Category Archives: The Creative Process

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/discuss-your-book-project-over-coffee-tickets-50336696414

Polished Publishing Group (PPG) is now offering Calgary and area writers (aspiring authors) an in-person book project consultation with a book publisher and fellow author. This one-hour coffee meeting is appropriate for those who have been working on their manuscripts for a while, have at least 30 pages written, are wondering if their projects are viable, and are seeking advice regarding the various publishing options that are available to them.

Along with this one-on-one meeting, the writer will receive his or her choice of one of these two books:

How to Publish a Book in Canadahttps://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/htpabic.html

How to Publish a Bestselling Bookhttps://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/htpabb.html

And the coffee is on us!

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Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee | Have Your Manuscript Reviewed

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee | Have Your Manuscript Reviewed

Discuss Your Book Project Over Coffee | Have Your Manuscript Reviewed

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/discuss-your-book-project-over-coffee-have-your-manuscript-reviewed-tickets-50250293982

Polished Publishing Group (PPG) is now offering Calgary and area writers (aspiring authors) an in-person book project consultation with a book publisher and fellow author. This one-hour coffee meeting is appropriate for those who have been working on their manuscripts for a while, have at least 30 pages written, are wondering if their projects are viable, and are seeking advice regarding the various publishing options that are available to them.

Along with this one-on-one meeting, the writer will receive his or her choice of one of these two books:

How to Publish a Book in Canadahttps://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/htpabic.html

How to Publish a Bestselling Bookhttps://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/htpabb.html

The writer is also encouraged to bring along a USB memory stick or flash drive containing up to the first 30 pages (double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12-point font, roughly 5,000 words in total) of his or her manuscript for review by one of PPG’s copy editors. The copy editor will offer basic advice and guidance on writing style, spelling, grammar, and punctuation to complement the publishing/business advice given at the one-hour in-person consultation. (Allow up to 7 business days for the copy editor’s reply.)

And the coffee is on us!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Why Do Writers Write? Can They Profit From It?

Why do writers write? There are varying reasons from the basic desire to share ideas with others to the simple joy of the act itself. I’m one of those writers who does it because I enjoy it. I always have. Since the day I learned how to write, I’ve been writing in some way, shape, or form. When my high school friends went off to cheerleading practice or music lessons after school, I went home to write. Every single day. So, this has never been a chore for me; it’s always been my love and passion. If I never earned a dime from it, I would still write every day.

Why Do Writers Write if Most Earn Very Little Money From It?

In his article titled “Why Do Writers Write?” on the Psychology Today website, author Lawrence R. Samuel ponders:

Why do writers write

Why do writers write?

With rejection and criticism so much a part of the literary experience (and the fact that the income of the average American writer hovers around the poverty line), one has to wonder if writers have at least a streak of masochism in their genetic makeup to choose it as their profession.

This belief that most writers are doomed to a life of poverty seems to be the consensus among writers and non-writers everywhere. I think it is one of the top fears that prevent most “closet authors” from coming out to share their work with others. They may wonder, “What’s the point?” and opt for other seemingly more lucrative careers. But what if I told you times are changing? What if I told you that more and more authors are proving you can, indeed, earn a decent living from writing? I’ve done a lot of research on this topic matter over the past two years. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that it is possible to actually profit from my lifelong love and passion.

How Are Today’s Authors Earning a Decent Living from Writing?

Organic Web Weaving

Organic Web Weaving

If you’re like most writers, you don’t want to have to sell your books after you write them. You just want to move onto writing the next book. Am I right? Well, here’s some great news for you: writing is selling in the online world. The best way to sell books today is to utilize the power of search engines by feeding them new content on a consistent basis. Here are five simple steps to guide you:

 1. Create a WordPress or Blogger site for yourself (if you don’t already have one).

 2. Research and find the top 156 keywords for your genre/topic matter.

 3. Write and publish at least three new blog posts per week for a year (for a total of 156 posts) related to your genre/topic matter.

 4. Promote your blog posts and books on social media daily to keep the search engines happy.

 5. Publish 12 ebooks per year (one per month) at a minimum of 5,000 words each (equivalent to one chapter of a standard-size book). Then, at the end of the year, combine those 12 ebooks into one paperback and publish it the following month. “Lather, rinse, repeat” each year to build a momentum.

Why do writers write? Maybe the newest reason is because it’s actually possible to earn a profit from doing what you love!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Organic Web Weaving: Modern Book Publishing, Sales and Marketing

Organic Web Weaving

Organic Web Weaving

Organic web weaving is every author’s road to book sales success. Writing is selling in the online world. Writers are natural online marketers. Polished Publishing Group (PPG) can show you how many of today’s top authors are selling thousands of books every year using some simple online techniques. Most of these techniques require effective writing.

