Author experiences, Book Marketing, Conferences, Education, Embracing Creativity, Fiction, Getting Published, Nonfiction, Writing Tips

Spring writers’ conferences in NC

With the weather heating up (at least in the southeastern USA!) and the flowers starting to bloom, it’s a great time to think about upcoming writers’ events! In North Carolina, we’re fortunate to have lots of creative writers — of both fiction and non-fiction — who are really motivated and ready to learn.

Please share any upcoming conferences you know of (wherever you live) in the comments section!

NC events coming up …

JoCo Writers Conference 2020

March 28 — the Johnston County Writers Workshop in Selma looks fun and very affordable! If you are in the area, I’m sure it will be well worth the visit — but sign up soon, as seating is limited!

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April 17 – 19 — Asheville Word Fest offers a whole weekend of speakers and workshops with a spiritual and cultural slant. Prices for tickets start at $25 and are based on what you can afford. Presenters get 80% of funds, so be generous if you can!

April 18Charlotte hosts the 2020 North Carolina Writing Workshop, a full day of classes with the theme “How To Get Published.” Literary agents will be on-site! Seating is limited, so call head to make sure there are still places available.

April 27 — the NC Writers’ Network have their one-day spring conference at UNCG (Greensboro). I’ve been to this before, and their workshops are in-depth and focused on improving your creative writing. Limited scholarships are available.

May 2Write Now! is an excellent one-day conference hosted by the Triangle Association of Freelancers in Raleigh. I try to attend every year — the classes are very practical and are geared for writers who want to sell their articles and creative work.

So, that’s just a taste of upcoming events — there are sure to be many more! Keep writing and reading, y’all!

 

Author experiences, Embracing Creativity, Fiction, Writing Tips

Making the Case for Epilogues — Suite T- The Author’s Blog

This is a re-post from the excellent Suite T – The Author’s Blog. Do you like epilogues? I love them because they let me spend a little more time with the characters and, hopefully, tie up any remaining questions I had about the story.

By Dania Voss“Goodbye is the hardest thing to say to someone who means the world to you, especially when goodbye isn’t what you want.” – UnknownAs authors we strive to bring our stories to a satisfying conclusion. We want the end to be rewarding for our readers. But what if as writers, we’re not ready…

via Sometimes it’s Hard to Say Goodbye, Making the Case for Epilogues — Suite T- The Author’s Blog

Author experiences, Book Marketing, Embracing Creativity, employment, Job search, podcasts

Patreon for creative types…

Have you heard of Patreon? I started hearing about it a year ago during my favorite podcasts. They would say something like, “Please support us on Patreon.” So, I checked it out, and it’s pretty cool.

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Basically, it’s a website that lets you collect donations for your creative work. It’s kind of like crowdfunding, but I like Patreon better because you offer “rewards” for your subscribers. For example, if you donate $2/month to your favorite podcast, they might give you access to ALL their episodes, rather than just a few.

Or your favorite YouTuber might reward a $5/month subscription with behind-the-scenes videos that only patrons can see. You set up your own subscription rates and your own rewards. I’ve seen Patreon sites for writers, podcasters, illustrators, people who create video games… there’s seems to be no limit!

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I recently set up a Patreon page for my kids’ magazine, JUMP! My goal is to raise enough money to print out lots of copies for children in Alamance County, NC. My mag is tiny — more of a newsletter — but I pack pictures, book reviews, craft ideas, science stuff, and much more in there. I’d like kids (and their guardians) anywhere in the county to be able to pick up a copy for free from the library or their doctor’s office. The overall goal is to promote learning in a fun way!

If you’re a writer or other creative type who needs to raise funds for a project, you might want to have a look at Patreon and see if it’s right for you. I’ll keep you posted on how my page does!

 

Author experiences, Book Marketing, Embracing Creativity, Fiction, Getting Published, Writing Tips

Finding the right book cover…

I just read an excellent post by author Sandra Hutchison about her journey(s) to find the perfect book covers for her works. If you’re an indie author, it’s definitely worth reading her article. She also makes some great points about copyright that you’ll want to check out. For example, did you know that tattoos can be copyrighted?

Louisa Cover2In the guide that my fellow-writer Lisa Logan and I published in 2018, we have a section on creating book covers and another section on copyright. We give good overviews of both topics, but I would also suggest checking out Sandra’s article and recommended sources for a more in-depth look at copyright and ways to create covers.

What I like about Sandra’s article is that she explores all the different ways you can create covers — from self made to pre-made to professionally designed — and she even combines some of those methods.

If you’re like me and love the process of getting your hands dirty and creating your own book cover, you’ll want to pause and think first. Is that “free” clip art from the Internet really copyright-free? If you’re photographing a model for your cover, does he/she have too much skin showing? Advertisers can have strict “decency” rules that sometimes defy logic!

What has been your experience with creating or choosing book covers for your work? If you work in the publishing industry, please feel free to share your insights, too!

Author experiences, Book Marketing, Book Reviews, Education, Getting Published, Nonfiction, Writing Tips

Last day for our freebie!

Today’s the last day to get a free copy of Make It Happen: The No-nonsense Guide to Publishing and Marketing Your Ebook!

