Proposal Writing I was always more a sit down and write kind of writer until I started writing books and taking on freelance work. I found myself procrastinating and easily distracted by new and shinier things that came across my laptop screen. If I ...

 

Writing Wednesday The Proposal and more...



Writing Wednesday The Proposal

Proposal Writing

I was always more a sit down and write kind of writer until I started writing books and taking on freelance work. I found myself procrastinating and easily distracted by new and shinier things that came across my laptop screen.

If I wanted to do this book writing thing full time I needed to get organized and get writing.

I now start with an outline for whatever I may be writing. A blog post, article, a book or a ghostwriting project all start with an outline.

Once I have a simple outline, I start working on the proposal. I do NOT like writing proposals. That is, until they are done. Once they are done I feel like my book couldwrite itself. Trust me you will thank me later.

The first rule of proposal writing is to take your time and get it right. The second rule is, it should be written before you write the book. I know bad news but again you will thank once it’s done.

Think of your proposal as the business plan for your book. Like most everything in life our chance of success increases if we start with a good plan.

If you are writing or planning to write nonfiction you will need a very, very good proposal to send to agents and or publishers. If you are writing fiction you should at least have an okay proposal, for yourself. It will help you stay focused.

  • You will first need a one page cover letter. Think business, resume etc…
  • Next you will need an overview. It should answer these questions: What is your book about (think about what will be on the back cover of the book), who will care about this book, who are you and what credentials do you have that make you the best person to tell this story? No more than two pages.
  • Table of contents. You may have to finish this once the proposal is finished but this is the place for it.
  • Target Market: Who will buy this book and why. Do not say everyone. Pick one demographic and then one or two sub-demographics. Do not use statistics that are not specific.
  • Chapter Outline: The title of each chapter and a paragraph on what each chapter is about. Take your time and try to come up with paragraphs that tell a condensed version of your book. This includes a beginning; middle and an end. It also includes an introduction of you antagonist and protagonist. If you are worried someone will steal your idea, don’t.
  • Competition: Pick three or four books that will be direct competition. Competition in the book business is a good thing. It means people are reading what you are writing. (think vampires) Do careful research here and explain why your book is different and will stand out from the competition.
  • Author bio and platform: Your bio should only pertain to what you are writing and your experience. Leave personal information out. It should be short and sweet. More on platform’s next week. It basically means who you know, organizations you belong to and your online reach.
  • Marketing Plan: You must convince an agent and or a publisher that you can bring the audience for this book not the other way around. Do not write what you hope to do but specifically what you can and will do. Be confident, realistic and firm. Use real numbers. Cleary define your market. List your accurate online stats for all of your sites. Do not just list followers, list your Google analytics. List your offline following, organizations or groups you belong to and any media contacts you have. Don’t get depressed you can do this. Get out and meet people in real life. Read and leave comments on many other blogs to increase your own comments and stats.
  • Last but not least, in fact extremely important, add two of your meatiest chapters.

Now sit down and write that memoir, novel, instructional, health or whatever the story is you were born to tell!

Happy writing,

Doreen

 

 

      
 

Music Monday- Philly Music Memories…

MUSIC MONDAY

I waited a long time for my prince charming. They say be careful what you wish for. My Prince Charming is kind, supportive and understanding with me. He is also all of those things with everyone who crosses his path. There was no reason for me to be surprised when he came home one night with an elderly homeless woman.

Sophie was eighty-years-old, homeless and mentally ill. I wanted to know how she got to that point in her life where she didn’t have one friend or relative to take her in from the cold and had no choice but to trust us, virtual strangers. Yesterday was her birthday. We miss her.

 

 

Sophie grew up on the edge of Philadelphia during a time when the city was the most ‘it’ place to be if you were a fan of rock n roll. This was the same time our nation was either fighting

for or against civil rights. The government was also taking steps toward closing state run mental health facilities. It was still a few years before the British invasion. John and I were fascinated by her stories.

Local musicians like Charlie Gracie, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and the Dovells along with record labels, recording studios and distribution companies were enjoying great national success. Sophie was a huge fan of the Philadelphia sound but she was in love with the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley.

Charlie Gracie

I knew that Philadelphia had a rich musical history and I knew that Dick Clark was from Delaware County and hosted Bandstand in Philadelphia. I had no idea Dick Clark was not the original host of Bandstand.

Bob Horn’s Bandstand premiered on Channel 6 in September of 1952. Sophie was already a fan of Horn’s because since the late 40’s Horn had been a popular radio disc jockey on the radio station, WFIL. Growing up I loved that radio station. I begged my father to put it on every time we got in the car. I had no idea it was around in the 40’s.