The best way to sell books in today’s world is to utilize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply combining traditional offline sales and marketing methods with modern online techniques. Doing so can actually be counterproductive. This is because traditional publishing takes time while digital publishing requires momentum. If you want to succeed at publishing and selling books nowadays, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per month. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest ally. Used right, it can help you stand out among the millions of books being published worldwide each year.

Organic Web Weaving Techniques That Work

"Rapid Release" Publishing

“Rapid Release” Publishing

1. Blogging: If you have published (or plan to publish) a book, you will need a website to promote it. That’s your starting point. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; a simple blog will do. If you haven’t already done so, you can create one for yourself using either WordPress.org or Blogger.com. Just follow their user-friendly instructions along with the instructions I give you in the three books shown on this blog post.

2. “Rapid Release” Publishing: There is a form of online book sales and marketing known as “rapid release” publishing that many of today’s most successful authors are using. Many of these authors are selling thousands of books every year by publishing this way. Some of them are earning six- and seven-figure incomes from their growing fan bases. Even mainstream authors like James Patterson are jumping on this bandwagon. He publishes multiple books in short periods of time, too. He refers to his “rapid release” book series as his BookShots line.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

3. Social Media Marketing: Did you know social media activity is one of the things Google rewards that can help to improve your SEO? Well, it is. And certain social media sites will earn you more points than others, so I’ve learned. For example, did you know YouTube is owned by Google? Now that you know, you may be more inclined to start posting more video content on a regular basis. I dedicated an entire book, titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, to teaching authors how to utilize social media marketing as part of your online sales strategy. I strongly recommend you read it. Yes, it is possible to sell books using nothing more than a comfortable chair in your quiet writing room, a laptop, an Internet connection, and your own God-given talent for writing. Authors around the world are proving it every day. You can join the fleet.

Organic Web Weaving Services Through Polished Publishing Group (PPG)

You can do it all yourself by following the user-friendly tips in the above three books. You can also contact PPG here to learn more about how we can help you weave a powerful web. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll see results.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.




How Do Independent Book Publishers Help Writers to Publish Books More Easily?

Publish Books More Easily

Publish Books More Easily

Want to publish books more easily? Hire an independent book publisher to help you navigate the entire process. Here’s why:

1. Traditional (trade) publishers take a long time to respond to the writers who submit manuscripts to them. It can take from three to six months to learn whether they want to work with you or not. Usually, the answer is no. You can waste a lot of time submitting ideas to trade publishers with very little chance of success. And if they do accept your book, you can expect at least a full year—possibly more—for the book to be published. You can also expect to have very little say in the whole creative process.

2. With self-publishing, you maintain all creative control and copyright ownership of your book, and you can publish it quickly. But you also take on all the work (and any expenses related to that work) from graphic design to editing to formatting and distribution. There is so much to be done when publishing a book, it can be overwhelming for new authors.

3. Independent book publishers, more specifically hybrid publishers, support writers/authors in publishing. For a fee, these publishers can take all (or most of) the work off your hands while allowing you maintained creative control and copyright ownership. They can also usually create a quality book much faster than you can.

Publish Books More Easily With These Helpful Tips

An independent “hyrbid” publisher can help you with everything from proper formatting to printing to effective sales and marketing. That guidance may come in the form of helpful how-to books or other paid services. Either way, you’ll surely find this kind of support useful.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.




How to Structure Your Book Outline

How do you write a book? One page at a time. Then again, some days it’s one paragraph at a time, isn’t it? I can relate!

But where do you even begin writing all those pages? That’s the real question. The task can seem daunting at the beginning.

Well, here’s a guideline you may find helpful. It’s a matter of starting out with a simple outline in point form and building it from there. I’ll use a non-fiction “how to publish a book” template as an example outline only because there are usually more points in a non-fiction Table of Contents than there will be in a fictional novel.