Louisa Cover2

It’s a short, handy guide with all the fundamentals you’ll need to publish your book online — from setting up a clickable Table of Contents to choosing an editor to writing press releases.

So, give it a try, and if you find it useful, please leave us a review on Amazon!

Education, Embracing Creativity, employment, Job search, Writing Tips

How to market your liberal arts resume

Whether you are about to graduate from college or have been in the work trenches for years, finding a good job is not easy. And if you have a liberal arts degree, it can feel even harder.

But if you read my earlier post about job hunting as a liberal arts major, you know that humanities majors DO have great job skills that apply to just about any field.

Re-brand your skill set

Our degrees give us a whole host of useful skills. But if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t ask for a humanities degree, don’t put your education near the top of your resume.

Instead, create a section for the key skills sought in the job description. These might be traits you don’t associate with your humanities degree — “Technical Skills,” Leadership,” “Finance Experience,” or “Project Management.”

Don’t panic! Show that you have the capacity to do whatever is being asked. For example:

  • you need to know an industry-specific software tool; is there a similar tool you HAVE used?
  • you don’t have the technical background, but you do have analytical skills, such as problem solving, research, organizational, editing, and computer experience (MS Office, design programs, online learning, etc…).
  • you’ve had to write about very technical, complex subjects in a clear, understandable way
  • you’ve never been a manager, but you’ve led group projects in graduate school or you started a club in college and kept it going for four years
  • you run your own online business (such as etsy or selling ebooks) and handle all the finances
  • you’ve increased your blog traffic 40% over the past two years

Re-brand your unique experiences to show you CAN do the job.

Highlight your liberal arts gems

You have the “soft skills” so many employers are looking for. List these in a special section called “Key Skills” near the top of your resume. Here are some examples:

  • Critical Thinking Skills (from all those books you’ve analyzed and essays you’ve had to write!)
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Conflict Resolution (group work, tutoring, juggling academic projects…)
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Relating to Diverse Groups of People
  • Written Communication
  • Oral communication (if you had to give a lot of presentations and/or taught)
  • Research and Active Listening
  • Teamwork and Working Individually
  • Discipline and Juggling Multiple Projects (especially if you got good grades!)
  • Organization and Planning
  • Passion for Learning (you’re a liberal arts major!)

Tailor your list to the job description. For example, if the job requires interaction with the public, you could label your section “People Skills” or “Communication Skills.”

Format your resume so it looks professional.

Look at examples of resumes in the field you’re applying for and match the style and tone leaders in the industry use. Use the appropriate jargon and keywords of that profession. A few guidelines:

  • use bullets, rather than paragraphs (unless you include a short personal statement/objective at the beginning of your resume)
  • if you capitalize one bullet, capitalize them all (and vice versa)
  • if you put a period at the end of one bullet, do them all (and vice versa)
  • start all your bullet list items in the same way — for example, with action verbs
  • all headings should be the same style and size; all body text should be the same
  • print out your resume so you can see how it looks on paper
  • margins should not be more than 1-inch, otherwise it looks like you’re trying to fill up space

Good luck, and please leave a comment with your suggestions  and experience tailoring your resume!

Education, employment, Job search

You’re a humanities major. Now what?

If  you have an English degree like me (or pretty much any liberal arts degree), you have likely heard the same comments from people with “useful” degrees in computers or accounting about how hard it will be for you to find a “real” job.

So, what do you do? The good news is that we humanities majors have lots of excellent skills that transfer into many different fields. With our capacity for critical thinking, organization, and written communication, we’re like the chameleons of the professional world.

Here’s a five-step process to help you find a career that pays actual money!

1. Find your focus. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start with the general field you’re interested in — healthcare? Publishing? Law? Would you like to work at a university setting? Consider if you want a private sector, nonprofit, or government job. All three categories have advantages and disadvantages. Typically, private companies pay higher, while state and federal jobs tend to have better benefits packages and can be more stable. Nonprofit jobs may allow you to work in a field you’re passionate about — say, the environment or helping children.

2. Start a targeted search. If you know specific companies or organizations you’d like to work for (perhaps a nearby hospital is known for great benefits), start there. Otherwise, go to a job site (like LinkedIn or indeed) and search with humanities-related keywords of skills that are in demand, including “research,” “written communications,” “critical thinking,” “logistics,” and “project management.”

3. Take note of recurring job titles. Maybe you’ve been targeting universities and notice that “recruiter” type positions keep popping up for your skill set. Or you’re interested in a private sector job and the word “management” keeps appearing in your search results. Research those job titles that keep recurring to learn more.

4. Add any missing technical skills. Each industry uses specific software for its day-to-day operations, whether that’s an invoicing tool or an online teaching platform. As you’re researching job titles, take note of the tools you need to learn (or at least be aware of). Your local community colleges may teach the exact course you need, or you could try a site like www.udemy.com for online classes.

5. Update and “reboot” your resume to match that job title and industry.  Research the culture of the field and make sure your resume reflects that same style — in word choices and layout. Look at examples of others’ resumes in the same industry to make sure yours isn’t way off base.

If you need help, there are lots of professionals out there who can tailor your resume to help you land that job. Local colleges and universities may have career services open to the public, and your library likely has free resources, too!