When the television show started it was mostly short musical films, (the original music videos) and studio guests. Horn wanted to change the show to include live dancers and Channel 6 agreed.

The show was immediately successful drawing 60% of the daytime television audience. It made Horn a wealthy man. In 1956 he was fired after being convicted of drunken driving for the second time and he was accused of statutory rape. He was later acquitted of the rape charge and he moved to Houston, Texas.

Dick Clark another popular WFIL radio disc jockey took over as the host for Bandstand. Clark was more of an ambitious business man than he was a fan of Rock n Roll music. He knew he could never put the original singer of The Twist on television because of his hip movements so he had an associate in the business rewrite the song and they recruited eighteen-year-old Earnest Evans to sing the song. They changed his name to Chubby Checker and put him on Bandstand in 1960.

Clark stayed out of trouble when it came to alcohol, drugs and women but he liked money. The city of Philadelphia brought charges against him saying because he had a financial interest in several of the city’s record companies and he also had a financial interest in the show he was guilty of a conflict of interest. He appeared before an oversight committee and convinced them he played the music he played on the show because it was what the teenagers wanted to hear not because he had a financial interest in the music.

Shortly after Clark took the show to California and renamed it American Bandstand.

After all of these years Sophie still held a grudge against Dick Clark for taking the show away from Philadelphia. She made me laugh. She held a grudge against the Beatles too. She told me the Beatles stole the spotlight from Elvis Presley and the Philadelphia singers she loved so much.

Sophie was a Philly girl. She was so proud of the city’s contributions to the start of our nation, a passionate Philly sports fan and fiercely loyal to the regions musicians through the decades up to Teddy Pendergrass, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and the rap musicians from the area. She felt with Philadelphia’s musical history we should have more big name hip hop performers in the area.

                            Young Sophie…

All of Sophie’s talk of music and her love of the city made me miss my dad and inspired me to spend time with him. I wanted to ask him about his own experiences growing up in Roxborough and what kind of music he listened to as a teenager. I wanted to hear his Philadelphia music stories.

Dad and his West Catholic High School friends either danced on Bandstand or hung around outside the station. He confirmed Sophie’s stories and he also said when Dick Clark pulled up stakes and left the city it wasn’t long until the recording companies and distributors went out of business. One company, Swan Records was able to lease two Beatles songs for American distribution but even that wasn’t enough to keep the company going.

It may be decades since the British Invasion put a hurting on the Philadelphia music business but it didn’t stop the music. Today live music from every generation can still be heard throughout the Delaware Valley in our large and small concert venues, clubs and even in our schools and county parks.

Mini music fans Adriana and Peyton Elizabeth

We love making musical memories with the grandchildren by attending concerts and teaching them about Philadelphia’s famous rich and diverse musical history and teaching them to do the Twist and the Bristol Stomp. I tell them all the time I hope they will teach their children.

Concert In Rosetree Park 2016 Morgan, Jimmy and Dominic…

I lost my dad and we lost Sophie the year before. When I miss them I throw some pillows on the floor and put on some 50’s music and close my eyes. I think about summer coming and dancing in Rose Tree Park while listening to tribute bands and original performers from each and every decade and I smile.

Keep Moving Forward,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

      
 

Friday Foodie Fragments…

What a week! My husband and I have both been hit pretty hard with bronchitis. I think (hope and pray) we are on the road to recovery, finally.

Last Friday I didn’t post because I was at the hospital with my granddaughter Allyson. She’s an Education/Special Ed major student at a University close to where I live. A mass was found under her ribcage. Hopefully its nothing but it does have to come out. It was decided it can wait until her semester is over because all the markers point to it being benign.

Allyson

I am enjoying putting together a six-week seminar series for my church, based on Matthew Kelly’s book, Resisting Happiness. When I was asked to work on this, I had no idea how much I needed to read that book and to work on this project. I really do resist happiness but I am on the road to recovery! The series is going to be fun.

The county I live in, Delaware County Pennsylvania we have a small chain of stores called Swiss Farms. The stores are unique because they are a drive-thru convenience store. There is one in my town and it is so convenient to run out for milk, bread and snacks and not have to dress up or worry about running into anyone. On Wednesday the new CEO, Scott Simon and his staff spoke at our Press Club meeting. They have plans for modernizing the stores and are adding some fresh foods. It was interesting to hear how they are investing in employees and their safety and in providing fresh comfort foods.

Speaking of comfort foods I made the most amazing country style spare ribs yesterday. This recipe is for a small batch (feeding 4); you can easily increase the quantities of the ingredients for a larger batch.