First and foremost, I divide my book into sections:

Section One: The Types of Book Publishers

Section Two: Understanding Copyright

Section Three: Book Sales and Marketing

Section Four: The Publishing Process

Section Five: Today’s Book Printing and Non-Printing Options




Now that I know there will be five sections to my book, I want to fill those in further within my outline. What will I be talking about within each section? It’s now time to write the titles of each chapter in between the above outline points:

Section One: The Types of Book Publishers

– Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Publishing Your Book

– Traditional (Trade) Publishing

– Vanity Publishing (Book Production and Formatting for Self-Published “Indie” Authors)

– Supported Self-Publishing (A.K.A. Assisted Self-Publishing, Hybrid Publishing)

Section Two: Understanding Copyright

– An Elementary Introduction to International Copyright

– Copyright Simplified: Understanding Publishing Contracts

Section Three: Book Sales and Marketing

– Traditional Sales Techniques

– Contemporary Online Sales Techniques

Section Four: The Publishing Process

– How to Write a Book

– How to Submit Your Manuscript to a Publisher

– ISBNs and Barcodes

– Publishing Agreements

– Professional Editing

– Professional Graphic Design

– Fact Checking and Indexing

– Professional Proofreading

– Book Reviews

– Distribution

Section Five: Today’s Book Printing and Non-Printing Options

– Ebooks

– Print-on-Demand (POD)

– Digital Printing

– Offset Printing

There you have it. You have your book’s rough outline now. It’s as simple as that. Some sections and chapters will be heavier than others, and that’s okay. You may also want to fill in more points for each individual chapter as you go along. That’s fine, too.




Once you’ve done that, you can now set up your writing schedule and deadlines for completion of the book based on this outline. Guesstimate how much time you think each individual list point will take you to write. One hour, two hours? There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s up to you. You’re simply trying to figure out roughly how long it’s going to take to finish this book so you can plan for it.

I recommend setting a goal for yourself to write at least one hour per day, six hours per week, every single week to completion of every point on your outline. This is a totally achievable goal that will help you stay on track because it gives you a flexible but consistent writing schedule to follow each week. Everyone can set aside one hour per day—even the busiest of people—if they really want to. And this schedule even gives you one day off every week!

As you write, the points on your outline may change a wee bit. You may think of additional chapters to add in, and that’s fine. My only caution to you is DON’T EDIT YOURSELF EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU SIT DOWN TO WRITE. You can waste hours upon hours by fixating on one sentence or paragraph, trying to edit it over and over again, rather than just moving on and writing the next one. Don’t do it. That’s when you’ll get stuck in a loop, unable to move forward. The idea here is to write something new every day so that you can move forward and finish the book—not edit it to perfection. There’s no such thing as perfection.

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”
~Margaret Atwood

Let another editor polish your book for you once you’ve finished writing it. Take your own editor’s hat off. Put it away. In fact, shove it into the far back corner of your closet, close that door, and LOCK IT! The only hat you need to be wearing is that of the writer. Are you ready to complete your own outline now?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Where Do I Even Begin Writing My Book?

As you sit down to write your book, you may be thinking, “Where do I even begin?” Well, there’s no right or wrong way to begin. For me, every one of my books was a little bit different. They all came to me in their own unique ways.

Sometimes, I’ll receive just a simple concept in my mind. I write it down, set it aside, and then I wait until the next thought comes along to further strengthen that vision. As each new thought arrives, I do the same until there’s enough substance to begin piecing together the first concrete outline of the whole book into point form. Basically, when this is the way a book comes to me, I know I must be patient with it. Let it grow at its own rate. It will come together eventually. It always does.

Other times, I’ll receive the end of a book first. The final chapter will already be a crystal-clear vision in and of itself, so then all I have to do is go back to the beginning and write to that end. Fill in the blanks.

My first fictional novel, A Letter to My Son, took me around ten years to complete. In hindsight, the majority of that time was spent procrastinating rather than writing due to fear of the unknown. I didn’t see that clear path ahead of me. I didn’t know how to get published and wasn’t all that sure it would ever happen, so I felt no strong sense of urgency to finish the book. Then, one year, I experienced a life-changing event that had me questioning myself and my life purpose. It was the catalyst that motivated me to finish my book once and for all—to find a way to publish it—to keep that promise to myself. Once I found that resolve, all the information and resources I needed to publish the book found me. And I did it! (Smiling.) What a proud moment!




Each book that followed came a little easier simply because I knew the process ahead of me. Isn’t that the way life is? The first time you try anything is always the hardest. But, if you push through that initial fear and prove to yourself that it’s possible, it does get easier. Needless to say, my second book, A Letter to My Daughter, took me only two months to write. My third book, 11:11, took me around six months. I’ve also since released three more non-fiction guides to help writers and authors navigate the business aspects of book publishing, sales, and marketing. I’ve produced an ebook series to help online marketers earn passive income from ebooks: Book Publishing Shortcuts for Online Marketers. And I’ve produce another ebook series titled T-Shaped Marketing for Authors that teaches all kinds of online marketing techniques authors can use to boost their ranking on eCommerce sites like Amazon and Kobo.

When I was younger, writing was more a pastime than a career aspiration, so I only wrote when the mood hit me. After my first book was published, and I became a little more serious about things, I found a structure that seems to work very well for me to this day. Lately, with the help of this structure, I’ve been publishing a new book once every four to six weeks. It’s possible!

