Thusday, Jan 12, 2013

Getting Back To Writing

Now that the major holidays have come and gone, that is if you celebrate Christmas and New Years, it is time we get back to our normal routine. This is the time of year when many start with new resolutions. Those resolutions come in many forms, so what better way to begin the year with some resolutions for writing. Here are our top ten resolutions for writers.

Writers Resolutions – Top Ten List for 2013

  1. Do not be so hard on yourself if you cannot write everything you wanted to write today. Instead focus on what you have done so far.
  2. If you have unfinished work that you have not submitted, set a realistic schedule to get it completed. Give yourself milestones so that it does not become overwhelming.
  3. Make time to write and do not procrastinate. Make an appointment for writing and put it on your calendar.  This is a good way to help make this happen. Be committed to your craft.
  4. If you do not already have a set place where you write, find one. Determine what things and places inspire you to write and go there to begin writing. If quietness helps you write, then look for tranquil places. If, on the other hand you write better in public places, then go to a Starbucks, grab some coffee, and start your writing. Only you know what works best for you.
  5. Set a goal to read a certain amount of books each month and stick to it. A good reader usually makes a good writer.
  6. If you have writers block, then find ways to overcome this. Find out why this occurs, and address it. Do not just accept it.
  7. Keep a journal if you do not already do so. Jotting down information for future use can be very helpful, especially for a writer. After all, you do not want to forget that great idea you had.
  8. So you do not have a novel written as yet? Do not get discouraged. Just set a goal to begin it this year. Begin with a quick outline of what it is that you want to write. Then begin writing the rough draft. Do some research on writing novels if you are not familiar with this craft, and do not worry about getting it correct the first time. Most writers do not. The important thing is to start. Set some goals and milestones to get this completed so that you stay on track.
  9. This is the year that you might want to try writing a new genre or possibly get into another art form of writing. For example, if you have never written poetry, try doing this. Learning the writing craft from another art form and genre can bring some good insight into your own writing.
  10. Set a goal for publishing your work, but be realistic. If you have a certain number of articles you want to submit to magazines or newspapers, then you should stick to it. If there are literary contests that you want to enter make sure you do so. It is important to stay focused on this goal as this can help your writing career.

Marketing Tips to Better Sell Your Book

In our last newsletter, we mentioned that promotion and distribution are the two most important items when marketing your product or service. Always keep that in mind as you begin your marketing strategy for selling your book.

Many writers, especially those just getting into the business, think that all they have to do is write a great book and that it will sell automatically. They believe they will be the next J.K. Rowling and make millions of dollars, but unfortunately, it is not quite that easy. To make your book successful will involve lots of selling and that is your responsibility. It is not the responsibility of your publisher. In other words, not only do you have to be a great writer, but you will also have to be a great salesman.

True, if you have a great publisher they will help you in packaging your book with the right book cover and setup; however, it is still crucial that you be involved to a degree. You have to get a sense for what will be good for marketing your book. Also, keep in mind that most people pick up a book because of its cover.

If you are self publishing, it is even more important that you choose the right cover because this will ultimately be your choice alone and you will be the one knocking at doors for people to buy your book. Having a good cover will help, but having a good book is just as important. If you do not grab the readers attention in the first few pages, you will have lost a customer.

Becoming a best seller does not happen overnight, but rather it is something that takes time. It will take time for you to build business relationships, understand the business, make good contacts, network with people in the book industry such as book distributors, and get to know people in the media who can help promote your book. You have to be committed to marketing and to your book. Although, you may be writing another book, do not forget about the one that you just published. As a writer you have to wear many hats. You have to wear the hat of a writer, an editor, and a salesman at all times.

Marketing should be an investment. It is not just a hit or miss opportunity. It is not necessarily about throwing money into the fray to be successful, but rather about using your time effectively to market your book. It is important to have a strategy plan and to stick to it. In the end it is about putting your sweat and hard work into the business side of your books to be successful. The most important this is to never give up and look for various avenues and ways to effectively market your book. Do not miss an opportunity!

As we stated in our last newsletter, marketing is just a means to get to where you are going. It is not the goal. The goal is something that you alone will have to determine.

Latin America Fun Facts

Did you know that South America is the fourth largest continent in the world?

Did you know that almost a millennium before the Incas, the Tiwanaku culture existed between 500 and 900 AD? This was a very sophisticated civilization living on the west banks of Lake Titicaca which is now considered modern day Bolivia.

Did you know that Brazil is the birthplace of famous musicians and composers such as Joao Gilberto, Caetano Velloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Maria Bethania, and writer Jorge Amado just to name a few?

Did you know that Columbia produces 90% of emeralds throughout the world?

Did you know that Venezuela has the highest uninterrupted waterfall? It is Salto de Angel.

Did you know that Argentina is the most European influenced country in South America?

Spanish Fun Facts

Did you know that Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, and Salvador Dali was born in Figueres, Spain?