 

1small pkg. country style ribs

1 can of Campbell’s French Onion Soup

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1tbs of orange zest

1 tsp Trader Joe’s seasoning salt

½ cup of red/green peppers combined

1 large bottle of Open Pit Barbecue Sauce /original recipe)

I put all ingredients except the barbecue sauce in the slow cooker, added two soup cans of water and cooked on low for six-hours. After six-hours I removed two cups of liquid and added the barbecue sauce. I continued cooking on low for two more hours.

I served the ribs with corn, cut green beans and mashed red potatoes. Delicious!

Not much writing has happened this week. I need a book on resisting writing!

We are headed down the shore this weekend with of our grandkids, Julia, Morgan and Jimmy. It is supposed to be un-seasonally warm and I need to breathe some ocean air. A visit to Manco’s Pizza is what’s for dinner while we are there. I’m positive a lot more writing will happen next week. There is magic in that ocean air!

Showtime’s “Billions” returns Sunday night for its second season. John and I enjoyed the first season. Emmy and Golden Globe winners, Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis (who was killed off on Homeland) star in this the drama about power politics colliding with high finance. U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and the brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis) are on an explosive collision course. The show is fast moving and definitely timely. It also stars Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) and Malin Akerman.

What did you do all week? What are you watching and most importantly what are you eating?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

More Happenings:

Are you on Instagram? I would love to follow you there:

Save the date for the Philadelphia Writers Conference: June 9, 10 and 11. I will be presenting a workshop on Writing Memoir. The web site will be updated soon.

I am looking forward to presenting a workshop on all things publishing: #GETPUBLISHED at the #DoylestownBookshop

      
 

Imagine That…#MondayMotivation

Imagine That…

Imagine that we American women united so no person or organization could control us by dividing us. Imagine that we actually did something other than persist. Imagine us coming together to solve problems. Imagine we built a bridge on what we have in common and our differences washed away under that bridge. Imagine that…

Imagine that on the topic of:

Schools- We agree we want the very best educational system for our children. We agree that every child has the right to an education regardless of race, religion, sex or disabilities. Imagine that we got together in our small towns and our cities and created a plan, we could make our school boards, administrators and educators accountable for every cent

they are given as well as the curriculum chosen. Imagine parents getting together and forming a new organization, a bipartisan one that set up groups of parents to take turns attending every school-board meeting and informing other parents of the agenda and demanding accountability. Imagine an important vote was scheduled and every resident showed up to represent the children because it does take a village. Divided it will never happen because there are people pocketing money because of our division. Those people will do anything to keep it that way. Putting our differences aside and coming together for the safety, education and well being of our kids would be miraculous; Imagine that.

Abortion-No female should be forced to birth the child of a rapist who was diagnosed with aids. Can we all agree that is a form of torture? Can we agree that a woman whose unborn daughter has died in the 7th month of pregnancy should not be forced to wait for labor to start naturally? Can we all agree that aborting a completely healthy baby from a completely healthy mother after the 20th week is murder? Can we all agree that Roe v Wade isn’t going anywhere and if by some circumstance it was, that would not mean abortion is illegal. The decision would refer to the states. That can only happen is if we remain divided. We can come together and compromise to write a bill with common sense guidelines that protects all women and their health. “They” say it would be too complicated, that the pro-life and pro-choice groups won’t come together. The only groups that won’t come together are those that use us for financial, political and power gain. We could easily make it happen with courage; Imagine that…

Pay- As women we all agree that women deserve equal pay for equal work. How do we make sure that happens? It’s the law and we need to make sure the law is followed for all of us. We must pay-it-forward and teach our young women how to research salaries, how to negotiate contracts and how to support one another. We need to hold women who are responsible for hiring other women accountable to disclosing what a fair salary is and to offer those salaries. Imagine that…

Religion Or no religion- we all at least agree that we have the right to practice any religion or non-religion we choose? We are women and are smarter, more compassionate and definitely more tolerant than those that wish to divide us for political or financial gain. When my brother was murdered in a random road rage attack, the small town was divided over whether the attackers were boys being boys or vicious murderers. 16 church leaders, the politicians and business owners in that town put differences they had aside and came together to plan a life celebration for my brother, our family and the town. I was so moved and comforted by their effort. We need to stop bullying each other over religion or no religion and start respecting that even with all of our differences we are able to come together to accept that some of us pray and some don’t.