I hope learning this little bit of information about my personal journey as a writer will inspire you to finish writing (and eventually publish!) your own book. You can also find many more sources of inspiration and education on this blog to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Good luck!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Time-management, Productivity, and Efficiency for Busy Professionals

Jennifer D. Foster, freelance writer, editor, and owner of Planet Word

I think almost all of us are aiming for balance in our professional and personal lives.

I’m not a certified expert on time-management, motivation, or productivity. And I don’t have all the answers. But I’m a fairly successful freelance editor and writer, who’s happy to share the strategies and best practices I use in order to keep my clients happy, juggle multiple editorial jobs, and keep sane in the process.

I’ll give you a brief synopsis of how I got to where I am professionally and what I do, to give you some overall context, then I’ll talk about specifics.

I’m a freelance writer, editor, and mentor, with 20 years’ experience, 14 of those as a freelancer. As the sole proprietor of my business, Planet Word, I wear many hats and tackle many projects. I work on everything from adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction, consumer and trade magazines, web content, newsletters, and ads to style guides, curatorial material, press releases, annual reports, and book reviews. My clients and projects are vast and varied—just how I like it!

My first degree is an honours double major in sociology and mass communications from York University in Toronto. For my second degree, I went to journalism school at Ryerson University, also in Toronto.

After graduating from Ryerson, I got a two-month internship at Chatelaine magazine, while Rona Maynard was editor-in-chief. I wrote a few articles, did some fact-checking, and sat in on editorial meetings, but I wasn’t hired, as there were no staff jobs available. It was a fantastic view into the editorial world, and I wanted more!

I then worked for about three years as assistant editor at Homemakers magazine, under the leadership of Sally Armstrong. She was an inspirational boss and gave me my own section to edit after less than a year there, and after two years there, she sent me on a feature-writing assignment to the Philippines.

After Homemakers, I headed to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) as writer and editor in the Marketing and Communications department. That was a dream job, where I got to utilize both my editing and my writing skills. On particularly intense or trying days, I’d leave my desk to wander in the galleries, remembering why I was working there in the first place! After 2.5 years, I went on maternity leave and never looked back. When my son, who’s now 14, was six months old, I felt I was going brain dead as a stay-at-home mom and decided to launch Planet Word. I had no idea what I was doing as a new business owner, but I told all of my friends, family, and business contacts that I was available for freelance writing and editing.

Fast-forward to now, where sometimes I’m juggling up to half a dozen client projects at a time, with overlapping deadlines. This is very stressful and extremely demanding, but I find the following strategies help me get through even the most intense work periods.




Know Yourself and Your Work Style

My main tip is to know yourself and your work style and embrace them both wholeheartedly.
I know that I like lots of natural light, myriad lists, an uncluttered work space, lots of herbal teas and salty snacks, great variety in my projects and that I thrive under work pressure. Be your own best friend and work with yourself and your quirks—not against them. Don’t compare yourself to others and how they work: one magic formula does not fit all, and I believe everyone’s a work in progress, so be kind to yourself.

Woody Allen said 80 per cent of success is showing up. I couldn’t agree more, so that’s why I make an effort every work day, which is often seven days a week, to wake early, eat a decent breakfast, get dressed (yes, no pyjamas or sweats for me!), and be at my computer for 9 am. I treat my freelancing for what it is—a successful business and a professional undertaking. Call me crazy, but I feel very unmotivated and unprofessional sitting at my desk in pyjamas. Getting dressed and being at my desk for 9 am gets me into the right frame of mind to work.

Carpe Diem

I’m high energy, detail-oriented, and work well under lots of pressure. I think that’s how I came out of the womb! But I’m always open to trying new strategies, and I know that I have room for ongoing improvement. My theory is carpe diem. Treat each job as a privilege. And take each day as a gift and run with it. Which brings me to another tip: don’t procrastinate! I know—we all do it. But try and jump into a project right away. As a freelancer, I never know what’s coming down the pipe and when, so I need to tackle each project as soon as possible.

Speaking of trying something new, I wanted to share a time-management method that I discovered last year, while I was writing a feature on beating writer’s block for Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. It’s called the Pomodoro Technique. In a nutshell, this is how it works:

Step one: Pick your task.

Step two: Set a timer (traditionally, it’s for 25 minutes).

Step three: Work on that sole task until your timer rings.

Step four: Put a checkmark on a piece of paper after the timer rings.

Step five: If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (typically, it’s for three to five minutes) and then go back to step two.

