It’s almost tax time. Hopefully, you have kept good receipts (or at least have credit card statements and check stubs). There are lots of expenses that can typically be deducted by writers and artists, such as memberships, publications, conferences/workshops, office supplies, and internet service. Here are some good resources to help get you started. It is advisable to hire an accountant or use a tax preparation service when filing tax returns with lots of deductions.
Do you know what a genre is? Do you know what genre your book should be in? You might be surprised! The list is huge and keeps changing. One of our authors, Terrance Zepke, wrote a great piece about this that we’d like to share.
You can’t pitch your book to the right agent or publisher if you don’t know what genre your book belongs in, so take some time to do some research so you can get this right.
There are five things you’ll need to become a published writer: discipline, commitment, talent, hard work, and a lot of luck.
And there are five steps you need to take to become a published writer:
- Read. Read. Read. Read lots of books, especially ones in your genre. If you don’t know what your genre is, start with figuring that out before proceeding!
- Write. Write. Write. Practice really does make perfect! Your writing will improve the more you write.
- Attend classes, conferences, and workshops to (a) network and (b) learn how to improve your writing and discover how the book world works.
- Seek professional help. Hire an editor to make sure your manuscript is professional-looking (i.e. properly formatted, no spelling or grammatical errors, etc.)
- Decide how to proceed. Do you want to self-publish or are you wanting to sign on with a traditional publisher? You have a lot to learn either way. If you self-publish, you’ll have to learn how to create professional book covers or hire a service to create one for you. You’ll also have to learn how to publish and distribute your title. If you want a traditional publisher, you’ll have to learn how to craft a query letter and where to find a publisher that publishes your genre–and much more.
Here are some good resources to get your started:
Writer’s Digest offers a writing magazine, writing workshops, writing contests, and much more.
To find a list of agents, advice, and other resources, visit http://www.agentquery.com/.
Nonfiction Authors Association is a must for those who write nonfiction. They offer podcasts, Twitter chats, and more. http://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/
Author’s Guild offers legal services, advice, resources, and more.
MeetUp.com can connect you with other writers, book clubs, and more.
Publishers Weekly is the best news source for anyone in the publishing industry
National Writer’s Association has local chapters and national resources.
Writing is hard work! You need to take care of yourself in order to evoke your best creative efforts. But when a writer is on a deadline (or a hot streak!), it is hard to remember or to take the time to eat right. Instead of snacking on chips and gallons of coffee or soda, keep some good stuff on hand:
1. low fat string cheese (individually wrapped and sold in bags with 8 – 10 inside, dairy aisle)
2. yogurt with fruit and granola toppings (they now come packaged this way so there is no excuse!)
3. dark chocolate almonds (they are sold in individual packets and big bags in the nut section of grocery store)
4. frozen red grapes
5. herbal tea and/or your favorite smoothie, such as this Berry Smoothie
INGREDIENTS: 8 oz water, 4 oz plain yogurt, 1 cup assorted frozen berries, 1/2 cup frozen banana, 1/2 cup coconut milk. Combine in blender until smooth and creamy and enjoy!
Also, be sure to get up every hour and stretch and/or walk around for five minutes. Set a timer if you need to…
Writing is often perceived as a solitary occupation. However, that is not true. These days there are so many ways to connect with other writers and readers, which you need to do. Here are the best ways to make these connections:
- Social Media. This covers a lot of ground, such as blogging, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Make a list of your favorites and then find out where your audience is. There is no point in being on Instagram if your audience is on LinkedIn. Narrow down the list to just one or two so that you don’t spend hours daily trying to be everywhere. It is better to make a strong presence on one site than trying to be everywhere. Think of all the things you can do to reach your audience, such as guest blogging, video book trailers, and a Facebook Fan Page.
- Grow your email list. It goes without saying that in this day and age authors need a website. While you can also have a Goodreads or Facebook page, you need to have a separate author site where you can control all content, offer book giveaways, and announce author news (such as upcoming releases). Whatever else you choose to do, this is a must. Be sure to post good content consistently. Encourage interaction by asking for comments and offering advice and giveaways.