Did you know that the official name of Spain is really Reino de Espana, which means Kingdom of Spain?

Did you know that the tooth fairy does not exist in Spain, but rather they have Ratoncito Perez (the tooth mouse)?

Did you know that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, was Spanish?

Did you know that in the 16th century, Spain was one of the largest and dominant empires throughout the world?

Did you know that Spain is the third largest country in Europe with France and the Ukraine being the first?

Literary Artists

Have you heard of Zelma I. Edgell, better known as Zee Edgell? She is a writer born in 1940 and today is considered the principal contemporary writer of Belize. Her education took her to Polytechnic of Central London and to the University of the West Indies. She began her career as a journalist and has worked with several development organizations as well as the Peace Corps. She also worked at the University College of Belize and was an associate professor at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.

She published her first novel, Beka Lamb, in 1982. This book provided details of the early times within the nationalist movement in British Honduras. It was captured through the lens of a teenage girl. She went on to publish other books such as Festival of San Joaquin, and Time and the River in 2007. Most of her novels encompass the struggles of the Belizean people and they are set throughout various time periods in Belize. They deal with historical events, universal themes, struggles specific to Belizean society, and strong women protagonists. Currently she tours internationally giving readings and insight into the literature and history of Belize.

English Tidbits

Did you know there are 21 rules for including commas? Each week we will be covering TWO of them. Here are the fifth and sixth rules.

Fifth Rule (Separating the Month from the Year)

A comma should be used to separate the day of the month from the year and also after the year. If, however, you omit any part of the date do not include a comma.

Example one:

Mary saw her friend on January 3, 3006, in Columbus, Ohio.

Example two:

Mary saw her in January 2006 in Ohio.

Sixth Rule (Separating a City and a State)

A comma should be used to separate a city from a state and after the state. If you use the two-letter capitalized form for a state you do not need to use a comma after the state.


She moved to Santa Monica, California, three months ago.
She moved to Santa Monica, CA three months ago.

Author Events and News

  1.  Check out the link to serial short story link for Two Sparrows by Maria Ochoa. She will be posting new installments every Wednesday and Saturday. [Click here]
  2. Do not miss out on this opportunity to hear Latino and Latina poets in Venice, CA on March 1, 2013. CantoMundo was inspired by a culturally-rooted vision. It is a place that creates space for Latino and Latina poets to nurture and enhance their poetics and build on their aesthetically, culturally, and linguistically diverse works. Come hear CantoMundo poets read at Beyond Baroque at 681 Venice Boulevard Venice, CA 90291. Telephone number is (310) 822-3006 [Click here]
  3. Here is a great article on how to run an effective marketing campaign to become a best seller by Graciela Tiscareno-Sato. [Click here]
  4. Check out Randy Jurado Ertll Book Signing & Discussion.

Date: January 17, 2013 06:00PM
Venue: Webster’s Fine Stationers in Altadena
Location: 2450 Lake Avenue , Altadena, CA, The United States
Book Signing and Discussion with author and social activist Randy Jurado Ertll

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at Websters Fine Stationers in Altadena.

Author of the book “Hope in Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience” will be Websters Fine Stationers in Altadena, CA to discuss important social issues that are included in his book. If you are interested, please view Good Day L.A. interview related to book: [Click here]

  1. Stay tuned for two upcoming videos. The first video is with Paulina Jaramillo regarding her book The American Southwest: Pride, Prejudice, Perseverance. The second video is with journalist Erin Siegal.

Suggested Books to Read

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez. This book is not just another Latino migration book, but rather covers an exhaustive history of Latino migration to the USA and the causes behind this. It is a well researched book and it delves into some of the reasons why people leave their countries. The author takes you back into the political turmoil occurring in various countries and how it led people to flee their respective countries. This is some excellent written material.

The Altar of My Soul by Marta Moreno Vega.  This is true story of Vegas spiritual awakening and her journey to becoming a Santeria priestess. It is interesting in that it dispels the many myths that sometimes surround this ancient African religion. It also contains much rich history of Puerto Rico and New York in the 1950s.

The Boy Without A Flag: Tales of the South Bronx by Abraham Rodriguez. A collection of short stories detailing the turmoil of teens in the Bronx, but in the end humanity does shine through. It is powerful and is sometimes gritty in nature, but also contains a lot of humor.

Women with Big Eyes by Angeles Mastretta. This book is a collection of short stories capturing the lives of tias (aunts) who share some of their intimate lessons of life and love. Of course, it includes mischief. How could it not. Have you ever known a tia that was not mischievous? A must read, and if you are Latino I guarantee you will be able to identify with this book. If you are not Latino, then you will get a wonderful view into this magical world of aunts.

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Featured Interview

The Latino Author is featuring published author Dr. Cynthia Colón. This is Dr. Colón’s first book and covers candid responses to a hectic process of becoming an author. I believe you’ll be impressed with the information she has chosen to share with our readers.

Click here to read interview.

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