Step six: After you have a total of four pomodoros, take a longer break (typically, it’s for 15 to 30 minutes). Reset your checkmark count back to zero and then return to the first step.

The main premise is to work in 25-minute blocks of time (called “pomodoro sessions”), followed by breaks. Each pomodoro session requires your full attention on a single task and then you take a break. The supposed results are improved productivity, burnout elimination, work-life balance and distraction-management.

Maybe some of you may have already tried it, and maybe it works for you. I tried it a few times, but I realized I’m more of a head-down, just-get-the-job-done kind of gal, so the timer going off was, ironically, a major distraction for me, and I found this method more irritating than anything, so I ditched it!

Make Lists

I’ll confess that I’m a list junkie. I make lists for almost everything, whether it’s business or personal, and I get a thrill crossing things off the list. My husband’s now doing it, after years of initially thinking I was crazy! He was always amazed at how much I’d get done in a day, and I told him it’s partly because I thrive on using lists. Now he’s a convert, and sometimes we jokingly fight over who will get to cross completed tasks off the chore list! Crossing jobs off a list gives me a great sense of purpose and accomplishment, and it motivates me to see lines through completed projects and tasks. I used lists with all my in-house jobs, and I’ve continued that method with freelancing.

It may shock you to know, however, that I work with a hard copy calendar and pen-and-paper lists—call me a dinosaur, but I love to get and stay organized on paper. I spend so much of my day on a screen that it’s a welcome change to actually use my hand to write, though my handwriting is atrocious! I have a work calendar that gives me a month at a glance, as I’m one of those people who needs to see the big picture, as well as the details. I write down when projects are due, and that way I can see where the bottlenecks are/could be, and that helps me know right away if I can take on any more work. I also use lots of highlighters and different coloured pens, so projects and deadlines stand out.

I make a list for the upcoming work week, usually on Sunday night, so I know what is due when and to whom for the upcoming week. That’s a smaller version, if you will, of the bigger picture. If my workload is light for that week, then I put on my marketing hat, contacting clients I haven’t heard from in a while, reminding them I’m available for work, or contacting potential clients (and yes, I have a list of potential clients!). Before going to bed, I add to the list, cross off tasks completed or move them to a newly created list. I also have an organized plan for each work day and that keeps me on track and motivated. Maybe there are apps or programs to do this, but hard copies work for me.

I also find creating editorial checklists helpful, depending on the size of the project. If it’s only a few pages, then I don’t create one. But if it’s a major project, like copy editing a 300-page cookbook, I develop a checklist in addition to the style guide I’m using. They are often a simple Word doc or sometimes I write out my checklist. I usually use the checklist at the beginning and at the end of my project, to ensure I’ve been thorough.




Get Through Every Email

Another time-management and motivation strategy I use is making it a priority to get through all of my emails before the end of each day. It’s a quirk of mine, and I realize it sounds freakishly anal and maybe impossible, but, again, this a strategy that works for me. I find it soul-crushing to open up my email in the morning, only to find a long stream of neglected emails/clients. Sometimes that just means a quick and professional acknowledgment of the email, stating that I’ll respond in more detail the next day or very soon.

Regular Breaks, Exercise, and Self Rewards

Another tip: I make time each day for regular breaks and exercise. They are essential for my sanity and my productivity. I do weekly hatha yoga, and I have an ex-racer greyhound who needs multiple daily walks. Exercise helps me manage stress and allows me to brainstorm or work through an issue I may be having with something I’m writing or editing. Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin says that doing 10 jumping jacks will boost your mood and increase your energy. I haven’t tried that yet, but maybe I should! Even when I was an in-house editor at Homemakers and especially at the AGO, I took time for regular breaks. As I mentioned, on particularly stressful days, I’d wander in the galleries, enjoying my favourite Emily Carrs and Tom Thomsons. I have very fond memories of the Yoko Ono, William Wegman and Hermitage exhibitions because I was able to enjoy the art during a weekday morning, often avoiding all the ugly weekend and afternoon crowds. For me, breaks are a form of escapism and regeneration, a chance to lose the work chains and give my brain time to recharge and think freely, which really aids in efficiency and motivation.

I’m also a big believer in self-rewards. I will say to myself that after I get X number of pages edited or y number of pages written, I will treat myself to, for example, wandering in some of my favourite neighbourhood shops or cafes, watching a BBC show, or to some pleasure reading.

Also, I take advantage of any downtime or lulls in work. Freelancing is feast or famine, so I use downtime to re-energize, strategize, and sometimes make more lists! I visit arts and antique markets, visit with friends or family, or think of potential new clients or story ideas. I also meet with fellow editors and writers to commiserate, often sharing work tips and strategies.

