you. In every case, be kind and respectful.

Natalie Hanemann is an award-winning editor who has worked in book publishing for more than thirteen years. In 2012, she left corporate publishing to stay home with her four children and began her freelance editing business.

Natalie has a passion for fiction. She enjoys working on both general fiction and genre fiction. She has mentored young writers, been interviewed on author blogs, and published articles on fiction writing. What she loves most about her profession is working closely with the authors to help them tell the story that God has put on their hearts.

If you’re interested in contacting Natalie for her services, visit her website at or email her at

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lead the charge

"Rather than looking in your rearview mirror, lead the charge up the hill with the stories God has given you. Instead of chasing trends, set them as you create what God has uniquely given you to write." ~ Allen Arnold

Read more from Allen in an interview at Oregon Christian Writers -->

As founder and former publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction, Allen worked with hundreds of authors and published more than 500 novels. Now at Ransomed Heart Ministries, Allen speaks about the holy art of creating from an awakened heart—the deep pleasure of writing not just for God but with God. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Writing Opportunities for Authors

Build Your Writing Resume - Writing Opportunities

DaySpring Cards - For previously published writers. (Open) Submission Guidelines:

God Makes Lemonade - True stories of the sour parts of life that God turns into lemonade:

Good Housekeeping - 500 word article for the Blessings column:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kracken - Coming Soon!

The year is 135 New Reckoning
A Godless world is rebuilding itself

When a stranger from Mike Stone's past appears on his doorstep, his ordinary life is suddenly and violently destroyed.

Mike's past has comeback to haunt him. Now with his family attacked and his home destroyed, Mike finds himself running for his life through a jungle-planet filled with terrors and a monster known only as the Kracken.

In the midst of the chaos, Ted Waters launches his plan for domination. In a post-apocalyptic world, Waters sets himself up as the sole leader of the emerging world government. Using children as slaves, he mines a new narcotic used to subdue the people's will.

KRACKEN, the story of two men, two opinions and two bases of power set on a collision path. When the two collide, Mike finds himself confronted by the God he thought he left behind.

For more info on Kracken visit Ray Ellis’ page at

Ray Ellis is a veteran law enforcement officer, former Marine, and ordained Christian pastor, Ray's first novel, "Notorious"(previously released as "N.H.I.: No Humans Involved"), was published in 2011. Since then Ray has been selected as one of Idaho's Top 50 Authors for the year of 2011, and then as a Top 10 Idaho Author in 2012; most recently Ray was awarded the 2014 ACFW, Idaho Chapter Writer of the Year.

When not writing, Ray can be found still working as an active duty officer, speaking to student groups, or teaching Bible studies in his local community.

Ray's published works include three novels and one short story:  "I" - A Short Story - Notorious - A Nate Richards Novel - Book One. Previously released as N.H.I. (No Humans Involved) - Dead List - A Nate Richards Novel - Book Two. Previously released as D.R.T. (Dead Right There) - Insidious - A Nate Richards Novel - Book Three.

Ray’s latest work, a science fiction-thriller, “Kracken" is scheduled to be released January 2015.

I, A Short Story -

Notorious - A Nate Richards Novel - Book One. Previously released as N.H.I. (No Humans Involved) -

Dead List - A Nate Richards Novel - Book Two. Previously released as D.R.T. (Dead Right There) -

- Insidious - A Nate Richards Novel - Book Three.

Ray’s latest work, a science fiction-thriller, “Kracken" is scheduled to be released January 2015.