- Attend book events to learn the latest publishing trends, network, and more. Here is a list of the top events for 2017:
BookExpoAmerica (BEA)/BookCon: May 31 – June 4. New York City, NY. http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/
ALA Annual Conference: June 22 – 27. Chicago, IL. http://2017.alaannual.org/
Frankfurt Book Fair: October 11 – 15. Frankfurt, Germany. http://www.book-fair.com/en/
The best advice we can offer you is to take some time in December and January to write a plan for the year. This should include a writing schedule and all book promotions/marketing/events. Decide how many books you will write and how you will promote them to ensure their success. Plans need to be in motion weeks or months prior to a book launch date, so take that into account during your planning. Make this your year to grow and flourish as a writer! You deserve it!
Calling all literary lovers…here is a list of the best U.S. and international book festivals:
National Book Festival – Library of Congress is held at National Mall in Washington, D.C. (9/5)(2015 is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s acquisition of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library).
Brooklyn Book Festival is held in Brooklyn, NY on 9/14-22. www.brooklynfestival.org.
Decatur Book Festival is held in Decatur, Georgia on 9/4-6. www.decaturbookfestival.com (this is the largest book festival in America).
Miami Book Fair International is held in Miami, Florida on 11/15-22. www.miamibookfair.com.
Printers Row Literary Festival is held in Chicago, Illinois on 6/7-8. www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/printersrowfest.
LA Times Festival of Books is held in Los Angeles, CA on 4/18-19. www.events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks
South Carolina Book Festival is held on 5/15-17 in Columbia, SC and features more than 100 authors. www.scbookfestival.org.
Tucson Festival of Books is held on 3/12-13 in Tuscon, Arizona. www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org.
Texas Book Festival is held in Austin, Texas on 10/17-18. www.texasbookfestival.org.
Louisiana Book Festival is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on November 7. www.louisianabookfestival.org.
Paris Book Festival is in Paris, France in May 2015 with featured speaker/author, David McCullough.
Amsterdam Book Festival is in Amsterdam, Holland in May 2015.
For more information go to www.bookfestivals.com.
Here at Safari Publishing we take the well being of wildlife worldwide very seriously. We are especially interested in the preservation and protection of African wildlife. This year the struggle to protect these animals was highlighted by what happened to Cecil the lion. Sadly, this kind of thing happens too often. Poaching and hunting are profitable enterprises. At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure cancer and hangovers. The demand for elephant tusks (ivory) is huge in China. Lions are killed for sport and the list goes on.
Safari Publishing donates 5% of its profits to World Wildlife Fund. We also aim to educate the public about these atrocities and what you can do to help make a difference. Find out what you can do to stop wildlife crime by visiting www.worldwildlife.org/wildlifecrime.
P.S. This guy is not injured or dead. This photo was taken by one of our staff while on safari. She reported that he was completely oblivious to their jeep and seemed to be sunbathing and settling into a nice nap!
Also, be sure to take care to avoid getting sick. This includes washing your hands and/or using a hand sanitizer. You also need to give your body and brain the right food. This means you need to get enough protein and fruit and vegetables.
Here’s a great treat for any time of day. Use this as a meal replacement or simply as a mid-morning or afternoon boost. Bananas are packed with potassium and avocados are loaded with Vitamin E. Added benefit: It’s delicious!
BANANA MILKSHAKE (Makes 2 shakes)
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Puree the ingredients in a blender and enjoy (only 150 calories per shake)
After you’ve written your book, be sure to find out the best publishing option for you. It may be traditional publishing or it may be one of the many new options available. Regardless of your choice, there’s a lot you need to learn about how the publishing industry works before you proceed.
Here’s another healthy snack:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 cups of air-popped popcorn
1/4 cup almond slivers
Melt chips and stir in cinnamon and then toss in popcorn and and almonds. Spread on parchment paper and refrigerate about 30 minutes. When firm break into clusters and enjoy! Dark chocolate is good for the heart and cinnamon is good for several things, including digestion and reducing cholesterol (only 110 calories per cup).