Just Say “No!”

Another tactic I use is just saying “No!” No to a client, no to a volunteer opportunity, and even no to myself for doing any more work that day. My theory is, it’s better to pass on a project than to take it on and do a less-than-spectacular job and ruin your precious reputation. Clients appreciate the honesty, which keeps your integrity as an editor intact. Almost every client I’ve ever said no to has come back another time with another job or another part of the job I originally declined. I recently had to turn down a copy editing project for a main client because of prior work commitments, but I was approached by that client again several weeks later to proofread the same project. Fortunately, I was able to say yes then.

I also don’t have a problem with making some nights a “get-your-own-meal” or “cereal night” at our house. My husband likes to cook, but he gets home from work around 7 pm. He is very understanding and so is our teenaged son. They’re used to this occurrence and know that sometimes a decent weekday meal isn’t going to happen, because “Mom’s on deadline again!”

Switch to Something New

Another way for me to meet deadlines and stay motivated is to work on multiple projects in one day or just switch to a different project altogether. As I mentioned, I wrote a feature last year for Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market on beating writer’s block, and many of the writers, editors, publishers, and writing instructors I interviewed do this. If my mind is wandering or if I need a break, I put aside that project and start on another. For example, if I just can’t look at that annual report pdf one more time, I’ll try writing a page for my YA novel, start working on my next book review for Canadian Children’s Book News, or research or brainstorm potential authors for the next season of Rowers Readers Series, for which I’m the administrative director. Sometimes that’s all I need to feel motivated to finish or return to the first project.

Positive Energy, Kind People

My final strategy is, surround yourself with positive, kind people. I express regular gratitude to those people in my life, as I know success is never a solo venture. It may sound cliché, but having family and friends who are supportive and respectful of you and your work will do wonders for your self-esteem and your peace of mind, which in turn has a favourable effect on your productivity, motivation and efficiency.

*****

Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto, Canada-based freelance writer, editor, and mentor. She’s been in the writing and editing business for two decades, and her company is Planet Word. Jennifer’s clients are from the book and custom publishing, magazine, and marketing and communications fields and include The Globe and Mail, Art Gallery of Ontario, D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Canadian Children’s Book News, Dundurn Press, Ontario Dental Association, and Firefly Books. When she’s not busy spilling ink for her first novel, walking her greyhound, Aquaman, or reading, Jennifer enjoys travelling, antiquing, gardening, camping and yoga. She’s a long-time mentor to novice editors via Editors Canada and novice writers via the Professional Writers Association of Canada. Jennifer is chair of Editors Toronto and administrative director of the Rowers Reading Series. Find her online at lifeonplanetword.wordpress.com.

Character Development

Award-Winning Author Hank Quense

Nothing tells the reader the author is an amateur quicker than reading about a make-believe, cardboard character, one that isn’t a ‘real’ person.

In this article we’ll cover the mental or inner workings of characters. These are the attributes that turn a character into a ‘real’ person. There are a number of areas involved and it will require creativity and hard work to complete the character development. These areas include the character’s personality, his dreams, his aspirations and any mirages that affect him. The character’s inner philosophy is also an important element.

Let’s briefly address each area.

• Personality: Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: The pattern of feelings, thoughts, and activities that distinguishes one person from another. If you scan the web, you’ll find a bewildering array of web sites about personality including some heavy-duty stuff from doctors. Basically, it seems to break down into two areas: personality types and personality traits.

According to one theory, there are sixteen types of personality. There are four types in each of four categories: analysts, diplomats, sentinels and explorers. Your character has to be one of sixteen. For more information see http://www.16personalities.com/personality-types.

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Within these categories, there are many personality traits. You need to define your character by giving him or her a personality trait or two. Is your character affable, charming, pompous, unfriendly? There are many personality traits that can be used. Once you select one or two, do a web search on that trait to ensure you can write convincingly about that type of personality. There is more information about personality traits here: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-personality-traits.html

• Dreams (aspirations): What does your character want out of life? What does he want to do when he grows up? What does she want to achieve? This attribute can influence how the character acts and can provide a measure of conflict. What if she wants to become an engineer, but has to decide whether to stay in college or drop out to help her sick mother? This situation will provide inner conflict.

• Memories: These are influencers that characters have. Memories can also be used for foreshadowing and to build up internal conflict. How? Consider this example: as a five-year-old, the character almost drowned. Ever since, she has had a healthy fear of open water. At some point in the story, she sees a man drowning in the middle of a lake. What does your character do? Does her fear of water cause her to ignore the man and walk away? Does she search for a boat to use in the rescue? Does she suppress her fear and dive into the lake?
This inner conflict can provide a memorable scene in the story. Remember though, a heroine has to do heroic stuff. It would be acceptable for a villainess to let the guy drown, but a heroine will have to try to save him, or she won’t be believable.