Politics- Imagine that we came together to stop letting politicians divide us so they could win. At this moment our voting block of women is completely broken. It is going to take phenomenal courage and actual action to put us back together. “They” have won. We are now acting towards each in ways that we fought against “Them” treating us for decades. “They” are laughing at the vagina masks, and our acting ‘nasty’ and shouting obscenities. We fought against “Them” acting this way for decades and now we’ve become as disgusting as the behavior we and the women before us fought against. Whose idea was that? If we stop crushing women that don’t align 100% with ALL of our beliefs and started supporting and electing women that celebrated our differences and believed in compromise; imagine that…

Immigration- What a divisive topic this is. Whoever came up with this one effectively divided us women perhaps forever. “They” have won. It’s a fact that some people are infiltrating our country with plans to hurt us. One is too many. Can we agree on that? We all agree that discriminating against religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race or nationality is wrong. If we came together we could create a plan that keeps those that intend to do us harm out and welcomes those that have an American Dream with open arms. Imagine that…

~~~

Imagine that if all of these topics that have broken us into million-pieces were courageously and with a little common sense were taken off the table because we came together and agreed that enough is enough and we ‘fixed it’ once and for all. Imagine the important things we could work on like starting our own businesses, stopping children from dying of heroin overdoses, fixing our healthcare system and making it work for everyone. We could end homelessness and come up with a mental health agenda that made sense. We could go back to supporting, tolerating and loving each other again.

We could even have fun together again. That would be music to my ears.

Imagine that…

Who wants to start?

      
 

Writing Wednesday-Social Media Manners…

Writing Wednesday

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Social Media Manners

What in the world did we do with our time before social media? I for one was definitely more productive writing wise and my house was much cleaner than it is now. I have a feeling that social media killed most of the daytime soap operas. Why watch scripted on T.V. when we can scroll through non-stop reality.

Whatever negative side effects social media might have it does have equal and opposite positive effects as well. For me I have never felt so much a part of so many completely different communities as I do now. Writers/Bloggers truly are the most supportive, genuine and friendly people I have ever known.

Because it is a new year I thought this would be a good time to share some social media etiquette and tips that I have learned over the years, some of them the hard way and because we all need a reminder, including me.

It is social media not sell media. There are many companies out there that will take your money and instruct you to auto post the same posts across all of your social media platforms. Posts like ‘BUY my book’ ‘Must Read 500; 5 star reviews.’ Then there are those direct messages you receive thirty seconds after you follow someone that requests you to, buy my book, like my page, follow my blog and don’t forget to fave and share this message. These companies will fill your head with numbers that sound important but they are useless. Social media is about being social, making real connections. Auto posting/ constant selling will leave people thinking you are lazy and unapproachable and they will keep scrolling.

Once you post it, it cannot be erased. In 2015 this is still important. If you are not sure about posting or responding to something take the time to think about it before you post or respond.

Ignore Posts that offend you. It would be great if we never had to lay eyes on or hear anything that offends us but when it comes to social media we are going to see plenty. It always feels good to be part of a ‘do good’ mob but choose your mobs wisely. Don’t take someone’s dislike of children or pets so personally and just scroll on. Trust me your mood will be better if you just ignore and scroll on. If it persists, and you can’t seem to ignore the offensive posts, hide them, disable notifications from that person or unfriend them.

You owe no one an explanation to unfriend/unfollow. There is never a need to post things like ‘I am cleaning up my friend list.’ Just unfollow quietly and move on.

In 2017 it is still a bad idea to vague post, chronically complain, overshare and post in clumps, frequently. ‘I am so upset’ ‘Some people need to just shut up and you know who you are.’ If you share someone’s post or an article always write something personal about it such as why you liked it or didn’t like it. I need to take my own advice on this one.

Do not post spoilers. Be considerate of our friends in different time zones. If you cannot wait to talk about that winner or scene, take it private.

Limit rants. Sometimes a good rant can be healthy and prompt positive conversation. It is a good idea to only post them occasionally.

Never use more than two hashtags in one post except on Instagram. On Instagram use many.

The buzz about you, your book or your blog should NEVER come from you. This is simple; you only gain credibility when other people post about your work. That doesn’t mean you cannot share exciting information or good news. There is a big difference between good news and overselling.

If you wouldn’t say it to someone in person don’t say it on social media. It is a good idea to stop and think before reacting on social media. There is a way to say and mean what you want to say without being mean. We are writers, right?

It is okay to discuss politics and religion. Discuss is the key word here. We should always respect each other’s views or beliefs even if they are different from our own, especially if we have no idea what is behind those views. Discussion and debate are healthy. Clickbait headlines and repetitive talking points are annoying.

Do you have any to add to this list?

Happy writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

      
 
 
   
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