Another example will concern a man who was punished as a child by being locked in a dark closet. Now he fears dark basements, caves, alleys and any unlit place. You can see how this memory and foreshadowing can lead to exciting scenes and gripping internal conflict.

• Mirages: These are fantasies the character tricks herself into believing. Want an example? Most politicians thinking they have the slightest chance of getting elected President. Another example: your character pursues a goal that he can’t possible achieve because it is a mirage.

• Descriptor (or voice): This item isn’t the same as the way the character speaks, it’s a brief description or summary of the character and the way he thinks and acts. This isn’t easy to develop but I believe it’s essential to have one for the major and main characters. Once you have the descriptor, it will help you write accurately about the character and his thoughts, his actions, his reactions.

Examples may be the best way to explain the descriptor. A banker can be the voice of greed and will endlessly talk about money and financial concerns. A psychopath is the voice of rage, always ready for an argument or fight. A warrior could be described as the voice of chaos. An accountant can be the voice of precision.




• Philosophy: Everyone has a personal philosophy. You have one whether you realize it or not, whether you want one or not. I don’t know if a personal philosophy comes with your birth package or is a product of your environment and your upbringing. To me, how it happened isn’t as important as recognizing that it did happen. My personal philosophy is skepticism with a healthy dose of cynicism. Since all people have a personal philosophy, it follows that your main and major characters should also have a personal philosophy.

Once you assign a philosophy to a character, limitations instantly follow. For instance, if your character’s philosophy is individualism, you can’t have him acting hesitant or asking other characters for help and answers. An individualist character tends to do stuff by himself. He’s decisive, not wishy-washy. Similarly, if the character is an optimist, you can’t have her bad-mouthing everybody’s ideas and suggestions. That’s the way a pessimist will act.

As you can see from this discussion of inner attributes, building a memorable character requires a lot of creativity and work. However, the effort is worth it and your readers will appreciate it.

The material in this article is based on my book Creating Stories.

© Hank Quense 2017

“Rapid Release” Ebook Series Support

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Very recently, I introduced you to a new mini ebook series that is being released online only that teaches authors how to sell more books using “rapid release” publishing—an online sales strategy that effectively “pings” Amazon’s algorithm in such a way that causes your books’ ranking(s) to rise up higher and higher in the search results. The higher your books’ search results are, the better your chances of a sale … of several sales!

Many authors around the world (e.g., the UKUSA, Australia) are now selling THOUSANDS of books each year by using these techniques. This ebook series will teach you, step-by-step, how to do exactly what they’re doing.

And now Polished Publishing Group (PPG) is offering even more support to help independent authors like you to produce your own “rapid release” ebook series. In partnership with NessGraphica, PPG will help you to produce four truly professional ebook covers (similar to the quality shown above), and we’ll convert your Word.doc manuscripts into .MOBI and .EPUB formats for you. Four ebooks will be designed and converted for you for the price of only one.

“Rapid Release” Ebook Series Support

Rapid Release Ebook Package 01 $850 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 01 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks up to 10,000 Words in Length Each

Rapid Release Ebook Package 02 $1,000 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 02 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks from 10,001 to 30,000 Words in Length Each

Rapid Release Ebook Package 03 $1,250 CDN – “Rapid Release” Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Package 03 – Ebook Conversion and Cover Design Services for Four Ebooks from 30,001 to 60,0000 Words in Length Each

(Editing, proofreading, and indexing services are not included in these packages. You upload your own ebooks online.)

Buy these ebooks to learn this “rapid release” publishing process. Decide if it’s for you. If the answer is “YES!” then contact PPG for support in creating your own “rapid release” ebook series by purchasing one of the above three packages. We look forward to working with you!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Post Cards from a Heart-Centred Photographer

Debbie Flynn of DebbieFlynnPhotography.com. Click the photo to visit her website.

Why is your author photo so important for your book?

Isn’t the content the reason the reader is looking at your book? Yes, absolutely.

And what if there is another important aspect to your book? An aspect that is a visual process the reader actually uses to take in your book because we are highly visual creatures. So much so that ninety percent of the information we take in is visual.

Visually, when the reader comes to your book they are first going to see the cover and the next important visual will be your photo.

It goes even deeper. The reader is actually longing to connect with you through your photo even in that brief moment. They want to know you and what better way to do it visually than through a photo of you. All you have to consider is the impact social media has had because we are highly curious about one another. For writers Facebook even has an author Facebook page. The reader can connect with their favourite author and learn about upcoming projects and even what their day looks like. 

Which brings us back to your photo – the one that reflects your true essence and what you’re passionate about as a writer. Or does it? Wouldn’t you love to be portrayed this way?




I was out of town attending a workshop for healers. A woman I knew came up to me to ask if I could photograph her sometime during the weekend because she needed a photo right away for her forthcoming book and she wanted what I could offer. We found the time and her photography session was unlike any previous experience. During the session I encouraged her to remember her passion for what her book was about. The book was about her personal struggles and ultimate triumph. She was writing it to help other indigenous women. We created a safe environment for her to be able to do this in. It was an easy and playful session. She shared with me that the final photos lit her up every time she looked at them because they brought out her best and showed her passion. She was proud to use them.

So how do you have a session like this?

The following tips will help you to bring more passion and aliveness to your author photo.

1. Remember why you wrote your book and the passion you felt about writing it.

Journal. Make some notes to be able to refer to and re-ignite yourself regularly before the photo session.

2. Research photographers in your area.

Who do you feel good about and are drawn to use? It’s a personal decision and one that needs your heart’s attention. It is about being portrayed as who you truly are.

3. Interview the photographer.

Are they truly interested in you? Will you be yourself when you work with them? Is there space for the session such as time and an environment that allows you to be comfortable? Interviewing prospective photographers is worth it when you understand the benefits. Hire the photographer who is right for you.  

4. Prepare for the session inwardly before you go.

Remember why you wrote your book and refer to the notes you’ve been keeping. The photographer may not be able to help you express yourself from an inner place. It’s not how photographers are trained. Take time with your appearance to feel good about the way you look. This allows you to relax and to be comfortable enough to go inner.




5. During the session keep coming back to your passion for writing.

Give yourself permission to do this.

If you follow the tips above your photos will make you happy. They will act as an on-going witness of who you are and what you bring to the world.

And the first impression your photo has on readers will be authentic and compelling which will become the most lasting impression they have of you. 

The Flow of the Heart

A beautiful song arises only

when the singer forgets herself and the audience.

A deeply moving painting emerges only

when the artist forgets himself and everything 

else in the world. 

For your talents to be expressed in all their 

fullness and beauty,

the sense of otherness must disappear entirely –

or it will block the flow of your heart. 

~ Amma

ABOUT ME

After my marriage ended and I became a single mom I didn’t know where to turn.

Guidance came in the form of a photojournalist. She was photographing the kids at the family centre where my son and I were swimming. It was obvious how much she enjoyed her job working for a daily paper. We had a rich conversation about what she did. Her happiness, brightness and gratitude came through as we spoke.

She became my inspiration. She helped to revive my love of photography. That conversation inspired me to go back to school and major in photojournalism. I received a Journalism Certificate from the local college.

I mentored with a well-established wedding photographer before opening my business eight years ago. Working with hundreds of clients has taught me how to create an easy, enjoyable experience for them with images that light them up. Over the years my clients have ranged from families and their life events to executives, entrepreneurs and artists.

My nature photographs were published in a best-selling book called “Eco-yards.” It is one of a number of books and magazines who have published my photos. To see more of my landscape, nature and wildlife photography please go to DebbieFlynnPhotography.com.

For two years I exhibited my work at galleries as part of a professional women’s photography collective “femme foto” in Calgary, Alberta.

Professional organizations I have belonged to include: The PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada) and PPOA (Professional Photographers of Alberta). I attend many photography conferences. To improve my publication skills I completed a multi-media computer certificate.




A Little More About Debbie

Well, as this was happening I started on a heart-centred spiritual path. From my studies I understood our lives have a purpose . . . a mission that we’re meant to do. My mission is to bring more love and beauty to the world through the people and nature I photograph. When I hike in the mountains and close to the ocean it reminds me of how important nature is for our well-being.

There have been obstacles along the way. Through heart-centred energy training I’ve learned how to transform obstacles into what my heart truly wants. The training skills included how to deeply listen, quick, easy tools to move through obstacles and specific work to bring more harmony to my inner world. As a healing practitioner I’ve brought these skills to help many people move through their own limitations into becoming more of who they want to be.

Now I bring this experience to photography clients in the form of encouragement and attentive listening as we talk about their passion. From this place they can express what they deeply care about. And I’m able and fortunate to be able to portray it.

You know what else I love doing – dancing. I will put on a favourite tune and get movin’ whether it’s in the living room in bare feet or having a dance in my chair in my office. Try having a little chair dance sometime it will make you feel good.

Who gets you dancing?

© Debbie Flynn 2017

DebbieFlynnPhotography.com